A compilation of speeches made by John Fitzgerald Kennedy. 1960 Democratic National Convention.
Newsreel regarding the 1960 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, CA: TLS people marching outside the LA Memorial Sports Arena (Memorial Coliseum); shots of delegates on floor; MSs delegates holding pro-LBJ (Lyndon Baines Johnson) placards on floor; MS Minnesota Governor ORVILLE L. FREEMAN nominating Senator John F. Kennedy; MSs pro-JFK delegates on floor, holding placards and such; MS Senator EUGENE MCCARTHY nominating Adlai Stevenson; MSs pro-Stevenson delegates holding placards; MS of ELEANOR ROOSEVELT standing at podium, waving to crowd; shots of delegates voting, Wyoming clinching deciding vote; MS of Sen. JOHN F. KENNEDY descending steps to make acceptance speech.
Senator JOHN F. KENNEDY makes acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, July 15, 1960: "Let me say first that I accept the nomination of the Democratic Party. I accept it without reservation and with only one obligation. The obligation to devote every effort of my mind and spirit to lead our Party back to victory and our Nation to greatness. I am grateful too, that you have provided us with a strong platform to stand on and to run on. Pledges, which are made so eloquently, are made to be kept. "The Rights of Man," the civil and economic rights essential to the human dignity of all men, are indeed our goal and are indeed our first principal. And I am grateful finally that I can rely on the coming months on many others. On a distinguished running mate who brings unity and strength to our platform and our ticket, Lyndon Johnson. On one of the most articulate spokesman of modern times, Adlai Stevenson. On a great fighter for our needs as a Nation and a people, Stuart Symington. On my traveling companion in Wisconsin and West Virginia Senator Hubert Humphrey. On Paul Butler our devoted and courageous Chairman. And on that fighting campaigner who support I now welcome President Harry Truman. I am fully aware of the fact, that the Democratic Party by nominating someone of my faith has taken on what many regard as a new and hazardous risk. New at least since 1928. The Democratic Party has once again placed its confidence in the American people and in their ability to render a free and fair judgment and in my ability to render a free and fair judgment. I hope that no American, considering the really critical issues facing this country, will waste his franchise and throw away his vote by voting either for me or against me because of my religious affiliation. It is not relevant. I am telling you what you are entitled to know. As I come before you seeking your support for the most powerful office in the Free World, I am saying to you that my decisions on every public policy will be my own, as an American, as a Democrat and as a free man."
Continuation of Senator JOHN F. KENNEDY making acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, July 15, 1960: "Under any circumstances the victory we seek in November will not be easy. We know that in our hearts. We know that our opponent will invoke the name of Abraham Lincoln on behalf of their candidate. Despite the fact that his political career has often seemed to show charity towards none and malice for all. We know it will not be easy to campaign against a man who has spoken and voted on every side of every issue. Mr. Nixon may feel that it s his turn now, after the New Deal and the Fair Deal, but before he deals someone s going to cut the cards. That "someone" may be the millions of Americans who voted for President Eisenhower, but would balk at electing his successor. For just as historians tell us that Richard I was not fit to fill the shoes of the bold Henry II and that Richard Cromwell was not fit to wear the mantle of his uncle. They might add in future years that Richard Nixon did not measure up to the footsteps of Dwight D. Eisenhower. Perhaps he could carry on the party policies, the policies of Nixon and Benson and Dirksen and Goldwater, but this Nation cannot afford such a luxury. Perhaps we could afford a Coolidge following Harding and perhaps we could afford a Pierce following Fillmore, but after Buchanan this nation needed Lincoln, after Taft we needed Wilson and after Hoover we needed Franklin Roosevelt. But were not merely running against Mr. Nixon. Our task is not merely one of itemizing Republican failures. Nor is that wholly necessary for the families forced from the farm do not need us to tell them of their plight. The unemployed miners and textile workers know that the decision is before them in November. The old people without medical care, the families without a decent home, the parents of children without a decent school, they all know that its time for a change. We are not here to curse the darkness, we are here to light a candle. As Winston Churchill said on taking office some 20 years ago, If we open a quarrel between the present and the past we shall be in danger of losing the future. Today our concern must be with that future, for the world is changing, the old era is ending, the old ways will not do."
Continuation of Senator JOHN F. KENNEDY making acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, July 15, 1960: "Abroad the balance of power is shifting. New and more terrible weapons are coming into use. One third of the world maybe free but one third is the victim of a cruel repression and the other third is rocked by poverty and hunger and disease. Communist influence has penetrated into Asia. It stands in the Middle East and now festers some 90 miles off the coast of Florida. Friends have slipped into neutrality and neutrals have slipped into hostility. As our keynoter reminded us, the President who began his career by going to Korea ends it by staying away from Japan. The world has been close to war before, but now man, who survived all previous threats to his existence, has taken into his mortal hands the power to exterminate his species seven times over. Here at home the future is equally revolutionary. The New Deal and the Fair Deal were bold measures for their generations, but now this is a new generation. A technological output and explosion on the farm has led to an output explosion. An urban population revolution has overcrowded our schools and cluttered our cities and crowded our slums. A peaceful revolution for human rights demanding an end to racial discrimination in all parts of our community life has strained at the leashes imposed by a timid executive leadership. It is time, in short, for a new generation of leadership. All over the world particularly in the newer nations young men are coming to power. Men who are not bound by the traditions of the past. Men who are not blinded by the old fears and hate and rivalries. Young men who can cast off the old slogans and the old delusions. The Republican nominee-to-be, of course is a young man but his approach is as old as McKinley. His party is the party of the past, the party of memory. His speeches are generalities from Poor Richard s Almanac. Their platform made up of old leftover Democratic planks has the courage of our old convictions. Their pledge is to the status quo and today there is no status states quo. "
Continuation of Senator JOHN F. KENNEDY making acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, July 15, 1960: "For I stand here tonight facing west on what was once the last frontier. From the lands that stretch 3000 miles behind us, the pioneers gave up their safety, their comfort and sometimes their lives to build our New West. They were not the captives of their own doubts, nor the prisoners of their own price tags. They were determined to make the New World strong and free, an example to the world. To overcome its hazards and its hardships. To conquer the enemy that threatens from within and without. Some would say that those struggles are all over. That all the horizons have been explored. That all the battles have been won. That there is no longer an American frontier. But I trust that no one in this vast assemblage would agree with that sentiment. For the problems are not all solved and the battles are not all won and we stand today on the edge of a New Frontier, the frontier of the 1960 s. The frontier of unknown opportunities and perils. The frontier of unfilled hopes and unfilled threats. Woodrow Wilson s New Freedom promised our nation a new political and economic framework. Franklin Roosevelt s New Deal promised security and succor to those in need. But the New Frontier of which I speak is not a set of promises it is a set of challenges. It sums up not what I intend to offer to the American people, but what I intend to ask of them. But I believe that the times require imagination and courage and perseverance. I m asking each of you to be pioneers towards that New Frontier. My call is to the young in heart, regardless of age, to the stout in spirit, regardless of party, to all who respond to the scriptural call be strong and of good courage, be not afraid, neither be dismayed. For courage not complacency is our need today. Leadership not salesmanship and the only valid cast of leadership is the ability to lead and lead vigorously. For the harsh facts of the matter are that we stand at this frontier, at a turning point of history. We must prove all over again to a watching world as we sit on a most conspicuous stage whether this nation conceived as it is with its freedom of choice, its breadth of opportunity, its range of alternatives can compete with a single-minded advance of the Communist system. Can a nation organize and govern such as ours in doing? That is the real question. Have we the nerve and the will? Can we carry through in an age where we will witness not only new breakthroughs in weapons of destruction but also a race of mastery of the sky and the rain, the ocean and the tides, the far side of space and the inside of men s minds. That is the question of the New Frontier. That is the choice that our nation must make. A choice that lies not merely between two men or two parties, but between the public interest and private comfort. Between national greatness and national decline. Between the fresh air of progress and the stale dank atmosphere of normalcy, between dedication or mediocrity. All mankind waits upon our decision. A whole world looks to see what we shall do and we cannot fail that trust and we cannot fail to try. Recall with me the words of Isaiah, "The that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary." As we face the coming great challenge, we too shall wait upon the Lord and ask that he renew our strength. Then shall we be equal to the test. Then we shall not be weary. And then we shall prevail."