Summary of President John F. Kennedy s Inaugural Address
This inaugural speech establishes what John F. Kennedy s vision is for the United States--actually
it is more of a world vision--of global unity, supporting freedom and human rights for all humankind.
He suggests that we should all celebrate in this time of freedom. Man holds all of the power in his
hands. Yet, there are still revolutionary beliefs being fought around the world. He does not want us to
forget that we are all apart of this revolution. He states, The torch has been passed to a new generation of
Americans that are unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this
nation has always been committed (Kennedy 1).
He wants us to feel proud and support our nation. We should protect it at any cost to keep the
people free. Therefore, we pledge our alliance to this nation. He believes the world would be much
stronger and could conquer any problem as a whole rather than being divided. We can use our country s
strengths to help the other nations to be free.
He assures the new states that would be joining in the ranks of the free (Kennedy 1), it would not
be absolute control. He encourages these states to support their beliefs and their freedom.
President John F. Kennedy suggests, We need to help the people help themselves. For if a free
society cannot save the few who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich (Kennedy 2). We all need to
work together as a global unit. Also, let our neighbors know that no other countries are going to take us
over. He wants us to believe that this hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house (Kennedy
He proposes a request, Both sides begin anew the quest for peace before the destruction of all
humanity in planned or accidental self destruction (Kennedy 2). He wants us to remember to be civil and
sincere. As he advises, Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate (Kennedy 2).
We all need to be willing to work together and explore the problems that unite us.
As he states, This is the beginning"(Kennedy1). All of this coming together will take a lifetime
and maybe more. Hence, the job will never be finished. There will always be room for improvement, so
now is the time to begin. Since President John F. Kennedy is empowering us as a nation, it is up to us
whether this will succeed or fail. It all lies in our hands.
Man has too many common enemies, for that reason we need to form a global alliance. Our
President wants us to believe in him as leader and in ourselves. He encourages us to want to achieve this
goal. Consequently he says, Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your
country (Kennedy 3). If we all agree to work together and be true. We can truly live in harmony.
Kennedy, John F. President John F. Kennedy, in His Inaugural, Takes Up the Torch for a New
Generation. Lend Me Your Ears: Great Speeches in History. Ed. William. Safire, New York: Norton
and Company, 1992.