From the JFK Presidential Library, http://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Research-Aids/JFK-Speeches/Independence-Day-Oration_1946.aspx.

This speech was delivered by a man of faith.

At the beginning of his political career, it is hard to believe he had a speech-writer. What little I can check, it does appear he is the author.

The speech could easily deliver at any conservative rally, delivered by any of the Right’s rising stars, rousing the crowd to their feet with maybe only one or two exceptions.

What does it say that John Fitzgerald Kennedy was right of most Republicans of our day? What does it say that our current President is one of the Collectivists that JFK decries?

The then Congressional candidate delivered his speech extolling four elements of the American Character. (Apparently delivered in Boston.)

It is all quite worth reading. It all sounds as though it could have been written yesterday, with only the war references updated.

This part is particularly worth repeating:

INDIVIDUALISTIC ELEMENT

The American character has been not only religious, idealistic, and patriotic, but because of these it has been essentially individual.

The right of the individual against the State has ever been one of our most cherished political principles.

The American Constitution has set down for all men to see the essentially Christian and American principle that there are certain rights held by every man which no government and no majority, however powerful, can deny.

Conceived in Grecian thought, strengthened by Christian morality, and stamped indelibly into American political philosophy, the right of the individual against the State is the keystone of our Constitution. Each man is free.

He is free in thought.

He is free in expression.

He is free in worship.

To us, who have been reared in the American tradition, these rights have become part of our very being. They have become so much a part of our being that most of us are prone to feel that they are rights universally recognized and universally exercised. But the sad fact is that this is not true. They were dearly won for us only a few short centuries ago and they were dearly preserved for us in the days just past. And there are large sections of the world today where these rights are denied as a matter of philosophy and as a matter of government.

We cannot assume that the struggle is ended. It is never-ending.

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. It was the price yesterday. It is the price today, and it will ever be the price.

The characteristics of the American people have ever been a deep sense of religion, a deep sense of idealism, a deep sense of patriotism, and a deep sense of individualism.

Let us not blink the fact that the days which lie ahead of us are bitter ones.

May God grant that, at some distant date, on this day, and on this platform, the orator may be able to say that these are still the great qualities of the American character and that they have prevailed.

Let us repeat with the orator his closing prayer:

Let us not blink the fact that the days which lie ahead of us are bitter ones.

May God grant that, at some distant date, on this day, and on this platform, the orator may be able to say that these are still the great qualities of the American character and that they have prevailed.

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