Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Presidential Speech

“I look forward to a great future for America – a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral restraint, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose. I look forward to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty, which will protect the beauty of our natural environment… And I look forward to a world which will be safe not only for democracy and diversity, but also for personal distinction.”
–JFK, at Amherst College, October 26, 1963 (less than a month before his death)

Please share your thoughts.

44 Comments:

Anonymous Devondria R. said...

Kennedy seemed to be laying the foundation of how he wants America to learn how to match their physical being with their intellectual being. His vision for the future was for America to be accepting of who they are to give them their "personal distinction" in this safe environment he has pictured. America should not fear "grace and beauty" because eventually it will be in its favor. John F. Kennedy wanted America to be able to look in the mirror and recognize its own beauty.

1/21/2011 09:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Sam Fernandez said...

President Kennedy is reflecting on the United States' relatively recent emergence as both an economic and military superpower in the twentieth century. He hopes for the nation to use its new influence wisely in the future to gain respect for American democracy around the globe by implementing wise policies, both foreign and domestic. He calls for the protection of "the beauty of our natural environment" and for "diversity", which are not particularly inflammatory statements but clearly convey his opinion on the fiercely-debated topics of environmental protection and desegregation.

1/21/2011 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger Theo said...

President Kennedy seems to be expressing a desire for America bountiful resources to be put to good use. He also implies the focus of America on amassing power and influence rather than using them to communal or global benefit. In the last sentence, he asserts a desire for citizens to be able to be different and be accepted. Summarily, he wants an America that is as prolific in the application of resources as the procurement of resources. He wants America to realize the purest form of the American dream: true democracy.

1/22/2011 10:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Vanessa V. said...

President Kennedy spoke these words to remind Americans that although the country had a great deal of strength, wealth, and power, they must not forget how to behave civil and wise in any actions taken. He also wants Americans to not base any judgment about someone /something off of their appearance. Instead one should take those personal distinctions, whether it be race, religion, or gender, and set them aside in order to run a proper democracy. A democracy in which all people have an equal say.

1/22/2011 05:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Manny said...

President Kennedy visualizes this "great future" as one where the power, wealth, and strength of America equally couples with the ideas and plans of the people of this country in protecting and preserving a just democracy. The future is bright for such a country as this, but America should not lose sight and fall by the wayside in protecting "the beauty of our natural environment" because "for of those to whom much is given, much is required." He wants an America where the people look at one another with an open mind and open heart, to set aside those "personal distinctions" and work as one to help impact those around us, near and far, to prospectively gain respect throughout the globe.

1/22/2011 08:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Luis Espinoza said...

Kennedy shows the high expectations that he has for Americans. He also implies that those individuals in our society that hold great power should exercise that power with their people in mind, and not their personal interests. Also he foreshadows the eventual need for environmental protection from excess human activities and practices. He showcases an outline of what Americans should strive for in their country. The principles that Kennedy upholds in his speech show the great responsibility that he is leaving to the Americans. Anyone who embraces these principles would greatly improve their mental abilities of judgement and reason.

1/22/2011 08:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Brittany Garcia said...

President Kennedy believes the future of America will be filled with people who will put the countries interests' before their own. Kennedy's Inaugural Address (given in 1961) confirms this idea because he states, "My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." What Kennedy showed throughout his term (and before) was hold sheer love for his country, had inspiring nationalism and held hope for the future of the United States.

1/23/2011 08:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Daniel S. said...

In this speech Kennedy expresses certain optimism for the country he is in charge of. He clearly conveys the general idea of US foreign policy stating that he looks forward to a safe world for democracy and diversity, foreshadowing US involvement in foreign affairs as well as asserting his lenient opinion regarding the civil rights movement. He hopes that the power of the American state will be reflected by morals and wisdom from its citizens, although this could not be measured or inspected. However, Kennedy does express that he will make an effort to improve the country, and help continue its growth and development.

1/23/2011 10:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Madeline Watkins said...

Kennedy seems to be showing his hopes for an America that has been through rough times to shine through and become something we can be proud of. He's looking towards an America which we hadn't and still haven't obtained yet. He wanted the people of America to be sound in mind and heart and enjoy and protect the beauty of this country, not blindly destroy the ideals on which America was founded.

1/23/2011 10:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Carmen Maciel said...

It is clear that to an extent, President Kennedy visualizes an optimistic future for America. He believes America should match her materialism with her intellect in order to preserve and even better democracy. Kennedy also foreshadows the need to “protect the natural environment” as a result of excessive practices of humans. His opinion on the controversial topic of desegregation is also addressed and clearly expressed. Kennedy hopes for an America accepting of “diversity” and safe for “personal distinction.”

1/23/2011 12:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Dragana said...

When Kennedy gave this speech, America was at its high point in history, having a great influence in global affairs as it set the precedent for true capitalism and democracy around the world. While he knew that America was economically and politically adept, he urged the "building block" of this great power, its ordinary citizens, to fulfill the ideals on which America was based and to personally work towards the preservation of "democracy" while bettering themselves, in the capitalistic sense, for "personal distinction." He warns Americans not to lose track of the "here and now" in search for the future, the apple tree in search of the mighty forest.

1/23/2011 12:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Franco B. said...

President Kennedy had a bold and powerful outlook for an American future to be blessed with the same kinds of glorious achievements the the United States had garnered during the first half of the twentieth century. He also expresses the importance of more than just wealth and military strength; he explains that along with these, Americans should profess importance to their morals and also to their own ideas and thoughts. To some extent, President Kennedy believed the United states would not only be a global power in terms of arms, weaponry and militaristic strength, but also with the upholding of moral behavior and citizens that care about their country, economically, politically and naturally, protecting the resources and the precious land on which they live.

1/23/2011 12:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Adriana Lopez said...

Kennedy is trying to persuade the American people that America should be just as great as our wisdom, knowledge and strength is. He implies that we should empower our own country to be on a higher standard. He wants America to be the model for other countries, by integrating other races and saving the environment. Kennedy urges the people to help the country be just as great as they are.

1/23/2011 01:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Jordan Coughlin said...

I think that President Kennedy is taking all the strengths that America has and essentially matching them with what he hopes America will use them for. In a sense, he's opening America's eyes to that yes, we have all these advantages and yes, we have all of these wonderful goals to better out country but we're not doing that yet. So he "Look[s] forward to a great future for America," because he believes that if we put all of these aspects together, America truly could be great.

1/23/2011 01:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Emma Servin said...

On the contrary to what America is today, President Kennedy yearned for a true democracy coinciding with the beauty of nature; times have changed and global advancements emerge, what Kennedy hoped for cannot be translated over to the contemporary. During the 1960s, there was not a surplus of technology.
Kennedy hoped for the protection of nature, and recognition of personal distinction whereas we live in a society, as Thomas Edison once said, "It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity."
What Kennedy once hoped for was at a closer reach before than it is now.

1/23/2011 01:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Kristen P. said...

I think President Kennedy was expressing his desire for America to become what we all seek: perfection. He wants America to be strong and powerful, yet gentle and caring, rich and wealthy, yet wise and careful. He wants America to be a beautiful haven for all diversites. America still strives to be this powerful haven Kennedy discussed. Even though it seems distant, our leaders and people are still encouraged with his outline of a perfect nation. Kennedy's ability to inspire millions is proven in the fact that even with his passing, America is emboldened by his words to "look forward to a great future for America."

1/23/2011 02:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Rachel Zajac said...

This is a very uplifting and motivating speech. It reminds us, as Americans, that it is our duty to always strive to be the best we can be. We set an example to the rest of the world and lead others, or fall behind. He says we should use our status in the world for good, not enforce our military unless we see it completely necessary, and to uphold the values that we understand to be the foundation of America.

1/23/2011 03:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Alex J. said...

President Kennedy's speech is supremely pertinent to America's situation. America has so much power, and we barely practice constraint. We exploit our natural resources, flaunt military powers, and take no responsibilty. President Kennedy is saying that he hopes the power America has accumalted will equal that of the responsibility we take on. He wants America to be the best it can be, and we cannot delude ourselves into thinking America is superior. However, we have potential to be great. That is the essence of President Kennedy's speech. America can be at its best, but, at first, it must overlook all diversities, prejudices, and assume responsibilty along with power.

1/23/2011 03:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Liam McShane said...

President Kennedy was expressing an idea, particularly with respect to his statement about diversity, that was opposed by many at the time. Parallels can be drawn between Martin Luther King, Jr. and JFK, as two great leaders that were eventually martyred as a result of the unpopularity of their ideas, but both have been forever glorified in history. This excerpt from his speech takes on an almost prayer-like quality when its date is taken into account, so shortly before his own death.

1/23/2011 04:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Kendall McCune said...

I think President Kennedy was expressing his hopes of what America could become if we, as a country, come together and help protect and preserve our country. He wants the American people to put forth more initiative in enhancing the "grace and beauty" of our country and not let it be wasted away. The President was looking forward to a country, and a world, where we can come together and be one separate of race and religion, to make the world a safe and beautiful place. He does not want us to use our resources of military strength, power and wisdom irresponsibly, but to use them in a way that helps the world.

1/23/2011 04:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anna Gomez said...

In his speech, Kennedy communicates to the country his own American Dream-- a dream in which he envisions the fight for reason, encourages the reordering of American defense, and advocates environmental conservation. Kennedy’s American Dream set the standard for which this country has for decades sought to achieve. His understanding of terror, hope, and life made individuals look beyond nation and race to the future of humanity. Additionally, Kennedy also foresees a country in which its citizens would uphold high moral standards and assume integrity while simultaneously taking the initiative to apply ethics in situations of wealth and power.

1/23/2011 06:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Elliese Shaughnessy said...

I think that the fact that JFK's death was less than a month after he made this speech makes the speech all the more important and makes his death more tragic. Knowing that JFK could not live to see his own hopes and dreams come alive really emphasizes the need to fight with the right goal in mind, spend on necessities only, and use our country's power for the right reasons.

JFK wrote this speech in honor of poet Robert Frost who had died that January. The purpose of this speech was centered around art and this excerpt is in this speech as JFK's introduction to the conclusion. It reveals what JFK hoped art in our nation would do. He hoped it would bring out the truth and the potential that our country had.

1/23/2011 06:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Hershey said...

John F Kennedy certainly had a way with words. His optimism of the world and its future endeavors basks on every last word of this excerpt, as he transitions from addressing the nation he presides over, to the world as a whole. Most importantly however, Kennedy manages to speak directly for the people as he advocates and reminds for the preservation of "personal distinction," a fundamental rock of which our country strives to address upon. He reverted back to the notion that he addressed in his inauguration of a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people" when he says, to each American, to "ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," emphasizing that JFK ceased to falter on his view of a democratic America.

1/23/2011 06:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Cassandra H. said...

Kennedy pressed for a "greater future for America" that would unite and strongly serve as one country. The fact that America was a superpower during this time made it all the more important for America to become a model country, in the sense of democracy and military. During the 1960's an end to state-sanctioned racial discrimination was one of the most pressing domestic issues. Kennedy expressed a need for change with racial segregation and often related to Martin Luther King about equal civil rights.
JFK yearned for not only an America but "a world which will be safe not only for democracy and diversity, but also for personal distinction.” The fact that this speech was written just a month before his death impelled more Americans to pay homage to Kennedy by trying to make Kennedy's dream a reality.

1/23/2011 07:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Monce E. said...

This is an optimistic and motivational speech. President Kennedy was expressing his desire for America to raise its standards, and for people to take more initiative in helping their country. After all he did say "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."

1/23/2011 07:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Victoria Zimmerman said...

Kennedy had much faith in the future of America, and seems to have believed in the moral backbone of its people. The country he imagined was not afraid to be on top and to rule, but was also purposeful in its actions. I believe that the America we know is very different from the America he had imagined and hoped for. America is not as moral nor as wise as the country he dreamed of. If he were still alive today, it is doubtless to say that he would be very disappointed in the path we have taken as a country, a path that has led us into great debt and the lack of moral fiber, as a nation, and as individuals.

1/23/2011 07:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Vaishnavi Singh said...

America has been both the economic and military powerhouse of the world for a long time. Through his inspirational inaugral speech, former President Kennedy expressed his future vision of America. He envisions an America with high moral standards and one "...which will not be afraid of grace and beauty, which will protect the beauty of our natural environment...." Kennedy wanted America to recognize its true beauty. He is trying to glue together the beauties of America together in a puzzle which he hopes will be finished by fellow Americans one day. Sadly, JFK did not live long enough to see his dream come true.

1/23/2011 08:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Zee "Ze-Ro" Rock said...

John F. Kennedy’s presidential speech demonstrates his expectations as a leader and hopeful anticipation for Americans and their growing nation. As he repeatedly calls upon America as a whole to match the qualities of its citizens, it becomes apparent that he is aware that strength arrives in numbers and that he hopes to see his fellow Americans rise to the occasion to form a nation that is much more than the sum of its parts. Kennedy has always been a symbol of patriotism, in part because of his urging of the American people to be all-for-one, just as America has always served as a binding force, a one-for-all. His unfailing eagerness to witness “our country” reach its potential will always serve as an inspiration to us, its citizens.

1/23/2011 08:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Benjamin Cruz said...

The fact that America was, at the time of Kennedy's inauguration as president, the most powerful and wealthy nation in the world makes this speech the more significant. One particular phrase from his inaugural speech portrays Kennedy's ideal vision for America, "its power with our purpose." Kennedy envisioned a purpose for the country to not only lead in the military and wealthy aspects, but in the moral and civic as well. As long as that purpose was what lead the nation, everything else would almost fall into its due place.

1/23/2011 08:42:00 PM  
Anonymous William M. said...

I think Kennedy's speech Is a good example of persuasion. He talks about the America he dreams of, including a few slight jabs at the citizens (more like a hot iron for a donkey, or boot spurs to a horse) telling them how they need to be better at the treatment of their environment and of each other, and not be ashamed of it (this, I believe, is the "grace and beauty" we are asked to recognize.). JFK was always a big believer in nationalism for ones country, and I think this speech is a prime example of those nationalist feelings.

1/23/2011 08:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Amanda Perry said...

From this speech we can understand that Kennedy truly hoped for and envisioned a future full of promise for the United States, although sadly he never saw this vision realized. In his dreams we would know what to do with our strength without imposing upon others, we wouldn't waste what we should be grateful to have, and we would have great ideas and plans to further improve the world as we know it. He wanted us to be fearless in the right sense, the kind that protects what we value in life. He expresses the standards he expects from us as American citizens, that with power comes responsibility, and that he hoped we could be role models for others.
In my personal opinion, I don't believe we are in that position of leadership for all the world, but Kennedy definitely had a truly great vision for the future.

1/23/2011 08:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Nicholas O. said...

President Kennedy seems to have envisioned the dream of America, and projecting it onto his people. This is actually very reminiscent of the poem "Let America Be America Again". Similar to the poem's subject of the concept of America and the freedom it should have held, Kennedy "[looks] forward to a world which will be safe".
His use of anaphora enhances his plea. Also, I notice the distinction between "its" and "our". Here, he separates the state from its people. The state of America will provide things such as military strength and wealth, while it is up to us as the people to supplement it with "our moral restraint" and "wisdom". As a state and its people merge as one being, it becomes a country, and this is what Kennedy hopes for America.

1/23/2011 09:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Adrian Bustos said...

Even through the country's hardships in the height of the Cold War, President Kennedy tried to inspire Americans abroad with his optimistic speech of the future of America. His words echo with some of the key actions during his presidency: the Space Race ("its power with our purpose"), the Cuban Missile Crisis ("its military with our moral restraint", emphasis on moral restraint, because Kennedy could've easily launched both superpowers into nuclear war), and civil rights ("democracy and diversity, but also for personal distinction"). The objectives during his presidency for the country outlined this speech, and vise-versa. Much of Kennedy's goals of his short presidency were achieved, highlighting his popularity among the U.S. presidents.

1/23/2011 10:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Katherine Chernova said...

Since this quote comes from a greater speech given by President John F. Kennedy in honor of the poet Robert Frost and for the purpose of honoring the arts, it represents Kennedy’s wish for America to be able to have power through peace. He wanted for America to be strong but also be appreciated and recognized for its cultural power and beauty. In this quote, he demonstrated the need for America to be stable and united but also be full of “diversity” and “personal distinction.”

1/23/2011 11:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Jonathan Hong said...

This speech shows that Kennedy wished for our rapidly growing nation to uphold and not lose sight of the values that represent our country. Kennedy uses many alliterations in his speech(wealth, wisdom power, purpose) and juxtaposes the economic results of America's growth to its ideals. The first two lines of Kennedy's speech rings true in our rapidly developing economy but the second line seems irrelevant compared to the other two. It seems out of place. I suppose there are a number of reasons for concern about our "natural environment" but does America really fear beauty and nature? America may neglect beauty and nature in its search for power but I don't think it fears it. Also how would not fearing grace and beauty lead to the protection of our environment? It would be the exact opposite. If America became afraid of the environment then it might be more inclined to protect nature instead of destroying it for economic gain.

1/23/2011 11:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Rebecca Estrada said...

In Kennedy's presidential speech, he's telling the citizens of America about his hopes of the future. His aspiration for the country was to not be led by wrath or fear but by "grace and beauty". As a leader, he gives great encouragement, especially in the first line, when he says he looks forward to a great future. It not only shows the determination he has for progress but the faith he has for his people. The speech is also significant in that he presented it less than a month before his death, which symbolizes the importance of this message as his belief to a coming generation.

1/24/2011 05:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Caroline said...

In his Presidential speech, JFK wrote about an idea that he intended to pursue, a balance he wanted to achieve in the United States if not the world. He wanted all parts of the whole to come together and form one picture of unity, strength, and beauty. Where there is power, there must be responsibility, restraint, good judgment, as well as purpose. President Kennedy was a progressive thinker and though he had many supporters, there were some that did not agree with his views and ideas about the United States transforming into more diverse and balanced country. He was optimistic about the future of America and was cruelly assassinated before he got the chance to see some of these changes. Though JFK stressed the idea of a metamorphosis for The United States, he also wanted to foster the development of the American; He wanted to help develop the idea of a personal identity, not just a national one.

1/24/2011 05:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Vanessa W. said...

I agree with Katherine that the speech was centered around arts and honoring Robert Frost. There's really no arguing that. I also agree that Kennedy wanted America to not only be powerful in government but in culture too. In this excerpt, Kennedy is saying that he hopes for America to become and all-over powerful nation. Full of good morals and strength. Kennedy didn't want a nation full of the same type of people; He wants everyone to be different and able to think on their own. I agree with this wholly. That would be amazing if we could actually achieve it. Is it possible? Yes. Will it happen? Most likely not. People are too conformist to be individual.

1/24/2011 06:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Jamilla Emerson said...

Former President Kennedy's speech conveys his desire for our country to fully mature and blossom into an entity that obtains power but does not abuse it but uses it responsibly. Kennedy stretches his expectations along in the speech in a parallel manner and effectively conveys his idealistic expectations and hopes of his country. Though his expectations seem unrealistic they are inspiring and cause the reader to think about him/herself and our country. These words cause the reader to question if these wishes are in fact possible for any country or power holder to achieve.

1/24/2011 06:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Nohemi Mora said...

JFK's vision of a better America, hasn't come true. I see a lot of irony in the fact that his assassination is exactly opposite of his ideal vision in America. Military strength equals guns and violence, Oswald killed Kennedy...with a gun. His ideal of grace in America, kinda went down with his assassination especially in Dallas. A city cannot have grace when it is known for shooting its president.

1/24/2011 06:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Sabra Ewing said...

Kennedy acknowledges America's extensive power and rapid development, and he is warning us that this can be both a blessing and a downfall. While he does want America to maintain this influence, he warns us to remain balanced in our judgement so that America will not become thoughtless and demoralized. He wants us to take advantage of our military power, high standard of living, and technological advancement, but he does not want this to get in the way of our individuality or cause us to destroy the world in which we live.

1/24/2011 04:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Daniel "Gungooly" Gonzalez said...

“Privilege is here, and with privilege goes responsibility,” President Kennedy stated earlier in his speech, the focal message contained in his words to Amherst College, which was also addressed to America as a whole. America, overflowing with privilege available to its inhabitants, was in Kennedy’s day, and still remains, a dominant world power, influencing surrounding countries as well as other nations far overseas. However, the availability of opportunity must be used and implemented wisely and carefully by the adept minds of individuals who are willing to live up to the standards presented by this blessing valued by the American people and praised in Kennedy’s words. He desired for Americans to serve their country and excel at making their homeland and the rest of the world a better place for us to reside in. “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country,” as seen in his inaugural address, Kennedy recognized the importance of the individual common man to the country and the power he possesses to create change, and the president encouraged him to become a unique entity, gaining qualities which will aid him in assisting his country when it needs him and when it does not as well. In a government operated by the people, the people determine the fate of their state, and only capable people can maintain a capable state that can leave a positive impact on the world it is a part of. This is the future President Kennedy looked forward to for America.

1/24/2011 09:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Laith Alqaisi said...

I agree with Jonathan, Kennedy believed that no matter how powerful our military gets, we shouldn't lose sight of our morality, no matter how wealthy we are, we must not become foolish and wasteful, no matter how powerful we become, we shouldn't lose sight of our country's purpose: to uphold a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Sadly all of these have been violated in a way: the US has lost sight of the founding fathers' vision of democratic government, the public has grown so wasteful of resources, and corporate greed has only grown in magnitude. But, I do disagree with Jonathan on one point: I don't believe JFK mean "fear of beauty" in the literal sense. I believe he used it to convey a deeper meaning. I believe that JFK meant that to mean that he hopes future Americans won't be so destructive of nature. That their "fear" causes them to lose sight of beauty because it gets in the way of economic efficiency and greed's way. That someday, greed and the never-ending hunger for efficiency will outweigh future America's sight of beauty. So, I believe JFK meant "fear of beauty" to mean ignorance of beauty, and I believe this ignorance can only result from greed and industrial mind-sets.

2/05/2011 07:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Taylor said...

Kennedy was describing the nation that ours could become, that it had the potential to become, but that hasn't happened yet. Of course, the nation is slowly improving... but the problem is that, while we may achieve some of those wonderful goals, it seems almost impossible to attain all of them. This democracy that we live in may never allow it. The people themselves may never want to work for it.

2/08/2011 09:35:00 AM  

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