John Fitzgerald Kennedy, a Democrat from Massachusetts, won the 1960 presidential election against Richard Nixon, a Republican. Kennedy delivered this address at his inauguration as president on 20 January 1961, which took place on the east steps of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. A little less than three years later, on 22 November 1963, he would become the fourth president in U.S. history to be assassinated when he was shot while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas.
This is considered one of the finest inaugural addresses in U.S. history, though it is also one of the shortest. More than providing a broad overview of plans for his administration, Kennedy offered a lofty and stirring view of American democracy and values in the context of recent history — World War II had ended not even 16 years earlier — and the Cold War, which was nearing its height at that point. It was in this address that Kennedy made his resounding call, “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”
The handout is designed with classroom needs in mind. The text is set in easy-to-read, 11-point type. Lines of text are numbered for easy reference in classroom discussion. A lined section on the right side of the page provides space for the reader to take notes. (These lines use the same spacing as college-ruled notepaper.) An introduction (the same as the first paragraph above) provides brief context and background to the reader. Several footnotes provide more information on people and references mentioned in the address. The document's title as well as country and year of publication are clearly indicated. The handout is optimized for black-and-white printing and to save printer/photocopier ink/toner to reduce your printing costs.