John F. Kennedy photo

Rear Platform Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, Marysville, CA

September 08, 1960

Senator KENNEDY. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Mayor, Congressman Moss, Governor Brown, I want to express my appreciation to all of you for your kindness in coming down here and welcoming us. This train is headed not only south, but it is headed toward Washington. I think in many ways the election of 1960 comes at a time more dangerous for our country, more trying for all of us, a period of greater responsibility for every citizen than any election since the election of 1860. In that time, as you recall, the great issue was whether this country could stay united, whether it would, in the words of Lincoln, exist half slave and half free. The issue in the election of 1960 involves not only the well-being of the people of this valley, involves not only the development of your natural resources, but as citizens of the United States and leaders of the free world, we must be concerned about such far off places as the Congo, India, and Indonesia, the security of those countries, as well as the well-being of their people.

I don't suppose that in any election before the second administration of Woodrow Wilson was there a combination of such great decisions which face the American people, which involve their own security as citizens within their own country, and also their positions as leaders of the free world. But in the administration of Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, this country began to move ahead here at home and began to occupy a position of leadership around the world. My chief disagreement with the Republican Party and its leadership is not because I criticize the country - it is because I think they have lost faith in the United States. They are the ones who don't think we can do better. We say we can do better because we believe that this country has unlimited resources, because we believe it has unlimited energy, and because we believe it has an unlimited potential. We don't criticize the United States because we think there is something wrong with the United States. We say we can do better. The Republicans say, "This is as good as we can do." That is the difference between us. [Applause.] Anybody who has lived in this valley since 1945 knows what can be done in the United States. You have turned since the Roosevelt administration. You have made this valley green. It shows what can be done in this country with energy and leadership. I ask your support in this campaign. [Applause.] And I can assure you that if we are successful we are going to move again in this country. We are going to assume the leadership again of the free world. We are going to move in this valley, and we are going to move again around the globe. Thank you very much for coming down. [Applause.]

John F. Kennedy, Rear Platform Remarks of Senator John F. Kennedy, Marysville, CA Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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