"Ask Not" – Inaugural Address, Jan. 20, 1961

JFK Inaugural Address

In Kennedy's Inaugural Address, his focus on the Soviet Union and communism was relatively broad, and still very idealistic. The speech mainly covers Kennedy's view of the world, as well his hopes for the future, both domestically and abroad. 

The speech is most known for its iconic, penultimate sentences, "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man." But the majority of the speech is filled with equally fantastic rhetorical appeals – an optimism that would define the Kennedy presidency long after his death. Echoing the same chiasmus structure, he summarises his ideal of American international relations:

"So let us begin anew--remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate. "



President John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address
"Ask Not" – Inaugural Address, Jan. 20, 1961