John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States of America, and one of the most well-known politicians in modern history.
JFK first served as a junior senator and was the second youngest person to be sworn as President of the US (after Theodore Roosevelt). He made history with some remarkable accomplishments that included the creation of the Alliance for Progress with Latin America and the Peace Corps. He was also involved in the successful negotiations for the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with Great Britain and the Soviet Union.
Kennedy was a war hero, an early advocate of civil rights and is still an inspiration for generations yet to come. During his tenure, he gained even more popularity for his commitment to space exploration programs.
This president was at the heart of many historical events. Sadly, on November 22, 1963, he was assassinated by Harvey Oswald while visiting Dallas.
Despite his short time in the White House, JFK remains one of America’s most charismatic leaders and a truly gifted speaker. As a result, he is still quoted by many politicians, historians and writers today.
Here Are 65 Famous John F Kennedy Quotes on Leadership, Change and Life to Inspire You
Famous JFK quotes
Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.
If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
It is an unfortunate fact that we can secure peace only by preparing for war.
We choose to go the moon in this decade and do the other things not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills.
Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.
The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth.
Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.
A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.
Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope or dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our Nation.
Our problems are man-made, therefore they can be solved by man. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.
A child miseducated is a child lost.
Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.
Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.
Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.
The supreme reality of our time is the vulnerability of this planet.
The greater our knowledge increases the more our ignorance unfolds.
Inspirational JFK Quotes
The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.
World peace, like community peace, does not require that each man love his neighbor — it requires only that they live together with mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement.
We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
If not us, who? If not now, when?
This country cannot afford to be materially rich and spiritually poor.
Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.
Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.
Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief, shining moment that was known as Camelot. There’ll be great presidents again … but there will never be another Camelot.
Domestic policy can only defeat us; foreign policy can kill us.
Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.
A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.
The margin is narrow, but the responsibility is clear.
JFK quotes on life
Life is never easy. There is work to be done and obligations to be met — obligations to truth, to justice, and to liberty.
Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
There is always inequality in life. Some men are killed in a war and some men are wounded and some men never leave the country. Life is unfair.
The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy.
Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life.
We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us thru that darkness to a safe and sane future.
JFK quotes on change
Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past are certain to miss the future.
The one unchangeable certainty is that nothing is unchangeable or certain.
We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.
If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can make the world safe for diversity.
One person can make a difference and everyone should try.
JFK quotes on civil rights
The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.
Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.
The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.
In giving rights to others which belong to them, we give rights to ourselves and to our country.
Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors. For the Bill of Rights is the guardian of our security as well as our liberty.
Today, we are committed to a worldwide struggle to promote and protect the rights of all who wish to be free… It ought to to be possible, in short, for every American to enjoy the privileges of being American without regard to his race or his color.
The heart of the question is whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities; whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated.
This is one country. It has become one country because all of us and all the people who came here had an equal chance to develop their talents.
Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.
JFK quotes on leadership
Leadership and learning are indispensable to one another.
When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.
Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.
Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.
A man does what he must — in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality.
Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.
Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.
There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction
I would rather be accused of breaking precedents than breaking promises.
Sure it’s a big job; but I don’t know anyone who can do it better than I can.
We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.
It is time for a new generation of leadership, to cope with new problems and new opportunities. For there is a new world to be won.
The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were and ask ‘why not?’