Robert F. Kennedy Quotes

Robert Francis “Bobby” Kennedy, 1925 – 1968

Born: 20 November 1925, Brookline, Massachusetts
Died: 6 June 1968, Los Angeles, California

Robert Francis Kennedy was the seventh child of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy. His brothers included President John F. Kennedy and Senator Edward Moore Kennedy. His education started in public schools at Riverdale, New York but included seventh grade at the Gibbs School for Boys at London where his father was US ambassador to England. Secondary school was at Portsmouth Priory School at Portsmouth, Rhode Island and Milton Academy at Milton, Massachusetts. He enlisted in the Navy and was assigned to the V-12 Navy College program at Harvard College but he requested release from that program to become a seaman on the destroyer named for his eldest brother. After the war he entered Harvard as Junior based on his time in the V-12 program, earning a B.A. in government in 1948. He took six months to travel in Europe but carried press credentials from the Boston Post and filed stories including four from Palestine during the last days of the British Mandate. He entered the University of Virginia Law School in 1948, married Ethel Skakel in June 1950, and got his law degree the following year. He moved to Washington City and spent most of the decade as counsel for Senate committees, although he took some time off to run brother John’s 1952 Senate campaign. He left the Senate again to run John’s presidential campaign, then served as Attorney General through the Kennedy administration and nine months under Lyndon Johnson. He continued to fight organized crime and the Teamsters, building on work he had done as counsel to the Senate Labor Rackets Committee, but distinguished himself by his steadfast support for civil rights. Kennedy left the cabinet to win a Senate seat in New York in 1964, then as his opposition to the Viet Nam war grew he threw his hat in the 1968 race for the presidency. After Johnson withdrew, Kennedy was running a strong campaign. After winning the California primary he addressed his supporters in the ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel at Los Angeles. Leaving the hotel through the kitchen he was shot down by Palestinian-born Sirhan Sirhan who apparently opposed Kennedy’s support for Israel in the Six-Day War of the year before. He died at Good Samaritan Hospital a day later and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Because his funeral train from New York City and motorcade to the cemetery was delayed, his was the only night-time funeral ever at Arlington.

Robert F. Kennedy quotes:

A revolution is coming: a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; compassionate if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough. But a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character; we cannot alter its inevitability.
    Robert F. Kennedy

All do not develop in the same manner, or at the same pace. Nations, like men, often march to the beat of different drummers, and the precise solutions of the United States can neither be dictated nor transplanted to others. What is important is that all nations must march toward increasing freedom; toward justice for all; toward a society strong and flexible enough to meet the demands of all its own people, and a world of immense and dizzying change.
    Robert F. Kennedy

All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don’t. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.
    Robert F. Kennedy

Any fact that needs to be disclosed should be put out now or as quickly as possible, because otherwise … the bleeding will not end.
    Robert F. Kennedy

At the heart of that Western freedom and democracy is the belief that the individual man, the child of God, is the touchstone of value, and all society, all groups, and states, exist for his benefit. Therefore the enlargement of liberty for individual human beings must be the supreme goal and the abiding practice of any Western society.
    Robert F. Kennedy

At the University of Natal in Durban, I was told the church to which most of the white population belongs teaches apartheid as a moral necessity. A questioner declared that few churches allow black Africans to pray with the white because the Bible says that is the way it should be, because God created Negroes to serve. ‘But suppose God is black’, I replied. ‘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?’ There was no answer. Only silence.
    Robert F. Kennedy

Democracy is no easy form of government. Few nations have been able to sustain it. For it requires that we take the chances of freedom; that the liberating play of reason be brought to bear on events filled with passion; that dissent be allowed to make its appeal for acceptance; that men chance error in their search for the truth.
    Robert F. Kennedy

Each nation has different obstacles and different goals, shaped by the vagaries of history and of experience. Yet as I talk to young people around the world I am impressed not by the diversity but by the closeness of their goals, their desires and their concerns and their hope for the future.
    Robert F. Kennedy

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.
    Robert F. Kennedy

Even government by the consent of the governed, as in our own Constitution, must be limited in its power to act against its people; so that there may be no interference with the right to worship, or with the security of the home; no arbitrary imposition of pains or penalties by officials high or low; no restrictions on the freedom of men to seek education or work or opportunity of any kind, so that each man may become all he is capable of becoming.
    Robert F. Kennedy

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 F. Kennedy

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.
    Robert F. Kennedy

Fear not the path of truth for the lack of people walking on it.
    Robert F. Kennedy

Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality of those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change.
    Robert F. Kennedy

Few of us will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of these acts will be written the history of this generation.
    Robert F. Kennedy

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