Governor Stevenson, Senator Johnson, Mr. Butler, Senator Symington, Senator Humphrey, Speaker Rayburn, fellow Democrats, I want to express my thanks to Governor Stevenson for his generous and heart-warming introduction.
It was my great honor to place his name in nomination at the 1956 Democratic Convention, and I am delighted to have his support and his counsel and his advice in the coming months ahead.
Let me say first that I accept the nomination of the Democratic Party.
I accept it without reservation and with only one obligation, the obligation to devote every effort of my mind and spirit to lead our Party back to victory and our Nation to greatness.
I am grateful, too -- I am grateful, too, that you have provided us with such a strong platform to stand on and to run on. Pledges which are made so eloquently are made to be kept. "The Rights of Man" -- the civil and economic rights essential to the human dignity of all men -- are indeed our goal and are indeed our first principle. This is a Platform on which I can run with enthusiasm and with conviction.
And I am grateful, finally, that I can rely in the coming months on many others: On a distinguished running-mate who brings unity and strength to our Platform and our ticket, Lyndon Johnson; on one of the most articulate spokesmen of modern times, Adlai Stevenson; on a great fighter -- on a great fighter for our needs as a Nation and a people, Stuart Symington; on my traveling companion in Wisconsin and West Virginia, Senator Hubert Humphrey; on Paul Butler, our devoted and courageous Chairman; and on that fighting campaigner whose support I now welcome, President Harry Truman.
I feel a lot safer with all of them on my side. And I'm proud of the contrast with our Republican competitors. For their ranks are so thin that not one challenger has dared to put his head up in the last twelve months.
I am fully aware of the fact that the Democratic Party, by nominating someone of my faith, has taken on what many regard as a new and hazardous risk -- new, at least since 1928. The Democratic Party has once again placed its confidence in the American people, and in their ability to render a free and fair judgment and in my ability to render a free and fair judgment.
To uphold the Constitution and my oath of office, to reject any kind of religious pressure or obligation that might directly or indirectly interfere with my conduct of the Presidency in the national interest. My record of fourteen years in supporting public education, supporting complete separation of Church and State and resisting pressure from sources of any kind should be clear by now to everyone.
I hope that no American -- I hope that no American, considering the really critical issues facing this country, will waste his franchise and throw away his vote by voting either for me or against me because of my religious affiliation. It is not relevant.
I am telling you what you are entitled to know: As I come before you seeking your support for the most powerful office in the free world -- I am saying to you that my decisions on every public policy will be my own, as an American, as a Democrat, and as a free man.
I mention all of this only because this country faces so many serious challenges, so many great opportunities, so many burdensome responsibilities that I hope that it is to those great matters that we can address ourselves in the coming months. And if this statement of mine makes it easier to concentrate on our Nation's problems, then I'm glad that I have made it.
Under any circumstances, the victory we seek in November will not be easy. We know that in our hearts. We know that our opponent will invoke the name of Abraham Lincoln on behalf of their candidate, despite the fact that his political career has often seemed to show charity towards none and malice for all.
We know it will not be easy to campaign against a man who has spoken and voted on every side of every issue. Mr. Nixon may feel that it's his turn now, after the New Deal and the Fair Deal -- but before he deals, someone's going to cut the cards.
That "someone" may be the millions of Americans who voted for President Eisenhower but would balk at his successor.
For just as historians tell us that Richard the First was not fit to fill the shoes of the bold Henry the Second, and that Richard Cromwell was not fit to wear the mantle of his uncle, they might add in future years that Richard Nixon did not measure up to the footsteps of Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Perhaps he could carry on the party policies, the policies of Nixon and Benson and Dirksen and Goldwater. But this Nation cannot afford such a luxury. Perhaps we could afford a Coolidge following Harding. And perhaps we could afford a Pierce following Fillmore. But after Buchanan this nation needed Lincoln; after Taft we needed Wilson; and after Hoover we needed Franklin Roosevelt.
But we're not merely running against Mr. Nixon. Our task is not merely one of itemizing Rep
JFK accepts the nomination of the Democratic party for President of the United States.