If you’re looking for the most famous John F. Kennedy quotes then look no further.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was the 35th U.S. president and also a civil rights activist. JFK as he was often called inspired the American people to do more for their country and there is no doubt that these inspirational JFK quotes can instill the same motivation within you.
Despite the difficult issues he faced during his term (e.g. Cuban Missile Crisis and civil rights for African American citizens), he was shown to be a man of ambition, courage and intelligence.
Tragically, JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963. On national television, audiences watched in horror as the 35th US President was cruelly gunned down beside his wife in a moving vehicle. That day, the world lost a great patriot and leader of the American people. Decades later the conspiracy theories regarding his death continue to be debated.
JFK continues to inspire today even decades after his untimely death. If you’re in search of inspiration then this collection of famous John F. Kennedy quotes on courage, freedom and leadership is exactly what you’re looking for.
Famous John F. Kennedy Quotes
1. “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy
2. “If not us, who? If not now, when?” – John F. Kennedy
3. “Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.” – John F. Kennedy
4. “Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.” – John F. Kennedy
5. “A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on.” – John F. Kennedy
6. “Do not pray for easy lives, pray to be stronger men.” – John F. Kennedy
7. “Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” – John F. Kennedy
8. “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.” – John F. Kennedy
9. “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” – John F. Kennedy
10. “Mankind must put an end to war before war puts an end to mankind.” – John F. Kennedy
11. “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” – John F. Kennedy
12. “The one unchangeable certainty is that nothing is unchangeable or certain.” – John F. Kennedy
13. “Our problems are man-made; therefore, they may be solved by man. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings.” – John F. Kennedy
14. “When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” – John F. Kennedy
15. “The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining.” – John F. Kennedy
16. “Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life.” – John F. Kennedy
17. “One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.” – John F. Kennedy
18. “I’m an idealist without illusions.” – John F. Kennedy
Inspirational JFK Quotes
19. “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest form of appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy
20. “The greater our knowledge increases the more our ignorance unfolds.” – John F. Kennedy
21. “We must use time as a tool, not as a couch.” – John F. Kennedy
22. “When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” – John F. Kennedy
23. “The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth.” – John F. Kennedy
24. “Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” – John F. Kennedy
25. “A child miseducated is a child lost.” – John F. Kennedy
26. “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” – John F. Kennedy
27. “Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.” – John F. Kennedy
28. “There is always inequality in life. Some men are killed in a war and some men are wounded and some men never leave the country. Life is unfair.” – John F. Kennedy
29. “Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.” – John F. Kennedy
30. “The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” – John F. Kennedy
31. “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” – John F. Kennedy
32. “Man is still the most extraordinary computer of all.” – John F. Kennedy
33. “Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others.” – John F. Kennedy
34. “A man does what he must – in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality.” – John F. Kennedy
35. “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” – John F. Kennedy
36. “This country cannot afford to be materially rich and spiritually poor.” – John F. Kennedy
37. “The human mind is our fundamental resource.” – John F. Kennedy
38. “Failure has no friends.” – John F. Kennedy
39. “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.” – John F. Kennedy
40. “If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.” – John F. Kennedy
41. “History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.” – John F. Kennedy
42. “The very word ‘secrecy’ is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings.” – John F. Kennedy
43. “Let us not think of education only in terms of its costs, but rather in terms of the infinite potential of the human mind that can be realized through education. Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our Nation.” – John F. Kennedy
44. “World peace, like community peace, does not require that each man love his neighbor – it requires only that they live together with mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement.” – John F. Kennedy
45. “Partnership is not a posture but a process – a continuous process that grows stronger each year as we devote ourselves to common tasks.” – John F. Kennedy
46. “Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.” – John F. Kennedy
47. “Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners, and necessity has made us allies. Those whom God has so joined together, let no man put asunder.” – John F. Kennedy
48. “United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do — for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.” – John F. Kennedy
49. “Let us not emphasize all on which we differ but all we have in common. Let us consider not what we fear separately but what we share together.” – John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy Leadership Quotes
50. “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” – John F. Kennedy
51. “It is time for a new generation of leadership, to cope with new problems and new opportunities. For there is a new world to be won.” – John F. Kennedy
52. “The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were and ask ‘why not?'” – John F. Kennedy
53. “For courage — not complacency — is our need today. Leadership — not salesmanship. And the only valid test of leadership is the ability to lead, and lead vigorously. – John F. Kennedy
54. “Without debate, without criticism, no administration and no country can succeed, and no republic can survive.” – John F. Kennedy
55. “Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.” – John F. Kennedy
56. “We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world or make it the last.” – John F. Kennedy
57. “In a time of domestic crisis, men of goodwill and generosity should be able to unite regardless of party or politics.” – John F. Kennedy
58. “A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honours, the men it remembers.” – John F. Kennedy
59. “In a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.” – John F. Kennedy
60. “We believe that if men have the talent to invent new machines that put men out of work, they have the talent to put those men back to work.” – John F. Kennedy
JFK Quotes on Courage
61. “There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long-range risks of comfortable inaction.” – John F. Kennedy
62. “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” – John F. Kennedy
63. “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” – John F. Kennedy
64. “The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy.” – John F. Kennedy
65. “There is, in addition to a courage with which men die; a courage by which men must live.” – John F. Kennedy
66. “The stories of past courage…can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul.” – John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy Quotes On Freedom
67. “The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.” – John F. Kennedy
68. “In giving rights to others which belong to them, we give rights to ourselves and to our country.” – John F. Kennedy
69. “Freedom is not merely a word or an abstract theory, but the most effective instrument for advancing the welfare of man.” – John F. Kennedy
70. “If freedom is to survive and prosper, it will require the sacrifice, the effort and the thoughtful attention of every citizen.” – John F. Kennedy
71. “Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” – John F. Kennedy
72. “The unity of freedom has never relied on uniformity of opinion.” – John F. Kennedy
73. “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” – John F. Kennedy
74. “Life is never easy. There is work to be done and obligations to be met—obligations to truth, to justice, and to liberty.” – John F. Kennedy
75. “If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.” – John F. Kennedy
76. “Our growing softness, our increasing lack of physical fitness, is a menace to our security.” – John F. Kennedy
77. “If this nation is to be wise as well as strong, if we are to achieve our destiny, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries. These libraries should be open to all—except the censor. We must know all the facts and hear all the alternatives and listen to all the criticisms. Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors. For the Bill of Rights is the guardian of our security as well as our liberty.” – John F. Kennedy
Did you like these inspirational JFK quotes?
What are your favorite John F. Kennedy quotes? Let me know in the comments below and please share this post.
37 Rosa Parks Quotes To Stand Up For Your Freedom
Looking for the best Rosa Parks quotes? This collection of famous Rosa Parks quotes will help you stand up for...
87 Best George Carlin Quotes On Education, Politics & Life
Looking for the best George Carlin quotes? George Carlin was an American stand-up comedian, actor, social critic and author. He...
101 Marianne Williamson Quotes That Will Enlighten You
Looking for the best Marianne Williamson quotes? Marianne Williamson is an American author, spiritual leader, political candidate and activist. She...
Fear-setting: Why you should define your fears instead of your goals
Fear-setting is an exercise that Tim Ferriss swears by. The bestselling author of The 4 Hour Work Week says he...
Top 5 Lessons Learned After She Read 500 Self-Help Books
If you’re looking for inspiration then these days no one is suffering from a shortage of self-help reading material out...