Here’s the full text of President Kennedy’s statement on President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s birthday in 1961, urging Americans to join Kennedy in making things better, including enlisting in the military, from the Kennedy Library [links added here]:
January 29, 1961
This year, the celebrations of Roosevelt Day has special significance for Democrats everywhere; for we celebrate not only the triumphs of the past but the opportunities of the future.
Twenty-eight years ago Franklin Roosevelt assumed the leadership of a stricken and demoralized nation. Poverty, distress and economic stagnation blanketed the land. But it was not long before the great creative energies of the New Deal had lifted American from its despair and set us on the path to new heights of prosperity, power and greatness.
Today America is the richest nation in the history of the world. Our power and influence extend around the globe. Yet the challenges and dangers which confront us are even more awesome and difficult than those that face Roosevelt. And we too will need to summon all the energies of our people and the capacities of our leaders if America is to remain a great and free nations — if we are to master the opportunities of the New Frontier.
The dimensions of out problems overwhelm the imagination. At home millions are unemployed and the growth of our economy has come to a virtual halt. Abroad, we are faced with powerful and unrelenting pressure which threaten freedom in every corner of the globe, and with military power so formidable that it menaces the physical survival of our own nation.
To meet these problems will require the efforts not only of our leaders or of the Democratic Party–but the combined efforts of all of our people.; No one has a right to feel that, having entrusted the tasks of government to new leaders in Washington, he can continue to pursue his private comforts unconcerned with American’s challenges and dangers. For, if freedom is to survive and prosper, it will require the sacrifice, the effort and the thoughtful attention of every citizen.
In my own native state of Massachusetts, the battle for American freedom was begun by the thousands of farmers and tradesmen who made up the Minute Men — citizens who were ready to defend their liberty at a moment’s notice. Today we need a nation of minute men; citizens who are not only prepared to take up arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as a basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom. The cause of liberty, the cause of American, cannot succeed with any lesser effort.
It is this effort and concern which makes up the New Frontier. And it is this effort and concern which will determine the success or failure not only with Administration, but of our nation itself. [emphasis added]
Source: White House Central Subject Files, Box 111, “FDR”.
Other Information Sources:
“Know your Lawmakers,” Guns Magazine, April 1960.
“Letter to President John F. Kennedy from the NRA,” [NRAcentral.com].
“New Minute Men Urged by Kennedy,” The New York Times, 30 January, 1961, pg. 13.
“Kennedy Says U.S. Needs Minute Men,” Los Angeles Times, 30 January, 1961, pg. 4.
“Minutemen’s Soft-Sell Leader: Robert B. DePugh,” The New York Times, 12 November 1961, pg. 76.
It seems to me that Kennedy was not asking yahoos to take up arms against the government, but was instead asking Americans to “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Specifically in the last paragraph, he noted his call was to join in the New Frontier efforts his administration pushed.
If you’re not much a student of history, you may have forgotten about Kennedy’s New Frontier. As presidents before him, with the Square Deal (Teddy Roosevelt, 1904), the New Deal (FDR, 1933), and the Fair Deal (Truman, 1949), Kennedy sought a shorthand term to apply to much of his program of changes. In his speech accepting the nomination of the Democratic Party to run for president, he called this a New Frontier.
For I stand tonight facing west on what was once the last frontier. From the lands that stretch three thousand miles behind me, the pioneers of old gave up their safety, their comfort and sometimes their lives to build a new world here in the West. They were not the captives of their own doubts, the prisoners of their own price tags. Their motto was not “every man for himself” –but “all for the common cause.” They were determined to make that new world strong and free, to overcome its hazards and its hardships, to conquer the enemies that threatened from without and within.
Today some would say that those struggles are all over–that all the horizons have been explored–that all the battles have been won– that there is no longer an American frontier.
But I trust that no one in this vast assemblage will agree with those sentiments. For the problems are not all solved and the battles are not all won–and we stand today on the edge of a New Frontier–the frontier of the 1960’s–a frontier of unknown opportunities and perils– a frontier of unfulfilled hopes and threats.
Woodrow Wilson’s New Freedom promised our nation a new political and economic framework. Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal promised security and succor to those in need. But the New Frontier of which I speak is not a set of promises–it is a set of challenges. It sums up not what I intend to offer the American people, but what I intend to ask of them. It appeals to their pride, not to their pocketbook–it holds out the promise of more sacrifice instead of more security.
But I tell you the New Frontier is here, whether we seek it or not. Beyond that frontier are the uncharted areas of science and space, unsolved problems of peace and war, unconquered pockets of ignorance and prejudice, unanswered questions of poverty and surplus. It would be easier to shrink back from that frontier, to look to the safe mediocrity of the past, to be lulled by good intentions and high rhetoric–and those who prefer that course should not cast their votes for me, regardless of party.
But I believe the times demand new invention, innovation, imagination, decision. I am asking each of you to be pioneers on that New Frontier. My call is to the young in heart, regardless of age–to all who respond to the Scriptural call: “Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed.”
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. A tired nation, said David Lloyd George, is a Tory nation–and the United States today cannot afford to be either tired or Tory.
Kennedy famously challenged Americans to stand up for service to the nation in his inaugural speech, and when he founded the Peace Corps, asking Americans to give up two or three years to work, peacefully, in other lands to promote progress there. Kennedy called Americans to share his vision, and to work for change, for a better America.
What were specifics of the New Frontier agenda? Kennedy pushed a broad range of programs, many turned into laws in his brief term; Kennedy aimed to change America in economics, taxation, labor, education, welfare, civil rights, housing, unemployment, health, equal rights for women, environment, agriculture, crime and defense. In each of these areas Kennedy sought to build on the legacies of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Truman — in ways that conservatives today become apoplectic just thinking about.
Kennedy pushed for a higher minimum wage with built-in step increases over time not keyed to inflation. He called for more taxcuts for the poor, coupled with targeted tax incentives to get businesses to spend their cash to create jobs. Kennedy favored changes in law to give unions greater say in corporate expansion, tougher protection for workers from firing, and he extended collective bargaining to federal workers. Kennedy called for expansion of federally-funded loans and scholarships for college students, and he started a program to use federal money to put technology into classrooms at the elementary and secondary levels. Kennedy expanded unemployment and welfare benefits, and got a 20% increase in Social Security benefits.
Kennedy’s New Frontier called for sweeping changes in the way government protects the rights and welfare of all citizens.
Did Kennedy actually call for armed militias to fight government “over-reach” or expansion?
What do you think? When a proponent of getting guns to protect himself against the U.S. government, by killing agents of the U.S. government (we must imagine), cites a part of Kennedy’s statement from 1961 as supporting arming individual citizens, is he being honest?
Please tell us what you think, in comments. Your opinion counts.
Kennedy appears to have been fond of the image of the Minutemen at Lexington and Concord, trained militia from citizen volunteers, who started the path to American independence from Britain. He invoked that image earlier, as senator from Massachusetts, in a speech honoring the Polish hero Casimir Pulaski, at a Pulaski Day Dinner in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on October 17, 1959:
We pay tribute to Casimir Pulaski tonight by honoring a great American of Polish descent, Clem Zablocki. For he has demonstrated, in Washington and Wisconsin, the same courage and conscience, the same zeal for liberty, the same tireless patience and determination to help all who call for help. He is a great Congressman – not only from Wisconsin – but of the United States . . .
But we also think of Casimir Pulaski tonight because his beloved Poland has once again fallen victim to a foreign power. The independence for which he fought against the Russians at Czestochowa has been once again suppressed – and once again by the Russians. Were he alive tonight, the hero of Savannah and Charleston would weep for his homeland – and we, inwardly or outwardly according to our custom, weep with him.
But weeping is not enough. We know it is not enough. And yet, while we give vent to our feelings of resentment and outrage, we are also caught up in a feeling of frustration. What can we do about the situation in the satellites? How can we help those liberty-loving peoples regain their liberty, without subjecting them to even more cruel repression – or subjecting the world to an even more disastrous war? How can we let them know their fate is not forgotten – that we have not abandoned them to be – like the Irish of 1647 considered themselves when Owen Roe O’Neill was poisoned – “sheep without a shepherd when the snow shuts out the sky?”
This is the dilemma we face, as both last month and next year the President and Premier Khrushchev are pictured together in the press on both sides of the Iron Curtain. And this is the dilemma with which this Administration has been confronted, in trying to make good on its tarnished promises of a new “liberation” policy. For this is no longer an age when minutemen with muskets can make a revolution. Hungary, we know, is not Cuba – and neither is Poland. Mr. Khrushchev is not to be overthrown like Mr. Batista. Brave bands of young men and women may be able to stop a few tanks – but street barricades and home-made hand grenades cannot long stand against a modern army and an atomic air force. [emphasis added]
The facts of the matter are that – no matter how bitter some feelings may be, or how confident some are of a victorious war for liberation – freedom behind the Iron Curtain and world peace are actually inextricably linked. For if war should ever break out, the control and occupation of Eastern Europe would certainly be even more rigid and repressive than it is today. That is why, in the days of upheaval in 1956, when Poland could have turned to violent rebellion as Hungary did, Cardinal Wyszynski kept advising his people that the condition of Polish freedom was peace. Many scoffed – many thought him faint-hearted. But by following his advice, Poland has now attained at least a measure of national independence and at least a relaxation of Communist rule. Forced collectivization of the farmers has ceased and most of the collectives were dissolved – religious freedom has been restored in considerable degree – and freedom of speech is returning.
No one says that land of ancient freedom is once more free again. But if Poland had not accepted this half-way house to freedom, it could have been, as Prime Minister Gomulka warned, wiped off the map of Europe. If the present emphasis on a thaw in the Cold War should end and tensions rise again, the present good relations between Poland and the United States would undoubtedly cease, the growing contacts between the Polish people and the West would be cut off, and the present degree of freedom of speech and religion in Poland would prove to be short-lived. On the other hand, if a real thaw develops and Soviet-American relations improve, the prospects for the continuation and perhaps the expansion of this limited degree of Polish freedom are good. So, in a real sense, the condition for Polish freedom is peace.
One does not get the sense that President Kennedy was urging citizens to establish their own arsenals, contrary to the actions of the Minutemen at Lexington and Concord, nor to take up arms against the U.S. government.
Who would suggest that’s what Kennedy meant? Oh, yeah: AmericanFirearms.org.
- Kennedy’s speech of March 9, 1960, at a campaign stop in Mauston, Wisconsin: “Winston Churchill said: ‘We arm – to parley.’ We prepare for war – in order to deter war. We depend on the strength of armaments – to enable us to bargain for disarmament. We compare our military strength with the Soviets – not to determine whether we should use it – but to determine whether we can persuade them that to use theirs would be futile and disastrous – and to determine whether we can back up our own pledges in Berlin, Formosa and around the world.”
- Kennedy’s visit to Hyde Park, New York, to speak with Eleanor Roosevelt and honor the 25th anniversary of Social Security
The author’s decision to insult the majority of Americans who own firearms and believe in the importance of the 2nd Amendment in the article’s title caused me to lose any respect for him or her, and any interest in whatever followed that title.
Second Amendment was more about security on the frontier, without a standing army. It’s not all roses, self-defense and light; it was also aimed at preventing slave uprisings from getting out of control, and keeping First Nations from getting their lands back. If you look at debates, you may find references to invading French. New legislators for the United States had memories of the French and Indian War. French still held Canada at the Louisiana Territory at the time.
What the Second Amendment does not have is a right to rebellion. It does not include a right to take up arms against the government of the United States.
And the second amendment wasn’t about the right to bear arms. Remember the part about thou shall not infringe. Kennedy believed as our for fathers did. Freedom comes at a price and is never just given. Anything you get fir free is never free and is usually worth less than nothing.
[…] will determine the success or failure not only with Administration, but of our nation itself.” https://timpanogos.blog/2014/05/04/gun-nuts-twisting-the-words-of-president-kennedy/ […]
Good thoughts, Ms. Sievers.
Can you tell me, how did you find this post?
It is possible that JFK was a member of the NRA. But he died in 1963. I was just out of college.
I can tell you that the NRA then was not the NRA of today. Just as the Republican party is not the party of Lincoln anymore, and the Democratic party is not the party of the solid White South. The NRA was for responsible gun ownership, for training people to use guns in a responsible way. Vestiges of this do remain. But taking cover for traitorous insurrectionists behind JFK’s membership shows a profound ignorance of history at best. Btw I am a life member of the NRA. I hate the way it has been perverted.
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Sewnya, got a copy of that speech? Link?
I’ll bet it refers to nuclear missiles, not handguns or rifles.
JFK gave a speech at the UN and Secretary of State Rusk copied it and gave it to the UN as guidance. Funny thing, it’s about disarming the entire world for the UN’s purposes and Kennedy signed onto it. Can a President sign away rights given by the Constitution?
It’s been their plan to confiscate guns all along. Look what the DEMOCRAT CONTROLLED CONGRESS IS setting up RIGHT NOW to prevent ex military from owning guns.
The UN document is called “Freedom From War” you can look it up. There are PDF’s online.
Kennedy regretted it and exposed what he’d done and he was assassinated.
The “founders” were in favor of gun regulations for safety? Who knew?
JFK was not only a member of the NRA but a Lifetime Member. He supported the citizen’s right to bear arms and donated to the NRA to continue to fight for those rights. The anti gunners want to twist everything to fit their narrative. It’s truly sad that they are willing to sell their rights for magic “feel safe” beans. It’s criminal they want to include other’s rights in that purchase.
Mr. Kimball, John Kennedy urged Americans to serve America by joining with and serving in government. His call had nothing to do with the Second Amendment.
Defending ourselves against an oppressive government is not the only extreme case. The extreme case is defending ourselves against a violent individual, whether that individual is acting on his or her own, or on behalf of an oppressive governmental (or non-governmental) organization.
In those extreme cases there simply will not be time to “exhaust all other options”, unless we are willing to allow some (perhaps many) to die, so that we (assuming we aren’t the ones to die) can have the luxury of feeling morally justified, before we are willing to do anything to make it possible for others (and ourselves) to protect themselves.
It is clear from the statistics, and from history, no matter how gun control nuts try to twist them, or explain them away, that violent individuals are far less likely to attempt violence in areas where the general populace can be legally armed, and even more clear where the populace is known to generally exercise that right.
It is truly sad to me that so many are willing to take liberal politicians’ words that they will be safer if they give up their right to protect their lives, and the lives of their families.
In the world today, when people give up their right to keep and bear arms, or allow it to be significantly curtailed by liberal politicians, they are doing nothing more or less than giving up their right to protect themselves and their families.
You might ask “well, what could guns do against the power of the United States government, willing to use it’s full power?” And justifiably so, because in reality, not a lot. But that is a question that will only be asked by an unarmed population.
As long as there is a significant percentage of the population who are willing to exercise their right to vote, and vote in politicians who will fight for their right to keep and bear arms (and all their rights as explicitly stated in the United States Constitution – not imagined up by liberal courts). And as long as they are willing to use those rights to protect themselves and their families, then those politicians (liberal or conservative) who would try to take away our rights will be less emboldened to try.
My apologies, Ed, for getting your name mixed up.
I agree that as Minutemen, we must be ready to serve our country as our abilities allow us. This must be in a way that is of benefit to its people as a whole. This must be done, as you pointed out, through service organizations that directly help others. In order to maintain our liberties and freedoms, we must serve through our use of our votes and communication with our elected officials. These are two areas that in which we are very deficient. In the extreme case we must have the ability to defend against an oppressive government. But we must do so when all other avenues have been tried. We also must be prepared to face the price of our actions, whether they succeed of fail. Thank you for your article. Platforms like these – where we can openly discuss, agree of disagree – are what help to maintain our precious liberties.
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If you spot an error, Matthew, please offer the correction documentation. Always happy to correct errors of fact.
This author is an idiot, certainly not a student of history.
Thank you Herb,
I agree with you 100%.
oh, come on… Talk about twisting words… JFK was an NRA member. For anyone to suggest that when JFK talks about “… citizens … who are prepared to take-up arms …” that he does not believe the 2nd amendment should be taken seriously and that citizens should not really be allowed to be prepared to take-up arms is dishonest and is Orwellian doublespeak.
1st – Although we clearly disagree on some things, I am grateful to you for (probably much more than) one thing – I believe we agree on one thing – freedom.
2nd – We may differ on exactly what “freedom” looks like, and how best to protect our freedoms, but we obviously agree on at least one freedom – the freedom to freely discuss, and disagree on, our beliefs, opinions, etc. I hope we (and others) are able to continue to do so, forever.
3rd – A VERY important principle to ALWAYS remember, is that government should ONLY exist to serve the people, NOT the other way around. Having said that, I completely agree with John F. Kennedy’s statement that we should, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather ask what you can do for your country” – because it emphasizes the fact that we are each (individually – NOT collectively) responsible for taking care of ourselves, and (again, individually) for helping those individuals around us that we are individually able to. It is generally NOT the role of government to mandate who we should help and how. And I note emphatically that the word “government” is nowhere to be found in Kennedy’s statement. I believe there are exceptions – wide-scale disasters, large-scale physical assaults by one group upon another, etc.
4th – Although that statement is meritorious, unfortunately Kennedy’s political party of choice almost immediately and completely destroyed any meaning it might have had, by creating the welfare state that exists today. That state not only explicitly states that it is the government’s responsibility to take care of those who aren’t taking care of themselves, but it causes many who otherwise would not, to stop asking what they can do for their country, and not only ask, but also demand, that their country do for them what they could do for themselves.
5th – As to “Read the debates”, I am far less interested in studying the debates of those who implicitly (and in some cases explicitly) began or continued the process of tearing down the foundation of freedom, that makes our country the envy of the entire world (the United States Constitution), than I am in studying the debates of those who built that foundation of freedom, and who had the wisdom to establish those (bill of) rights that protects and preserves that foundation.
6th – It is no accident that the political party that has caused more people of minority descent to become dependent upon government handouts than any other, is the same party that has tried (and is trying to use) every tactic, including underhanded manipulative and bullying verbal (and now physical) approaches, to re-write our Constitution, to prevent individuals from being able to take care of – and protect – themselves.
7th – As I previously pointed out, even the title starting with “Gun nuts …” is a blatant attempt to bully and cow people who believe in the right to protect themselves, from saying anything, for fear they might be thought, or even labeled, a “nut.”
8th – This country (and it’s foundation of freedom) was built (and is maintained) by people who understand their responsibility to take care of (and protect) themselves, and their families. Who understand that while police and government are necessary, they cannot (and we’re never intended to) take care of, nor protect, the people. Those institutions exist to punish those who have harmed others through the abuse of their freedoms, as a deterrent to others who might otherwise desire to do so.
Read the history. Read the debates in Congress.
Ed Darrell apparently believes that the original minutemen were working for the established government of their time. He previously stated (to me) that when President Kennedy referred to the minutemen, Kennedy meant that people should volunteer to help their government.
I believe Kennedy was an intelligent man, and that he knew very well what he was referring to when talking about the minutemen. They were a group of individuals who got together of their own volition, to protect themselves AGAINST the very legitimately established government of their day, which government had a long history of abusing the power its citizens had given it.
Note I said the government – NOT the founding principles and documents that the government had originally been organized upon. But the government of their day – in particular the people that temporarily controlled their government, who no longer felt bound to follow those principles, nor the laws that should have proscribed their actions (that they no longer cared about). Becoming a law unto themselves, and justifying ANY means to support their own ends – those of maintaining control over the people, rather than protecting the rights of life and liberty of the people who gave them their power.
When men and women join the military of our country, and when a President takes office, they take an oath to defend the Constitution – NOT the present government that may or may not be functioning according to the principles contained in it.
Note, just like in the days of the original minutemen, it is NOT the government that should (or can) in all cases protect the lives of the people, but a major role of government is to protect the rights of the people to protect themselves.
Whether it be from individuals, or from organized groups, such as governmentally organized terrorists like the pre-WWII Nazi gangs that cowed too many good Germans into doing (and saying) nothing, until it was too late.
Ed Darrell…The Second Amendment was added to protect towns on the frontier from invasion, by Native Americans, or by French or Spanish, or British troops, before and until the Army of the United States could get deployed. How do you know?
Mr. Cenk, I hope you read the post well enough to notice I linked to that article.
But as to an interpretation that the Second Amendment protects a right of rebellion against the U.S. government, no such thing.
Second Amendment offers protection of a right to bear arms, and the debate was clear that a key purpose was to allow people on the frontier to protect the nation in event of attack by other nations, until the federal government could get troops there. (Debate was also quite clear there was fear of slave uprisings, and arms were intended to allow rebellion to be put down; not to enable rebellions, but to put them down).
Second Amendment left intact Article III section 3, which makes it clear anyone who takes up arms against the U.S. commits treason. Treason is not protected under the 2nd Amendment, directly or indirectly.
Amen! (To K. Cenk)
Socialism is simply Government controlled (i.e., government owned & distributed) economy, which completely eliminates the incentive to work, as demonstrated by the former U.S.S.R., Venezuela, Cuba, Greece, etc. When the work incentive is gone, it is just a matter of time before the government must control more and more aspects of our lives (reference above countries, and China), to maintain any semblance of a “modern” country.
In reality, Socialism is nothing more than a Serfdom, where the few (government) dole out “privileges” to the many, making (almost) everyone equally abject (except those in the government, who will NEVER voluntarily give up control), with little or no hope of improvement, unless the few are overthrown, and replaced with a system that is aligned (in deed, not just in word) with the U.S. Constitution, as envisioned by our founding fathers.
If you want to quote JFK, don’t forget this one:
Another quote by (then-Senator) Kennedy appeared in the April 1960 issue of Guns magazine (p.4). It appeared in a section entitled “Know Your Lawmakers” which quotes Kennedy’s thoughts on the Second Amendment:
By calling attention to “a well regulated militia,” the “security” of the nation, and the right of each citizen “to keep and bear arms,” our founding fathers recognized the essentially civilian nature of our economy. Although it is extremely unlikely that the fears of governmental tyranny which gave rise to the Second Amendment will ever be a major danger to our nation, the Amendment still remains an important declaration of our basic civilian-military relationships, in which every citizen must be ready to participate in the defense of his country. For that reason I believe the Second Amendment will always be important.
As for “it is extremely unlikely that the fears of governmental tyranny which gave rise to the Second Amendment will ever be a major danger to our nation”, I’d say with the Democrats joining up with socialists like AOC, Bernie, etc., this is not a good omen for the future.
F*** you communist!! Pinochet Pinochet!!
Mr. Darrell (I presume),
Firstly, thank you for you fairly respectful response, with no mention of “nuts.”
Secondly, I think we will have to recognize that we simply disagree about the importance of different principles embodied in the constitution, AND about certain historical figures in our nation’s history.
However, please do not, in one breath say, “no interpretation,” and in the next breath say, “think of the times.” Which of course is simply another way of saying, “take the statements that are convenient to my beliefs literally, and interpret statements that are convenient to your beliefs the way I believe they were intended.”
This is what I believe when it comes to deadly force – the ONLY way to prevent the most tragedies involving deadly force is to make the playing field as level as possible. To give every one an “equal shot” (pun intended) at being able to protect him or herself, and their families, should they choose to do so.
Personally, I hope I would never try to make someone use deadly force, but recent (and ancient) history has proven time and time again (Janet Reno comes to mind) that it is generally not a question of whether a person will resort to, or support the use of, deadly force, but when they will.
When the right and ability to use deadly force is given to (or taken by) relatively few people, atrocities are virtually guaranteed.
But with very few exceptions, in most recent mass shootings, if there had been even one responsible gun carrier present, who knew how to use the weapon they were carrying, the loss of life would have been far less. And if there had been many carriers present, it’s possible no loss of life would have occurred – even the perpetrators might have been spared, knowing they would have been quickly dispatched if they tried anything.
Now, as to President Kennedy and the pacifism you imply he embodied. Please don’t even try to convince anyone that he pushed peace more than war. The man who sent men (and guns) into the bay of pigs, the man who largely started us down the Vietnam war road, the man who happily sent very large ships with very large guns to surround Cuba, was NOT a pacifist.
Please don’t make incomplete or warped statements to try to portray Kennedy as something you wish he had been, that he most definitely was not.
Respectfully, Charles Kimball
On Tue, Mar 26, 2019, 3:48 PM Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub wrote:
> Ed Darrell commented: “Read what Kennedy said. He wrote in English, and > this is about 8th grade level syntax. Kennedy said we need “minutemen,” > people who will volunteer to work for government to get stuff done. Think > of the time. Kennedy proposed the Peace Corps. Kenned” >
Read what Kennedy said. He wrote in English, and this is about 8th grade level syntax.
Kennedy said we need “minutemen,” people who will volunteer to work for government to get stuff done.
Think of the time. Kennedy proposed the Peace Corps. Kennedy proposed we send a man to the Moon and back. Kennedy sent jazz bands to Africa instead of guns. Kennedy proposed to strengthen civil rights for all.
Specifically on guns, he said nothing. Kennedy didn’t even ask people who want to work with guns to join the military.
You distort Kennedy’s words, and his meaning, and you ignore Article III section 3.
Read what Kennedy wrote and said. You don’t have to translate it, interpret it, interpolate, or edit. Read what Kennedy said.
This is specifically intended for Ed Darrell:
Of course Kennedy was not encouraging people to commit treason.
And he WAS specifically referring to “the nuts who want to use guns against the government”, when he referred to the minutemen in Massachusetts. Read your [factual] American history books. That’s who founded our nation and government – “the nuts who want[ed] to use guns against the government.” The lawful government of the land at the time of the American Revolution WAS the British Empire. And most British citizens (including many, if not most, in America), believed our founding fathers were “doomed for the trash heap of history.”
I’m NOT saying we are at a point in OUR history where we should rise up against our own government.
I AM saying that a time could come when our government might rise up against the citizens, and their freedoms, that it is supposed to protect.
Anyone who believes, implies, or says, “it can’t happen here”, does not understand human nature, let alone history. And they themselves (and their beliefs), like British Prime Minister Chamberlain before WWII, have been put in the trash heap so many times that you’d think the rest of the people WOULD learn.
Oh well …
Unfortunately, the writer of this article, as well as the most vociferous part of the political left, including a huge percentage of the media, does not appear to me to be interested in a truly free and balanced discussion of our constitution, and the freedoms – and responsibilities – of our nation’s citizens.
They also do not appear to be interested in discussing the restrictions placed upon ALL levels of government – i.e., the limitations placed on the exercise of power by governments, in particular the federal government – by our founding fathers.
The very phrase “gun nuts” – was intentionally designed (perhaps not by this specific author, but it was designed) to limit supposedly “open discourse” only to people that agree with them.
Specifically, the designer of that phrase clearly wanted to limit free and respectful discourse only to people that agree that anyone who believes in the right of individual citizens to keep and bear arms is a “nut”. Or, I’m sorry, obviously labeling a whole segment of our population as “nuts” IS respectful, right?
Let’s analyze Churchill’s and Kennedy’s statements a little more closely, and how they might relate to individual citizens:
‘”[Churchill] We arm — to parley.” [Kennedy] We prepare for war — in order to deter war.’
This is of course incomplete, but I encourage everyone to read the entire article to decide for themselves if I am being a “nut”, or if I have hit on a key principle that a lot of the ideas behind the U.S. Constitution’s second amendment hinge upon.
I would ask, why did Churchill and Kennedy BOTH clearly believe, not only in the right, but in the absolute necessity, of arming ourselves? And not just with firearms, but with weapons of mass destruction, that specifically targeted great masses of innocent non-combatants, whose only crime was to have been born in the Soviet Union?
The very simple answer is, because there were people – bullies – in the Soviet Union who were quite willing to use the same kinds of weapons on the United States – IF they believed they could get away with it, and survive.
Are the anti-“gun nuts” in OUR country so foolish that they believe there are no longer bullies in the world? Or that there are no longer bullies in our country? Do they know how to say “Junior / High School”? And do they understand that, while some of those bullies thankfully change their ways, not all do? And do they understand that some of those remaining bullies are quite willing to continue to use force against their victims, IF they believe they can get away with it, and survive?
Our prisons contain large numbers of those bullies, but the crime statistics prove there are many still at large, who continue their bullying ways – with or without firearms.
The principles that both Kennedy and Churchill taught as national doctrine, directly apply at the individual level too. Kennedy was referring to individual citizens when he encouraged people to be “minutemen”, prepared to take arms in the preservation of our freedoms. Except that those that actually believe in, and apply those principles in their own lives, are labeled “nuts”, by many of the same groups of people that call Kennedy one of the greatest presidents in history.
The statistics clearly demonstrate that in communities – and countries – where responsible gun ownership is encouraged and practiced, and in some cases mandated, violent crime rates tend to be lower. That doesn’t mean there are no bullies there. It means that the deterrent effect President Kennedy explained so we’ll does occur.
Are there tragedies? Of course. But it is not the responsibility of government – nor is it possible for anyone – to prevent all tragedies.
It is the first, and greatest, responsibility of governments, to protect the freedoms of their citizens, as the writers of both the Declaration of Independence, and the United States Constitution, so clearly understood, and so eloquently explained in both documents.
Irrelevant. Read Kennedy’s speech. He was NOT recommending anyone commit treason, not even members of the NRA.
Funny how this whole article is trying to disprove that a democrat supported the second amendment, but it failed to mention that JFK was a lifetime member of the nra
Sure. Especially if you sign up to serve in the National Guard.
But what Kennedy was calling for was people to step up to defend America, to work for good, to show the nuts who want to use guns against the government that they’re wrong, on the wrong side of history, and doomed for the trash heap of history.
Kennedy called for citizens who will defend the Constitution and U.S. to protect freedom. If you don’t care to do that, bus is loading down town.
AHAHAHAHA “It seems to me!”
So-called “gun nuts” didn’t misquote him at all which you just admitted to. It’s an accurate, verbatim quote which comes in a paragraph stating that such people – minutemen with guns – gave us and maintain our freedoms. He was illustrating that their dedication, duty, and effort are the same of which make up New Frontier.
This of course also shows that JFK recognized the right of the citizenry to keep and bear arms.
You’re reaching here, bucko.
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Dennis, full texts of the speeches are in the article above.
Ed…is your blood sugar low or are you really a totalitarian a**hole? Sounds to me like you need a nap dude. BTW – JFK said what he said. I didn’t see too much qualification or conditions or other explanations. Every now and then it is proper to take what someone says at face-value. He wasn’t claiming that we need militias and the people who post those words aren’t nearly as ignorant as you think. He was, however, not vilifying them, but rather expressing honor and respect for them. He was not, as you sh** for brains people do, using the entire concept of militias and armed citizens as some sort of example of how not to be an American, but rather as an example of the type of people who got us this far. You accuse people of ‘once again’ twisting the words of liberals – yet – it is you who published an entire diatribe of complete mush to justify your ‘view’ of JFK’s intent. Man – you need your mom’s boob…get some protein and you’ll feel better! (the Black Panthers???) Just damn…
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Take up arms for your country to defend freedom? Sure.
Take up arms against your country, to take freedom from others? No.
I also agree to take President Kennedy at his words…
“the battle for American freedom was begun by the thousands of farmers and tradesmen who made up the Minute Men — citizens who were ready to defend their liberty at a moment’s notice. Today we need a nation of minute men; citizens who are not only prepared to take up arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as a basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom. The cause of liberty, the cause of American, cannot succeed with any lesser effort.”
I see that it does not say “citizens who are not prepared to take up arms… but rather “citizens who are NOT ONLY prepared to take up arms…” . And who is proposing shooting at the government? Can one not take up arms and also sacrifice for the nation? They aren’t mutually exclusive. Peace.
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I think we can take Kennedy at his words. Again, Kennedy said:
The Second Amendment was added to protect towns on the frontier from invasion, by Native Americans, or by French or Spanish, or British troops, before and until the Army of the United States could get deployed. It was NOT intended to assassinate U.S. politicians nor take up arms against the FBI, Dallas police, DEA, U.S. Army, or any National Guard. Article III section 3 could not be more explicit in that vein — anyone who does take up arms AGAINST the U.S. government commits an act of treason.
You’re right to emphasize the sacrifices Kennedy spoke of. Those who would take up arms against the U.S. are trying to avoid sacrificing for the nation, IMHO.
Of course, no one knows exactly what President Kennedy meant. The post assumes President Kennedy held liberal/progressive views similar to those of Democrats today. Maybe. Maybe not.
We know he ordered the ousting of the president of South Vietnam, resulting in the assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem. Assassination perhaps went beyond his intent. Some say so, but no one really knows as President Kennedy suffered assassination three weeks after the killing of Diem. In any case, his order against the president of South Vietnam was not very liberal or progressive.
More to the point of the quotation in question, the militia and Minute Men who fired the first shots of the American Revolution were not part of a standing army. They were farmers, merchants, apprentices and craftsmen who owned personal firearms, These were accurate rifles, not inaccurate muskets as employed by militaries worldwide, including the Continental Army. The totally-100-percent-civilian militia and Minute Men were ready to protect themselves and their neighbors against attacks from outside.
The Second Amendment addresses individual ownership and not the Continental Army. There is zero correlation between militia and Minute Men and our standing military of today or even the Continental Army of then. There was no professionalism about them, militarily speaking. But they were good at sacrifice.
President Kennedy knew this. He spoke about sacrifice from everyone. He spoke about putting others before self, something forgotten today by political ideologues of all types.
The militia and Minute Men sacrificed. Washington, Revere, Adams, Franklin and other financially successful people sacrificed. They made their lives and their wealth secondary to freedom for themselves and others.
President Kennedy—while certainly not perfect—generally overflowed with sacrificial character. His record as a PT boat commander in the Solomon Island makes that clear. Sacrifice is the theme of his 1961 message. It was the theme of his too-short presidency. He would not recognize the self-absorbed whining liberalism of today. Conservatives are just as bad.
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Nowhere do I deny JFK’s support of the 2nd Amendment, which is not as you hope an excuse to rebel against the USA. (Rebellion is still treason.)
Kennedy challenged gun nuts, apparently you among them, to put their actions where their overheated words were. Sign up to serve the nation, as the original Minute Men did.
You don’t want to do that?
Slurs and slanders did not win the approval of Kennedy. I’m sure you’re stung to know he demanded of you a level of concern and care for the nation, demonstrated in actual service, that you cannot possibly measure up to.
Not my problem. You can fix it, but I’m not sure you can ever develop the love of country required.
“Today we need a nation of minute men; citizens who are not only prepared to take up arms, ”
NOT ONLY prepared to take up arms.
Aside from your refusal to admit that JFK proudly supported American’s God Given right to RKBA, add that you call us defenders “gun nuts” is plenty revealing, cause it sounds like you are a police state lover (only the police should have guns, just like in all tyrannies) and you are surely someone who puts “Gun Free Zone!” signs on his front and back door and and windows.
You stay that way pal. That means there’s less of your ANTIFA buddies to deal with .
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Read the piece. We’re done. Thanks for dropping by.
Such anger…. relax a little man. There’s just no need for the personal attacks and trying to show people up bro. I’m sure that you’re an intelligent guy… so am I. I doubt that either of us will change the others mind. But we can actually have a more meaningful discourse if we’re discussin and not fussin, can we at least agree on that? Or no names or inferences that if we don’t think exactly alike that one or the other is somehow mentally deficient? Now we’re getting somewhere!
If you’re not a crazy waving a gun, why do you take offense? Don’t out yourself then claim you’ve been outed unfairly.
What I’m talking about in this piece is YOUR misuse of Kennedy’s words. He said, if you want to defend the U.S., join the government and do good work. Be a MinuteMan for the U.S., not a Benedict Arnold (recognizing that Arnold had earlier been a hero of Americans).
Not a difficult concept. Can’t see how you missed. Maybe stop waving the gun, you can read the text more carefully.
“Crazies”… “waving guns”…. really? When we resort to name-calling and making broad, stereotypical statements the message is lost and meaningful discussion ends. Well put Keith Edwards. What part of “shall not be infringed” are we struggling with anyway? It seems fairly clear exactly what that part means. DOC vs Heller guarantees the individuals right to possess and lawfully use a firearm. I thought this was supposed to be about what JFK meant and not a 2nd amendment discussion. But I’m s’posin I’m guilty as y’all are.
To the contrary, every colony had a militia well before the Minute Men. It was in command of a force of the Virginia Militia that George Washington started the French and Indian War, in 1754.
There was no standing army when the colonies went to war with the British. The “Continental Army” was composed mostly of militias from the colonies, supplemented by volunteers.
Kennedy knew all that. What he meant was that America needs people willing to serve the nation, not shoot at its government.
It’s that latter point that galls modern 2nd Amendment fetishists. They would prefer you fall at their feet and complement their acumen, and to make sure you get the point, they wave guns.
Not at all what Kennedy was talking about.
Mind you, Kennedy was an ill, wealthy kid who volunteered to serve in the front lines on a floating coffin, lost his boat, but lost only one man in a story of heroics good enough they made a movie about it.
Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. Someone ought to say that.
“In my own native state of Massachusetts, the battle for American freedom was begun by the thousands of farmers and tradesmen who made up the Minute Men — citizens who were ready to defend their liberty at a moment’s notice. Today we need a nation of minute men; citizens who are not only prepared to take up arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as a basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom. The cause of liberty, the cause of American, cannot succeed with any lesser effort.”
“Citizens…” Not soldiers. Not ‘National Guardsmen’. Citizens!
That’s pretty simple to understand. There was no militia UNTIL the Minutemen. There was no standing United States Army until war was declared on the British.
And I can imagine what kind of railing there would be if there were state militias developing and training in a military/tactical basis.
I know you do not want to hear this, however, when he speaks of liberty and freedom, it is for the individual. With that, if it is the government that is squashing said freedom and liberties, then it is so. It is, also, given to us in the Constitution.
Facebook posts pointing to this post:
Heck, sometimes they point to the post, but get the wrong conclusion. You can tell a gun nut, but you can’t tell him much.
Formally, no, it didn’t include the British. That would have been open sedition, a death-penalty crime.
Was that their unstated intent? Not when the militias were formed. Perhaps, after 1773 or 1774, some of the militia members took that cause on. But the British march to disarm was controversial even in Britain. Gen. Gage’s excuse, of course, was that the militias had turned into seditious groups — but had they done that openly, they would have been illegal from the start.
The Federal Militia Act is entertaining, but dormant. Fully 50% of gun owners in the U.S. are not trained at all in the use of their arms, and therefore would not be considered eligible to be militia members.
But were any of that true, it wouldn’t justify twisting the actual words of President Kennedy and his stated intentions.
Urban gang problem was worse, then. Reagan acted when the Black Panthers — before they turned to the dark side — began to practice open carry in Oakland, California.
In that era, the Panthers were more peaceful than conservative open carry people now. No one was injured or killed. May not even have been shots fired, in that pre-drug-running era.
“Minutemen of Lexington and Concord created a militia to protect the colony against all enemies, not necessarily the British.”
But it did include the British, didn’t it? Their legally constituted government at the time.
Funny you should mention slavery. In fact, among the first laws passed after Reconstruction ended and the ex-Confederate states were returned to self-government was to restrict blacks from owning firearms.
“There’s a huge difference between treason and signing up for the National Guard.”
I do not support treason, certainly. However, what’s the National Guard got to do with this? Or are you one of these folks that thinks that the 2nd Amendment meant to restrict the right to keep and bear arms to the members of the militia? If so, I suggest you read the Federal Militia Act and your State Constitution. If you are male and between the ages of 18 and 45 you are a member of the militia in the eyes of the Federal government (plus both male and female members of the National Guard and retired members of the National Guard or the Armed Forces regardless of age). And in many States, such as my home State of Illinois, the State Constitution defines the members of the militia as any able-bodied person. The National Guard is the “organized militia”, and non-members are the “unorganized militia” – but the 2nd Amendment makes no distinction between the two.
Ronald Reagan was human, not infallible – and he was wrong. About a lot of things, including the idea that people do not need to bear arms on the streets to stay safe. Of course, the urban gang problem wasn’t as bad then as it is now.
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Minutemen of Lexington and Concord created a militia to protect the colony against all enemies, not necessarily the British. Other dangers included the French and Native Americans, and insurrection by other colonists.
It was the right to have a local militia they fought for. Those same colonists wrote Article III section 3 of the Constitution, which makes it treason to arm against the government.
The issue was local protection — and we’re being quite charitable, since the 2nd Amendment was promoted chiefly by slaveholding interests concerned that were Nat Turner III to return, the federal government could not act soon enough, nor would act at all, to protect slaveholders from insurrection exactly as you describe.
Colonists did not support revolution against the U.S. government, nor state governments. Disputes with the government were to be settled by the courts, or at the ballot box.
All of which is beside the point. Kennedy did not support insurrection against the U.S. government by communists nor any other splinter group of crazies, and he was quite clear about that. Patriots join in protecting the nation that nurtured them, and Kennedy urged exactly such actions — which again, is the opposite of arming to shoot at government officials.
I suspect Kennedy would have had the same reaction to Cliven Bundy’s ragtag traitors that Washington had to the Whiskey Rebels — a small army of 10,000 and a dozen nooses.
There’s a huge difference between treason and signing up for the National Guard. We should not allow crazies to fuzz over the differences.
The minutemen of Lexington and Concord were arming and training themselves for action against their governing body (England). They themselves being English citizens. Now, If the statement made by President Kennedy meant to prepare for our government or another, i do not know. But as for Lexington and Concord, it was for action against their own governing body.
Where and when did Reagan say this?
Technical, Jonathan, technical!
Sadly, the Great Battlefield for Defense and Expansion of Freedom today also includes Australia and North America.
You’re going to have to stop publishing posts like this, Ed. I’m running out of popcorn.
One of my favorite JFK quotes (with illustration): http://xkcd.com/753/