Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum


A Time for Greatness: Tone Analysis of Kennedy Presidential Campaign Speeches
Author:
Chas Algaier
Course:
US History
Time Frame:
Two class periods
Grade Levels:
9, 10, 11, 12

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:

This Kennedy speech analysis provides students with practice doing close readings and vocabulary classification by tone to distinguish similarities and differences in speeches made by then Senator john F. Kennedy during his 1960 campaign for president of the nation.  It uses primary documents and, while designed as a group activity, could readily be adapted to individual work.

Rationale:

The ability to analyze documents for tone is an essential skill for students of history at all levels of instruction.  This unit will use primary documents to provide practice in close reading, in identifying tone, and in applying tone recognition to an analysis of nuance in content.

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:


CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.1
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.

 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.2
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.

 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.8
Evaluate an author's premises, claims, and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.

 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.9
Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:

A Tone Words summary ("A Selection of Tone Words") is attached at the end of this lesson plan.  In addition, students may find any of the  effective 'word cloud" sorter apps useful in identifying certain key words.  Among those apps are WordSift , VocabGrabber , and Wordle .

Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:

This lesson plan uses four speeches made in 1960 by Senator John F. Kennedy as he ran for president.  Those speeches include one given to an NAACP Rally in Los Angeles, one at the Eastern Carolina College Stadium in Greenville, NC, one at Howard university in Washington DC, and one at Shawnee Mission High School in Kansas.  All four speeches are attached at the end of this lesson plan.

This is a transcription of this speech made for the convenience of readers and researchers. A single copy of the speech exists in the Senate Speech file of the John F. Kennedy Pre-Presidential Papers here at the John F. Kennedy Library.

 

NAACP Rally, Los Angeles, CA, July 10, 1960

 

We meet on the eve of a great national convention. There our choice is more than the choice of candidates - it is the choice of party roles and responsibilities. Will we face up to the issues that face America - or will we, as Randolph said of Van Buren, "row to (our) object with muffled oars?" Will we appeal to the lowest common denominator - or will we offer leadership where leadership has so long been lacking? Will we inquire as to whether a policy is good for the North, South, East, or West - or will we know that a policy - if really good - is good for all people everywhere? And finally, will we confine our campaign to abuse of the party in power - or will we realize, to paraphrase a noted statesman, that a great "nay" is not enough - we need a mighty "yes" as well?

 

I hope my own views are clear. I want our party to speak out with courage and candor on every issue - and that includes civil rights. I want no compromise of basic principles - no evasion of basic controversies - and no second-class citizenship for any American anywhere in this country. And I have not made nor will I make any commitments inconsistent with these objectives.

 

While we point with pride to the strides we have made in fulfilling our forefathers' dream of the equality of man, let us not overlook how far we still have to go. While we point with concern to denials of civil rights in one part of the country, let us not overlook the more subtle but equally vicious forms of discrimination that are found in the clubs and churches and neighborhoods of the rest of the country.

 

Our job is to turn the American vision of a society in which no man has to suffer discrimination based on race into a living reality everywhere in our land. And that means we must secure to every American equal access to all parts of our public life - to the voting booth, to the schoolroom, to jobs, to housing, to all public facilities including lunch counters.

 

Let us trust no one who offers slick and easy answers - for the only final answer will come from the work of thousands of individual answers, large and small, in the Congress, the courts and the White House, in states and cities all over America, in the actions of brave and wise public servants, and in the reactions of determined private citizens such as yourselves.

 

What we are seeking, after all, is really very simple. It's merely a recognition that this is one nation and we are all one great people. Our origins may be different but our destiny is the same, our aspirations are identical - there can be no artificial distinctions, no arbitrary barriers, in securing these rights.

 

--The right of every man to work as he wants to work, to be educated as every human being deserves to be educated, and to receive for his labor or his goods a just compensation, which he can spend as he pleases, in the nation's finest luxury store or the most modest 5-and-10.

--The right of every family to live in a decent home in a decent neighborhood of his own free choice.

--The right of every individual to obtain security in sickness as well as health, in retirement as well as youth.

--The right of every American to think, to vote, to speak, to read and to worship as he pleases - to stand up for his rights and, when necessary, to sit down for them.

--And finally, the right of all people to be free from the tensions and terrors and burdens of war, its preparation and its consequences.

 

These are not minority rights or even merely civil rights - they are the goals desired and required for every American. There is nothing complicated about these goals, however difficult their achievement. There is nothing unreasonable or unusual about these goals, however much some may resist them. But they will not be achieved without leadership - moral, political, legislative and, above all, executive leadership.

 

The next President of the United States cannot stand above the battle engaging in vague little sermons on brotherhood. The immense moral authority of the White House must be used to offer leadership and inspiration to those of every race and section who recognize their responsibilities. And the immense legal authority of the White House must be used to direct implementation of all Constitutional rights, protection of the right to vote, fulfillment of the requirement of school desegregation, and an end to discrimination in the government's own midst - in public contracts, in employment and in all Federal housing programs.

 

And, finally, if that President is to truly be President of all the people, then he must act to bring them together to accomplish these objectives. How without communication, can we ever proceed in democracy? There can be no progress without communication. There can be no reconciliation without meeting and talking with each other.

To be sure, there will be protest and disagreement - but if the end result is to be permanent progress instead of frustration, there must be more meetings of men and minds. And the place to begin is the White House itself, where the Chief Executive, with his prestige and influence, should exert firm and positive leadership.

 

Let us bear in mind that this is not merely a regional problem - it is not merely a national problem - it is international in scope and effect. For the average American of Caucasian descent does not realize that it is he who is a member of a minority race - and a minority religion - and a minority political system - and that he is regarded with some suspicion, if not hostility, by most of that restless, envious, surging majority. The tide of human dignity is world-wide - and the eyes of that world are upon us.

 

It is not enough to restate our claim to the Declaration of Independence. It is not enough to deplore violence in other lands. It is up to us to prove that our way - the way of peaceful change and democratic processes - can fulfill those goals better than any other system under the sun. It is up to us to rebuild our image abroad by rebuilding our image here at home.

 

The time is short - but the agenda is long. Much is to be done - but many are willing.

 

Francis Bacon once wrote: "There is hope enough and to spare - not only to make a bold man try - but also to make a sober-minded man believe."

 

My friends - if you are sober-minded enough to believe - then - to the extent that these tasks require the support, the guidance and the leadership of the American Presidency - I am bold enough to try.

 

 

 

 

 

This is a transcript of this speech made for the convenience of readers and researchers. A single text of the speech exists in the Senate Speech file of the John F. Kennedy Pre-Presidential Papers at the John F. Kennedy Library.

 

Eastern Carolina College Stadium, Greenville, NC, September 17, 1960

 

SENATOR KENNEDY: My friend and colleague, Senator Ervin, Governor Hodges, Senator Jordan, Congressman Bonner, my fellow members of the Congressional Delegation, your next Governor of North Carolina, I hope, Terry Sanford - (Applause) distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen: I come here today from a section of the United States which claims to be the oldest section of the United States to North Carolina, which is the oldest section of the United States (Applause.) I am very grateful to be the guest of Eastern Carolina College. (Applause) I understand that they have had a most rapid growth, and now wish to play in in the Southern Conference. (Applause) I am scheduled in the Southern Conference, too, and find it with some difficulty, and I hope you have success and that I do also. (Laughter and applause)

 

I come here today as the nominee of the Democratic Party and therefore I stand in succession to a number of distinguished Americans who have borne the banner of the Democratic Party in good times and bad, but they have borne it high for the benefit of the United States of America.

 

North Carolina helped create the Democratic Party - the State of Virginia founded it, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison - and our Party was given its modern form as the party of the people by a great citizen of this state, Andrew Jackson. I therefore come here today to ask your support in a difficult and trying time in the life of our country.

 

I do not run for the office of the President saying that if I am elected life will be easy. I think to be an American citizen in the 1960s will be a difficult and hazardous occupation. I believe that this is a great country, but I do believe that it can be a greater country. This is a powerful country, but I think it can be a more powerful country.

My chief disagreement with the Republicans in this campaign is that they have had too little faith in the development of this country. I think we can do better. (Applause) Their campaign motto has been, "You never had it so good." Well, I think as a citizen of the United States, as well as a Democrat, that it is our obligation to do better, to build the economy of the State of North Carolina, to build the economy of the United States, and in so doing build the strength of the United States as a great and free country.

 

I think what Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman recognized was that this country cannot be strong and power in its world position unless it is strong and powerful here in the United States. I think that there is a direct relationship between the deterioration of our relative standing in the world in the last few years and the fact that we have not moved ahead here at home fast enough. Last year the United States had the lowest rate of economic growth of any major industrialized society in the world, and when we grow at home here slowly, our prestige and power and influence around the world begins to diminish. Here we are the richest country on Earth, and yet in a hungry world we find ourselves unable to use in an imaginative and affirmative way the great surpluses that the Lord gave us.

 

Here today in the richest and most productive tobacco country in the United States, I come as the Democratic Standard Bearer, affirming the confidence and faith of the Democratic Party in a strong agricultural program. (Applause) It is a source of satisfaction to me that for two months every four years the Republican candidate for the Presidency, whoever he may be, comes out strongly for an affirmative agricultural program. But day by day, month by month, year by year in the Congress, the burden has been carried by Congressman Cooley, the Democratic Senators from this state, Democratic Congressmen and Senators from the South and the Midwest. We believe, as Franklin Roosevelt believed, in his day, in an agricultural program that lifts the farmer up, that does not liquidate him, that does not catch him in a cost-price squeeze that liquidates his profits and drives him into the urban centers of the United States.

 

I stand in direct succession in a great tradition which I think has meant a good deal to North Carolina, and to my own state of Massachusetts and to the United States. I ask your support in this election, not merely as the Democratic Standard Bearer, but as one who has the greatest possible confidence and faith in the future of this country. Thomas Paine during the American Revolution said, "The cause of America is the cause of all mankind." I think in 1960, and in the next decade, the cause of all mankind is the cause of America. Our responsibility is to be the chief defender of freedom at a time when freedom is under attack all over the globe. The future will not be easy, but I do think that if we met our responsibilities here, here in the State of North Carolina, here in the United States, if we build a better life for our citizens here, whether they live in the cities of the North or the South, or whether they live on the farms of this country upon which our economy has traditionally depended, I think as we grow strong here, we hold out an inspiration to all those who wish to follow our example. The reason that Franklin Roosevelt was a good neighbor to Latin America was because he was a good neighbor to the people of this country. (Applause)

 

Today we celebrate Constitution Day, which is the day at the end of the Constitutional Convention when George Washington sent the Constitution to be ratified by the states. I stand to say that as the supporter of the American Constitution as the best and most happy way for the organization of our life, and I think our great ambition is to see the blessings of freedom spread, not only in our own county, but around the world. A strong America, believing in freedom for all our citizens I think offers the best hope of freedom to all those who look to us with confidence and hope. (Applause)

 

I ask your help in this campaign. I ask your help and I can assure you that if we are successful it will be my daily task to care for the needs and the hopes of our citizens and also to defend the United States in a time of great danger.

 

During the Constitutional Convention there was behind the desk of General Washington a painting of a sun low on the horizon, and many of the delegates wondered during the debate whether it was a rising or a setting sun. At the conclusion, Benjamin Franklin stood up. He said, "Because of what we have done here, we now know that it is a rising sun, and the beginning of a great new day."

 

I think in 1960, it can be for the United States a rising sun and the beginning of a great new day. Thank you. (Applause)

 

 

 

 

 

This is a transcription of this speech made for the convenience of readers and researchers. A single copy of the speech exists in the Senate Speech file of the John F. Kennedy Pre-Presidential Papers at the John F. Kennedy Library.

 

Howard University, Washington DC - October 10, 1960

 

SENATOR KENNEDY: Mr. Robinson, Congressman Bolling, Mrs. Lawson, Mr. Reeves, ladies and gentlemen: I regret that the Republican member has not shown up as yet to debate with Congressman Bolling or Mr. Nixon. I would like to present their case for them. (Laughter) But I would rather speak for our case. I would also rather address myself to the matter which is before you. I am confident that Congressman Bolling has done this effectively because I know no one in the Congress over a long period of time, even before his period in the Congress, who has shown greater responsibility and vigor in extending the benefits of our constitutional system to all Americans. Therefore, I am delighted and honored that he would represent us here tonight. (Applause)

 

A political campaign is an important time because it gives the American people an opportunity to make a judgment as to which course of action they want to follow, which leadership, which viewpoint, which political philosophy, and it is also an important time for political parties, because it does give the political party an opportunity not merely to live off its past successes, but also consider where it is going in the future, what contribution it can make. That responsibility falls particularly heavily on a minority party, a party out of power, because it is its function under our system to present alternatives, to suggest better ways of accomplishing the goals which all America seeks, and I believe this responsibility falls particularly heavily in 1960, because we face many problems here and abroad which I believe transcend any since 1932, since the administration of Franklin Roosevelt, and in many ways transcends any that we have faced since the administration of Lincoln one hundred years ago.

 

The great question of course is can we make freedom work here and around the world. Can we sustain it? Can we demonstrate over a long period of time that our system represents the best means of organizing human society? The hard, tough question for the next decade, and indeed for the rest of the century, is whether we in this country with our freedom of choice, our breadth of opportunity, our range of alternatives, can we mobilize sufficient strength, can we set a sufficient example, can we extend the hand of friendship with sufficient warmth that we can mobilize and not only endure but prevail over a Communist system.

In order to maintain our freedom, to meet our commitments, to the Constitution, to the great moral principles enunciated by this country's leaders, we have to as I say tonight set a high example, and I believe it is the function of our party, the Democratic Party, in the early days of the 1960's, to move this country closer toward that example.

 

I said last week on television and gave some statistics which I don't think most Americans know or believe strongly enough; the prospects, percentage-wise, of a Negro child getting through high school, of that child getting to college, of that child becoming a professional man, of that child when it is born owning its house, of that child being unemployed or the average income that that child will have, or the prospect of whether that child goes to work for the government, what his rating will be, whether he will be a district judge, and now we have only one that is a Negro out of some 200, the chances of that child getting through high school are about a third. The same per cent getting through college is one quarter of a white baby being born in the house next door, the chance of owning his house is far less of a percentage, and the chances of being unemployed are far greater.

I think we cannot afford in 1960 to waste any talent which we have. It is a matter of our national survival as well as a matter of national principle, and I believe that the President of the United States must take the leadership in setting the moral tone, the unfinished business, in setting the sights of Americans to the goal realizing the talents in an equal way of every American. Every American's talents are not equal. Every American will not finish school or college or own a house, but that should be on the basis of his contribution to society, his energy, his vitality, his intelligence, his motivations, not based on the color of his skin. That is the goal of the society which I think we should work towards in the 1960's. (Applause)

 

Let me say I think the President of the United States has a great opportunity. This is a place preeminently for moral leadership as Franklin Roosevelt said, and I believe if the President of the United States indicates his strong support of the extension of equal constitutional rights to all Americans wherever they may live, if he stands strongly behind the principles of equality of opportunity of education and employment, I believe this country will then recognize the moral imperative behind the laws which the Congress has passed, or which the Constitution promotes.

 

Secondly, I believe the Congress has a responsibility. Title 3 I believe would be important as it would give the Attorney General the right as you know to carry out suits as he now has in the case of voting, but which I believe he has not carried out with vigor. I believe in equality in opportunity of employment, which is extremely important, and then I believe we have to improve our educational standards for all children, regardless of their color, all children, white and Negro. We are producing about half as many scientists and engineers as the Soviet Union. We have to improve our educational system as a whole, and we have to improve our economics as a whole.

If we attempt to patch up those areas in our national life where equality of opportunity is not provided, if we give force and vigor to the concept of that equality, if we sustain it with laws, if we sustain it by executive action, if we sustain it by moral force and if we lift the economy of the whole and all Americans, then I believe we will be meeting our responsibility to the 1960's.

 

Also we have a clear reminder that we who are white are a minority in this global world, and all those over the world who are colored are now reaching greater and greater power, the whole course of history for the past 150 years has been toward freedom.

 

I have had a basic disagreement not only with the administration's policy in the past eight years, but also on the question of colonialism versus freedom. I spoke of this matter when it involved Indochina and the Democrats and Algeria and the Republicans. I spoke as it involves all of Africa, Latin America and Asia. We have the desire of these people to be free. If there is any experience that should give us courage, it is not that one quarter of the nations of Africa are neutral. We were neutral for 125 years in our own history. The fact is they are free and independent. They have now won their freedom and they do not choose to lose it, provided they are given an opportunity to develop their resources under a system of freedom. Man's desire to be free is the strongest force not only in this country but around the world. We should associate ourselves with it.

 

I said tonight when we offered 300 scholarships to the Congo; we offered only 200 to Africa. You cannot educate a man in the Congo overnight. Education is a long process that takes years and experience and we should have been looking at Latin America and Asia years and years ago and not moving into these areas where you think you can pour in money and educate them for leadership overnight. (Applause)

 

Finally, let me say that I believe that the contribution that the Democratic Party can best make is not merely in the contest between Mr. Nixon and myself. The question is what is the viewpoint of those who sustain us. I believe the viewpoint of those who sustain us, of the central channel of the party which I represent, was carried out at the convention and was carried out on the platform. I believe it is carried out on the record of the Congress. That record is not perfect, and there are shortcomings in any two party system, but I believe the central movement forward of the Democratic Party in this century has been full. It has been willing to meet new problems in new ways. It has been willing to break new ground. It has been willing to mobilize the best talent we have got and I think it can do it in the Sixties, and can do it better than it did it before because the needs are greater.

 

Let me say your needs are great. There is no need for providing the right to vote in some states where Negroes are denied the vote unless they vote to the fullest. (Applause) Unless in those communities where they are given their rights to participate in the political process they do it as free individuals, not part of some great organization or other, but speaking as individuals giving their considered judgment on what is best for their country and what is best for themselves and what is best for the cause of freedom. So it is, I believe, that you have a chance to make a singular contribution to the life of this country.

 

Every educated man or woman who is a Negro has not only the opportunity to advance their own private interests - -and I think this is true of every American - -but they have the obligation to advance the common cause, advance the interests of their own people because in doing that I think they advance the interests of their country. (Applause)

 

I hope it will be possible for more and more of them to serve the United States outside our boundaries, in the foreign service, in the information services, as doctors and nurses, not just in Africa, but in Europe, Asia, Africa, freely in areas and indicating our great contribution, our strong belief that we want to use all the talent that we can get. Actually a far greater responsibility rests upon the Negro leadership than it does upon the leadership of almost any other group, and I believe that by meetings such as this you are meeting that responsibility.

We emphasize always the public interest, to emphasize the necessity for it in a responsible, steady way, and I believe in the 1960's we can move in the area. We can provide a better life for our people, that we can provide better, stronger human rights for all America and I want to make it clear win or lose in this election, and I regard it as a close, hard fought election, the issues will probably be down to the end, but my own judgment is win or lose, I can assure you that the Democratic Party in the future, as it has in its great moments in the past, particularly when it has had a President to speak for it - I believe the Democratic Party can in the future be identified with the cause of a better life for all Americans of all sections of the United States regardless of any circumstances of their race or religion and that they will hold any office to which they aspire based on their competence and ability and strong feeling for this country. (Applause)

 

 

 

 

This is a transcription of this speech made for the convenience of readers and researchers. A single text of the speech exists in the Senate Speech file of the John F. Kennedy Pre-Presidential Papers here at the John F. Kennedy Library.

 

Shawnee Mission East High School, Kansas City, KS - October 22, 1960

 

I am grateful for the introduction of my old friend and colleague, Newell George. He has served this district with vigor and he also has served it responsibly, and he speaks also for the United States. So I am hopeful that the people of this district will reelect him to the Congress of the United States to continue to represent our country in that most important body. (Applause)

 

Members of the House of Representatives are given under the Constitution power to levy taxes, the power to appropriate money. The Senate is confined to approving treaties and appointments by the President to high administrative offices. So quite obviously, the House is the key job. Any time you don't like the way your taxes are being raised or your money is being spent, it is to the House that you write, not to the senate. (Laughter)

But in any case, he has done a good job. He is an old friend of mine and I am hopeful that this district - and I know that in Kansas it is tough for a Democrat - I am hopeful that the people of this district will support him and send him back.

 

In addition, I hope that Kansas will elect a United States Senator, Frank Theis, who will speak for Kansas. (Applause) There are 100 members of the Senate. 65 Democrats and 35 Republicans. Even if we lost every race, if the Republicans re-elected every one of their incumbents in this fight and we lost every Democrat who is up for election, mathematically the Democrats would still control the United States Senate. That being true, with the problems that Kansas has, particularly in the field of agriculture, particularly in the development of your resources, all the problems which a great state in the heartland of the United States has, specially in relation to the government, it seems to me only common sense that at least one of the Senators should be a member of the majority party, participating in the majority decisions, speaking for Kansas and the country in the Democratic Party.

 

Kansas today has two Republicans. The Senate will be Democratic. I believe that Frank Theis can serve this state and serve the country, and I am hopeful that he will be elected to the Senate of the United States. (Applause) I spoke this afternoon in Wichita. We left New York after Mr. Nixon and I had our strange interlude. (Laughter) Since then, since midnight, we have been to St. Louis, Joplin, Wichita, Kansas City, now Johnson County, and we are going to Green Bay, Wisconsin, tonight, to attempt to carry our message tomorrow to the expectant and waiting voters of Wisconsin. But I was particularly anxious to come here. Mr. Nixon submitted a list, or his intimate advisors did, to some magazine this week, which gave his sure states. He gave us Massachusetts, I think, and Rhode Island. (Laughter) He named a good deal of the United States and among the states that he claimed was Kansas. (Response from the audience.)

 

My impression has been that this election was not until November 8 and Kansas did not make up its judgment until then. My hope is that Kansas will vote Democratic as it did in 1936. (Applause)

 

I don't want to disappoint him, but I do think it would be good for everybody if he got some surprises. (Laughter)

I am delighted to be here with Stuart Symington. He and I had equal claims, equal lines, on the Kansas delegation at the Democratic Convention. You divided yourselves in a Solomon-like way, so we are both happy but not too happy, so I am delighted to be over here with him tonight. (Laughter) Your distinguished Governor spoke this afternoon at Wichita. He had an old commitment to go to a dinner and asked me if I would express his regrets to all of you. He did want to be here. He has been a distinguished governor. He is going to lead the ticket. We are all grabbing his coat tails, and I am confident that Docking, George, then Kennedy, may win here in Kansas. (Applause)

 

Let me just say one word. We have a tendency in a campaign to simplify issues and talk pretty much in - I suppose it comes down to almost slogans, and I think that that is important, because I do believe that there is a party difference and a difference in point of view of the candidates, which has been shown really not so much by their speeches, though I hope that they reveal some difference in approach and character, but also by their record in the last 14 years. But I do want to make the point that all of these old fights which the Republicans and Democrats have been engaged in, which involve so-called social legislation, those fights are going to go on in the Sixties, because we have a responsibility to meet our commitments, to improve the life of every American so that they participate to some degree or other in our general prosperity in our national life. The point I want to make; however, is that most of the difficult decisions which the next President will meet will involve problems about which we have thought very little. In other words, in 1940, during the Presidential campaign between Wendell Willkie and Franklin D. Roosevelt, there was no discussion of the effects of breaking of the atom, and what the effect of possessing atomic weapons would be. And yet when Albert Einstein came in 1941 with a group of other scientists, Franklin Roosevelt endorsed the idea, appropriated nearly $2 billion to the Manhattan Project, and, of course, we made the significant breakthrough.

 

In 1952, during the campaign between Adlai Stevenson and Dwight Eisenhower, there was no discussion, really, of outer space, and yet this administration, when a similar opportunity was granted to it to make a significant break-through, to recognize the implications of the opportunity in the same way that Franklin Roosevelt had recognized it in 1941, when this administration was informed of the significance of outer space, both militarily and scientifically, we did not respond. My judgment is that we did not respond there as we have not responded to our needs in Latin America, our needs in Africa, our needs in Asia, our needs in disarmament, our needs in arms, because this administration has not been able to attract people of intellectual vitality, curiosity, foresight and vigor. (Applause)

 

This is not a contest between Mr. Nixon and myself. Outer space is one example, and our failure to be first in outer space, as said Mr. George Allen of the Information Service, cost us more heavily in prestige, and I do not define prestige as popularity. I define prestige as influence, as an ability to persuade people to accept your point of view. That probably cost us more in the Fifties than any other failure or any other decision or any other action. It persuaded people who lived in under-developed countries that the Soviet Union, which was once so far behind, was now the equal and the superior in some degree of the United States. That is one of the reasons why I believe they are reluctant to release these polls we read about in the Department of State, because I believe these polls show that American Prestige, the regard for America as a great scientific power, has declined.

 

What is true about outer space is true about Latin America. Mr. Nixon said in September that if we had thought of a program of aid for Latin America of the kind we have now put forward as a result of our difficulties with Castro in 1955, he, and I quote him accurately - (laughter and applause) - said we might have been able to avoid Castro.

Why didn't they come in 1955? It could not have been so difficult to predict that these people in Latin America are part of the revolution of rising expectations. They are not going to be satisfied to live at 75 or 100 dollars a year all the time when they see us rich and the Communists work among them. Look at Africa. Not until 1957 was there a Bureau of African Affairs. In 1957 we had more people stationed in Western Germany than in all of Africa. We had more students coming from abroad ten years ago under federal sponsorship than we do today. So my feeling is that this issue is not merely the old issue of the New Deal-Fair Deal issues, but really it is a question of which administration, which point of view, which philosophy can bring to Washington men of talent and curiosity, men who have some knowledge of the world in which we live, the kind of revolutionary times, and what is required of a free society in competing with a totalitarian society.

 

My judgment is that the Republican Party as presently constituted and presently led has not demonstrated either in the past or during this campaign that they have this kind of competence. Mr. Nixon could not run on the program that he runs on if he recognized our times. He could not run on the program that our power and prestige is at its height, that of the Communists at the lowest it has been, that everything is all right and being done in its proper measure. The very fact that he chooses that as his campaign indicates that he could not suddenly reverse in 1961 and determine an action. If he really believes these things he says, in my opinion he disqualifies himself. If he does not believe them, and runs on that program, he makes the same mistake that Stanley Baldwin made in England in 1935 which almost destroyed Great Britain, by misleading the people of England in 1935. He prevented them, by not telling them the truth, he prevented them from arming at a time when it might have been possible to prevent the disaster of Munich.

 

So I believe this issue involves a good deal more than Mr. Nixon and myself. It involves our parties. It involves men like the people who are going to represent you in the Congress and in the Senate, men like Senator Symington, Dick Bolling, men like President Truman, who we were with tonight, women like Mrs. Gray and others. This is a time once again for action. This is a time when we make our choice, that it is time that this country picked itself up again and went forward.

 

We are encouraged by the fact, as Mr. Casey Stengel showed us this week, experience perhaps does not count. (Laughter) (Standing ovation.)

Full description of activity or assignment.

Teachers should break the class into four groups of students; larger classes can be broken into duplicate groups among the four.

  • Distribute copies of the materials needed (see above).
  • Discuss the Tone Word vocabulary sheet.  Explain the categories of the words and that the words list is not all inclusive. 
  • The teacher then share reads each speech with  all  students.  Explain any unknown vocabulary.  Then assign the students into one of four groups:  A., the NCAA Rally speech; B., the Eastern Carolina College speech; C., the Howard University speech; and D., the Shawnee Mission East speech.
  • Students will then identify and list together every noun, verb, and adjective/adverb for their paragraphs. Then students need to subgroup the vocabulary according to the categories listed on the Tone Word Vocabulary sheet.  This technique will support struggling readers as well as English language learners (ELL).
  • Students then work in their groups to determine the predominant tone of their paragraphs, suggest reasons for those tones, and present those findings to the class.
  • Finally, each group will write a 50-word summary of and offer suggestions for the similarities and differences between the four speeches.  Each group shall read its summary to the class, and the class will discuss those comparisons. 

Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:

After reading the speeches, each group of students must complete the following tasks (grading is pass/fail; percentages given for task completion are in parentheses):

 

1.  List and classify all nouns, verbs, and adjectives/adverbs in their respective speeches (25%).

 

2.  Present their list of tone words to the class (25%).

 

3.  Write and present a 50-word summary of the similarities and differences among the tones of the various speeches and suggest reasons for those differences (50%).

 

A SELECTION OF TONE WORDS

 

Positive tone/attitude: lighthearted, hopeful, enthusiastic, confident, optimistic, loving, passionate, amused, elated, sentimental, sympathetic, compassionate, proud

 

Negative tone/attitude: angry, disgusted, outraged, accusing, inflammatory, irritated, indignant, threatening

 

Irony/Sarcasm: sarcastic, cynical, critical, facetious, patronizing, satiric, mockheroic, irreverent, mock-serious, taunting, ironic, flippant,

 

Sorrow/Fear/Worry: somber, elegiac, gloomy, melancholic, disturbed, mournful, solemn, serious, apprehensive, concerned, hopeless, resigned

 

General/Organizational:formal, objective, nostalgic, ceremonial, candid, shocked, reminiscent, restrained, clinical, baffled, sentimental, detached, objective, questioning, urgent, instructive, matter-of-fact, learned, factual, didactic, informative, authoritative