Did an Undelivered Speech from JFK State That ‘Our Duty as a Party is Not to Our Party Alone’ But to ‘All of Mankind?’

The words of President John F. Kennedy that the world never got to hear.

  • Published 12 November 2018

Claim

A passage from a speech JFK was supposed to deliver on the day he was assassinated stated that "our duty as a party is not to our party alone, but to the Nation, and, indeed, to all mankind."

Origin

An image graphic purportedly featuring an excerpt from a speech President John F. Kennedy was scheduled to deliver on the day that he was assassinated was recirculated on social media in November 2018:

These lines were part of a speech JFK was slated to make to the Texas Democratic State Committee in the Municipal Auditorium in Austin, Texas, on the evening of 22 November 1963. President Kennedy never had the opportunity to deliver that speech, however, as he was assassinated earlier that day while his motorcade drove through Dealey Plaza in Dallas.

A transcript of this undelivered speech is available via the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. The excerpt included in this meme comes from the penultimate paragraph of that text:

Finally, I said in Lubbock in 1960, as I said in every other speech in this State, that if Lyndon Johnson and I were elected, we would get this country moving again. That pledge has been fulfilled. In nearly every field of national activity, this country is moving again — and Texas is moving with it. From public works to public health, wherever Government programs operate, the past 3 years have seen a new burst of action and progress — in Texas and all over America. We have stepped up the fight against crime and slums and poverty in our cities, against the pollution of our streams, against unemployment in our industry, and against waste in the Federal Government. We have built hospitals and clinics and nursing homes. We have launched a broad new attack on mental illness and mental retardation. We have initiated the training of more physicians and dentists. We have provided 4 times as much housing for our elderly citizens, and we have increased benefits for those on social security.

Almost everywhere we look, the story is the same. In Latin America, in Africa, in Asia, in the councils of the world and in the jungles of far-off nations, there is now renewed confidence in our country and our convictions.

For this country is moving and it must not stop. It cannot stop. For this is a time for courage and a time for challenge. Neither conformity nor complacency will do. Neither the fanatics nor the faint-hearted are needed. And our duty as a party is not to our party alone, but to the Nation, and, indeed, to all mankind. Our duty is not merely the preservation of political power but the preservation of peace and freedom.

So let us not be petty when our cause is so great. Let us not quarrel amongst ourselves when our Nation’s future is at stake. Let us stand together with renewed confidence in our cause–united in our heritage of the past and our hopes for the future — and determined that this land we love shall lead all mankind into new frontiers of peace and abundance.

Kennedy was expected to deliver two speeches in Texas on the day that he was assassinated. The other, which was scheduled to take place at the Trade Mart in Dallas, was “recreated” by the Times of London and the creative Irish agency Rothco in March 2018:

It took eight weeks to bring to life the 2,590 words John F Kennedy never got to speak.

Sound engineers pulled 116,777 sound units from 831 of his speeches and radio addresses. These units were then split in half and analysed for pitch and energy. The half units, known as phones, were each about 0.04 seconds long and had to be tested next to each other to ensure that they did not clash. The W sound in weapons, for example, is not the same as the W sound in words.

A portion of “JFK Unsilenced” recreation can be glimpsed below:

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