Having defeated Richard Nixon, who was more "establishment," JFK intended for his speech to inspire youth in his new directions towards Civil Rights and world peace. His call to action inspired youth to join such organizations as the Peace Corps, for one thing. "The torch has been passed to a new generation" also inspired the creation of other organizations.
It is important that you consider the implications of the world at that time. JFK had just inherited an America who endured the Red Scare of communism and was gearing up to look toward new heights. Many foreign policy issues around the globe gave us cause for concern.
JFK had two seeming purposes. First, to America, he accepted the challenge to lead with responsibilty. He needed them to know he was ready and that he had a plan. He colorfully expressed his power to unify the country.
To nations in poverty and to nations with whom we had not had the greatest of relations, he pledged his ability to work with them. This speech made great claims to provide help, to heal hurts, and to make amends with nations around the world.
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