John F Kennedy’s Land a Man on the Moon Speech – 1

One of the most famous manifestos of all time is US President John F Kennedy’s Land a Man on the Moon speech. It’s one of the best examples of a goal manifesto.

But there wasn’t one speech. There were many. And there are two famous ones.

The first speech was made to Congress on May 25, 1961. This was the famous declaration when he said:

“…I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.”

John F Kennedy, US President.
Excerpt from speech delivered before a joint session of Congress, May 25, 1961

Effectively, this was Kennedy’s pitch to Congress for funding. He needed to persuade Congress to support his bold idea. Without this, no one was landing on the moon.

 

Landing a man on the moon had never been done before. It was going to be an expensive and risky project. At the time, even the scientists doubted it could be achieved. And within the nine-year timeframe.

As a result, Kennedy made many speeches proclaiming the benefits. He needed to ensure his political rivals and the general public supported his plan.

The second famous speech was made at Rice University.

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the surface of the moon.
This was the direct result of a public declaration made by US President John F Kennedy eight years earlier.
At the time of the announcement, the US was engaged in the Cold War with the Soviet Union. Winning the space race was part of winning that war.

Sources

Original Speech to Congress, full transcript: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Ready-Reference/JFK-Speeches/Special-Message-to-the-Congress-on-Urgent-National-Needs-May-25-1961.aspx

The video at the top of this page is not the original speech. It is an excerpt from JFK’s speech at Rice University.

Full video of the latter speech at Rice University: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ouRbkBAOGEw

Geoff’s Comment

All manifestos start as a public declaration.
In this case, JFK had the power and position to commit the resources of a nation to his unreasonable quest. His manifesto inspired thousands of individuals to work toward the same goal.

Questions

What are you setting out to achieve? Do you have the authority to declare this? Who does?

More about Famous Manifestos

If you want to read more about JFK’s Land a Man on the Moon speech then check out these links:

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