In the tradition of American presidents, John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) sought to sum up the
goals of his campaign and administration in one phrase for his nomination acceptance
speech before the Democratic National Convention on July, 15, 1960.
I stand today facing West on what was once the last frontier. From the lands that stretch
3000 miles behind me, the pioneers of old gave up their safety, their comfort, and somtimes their
lives to build a new world here in the West. They were not the captives of their own doubts,
the prisoners of their own price tags. Their motto was not every man for himself - but
all for the common cause. They were determined to make that new world strong and free,
to overcome its hazards and its hardships, to conquer the enemies that threatened from without
Today some would say that those struggles are over - that all the horizons have been explored -
that all the battles have been won - that there is no longer an American frontier.
But I trust that no one in this vast assembly will agree with those sentiments. For the
problems are not all solved and the battles are not all won - and we stand today on the edge
of a new frontier - the frontier of the 60s - a frontier of unknown opportunities and
perils - and a frontier of unfulfilled hopes and threats.
Woodrow Wilson's New Freedom promised our nation a new political and economic framework,
Frank Roosevelt's New Deal promised security and succor to those in need. But the new frontier
of which I speak is not a set of promises - it is a set of challenges. It sums up not what I
intend to offer the American people, but what I intend to ask of them.
It appeals to their pride, not to their pocketbook - it holds out the promise of more sacrifice
instead of more security. .....
For the harsh facts of the matter are that we stand on this frontier, at a turning point in history.
We must prove all over again whether this nation´- or any nation so conceived - can long endure - whether
our society - with its freedom and choice, its breadth of opportunity, its range of alternatives -
can compete with the single-minded advance of the Communist system.
Can a nation organized and governed such as ours endure? That is the real question. Have we the nerve
and the will? Can we carry through in an age where we will witness not only the breaktrough in weapons
of destruction - but also a race for the mastery of the sky and the rain, the ocean and the tides,
the far side of the space and the inside of men's minds?
1a. What does J.F. Kennedy understand by the old frontier and what does he mean by his idea
of a New Frontier?
b. What is the main difference between the two kinds of frontier?
2. The new challenges Americans were facing at the beginning of the 1960s were huge and in the last
paragraph of the text Kennedy asks if they can meet these challenges.
In retrospect, how has America been able to cope with their problems?