Robert F. Kennedy Quotes

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their peers, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“Every time we turn our heads the other way when we see the law flouted, when we tolerate what we know to be wrong, when we close our eyes and ears to the corrupt because we are too busy or too frightened, when we fail to speak up and speak out, we strike a blow against freedom and decency and justice.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“Fear not the path of Truth for the lack of People walking on it.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“We can move in that direction as a country, in greater polarization – black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand, compassion and love…. What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“Lets dedicate ourselves to what the ancient greeks wrote so many years ago, to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“A revolution is coming – a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; compassionate if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough – but a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character; we cannot alter its inevitability.

[Report to the United States Senate on his trip to Latin America and the Alliance for Progress, May 9-10 1966]”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“Let no one be discouraged by the belief there is nothing one person can do against the enormous array of the world’s ills, misery, ignorance, and violence. Few will have the greatness to bend history, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. And in the total of all those acts will be written the history of a generation.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“This world demands the qualities of youth; not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product…if we should judge the United States of America by that – counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.

Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it tells us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil. Government belongs wherever evil needs an adversary and there are people in distress.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don’t. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.”
― Robert Kennedy

 

 

“Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“People say I am ruthless. I am not ruthless. And if I find the man who is calling me ruthless, I shall destroy him.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“Too often we honor swagger and bluster and wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others.”
― Robert Kennedy

 

 

“We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of others. We must admit in ourselves that our own children’s future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge.

Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanquish it with a program, nor with a resolution.

But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can. ”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“The future is not a gift. It is an achievement.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“First is the danger of futility; the belief there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world’s ills — against misery and ignorance, injustice and violence. Yet many of the world’s great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man. A young monk began the Protestant reformation, a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth, and a young woman reclaimed the territory of France. It was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and 32-year-old Thomas Jefferson who proclaimed that all men are created equal. “Give me a place to stand,” said Archimedes, “and I will move the world.” These men moved the world, and so can we all.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men, and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“The gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“Ultimately, America’s answer to the intolerant man is diversity, the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“Don’t get mad, get even,”
― Robert Kennedy

 

 

“States’ rights, as our forefathers conceived it, was a protection of the right of the individual citizen. Those who preach most frequently about states’ rights today are not seeking the protection of the individual citizen, but his exploitation. . . . The time is long past – if indeed it ever existed – when we should permit the noble concept of States’ rights to be betrayed and corrupted into a slogan to hide the bald denial of American rights, of civil rights, and of human rights.”
― Robert Kennedy

 

 

“The responsibility of our time is nothing less than a revolution. A revolution that would be peaceful if we are wise enough; humane if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough. But a revolution will come whether we will it or not. We can affect it’s character, we cannot alter it’s inevitability.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“One-fifth of the people are against everything all the time.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

 

“Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“Religion is a salve for confusion and misdirection.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“The future will be shaped by those willing to commit their minds and their bodies to the task.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of a comfortable past which, in fact, never existed.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“A hopeless man is a very desperate and dangerous man, almost a dead man.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“Someone once said that World War Three would be fought with atomic weapons and the next war with sticks and stones.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“What my father said about businessmen applies to liberals … They’re sons of bitches. The people who are selfish are interested in their own singular course of action and do not take into consideration the needs or requirements of others and what can ultimately be accomplished.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“The only sin is pride.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“I did not lie awake at night worrying about the problems of Negroes.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“In the nuclear age, superpowers make war like porcupines make love—carefully.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“Change has it’s enemies.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“It was not only for Americans that he was concerned, or primarily the older generation of any land. The thought that disturbed him the most, and that made the prospect of war much more fearful than it would otherwise have been, was the specter of the death of the children of this country and all the world—the young people who had no role, who had no say, who knew nothing even of the confrontation, but whose lives would be snuffed out like everyone else’s. They would never have a chance to make a decision, to vote in an election, to run for office, to lead a revolution, to determine their own destinies. Our generation had. But the great tragedy was that, if we erred, we erred not only for ourselves, our futures, our hopes, and our country, but for the lives, futures, hopes, and countries of those who had never been given an opportunity to play a role, to vote aye or nay, to make themselves felt.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“But the greatest danger of all would be to do nothing.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“One of the ironic things,” Kennedy observed to Norman Cousins in the spring of 1963, “…is that Mr. Khrushchev and I occupy approximately the same political positions inside our governments. He would like to prevent a nuclear war but is under severe pressure from his hard-line crowd, which interprets every move in that direction as appeasement. I’ve got similar problems…. The hard-liners in the Soviet Union and the United States feed on one another.”8”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“Exasperation over our struggle in Vietnam should not close our eyes to the fact that we could have other missile crises in the future—different kinds, no doubt, and under different circumstances. But if we are to be successful then, if we are going to preserve our own national security, we will need friends, we will need supporters, we will need countries that believe and respect us and will follow our leadership.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“Recent scholarship confirms the portrait of John F. Kennedy sketched by his brother in Thirteen Days: a remarkably cool, thoughtful, nonhysterical, self-possessed leader, aware of the weight of decision, incisive in his questions, firm in his judgment, always in charge, steering his advisers perseveringly in the direction he wanted to go. “We are only now coming to understand the role he played in it,” writes John Lewis Gaddis, the premier historian of the Cold War.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“When Khrushchev asked whether his brass hats would guarantee that keeping the missiles in Cuba would not bring about nuclear war, they looked at him, he later told Norman Cousins of the Saturday Review, an informal emissary between Kennedy and Khrushchev, “as though I were out of my mind or, what was worse, a traitor. So I said to myself, ‘To hell with these maniacs.’”6”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“Sólo aquellos que se atreven a tener grandes fracasos terminan consiguiendo grandes éxitos.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“the President was deciding, for the U.S., the Soviet Union, Turkey, NATO, and really for all mankind….”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“Instead, so long as Kennedy lived and Khrushchev stayed in power, there was steady movement toward the relaxation of tension—the American University speech, the Limited Test Ban Treaty, the establishment of the “hotline” between the White House and the Kremlin.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“Kennedy was not impressed by military objections. The Bay of Pigs had taught the President to distrust the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “The first advice I’m going to give my successor,” he once said to his journalist friend Ben Bradlee, “is to watch the generals and to avoid feeling that because they were military men their opinions on military matters were worth a damn.”4 During the missile crisis Kennedy courteously and consistently rejected the Joint Chiefs’ bellicose recommendations. “These brass hats have one great advantage in their favor,” he said. “If we…do what they want us to do, none of us will be alive later to tell them that they were wrong.”5”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“For the fortunate amongst us, the fourth danger is comfort; the temptation to follow the easy and familiar path of personal ambition and financial success so grandly spread before those who have the privilege of an education. But that is not the road history has marked out for us. There is a Chinese curse which says “May he live in interesting times.” Like it or not, we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty; but they are also the most creative of any time in the history of mankind. And everyone here will ultimately be judged – will ultimately judge himself – on the effort he has contributed to building a new world society and the extent to which his ideals and goals have shaped that effort.”

Robert F. Kennedy Speeches
Day of Affirmation Address, University of Capetown, Capetown, South Africa, June 6, 1966”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“decision-making. Far from placing the nation and the world at risk to protect his own reputation for toughness, he probably would have backed down, in public if necessary, whatever the domestic political damage might have been. There may be, in short, room here for a new profile in courage—but it would be courage of a different kind from what many people presumed that term to mean throughout much of the Cold War.7”
― Robert F. Kennedy, Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis

 

 

“In America we have Rockefellers for breakfast.”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“Our goal is not the victory of might but the vindication of right—not peace at the expense of freedom, but both peace and freedom, here in this Hemisphere and, we hope, around the world. God”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“First is the danger of futility; the belief there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the worlds ills -­‐-­‐ against misery, against ignorance, or injustice and violence. Yet many of the worlds great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man. A young monk began the Protestant reformation, a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth, and a young woman reclaimed the territory of France. It was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and 32-­‐year-­‐old Thomas Jefferson who proclaimed that all men are created equal. ‘Give me a place to stand,”
― Robert F. Kennedy

 

 

“That was the beginning of the Cuban missile crisis—a confrontation between the two giant atomic nations, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., which brought the world to the abyss of nuclear destruction and the end of mankind. From”
― Robert F. Kennedy

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