Inspiration and wisdom from divine felines

120 Inspiring Quotes by Robert Kennedy

Welcome to our collection of quotes by Robert Kennedy.

Wikipedia Summary for Robert Kennedy

Robert Francis Kennedy (November 20, 1925 – June 6, 1968), also referred to by his initials RFK or by the nickname Bobby, was an American lawyer and politician who served as the 64th United States Attorney General from January 1961 to September 1964, and as a U.S. Senator from New York from January 1965 until his assassination in June 1968. He was, like his brothers John and Edward, a prominent member of the Democratic Party and has come to be viewed by some historians as an icon of modern American liberalism.

Kennedy was born into a wealthy, political family in Brookline, Massachusetts. After serving in the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1944 to 1946, Kennedy returned to his studies at Harvard University, and later received his law degree from the University of Virginia. He began his career as a correspondent for The Boston Post and as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, but later resigned to manage his brother John's successful campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1952. The following year, he worked as an assistant counsel to the Senate committee chaired by Senator Joseph McCarthy. He gained national attention as the chief counsel of the Senate Labor Rackets Committee from 1957 to 1959, where he publicly challenged Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa over the union's corrupt practices. Kennedy resigned from the committee to conduct his brother's successful campaign in the 1960 presidential election. He was appointed United States Attorney General at the age of 36, becoming the youngest Cabinet member in U.S. history since Alexander Hamilton in 1789. He served as his brother's closest advisor until his 1963 assassination.

His tenure is best known for its advocacy for the civil rights movement, the fight against organized crime and the Mafia, and involvement in U.S. foreign policy related to Cuba. He authored his account of the Cuban Missile Crisis in a book titled Thirteen Days. As attorney general, he authorized the FBI to wiretap Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference on a limited basis. After his brother's assassination, he remained in office in the Johnson Administration for several months. He left to run for the United States Senate from New York in 1964 and defeated Republican incumbent Kenneth Keating. In office, Kennedy opposed U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War and raised awareness of poverty by sponsoring legislation designed to lure private business to blighted communities (i.e. Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration project). He was an advocate for issues related to human rights and social justice by traveling abroad to eastern Europe, Latin America, and South Africa, and formed working relationships with Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez, and Walter Reuther.

In 1968, Kennedy became a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for the presidency by appealing to poor, African American, Hispanic, Catholic, and young voters. His main challenger in the race was Senator Eugene McCarthy. Shortly after winning the California primary around midnight on June 5, 1968, Kennedy was mortally wounded when shot with a pistol by Sirhan Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian, allegedly in retaliation for his support of Israel following the 1967 Six-Day War. Kennedy died the following morning. Sirhan was arrested, tried, and convicted, though Kennedy's assassination, like his brother's, continues to be the subject of widespread analysis and numerous conspiracy theories.

blue and white water waves

Tolerating organized crime promotes the cheap philosophy that everything is a racket. It promotes cynicism among adults. It contributes to the confusion of the young and to the increase of juvenile delinquency.

--Robert Kennedy

man jumping on hill during golden hour

We know that if one man's rights are denied, the rights of all are endangered.

--Robert Kennedy

empty road towards mountains

I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil.

--Robert Kennedy

Longer Version:

I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil. Government belongs wherever evil needs an adversary and there are people in distress.


black bird flying on white background

Even as my father grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, signs told him: 'No Irish Need Apply.'

--Robert Kennedy


white brick wall

In the last analysis, our every right is only worth what our lawyer makes it worth.

--Robert Kennedy


gray cactus plant on white pot

It is the right of government to protect the weak; it is the right of the weak to find in their courts fair treatment before the law.

--Robert Kennedy





blue sky with stars during night time

Yesterday, we sought telescopes good enough to see all the planets. Today, we seek vehicles good enough to reach them.

--Robert Kennedy

person holding sunflower bouquet during daytime

It is one thing to open job opportunities. It is another to train people to fill them, or to persuade American enterprise to seek Negro as well as white applicants.

--Robert Kennedy


blue and white abstract painting

The poor man looks upon the law as an enemy, not as a friend. For him, the law is always taking something away.

--Robert Kennedy

yellow and black striped background

I am deeply impressed with the gravity and wisdom with which most federal judges approach the responsibility of sentencing. It is a difficult, soul-searching task at best.

--Robert Kennedy

body of water

Hand in hand with freedom of speech goes the power to be heard, to share in the decisions of government which shape men's lives.

--Robert Kennedy

man in black suit jacket and woman in blue dress kissing during daytime

Now I can go back to being ruthless again.

--Robert Kennedy

red and yellow abstract painting

It is the essence of responsibility to put the public good ahead of personal gain.

--Robert Kennedy

shallow focus photo of white rose

If freedom makes social progress possible, so social progress strengthens and enlarges freedom.

--Robert Kennedy

Longer Version:

If freedom makes social progress possible, so social progress strengthens and enlarges freedom. The two are inseparable partners in the great adventure of humanity.


red

Good union leaders make excellent public leaders in the legislative and executive branches.

--Robert Kennedy


a man walks alone in the haze

In the cases that come before the Department of Justice involving a wide range of unlawful activities, we see repeated evidence of family and community failures.

--Robert Kennedy



low-angle photography of green leaf tree

Don't get mad, get even.

--Robert Kennedy

silhouette photography of trees and sky

It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped.

--Robert Kennedy

Longer Version:

It is from the numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.


red

The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country.

--Robert Kennedy

red wallpaper

Communism everywhere has paid the price of rigidity and dogmatism. Freedom has the strength of compassion and flexibility. It has, above all, the strength of intellectual honesty.

--Robert Kennedy



blue, yellow, and purple starry sky during nighttime

Our scientists grapple with the difficulties of placing a man on the moon, but the immediately troubling concern of our society is whether men of different races can sit together at a lunch counter.

--Robert Kennedy



person standing on rock beside body of water between green trees

Elections remind us not only of the rights but the responsibilities of citizenship in a democracy.

--Robert Kennedy


leafless tree on body of water during daytime

To the extent that laws are founded on morality and on logic, they can lead men's hearts and minds.

--Robert Kennedy

None

I love this city. If I am elected, I'll move the White House to San Francisco. Everybody's so friendly.

--Robert Kennedy


rock formation under starry skies

In your hands lies the future of your world and the fulfilment of the best qualities of your own spirit.

--Robert Kennedy

silhouette photo of couple standing on beach watching sunset

Ultimately, America's answer to the intolerant man is diversity, the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired.

--Robert Kennedy



woman in black tank top

But suppose God is black? What if we go to Heaven and we, all our lives, have treated the Negro as an inferior, and God is there, and we look up and He is not white? What then is our response?

--Robert Kennedy

grayscale photography of raindrops

Victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed.

--Robert Kennedy

coconut tree near body of water

GNP measures neither our courage, our wisdom neither our compassion. It measures everything except what makes life worthwhile.

--Robert Kennedy

man in black tank top standing near tree under starry night

Circumstances of crimes vary. So do motives. And so do prospects for rehabilitation. The number of imponderables makes it impossible to sentence by formula and still sentence justly.

--Robert Kennedy

grayscale photography of mountain surrounded by trees

All of us will ultimately be judged on the effort we have contributed to building a new world order.

--Robert Kennedy

silhouette of a person during sunset

There has been far too much hypocrisy in the field of civil rights. It is easy enough to give rousing speeches or call for legislation which has no possibility of passage.

--Robert Kennedy

paper

In my judgment, the slogan "black power" and what has been associated with it has set the civil rights movement back considerably in the United States over the period of the last several months.

--Robert Kennedy

seashore during golden hour

Every dictatorship has ultimately strangled in the web of repression it wove for its people, making mistakes that could not be corrected because criticism was prohibited.

--Robert Kennedy

brown violin with black background

The world of sports knows no religious, racial or political differences. Athletes, from whatever land they come, speak the same language. The lessons of competition are lessons for life.

--Robert Kennedy


castle surrounded fog

Every American has the duty to obey the law and the right to expect that the law will be enforced.

--Robert Kennedy

yellow textile

I like to be involved in politics. I like to be involved in government. I've been in politics all my life. I would like to remain in government. I don't think that's so sinister.

--Robert Kennedy

raging waves through shores

The fact that free men persist in the search for the truth is the essential difference between Communism and Democracy.

--Robert Kennedy


stainless steel key on brown rod

The United States was born in revolution and nurtured by struggle. Throughout our history, the American people have befriended and supported all those who seek independence and a better way of life.

--Robert Kennedy

couple standing on grass field mountain

Punishment is not prevention. History offers cold comfort to those who think grievance and despair can be subdued by force.

--Robert Kennedy

couple sitting near trees during golden hour

Some men see things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not.

--Robert Kennedy

person in black shoes standing on gray concrete floor

We develop the kind of citizens we deserve. If a large number of our children grow up into frustration and poverty, we must expect to pay the price.

--Robert Kennedy


red wallpaper

Together, we can make ourselves a nation that spends more on books than on bombs, more on hospitals than the terrible tools of war, more on decent houses than military aircraft.

--Robert Kennedy

green palm tree during daytime

Desegregation of schools does not automatically transform them into better schools. It is only a step. The larger goal is to see that the education of our youth is not merely desegregated, but that it is excellent.

--Robert Kennedy



yellow sunflower in close up photography

From the first moment of independence, the United States has been dedicated to innovation as a way of government and a way of life.

--Robert Kennedy

two dragonflies on green cornate leaf

I dream of things that are not and ask why not.

--Robert Kennedy

silhouette of man on top of hill overlooking lighted city at dawn

Satellite communications connect television screens in Japan with television cameras in England, and the distance of half a world loses its meaning.

--Robert Kennedy


blue and white floral textile

One can find a squalid America as easily as a scenic America; a bitter, hopeless America as easily as the confident America of polyethylene wrapping, new cars, and camping trips in the summer.

--Robert Kennedy


blue sky with white clouds

I was the seventh of nine children. When you come from that far down you have to struggle to survive.

--Robert Kennedy

full moon in the sky

It is an unfinished society that we offer the world-a society that is forever committed to change, to improvement and to growth, that will never stagnate in the certitude of ideology or the finalities of dogma.

--Robert Kennedy

sand

I am ashamed to report that my father, who is 73, has never been beaten by any of his four sons in golf. We have all become resigned to the fact that he has determined that he won't be beaten.

--Robert Kennedy

yellow rose flower

Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things.

--Robert Kennedy

white and blue building under clear sky

What is objectionable, what is dangerous, about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.

--Robert Kennedy

yellow sunflower in close up photography

Too often we honor swagger and bluster and the wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others.

--Robert Kennedy

pink and teal striped textile

I believe that in this generation those with the courage to enter the conflict will find themselves with companions in every corner of the world.

--Robert Kennedy

person in black hoodie using laptop computer

If any man claims the Negro should be content... let him say he would willingly change the color of his skin and go to live in the Negro section of a large city. Then and only then has he a right to such a claim.

--Robert Kennedy

Arizona landscape rain

One of the great creative statesmen of our age was Franklin Roosevelt. He was creative precisely because he preferred experiment to ideology.

--Robert Kennedy


purple flowers under cloudy sky

Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort.

--Robert Kennedy


black and white abstract illustration

I come from a family that has always emphasized and enjoyed sports -- golf, tennis, football, baseball and the rest.

--Robert Kennedy

white wall paint beside white wall

We must continue to prove to the world that we can provide a rising standard of living for all men without loss of civil rights or human dignity to any man.

--Robert Kennedy

sunset woman at beach

Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves.

--Robert Kennedy

Longer Version:

Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.


flying blue and green hummingbird

The right to vote is the easiest of all rights to grant.

--Robert Kennedy

pink and blue painted wall

Whenever men take the law into their own hands, the loser is the law. And when the law loses, freedom languishes.

--Robert Kennedy


full moon in the sky

Where aspirations outstrip opportunities, law-abiding society becomes the victim. Attitudes of contempt toward the law are forged in this crucible and form the inner core of the beliefs of organized adult crime.

--Robert Kennedy


green leafed plants on forest

When companies get together secretly to fix prices and attempt to eliminate competition, honest businessmen suffer. I think this is wrong.

--Robert Kennedy



silhouette of man on top of hill overlooking lighted city at dawn

The overthrow of the Castro regime is the top priority of the US government. -- all else is secondary -- no time, no effort, or manpower is to be spared.

--Robert Kennedy

sunset

If I get to be president, what can I do anyway? With Congress and the press, what chance do I have to make basic changes?

--Robert Kennedy

purple textile in close up photography

This much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.

--Robert Kennedy


pink and white roses on white surface

While free markets tend to democratize a society, unfettered capitalism leads invariably to corporate control of government.

--Robert Kennedy



person in blue denim jeans and brown leather boots

Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change.

--Robert Kennedy

None

Perhaps to some extent we have lost sight of the fact that LSD can be very, very helpful in our society if used properly.

--Robert Kennedy


closeup photo of bird beside purple petal flowers

The greatest truth must be recognition that in every man, in every child is the potential for greatness.

--Robert Kennedy

None

I run because I am convinced that this country is on a perilous course and I have such strong feelings about what must be done.

--Robert Kennedy

round analog watch with black leather strap on top of white wooden surface

Some believe there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world's ills... Yet many of the world's great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man.

--Robert Kennedy

silhouette of couple

Since the days of Greece and Rome, when the word 'citizen' was a title of honor, we have often seen more emphasis put on the rights of citizenship than on its responsibilities.

--Robert Kennedy

houses and trees during nighttime

The Gross National Product measures everything except that which makes life worthwhile.

--Robert Kennedy

shallow focus photography of brown and black bird

Religion is a salve for confusion and misdirection.

--Robert Kennedy



sunset grasslands

Industrial agriculture now accounts for over half of America's water pollution.

--Robert Kennedy

pink and teal striped textile

Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.

--Robert Kennedy

Longer Version:

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.


man standing on cliff under white sky

Nothing is more false than the notion that the triumph of Communism is inevitable or that the Communists are steadily pushing the free world into a corner.

--Robert Kennedy



white flowers

There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?

--Robert Kennedy

We wish you a perfect day!