John F. Kennedy's Presidency

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What was President Kennedy trying to say in his inaugural speech? Was the speech an accurate and relevant request to action? Is this speech meaningful to today’s society?

In his inaugural speech, President Kennedy reassures not only American citizens but the global community that the United States was committed to leading. The US would engage fully in the Cold War struggle with the Soviet Union to defend liberty and freedom. Kennedy uses idealistic and optimistic language to assert US interests. The speech is still relevant, because the US continues, albeit with problems, to be a global leader.

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I would agree that Kennedy's inaugural speech strikes a note of optimism and an attempt to pull people together. However, it also is a speech that is best understood in the context of the Cold War.

Kennedy opens with a call to freedom, then moves on to allude to the tensions existing at that time between the United States and the Soviet Union, troubles that could lead to a nuclear war, when he states:

The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life.

He then goes on to allude to the Cold War struggle across the globe to influence countries to become either communist or capitalist. Kennedy states:

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.

Kennedy is using liberty and freedom to refer to his commitment towards anti-communist countries...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1082 words.)

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