The American Presidency Project
John T. Woolley & Gerhard Peters • Santa Barbara, California return to original document
• John F. Kennedy
Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, Lincoln Monument Rally, Spokane, WA
September 6, 1960

Senator KENNEDY. Governor Rosellini, Senator Jackson, Senator Dill, ladies and gentlemen, I am very grateful to the Governor, who I am confident will be not only the present Governor but the next Governor of the State of Washington. [Applause.]

And I am glad to be here with my friend, "Scoop" Jackson. After I was nominated at the Democratic Convention in Los Angeles, the first thing I did was to ask him if he would take over the leadership of the Democratic Party because I wanted him at my side representing the progressive, clean, and responsible government of the North-western United States. [Applause.]

I think it is most appropriate in the election of 1960 that we should meet in the shadow of a distinguished Republican, Abraham Lincoln, because we believe that his spirit motivates our party in the great election 100 years after he assumed the responsibility of office.

This is a most important election. In 1860 Lincoln said, "This Nation cannot exist half slave and half free." I don't think in the 1960's that this world can exist half slave and half free. and the basic question of this election is what course of action should we adopt, what course of energy should we follow, what course of leadership should we practice if the world is going to move not in the direction of slavery but in the direction of freedom. That is the issue of this campaign and it is most appropriate, therefore, that we meet under the statue of Lincoln. He faced it in his country in 1860. We must face it around the world in 1960, and I am confident that here in the Inland Empire you are ready to do it. I don't think there is anyone in the city of Spokane that can say that this election does not matter. You cannot live in the center of a great wheat-producing section of the United States and be satisfied with things as they are. You cannot live in the Northwest United States, a great mining center, and he satisfied with things as they are. You cannot live in one of the greatest defensive sections of the United States and be satisfied with things as they are. You cannot live in the United States today - you cannot be a citizen of the United States and be satisfied with things as they are.

I don't criticize present actions merely because I enjoy criticizing. I criticize them only because I think that there is a better way to do it. [Applause.] This is a great country, but I think it can be greater. This is a great State, but I think it can be greater. All of those who are satisfied with things as they are, who feel that the balance of power in the world is moving with us and not with our adversaries should vote for the Republican Party. But all those who retain a sense of adventure, who feel we can do better, who want to start moving again, I hope they join with us. [Applause.]

This is the most important election, I think, certainly since 1932. The record of the Democratic Party and what it can do is written in the administrations of Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. I think this country is ready to move again. I ask your support. [Applause.]

I talk here in one of the newer sections of the United States, even though I come from one of the oldest sections of the United States. When I talk about the new frontier, I don't mean just a physical reality, I mean all of those who believe that they want to serve our Government and serve our system, who want to join with us not because of what we are going to do for them, but for the opportunity that they will have to serve our country. I ask your help in this campaign. I am confident that if we can be successful, if we can assume the responsibility of leadership, this country, which is ready to move, will move again. Thank you. [Applause.]

Citation: John F. Kennedy: "Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, Lincoln Monument Rally, Spokane, WA", September 6, 1960. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.
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