John F. Kennedy Speeches

Below are complete audio recordings of some of John F. Kennedy's most important speeches. When available, we have provided a transcript to accompany the audio files. The original recordings of all of Kennedy's speeches are housed at the Kennedy Presidential Library

July 15, 1960

President John Kennedy

Acceptance of the Democratic Party Nomination

Recorded at Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. Running time is 21:40. Kennedy calls for "New Frontier," his successor to the "New Deal" and the "Fair Deal."

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September 12, 1960

President John Kennedy

Address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Assocation

Recorded at the Rice Hotel in Houston, Texas. Running time is 11:32. Kennedy stresses the importance of separation of church and state and condemns nations without religious liberty and tolerance. Kennedy de-emphasizes the importance of Catholicism in his candidacy.

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January 09, 1961

President John Kennedy

"City Upon a Hill" Speech

Recorded at Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. Running time is 21:40. Kennedy calls for "New Frontier," his successor to the "New Deal" and the "Fair Deal."

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January 20, 1961

President John Kennedy

Inaugural Address

Recorded at the Capitol in Washington, DC. Running time is 15:31. Kennedy pledges to support liberty, commit to allies, avoid tyranny, aid the underprivileged throughout the world and strengthen the Americas. Kennedy challenges communist nations to engage in a dialogue with the United States to ensure world peace and stability. The speech is best known for the words "ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."

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March 01, 1961

President John Kennedy

Establishment of the Peace Corps

Recorded at a news conference held in the State Department Auditorium. Running time is 1:21. Kennedy states that the Peace Corps is a tool to help qualified individuals assist the underdeveloped throughout the world, not a tool of propaganda. The President notes that a decent life acts as the foundation for peace and freedom.

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April 27, 1961

President John Kennedy

"President and the Press" Speech

Recorded at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, New York before the American Newspaper Publishers Association. Running time is 19:12. Kennedy asks the press for their cooperation in fighting communism by applying the same standards for publishing sensitive materials in the current Cold War that they would apply in an officially declared war.

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May 25, 1961

President John Kennedy

The Goal of Sending a Man to the Moon

Recorded at a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington, DC. Running time is 7:56. Kennedy asks Congress for an increase in funds to send a man to the moon, to increase unmanned space exploration, to develop a nuclear rocket, and to advance satellite technology.

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November 16, 1961

President John Kennedy

University of Washington's 100th Anniversary

Recorded at Edmundson Pavilion in Seattle, Washington. Running time is 17:22. Kennedy declares that "hard" and "soft" power are not exclusive to each other or the only options in dealing with world events. Rather, he stresses that Americans must use both diplomacy and defense to defend freedom wherever necessary.

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June 11, 1962

President John Kennedy

Yale University Commencement

Recorded in New Haven, Connecticut. Running time is 30:45. Kennedy focuses on three economic issues: the size and distribution of government, public fiscal policy, and public confidence in business and America.

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September 12, 1962

President John Kennedy

Address on the Space Effort

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October 22, 1962

President John Kennedy

Address on the Buildup of Arms in Cuba

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May 18, 1963

President John Kennedy

90th Anniversary of Vanderbilt University

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June 10, 1963

President John Kennedy

American University Commencement

Recorded at American University in Washington, DC. Running time is 26:54. Kennedy announces upcoming talks with the Soviets in Moscow, as well as his decision not to test nuclear weapons in the atmosphere as long as other nations also refrain from nuclear tests as a show of goodwill.

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June 11, 1963

President John Kennedy

Address on Civil Rights

Recorded in the Oval Office, Washington, DC. Running time is 13:31. In response to the National Guard being sent to protect African-American students at the University of Alabama, Kennedy declares that a moral crisis exists in America. Kennedy requests action by Congress to expedite desegregation through legislation.

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June 26, 1963

President John Kennedy

"Ich bin ein Berliner" Speech

Recorded Berlin, Germany. Running time is 8:36. Kennedy commends Berliners on their spirit and dedication to democracy and expresses his solidarity with them through the words "as a free man, I take pride in the words Ich bin ein Berliner! (I am a Berliner)".

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July 26, 1963

President John Kennedy

Address on the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Recorded in the Oval Office, Washington, DC. Running time is 25:24. The President calls the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with the Soviet Union a sign of hope but points out its limitations. Kennedy reassures Americans that the country is still prepared to defend itself against any treaty violators; however, he calls the treaty a good first step towards peace.

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September 26, 1963

President John Kennedy

Address at the Mormon Tabernacle

Recorded in Salt Lake City, Utah. Running time is 27:17. Kennedy illustrates the link between a strong, united nation and a strong, united world as the United States continues its commitment to world leadership. The President points to foreign assistance programs and the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty as important diplomatic measures in the pursuit of peace.

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October 26, 1963

President John Kennedy

Remarks at Amherst College

Recorded at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. Running time is 14:37. Kennedy praises the positive impact that the arts have on the country's spirit, conscience and growth.

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