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John F. Kennedy: Address to the Economic Club of New York
Posted by AmericanRhetoric.com on 01/21/2013 at 6:21 PM

Mr. Trippe, Mr. Rockefeller, General Clay, gentlemen:

I feel tonight somewhat like I felt when I addressed in 1960 the Houston Ministers Conference on the separation of church and state. But I am glad to have a chance to talk to you tonight about the advantages of the free enterprise system.

Less than a month ago, this nation reminded the world that it possessed both the will and the weapons to meet any threat to the security of free men. The gains we have made will not be given up and the course that we have pursued will not be abandoned. But in the long run, that security will not be determined by military or diplomatic moves alone. It will be affected by the decisions of finance ministers, as well as by the decisions of Secretaries of State and Secretaries of Defense; by the deployment of fiscal and monetary weapons, as well as by military weapons; and, above all, by the strength of this nation's economy, as well as by the strength of our defenses.

You will recall that Chairman Khrushchev has said that he believed that the hinge of world history would begin to move when the Soviet Union out-produced the United States. Therefore, the subject to which we address ourselves tonight concerns not merely our own well-being, but also very vitally the defense of the free world.

America's rise to world leadership in the century since the Civil War has reflected more than anything else our unprecedented economic growth. Interrupted during the decade of the 30s, the vigorous expansion of our economy was resumed in 1940 and continued for more than 15 years thereafter. It demonstrated for all to see the power of freedom and the efficiency of free institutions. The economic health of this nation has been, and is now, fundamentally sound.

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