Speeches of JFK - 1960 Democratic National Convention.
Los Angeles, Ca
01:23:19 - 01:28:23
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."