If more politicians knew poetry, and more poets knew politics, I am convinced the world would be a little better place in which to live.
I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.
To further the appreciation of culture among all the people, to increase respect for the creative individual, to widen participation by all the processes and fulfillments of art - this is one of the fascinating challenges of these days. LOOK magazine, 'The Arts in America
Too often in the past, we have thought of the artist as an idler and dilettante and of the lover of arts as somehow sissy and effete. We have done both an injustice. The life of the artist is, in relation to his work, stern and lonely. He has labored hard, often amid deprivation, to perfect his skill. He has turned aside from quick success in order to strip his vision of everything secondary or cheapening. His working life is marked by intense application and intense discipline. LOOK magazine
We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth. -Remarks at Amherst College upon receiving an Honorary Degree (439)
I look forward to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty...an America which will reward achievement in the arts as we reward achievement in business or statecraft. -Remarks at Amherst College upon receiving an Honorary Degree (439)
In serving his vision of the truth, the artist best serves his nation. Remarks at Amherst College upon receiving an Honorary Degree (439)
It may be different elsewhere. But democratic society - in it, the highest duty of the writer, the composer, the artist is to remain true to himself and to let the chips fall where they may. Remarks at Amherst College upon receiving an Honorary Degree (439)
The life of the arts, far from being an interruption, a distraction, in the life of a nation, is very close to the center of a nation's purpose...and is a test of the quality of a nation's civilization.
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. [Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, 1963]
Victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan. [News conference, April 21 1961]
Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. [Undelivered remarks for Dallas Trade Mart, November 22 1963]
If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. [Inaugural Address, January 20 1961]
A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death. [Remarks Recorded for the Opening of a USIA Transmitter, February 8 1963]
Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.
If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.
Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future. -Address in the Assembly Hall at the Paulskirche in Frankfurt, June 26 1963
Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.
Mankind must put an end to war - or war will put an end to mankind. -Address before the United Nations, September 25 1961