Democracy: Limitations and Possibilities dbq


G. Robert F. Kennedy Runs for President



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G. Robert F. Kennedy Runs for President

Primary source:
Robert F. Kennedy, announcement of his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president, speech, 1968.
Background information: Many Americans who supported President Johnson's (1908–73) domestic policy, which included the War on Poverty, were critical of the president's decision to escalate U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. As antiwar sentiment grew, Robert F. Kennedy (1925–68), U.S. senator from New York, announced that he would run against President Johnson for the Democratic nomination for president in 1968. In his speech he addressed the nation's domestic problems and appealed to African Americans, Latinos, women, and the poor. [ . . . ]

I do not run for the Presidency merely to oppose any man, but to propose new policies. I run because I am convinced that this country is on a perilous course and because I am obliged to do all I can. I run to seek new policies—policies to end the bloodshed in Vietnam and in our cities, policies to close the gaps between black and white, rich and poor, young and old, in this country and around the world.... [ . . . ]

As a member of the Cabinet and a member of the Senate I have seen the inexcusable and ugly deprivation which causes children to starve in Mississippi, black citizens to riot in Watts, young Indians to commit suicide on their reservations because they lack all hope and they feel they have no future, and proud, able-bodied families to wait our their lives in empty idleness in Eastern Kentucky. I have traveled and listened to the young people of our Nation and felt their anger about the war they are sent to fight and the world they are about to inherit.... [ . . . ]
Robert F. Kennedy's announcement of his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president, Washington Post, 17 March 1968, p. A6. Full text is at http://www.rfkmemorial.org/RFK/68_announcement.htm.




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