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inaugural address inaugural speech inaugural adress

第二册 lesson 4 Inaugural Address

    Inaugural Address

    (January 20, 1961)

    John F. Kennedy


     1 We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom, symbolizing an end as well as a beginning, signifying renewal as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribednearly a century and three-quarters ago.

     2 The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary belief for which our forebears fought is still at issue around the globe, the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.

     3 We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of these human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

     4 Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or i11, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

     5 This much we pledge--and more.

     6 To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of co-operative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do, for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.

     7 To those new states whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom, and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.

     8 To those peoples in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required, not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

     9 To our sister republics south of our border, we offer a special pledge: to

    convert our good words into good deeds, in a new alliance for progress, to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty. But this peaceful revolution of hope cannot become the prey of hostile powers. Let all our neighbors know that we shall join with them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas. And let every other power know that this hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house.

     10 To that world assembly of sovereign states, the United Nations, our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support: to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective, to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak, and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run.

     11 Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction.

     12 We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.

     13 But neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course--both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind's final war.

     14 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.

     15 Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.

     16 Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations.

     17 Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths and encourage the arts and commerce.

     18 Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah to "undo the heavy burdens...(and) let the oppressed go free".

     19 And if a beachhead of co-operation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved.

     20 All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.

     21 In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.

     22 Now the trumpet summons us again--not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are; but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation," a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself.

     23 Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in the historic effort?

     24 In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility; I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it, and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

     25 And so, my fellow Americans ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

     26 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.

     27 Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscienceour only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.

(from A Treasury of the World's Great Speeches, 1965)



    1. inaugural address: since 1937, Inauguration Day has been changed to Jan. 20. On this day every four years the newly elected president of the United States faces the people for the first time, takes the presidential oath of office and delivers his inaugural address.

    2. solemn oath: the presidential oath, traditionally administered by the Chief Justice, is prescribed in Article II, section 1 of the Constitution of the United States. The oath runs as follows: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. "

    3. The belief that the rights of man.., hand of God: refers to a passage in the American Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. "

    4. command of Isaiah: one of the greatest Hebrew prophets whose writings are extant (late 8th century B. C. ) ; venerated by rabbis as 2nd only to Moses. The Book of Isaiah, a book in the Old Testament of the Bible of the Christian, is believed to be a work of two authors of different periods; chapters 1--39 relate to the history of the Israelites; chapters 40--66 foretell the coming of the Messiah. The quotation in the text is taken from chapter 58, verse 6: "Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?"



     1.To know the features of a political speech.

     2.To analyze the structure of this address

     3.To appreciate the language features of Kennedys address

     4.To be acquainted with some English speeches


Teaching Contents

     1.J.F. Kennedy

     2.The characteristics of a political speech

     3.Detailed study of the text

     4.Organizational pattern

     5.Language features


     7.English speech


Time allocation

     1.John Kennedy (15 min.)

     2.The characteristics of a political speech (10 min.)

     3.Detailed study of the text (100 min.)

     4.Structure analysis (15 min.)

     5.Language appreciation (15 min.)

     6.English speeches (25 min)



inaugural (adj.) : of an inauguration就职(典礼)


    signify (v.) : be a sign or indication of?mean表明?意味


    almighty (adj.) : having unlimited power?allpowerful有无限权力的?全能的


    forebear (n.) : an ancester 祖先?祖宗


    prescribe (v.) : set down as a rule or direction?order?ordain?direct命令?指



    generosity (n.) : the quality of being generous慷慨?宽宏大量


    heir (n.) : person who appears to get some trait from a predecessor or seems to carry on in his tradition继承者?后嗣


    foe (n.) : enemy?opponent敌人


    undoing (n.) : the act of bringing to ruin?disgrace?or destruction毁灭?破坏


    at odds : in disagreement?quarreling意见不一致?有争执


asunder (adv.) : into parts or pieces分成碎片?分散


    prey (n.) : a person or thing that falls victim to someone or something牺牲品?



    subversion (n.) : a subverting or being subvertedruin 颠覆(活动)?破坏


    sovereign (adj.) : independent of all others独立自主的


    outpace (v.) : surpass?exceed在速度上超过?胜过


    invective (n.) : a violent verbal attackstrong criticism?insults, curses, etc.;

    vituperation 抨击?辱骂?谩骂


    shield (n.) : any person or thing that guards?protects?or defends; protection



    writ (n.) : a formal legal document ordering or prohibiting some action命令?律



    adversary (n.) : a person who opposes or fights against another; opponent?enemy



    anew (adv.) : again重新?再


    unleash (v.) : release from or as from a leash(解开皮带以)释放


    engulf (v.) : swallow up?overwhelm 吞没?淹没?压倒


    civility (n.) : politenessesp. in a merely formal way 礼貌?客气


belabor (v.) : talk about at unnecessary length唠唠叨叨地反复讲


    formulate (v.) : put together and express (a theoryplan ,etc.)a systematic way



    tap (v.) : draw upon?make use of开发、发掘


    heed (v.) : pay close attention to?take careful notice of注意, 留神?留心


    beachhead (n.) : a position established by invading troops on an enemy shore?a

    position gained as a secare starting point for any action?foothold滩头堡?登陆



    endeavor (n.) : an earnest attempt or effort努力?尽力


    testimony (n.) : any form of evidence?indication. etc.?proof证明?证据


    embattle (v.) : [常用于被动语态]prepare?array?or set in line for battle使准备



    tribulation (n.) : great misery or distress, as from oppression?deep sorrow苦难?



    forge (v.) : move forward steadily?as if against difficulties; form?produce(



    alliance (n.) : a close association for a common objective as of nations?political



短语 (Expressions)

at issue : in dispute?to be decided?at variance?in disagreement意见不一致

     例, What is at issue is the extent to which exam results reflect a student

    s ability.意见的分歧之处在于考试对于学生能力的影响程度。



    at odds : in disagreement?quarrelling?antagonistic意见不一致?有争执

     例, IHe was at odds with his colleagues:他与同事意见不合。



    east off : to discard?abandon?disown丢弃?摆脱

     例, A haven of tranquility where you can cast off the strains and stress of




    beyond doubt : certainly毫无疑问

     例, She was beyond doubt one of the finest swimmers in the school:毫无疑











































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