John F. Kennedy Quotes That Are Still Relevant Today

John F. Kennedy was a great president and an even better speaker. He had a lot of wisdom to share, and his quotes are still relevant today. Here are some of our favorite John F. Kennedy quotes.

 john f kennedy quotes

John F. Kennedy was born on May 29, 1917, in Brookline, Massachusetts. He was the second of nine children born to Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. JFK was a graduate of Harvard University and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1947 and the U.S. Senate in 1953. JFK was elected president of the United States in 1960 and was assassinated on November 22, 1963.

JFK was the youngest person ever elected to the office. He was 43 years old. 

113 JFK Quotes

  1. “Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.”

2. “Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.”

3. “The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger–but recognize the opportunity.”

4. “Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.”

5. “If freedom is to survive and prosper, it will require the sacrifice, the effort and the thoughtful attention of every citizen.”

6. “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

7. “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.

8. “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.

9. “If not us, who? If not now, when?”

10. “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.”

11. “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.

12. “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.

 john f. kennedy quotes

JFK Famous Quotes

13. “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.”

14. “The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.”

15. “Without debate, without criticism no administration and no country can succeed and no republic can survive.”

16. “Time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life.”

17. “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

18. “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”

19. “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.

20. “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

21. “A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”

 jfk quotes on freedom

JFK Quotes About Life and Leadership

22. “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

23. “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

24. “The supreme reality of our time is the vulnerability of our planet. ”

25. “Victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan.

26. “We need men who can dream of things that never were.”

27.  “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

28. “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”

29. “Liberty without Learning is always in peril and Learning without Liberty is always in vain.”

30. “We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth.”

31. “It is compromise that prevents each set of reformers from crushing the group at the other end of the political spectrum.”

32. “I have said that control of arms is a mission that we undertake particularly for our children and our grandchildren and that they have no lobby in Washington.”

33. “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

34. “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.”

35. “A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.”

36. “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”

37. “We cannot negotiate with people who say what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable.”

38. “Art is the great democrat, calling forth creative genius from every sector of society, disregarding race or religion or wealth or color”

39. “For one true measure of a nation is its success in fulfilling the promise of a better life for each of its members. Let this be the measure of our nation.”

40. “The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.”

41. “The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie–deliberate, contrived and dishonest–but the myth–persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.

42. “Mankind must put an end to war – or war will put an end to mankind.

43. “The greater our knowledge increases the greater our ignorance unfolds.”

44. “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.

45. “It may be different elsewhere. But democratic society – in it, the highest duty of the writer, the composer, the artist is to remain true to himself and to let the chips fall where they may.”

46. “Not every child has an equal talent or an equal ability or equal motivation, but they should have the equal right to develop their talent and their ability and their motivation, to make something of themselves.”

47. “There are costs and risks to a program of action, but they are far less than the long range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.”

48. “A child miseducated is a child lost.”

49. “Great crisis produce great men and great deeds of courage.”

50. “Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures. And however undramatic the pursuit of peace, that pursuit must go on.

51. “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.”

52. “Too often in the past, we have thought of the artist as an idler and dilettante and of the lover of arts as somehow sissy and effete. We have done both an injustice. The life of the artist is, in relation to his work, stern and lonely. He has labored hard, often amid deprivation, to perfect his skill. He has turned aside from quick success in order to strip his vision of everything secondary or cheapening. His working life is marked by intense application and intense discipline.”

53. “No American is ever made better off by pulling a fellow American down, and all of us are made better off whenever any one of us is made better off.”

54. “There is, in addition to a courage with which men die; a courage by which men must live.”

56. “We celebrate the past to awaken the future.”

57. “Those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside”

58. “A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.”

59. “If more politicians knew poetry, and more poets knew politics, I am convinced the world would be a little better place in which to live.”

60. “War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.”

61. “I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: ‘I served in the United States Navy.”

62. “Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.”

63. “I look forward to 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”

64. “Do not pray for easy times, pray to be stronger. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers, pray for powers equal to your tasks.”

65. “To further the appreciation of culture among all the people, to increase respect for the creative individual, to widen participation by all the processes and fulfillments of art – this is one of the fascinating challenges of these days.”

66. “When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.”

67. “The life of the arts, far from being an interruption, a distraction, in the life of a nation, is very close to the center of a nation’s purpose…and is a test of the quality of a nation’s civilization.”

68. “We, in this country, in this generation, are – by destiny rather than by choice – the watchmen on the walls of world freedom.”

69. “We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty”

70. “When power narrows the areas of a man’s concerns, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence”

71. “Whether they be young in spirit, or young in age, the members of the Democratic Party must never lose that youthful zest for new ideas and for a better world, which has made us great.”

72. “We have become more and more not a nation of athletes but a nation of spectators.”

73. “Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past, let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”

74. “We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes.”

75. “The very word Secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society.”

76 “Every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when this planet may no longer be habitable . The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us.”

77. “It is when the politician loves neither the public good nor himself, or when his love for himself is limited and is satisfied by the trappings of office, that the public interest is badly served.”

78. “Truth is a tyrant-the only tyrant to whom we can give our allegiance. The service of truth is a matter of heroism.”

79. “Let us not despair but act. Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past – let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”

80. “Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.”

81. “A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death.”

82. “We must use time as a tool, not as a crutch.”

83. “But however close we sometimes seem to that dark and final abyss, let no man of peace and freedom despair. For he does not stand alone.”

84. “Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.”

85. “Things don’t just happen. They are made to happen.”

86. “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.”

87. “Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”

88. “Life’s not fair but not always to your disadvantage.”

89. “The most powerful single force in the world today is neither Communism nor Capitalism, neither the H-bomb nor the guided missile,  it is man’s eternal desire to be free and independent.”

90. “Our progress as a nation can be not swifter than our progress in education.”

91. “The ancient Greek definition of happiness was the full use of your powers along lines of excellence.”

92. “The business of the government is the business of the people.”

93. “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.”

94. “When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations.”

95. There is inherited wealth in this country and also inherited poverty.”

96. “The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.”

97. “In a time of turbulence and change, it is more true than ever that knowledge is power.”

98. “Just because we cannot see clearly te end of the road, that is no reason for not setting out on the essential journey.”

99. “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”

101. “I believe that this Nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.”

102. “So much depends on my actions, so I am seeing fewer people, simplifying my life, organizing it so that I am not always on the edge of irritability.”

103. “Every dollar released from taxation, that is spent or invested, will create a new job and a new salary.”

104. “The full use of your powers along lines of excellence.”

105. “Peace is a process – a way of solving problems.”

106. “We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”

107.  “This nation has tossed its cap over the wall of space, and we have no choice but to follow it.”

108. “We have come too far, we have sacrificed too much, to disdain future now.”

109. “It is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came.”

110. “Today our concern must be with the future. For the world is changing. The old era is ending. The old ways will not do.”

111. “War and hunger and ignorance and despair know no religious barriers.”

112. “The highest duty of the writer is to remain true to himself and let the chips fall where they may. In serving his vision of the truth the artist best serves his nation.”

113. “So, let us not be blind to our differences- but let us also direct our attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved.”

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