In the midst of communist fear, the nation was promised “an end as well as a beginning--signifying renewal, as well as change.” A newly elected president speaks to his people, creating hope and excitement in a nation ruled by fear of communist power. John F. Kennedy, elected during the second Red Scare, promises the “survival and success of liberty.” JFK’s inaugural address is exceptionally successful at bringing trust and pride to the American citizens during a time of fear and chaos.
JFK built trust within the first line he spoke; he proclaims “We observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom -- symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning -- signifying renewal, as well as change.” In saying this Kennedy expresses that he is not president for himself, but for all Americans, that his presidency will end one era, and begin a better one. Kennedy is showing he is not power-hungry and wishes to improve the nation. Kennedy later promises that “I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago” this shows the American people that he is an honest and truthful man and will follow all guidelines for making the country better for the oath he took is legally binding. The American people were fearful of a communist takeover, Kennedy builds trust that the situation will resolve when he states, “Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace.” By suggesting we start new and find peace with our enemies, it shows the American people that he will make every effort to solve the nation’s problems in a peaceful manner.
While the speech is very successful as a trust builder, it also builds a sense of pride in the American nation and readiness to defend our nation. Kennedy says’ “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.” This quote shows that America is not afraid to stand up to those who oppose us, but will also support those who are our allies. It also ensures the survival of Liberty, which is very important to the American people during the Red Scare, in which Americans feared communist takeover. Kennedy also says that “United there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures” which will build hope and assurance that we will not fall to communism. Kennedy examines the fact that since we have allies in this fight, we will be a strong force and will not fall. He then goes on to say, “Divided there is little we can do” which tells the American people that as long as we work as one nation, we will be strong, but if the nation is torn apart, we will surely fail. Kennedy does express that in any war we are presented with we will succeed, but he also expresses his view that peace is ideal when he says “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.” This is a powerful quote that shows the people that they must not fear what is to come of the conflicts, for peace is the ultimate goal.
All in all, I believe JFK was very successful with his speech; it captivated his audience and put them at ease. His speech created trust with his promises of change as well as the promise to fight for our nation and defend us from enemies. JFK also instilled pride in the American nation. He showed his people that they have chosen the right leader and set the tone for his presidency. Kennedy was a loved president and always delivered excellent speeches.
Kennedy, John F. Inaugural Address. 20 Jan. 1961. americanrhetoric. Web. 5 Oct.
JFK Inaugural Address. N.d. Blogspot. De Minimus, n.d. Web. 5 OCT. 2010.
"Communism - Marxism & The Communist Manifesto." All About Philosophy. N.p.,
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