65 Robert Kennedy Quotes On Success In Life

Robert Francis Kennedy also referred to by his initials RFK and occasionally by the nickname Bobby, was an American politician and lawyer who served as the 64th United States Attorney General from January 1961 to September 1964, and as a U.S. Senator from New York from January 1965 until his assassination in June 1968. He was, like his brothers John and Edward, a prominent member of the Democratic Party and has come to be viewed by some historians as an icon of modern American liberalism. These Robert Kennedy quotes will motivate you.

Best Robert Kennedy Quotes

  1. “Every time we turn our heads the other way when we see the law flouted, when we tolerate what we know to be wrong, when we close our eyes and ears to the corrupt because we are too busy or too frightened when we fail to speak up and speak out, we strike a blow against freedom and decency and justice.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  2. “What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  3. “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” ~ Robert Kennedy
  4. “When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies…” ~ Robert Kennedy
  5. “It is from the numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  6. “The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.” ~ Robert Kennedy

  7. “There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  8. “Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change the world which yields most painfully to change.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  9. “Every time you stand up for an ideal, you send forth a tiny ripple of hope.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  10. “Our attitude towards immigration reflects our faith in the American ideal. We have always believed it possible for men and women who start at the bottom to rise as far as the talent and energy allow. Neither race nor place of birth should affect their chances.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  11. “What is objectionable, what is dangerous, about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  12. “But history will judge you, and as the years pass, you will ultimately judge yourself, in the extent to which you have used your gifts and talents to lighten and enrich the lives of your fellow men. In your hands lies the future of your world and the fulfillment of the best qualities of your own spirit.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  13. “It is the essence of responsibility to put the public good ahead of personal gain” ~ Robert Kennedy

  14. “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” ~ Robert Kennedy
  15. “He tells so many lies that he convinces himself after a while that he’s telling the truth. He just doesn’t recognize truth or falsehood.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  16. “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  17. “Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  18. “Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies.” ~ Robert Kennedy

  19. “If any man claims the Negro should be content… let him say he would willingly change the color of his skin and go to live in the Negro section of a large city. Then and only then has he a right to such a claim.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  20. “For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly, destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is a slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  21. “This much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  22. “Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total; of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  23. “I dream of things that are not and ask why not.” ~ Robert Kennedy

  24. “Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  25. “All great questions must be raised by great voices, and the greatest voice is the voice of the people – speaking out – in prose, or painting or poetry or music; speaking out – in homes and halls, streets and farms, courts and cafes – let that voice speak and the stillness you hear will be the gratitude of mankind.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  26. “The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of bold projects and new ideas. Rather, it will belong to those who can blend passion, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the great enterprises and ideals of American society.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  27. “But suppose God is black? What if we go to Heaven and we, all our lives, have treated the Negro as an inferior, and God is there, and we look up and He is not white? What then is our response?” ~ Robert Kennedy
  28. “Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves.” ~ Robert Kennedy

  29. “Whenever any American’s life is taken by another American unnecessarily – whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence – whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  30. “We must recognize the full human equality of all our people – before God, before the law, and in the councils of government. We must do this not because it is economically advantageous – although it is; not because the laws of God and man command it – although they do command it; not because people in other lands wish it so. We must do it for the single and fundamental reason that it is the right thing to do.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  31. “…the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  32. “Fear not the path of Truth for the lack of People walking on it.” ~ Robert Kennedy

  33. “I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil. Government belongs wherever evil needs an adversary and there are people in distress.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  34. “While free markets tend to democratize a society, unfettered capitalism leads invariably to corporate control of government.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  35. “In your hands lies the future of your world and the fulfillment of the best qualities of your own spirit.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  36. “The future does not belong to those who are content with today Rather, it will belong to those who can blend vision, reason, and courage in a personal commitment.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  37. “Too often we honor swagger and bluster and the wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  38. “Our future may lie beyond our vision, but it is not completely beyond our control. It is the shaping impulse of America that neither fate nor nature nor the irresistible tides of history, but the work of our own hands, matched to reason and principle.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  39. “The natural state of a human being is dignity.” ~ Robert Kennedy

  40. “All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don’t. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  41. “I think we can end the divisions within the United States. What I think is quite clear is that we can work together in the last analysis. And that what has been going on with the United States over the period of that last three years, the divisions, the violence, the disenchantment with our society, the divisions – whether it’s between blacks and whites, between the poor and the more affluent, or between age groups, or in the war in Vietnam – that we can work together. We are a great country, an unselfish country, and a compassionate country. And I intend to make that my basis for running.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  42. “This world demands the qualities of youth; not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  43. “The greatest truth must be recognition that in every man, in every child is the potential for greatness.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  44. “I think there is an obligation on the part of all of us to stay informed and aware.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  45. “Always forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” ~ Robert Kennedy

  46. “Some believe there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world’s ills… Yet many of the world’s great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man” ~ Robert Kennedy
  47. “The future is not a gift: it is an achievement. Every generation helps make its own future. This is the essential challenge of the present” ~ Robert Kennedy
  48. “Our answer is the world’s hope; it is to rely on youth. The cruelties and the obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. It cannot be moved by those who cling to a present which is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement and danger which comes with even the most peaceful progress. This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease…” ~ Robert Kennedy
  49. “Virginia States’ rights, as our forefathers conceived it, was a protection of the right of the individual citizen. Those who preach most frequently about states’ rights today are not those seeking the protection of the individual citizen, but his exploitation. The time is long past — if indeed it ever existed — when we should permit the noble concept of states’ rights to be betrayed.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  50. “Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live.” ~ Robert Kennedy

  51. “Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  52. “Just because we cannot see clearly the end of the road, that is no reason for not setting out on the essential journey. On the contrary, great change dominates the world, and unless we move with change we will become its victims.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  53. “The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  54. “It is not enough to understand, or to see clearly. The future will be shaped in the arena of human activity, by those willing to commit their minds and their bodies to the task.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  55. “It is immoral to see evil and not act on it.” ~ Robert Kennedy

  56. “But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  57. “We can master change not though force or fear, but only though the free work of an understanding mind, though an openness to new knowledge and fresh outlooks, which can only strengthen the most fragile and most powerful of human gifts: the gift of reason.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  58. “Men without hope resigned to despair and oppression, do not make revolutions. It is when expectation replaces submission when despair is touched with the awareness of possibility, that the forces of human desire and the passion for justice are unloosed.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  59. “What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by an assassin’s bullet…” ~ Robert Kennedy
  60. “You’re happiest while you’re making the greatest contribution.” ~ Robert Kennedy

  61. “People are selfish. But they can also be compassionate and generous, and they care about the country. But not when they feel threatened. That’s why this is such a crucial time. We can go in either direction. But if we don’t make a choice soon, it will be too late to turn things around. I think people are willing to make the right choice. But they need leadership. They’re hungry for leadership.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  62. “Together, we can make ourselves a nation that spends more on books than on bombs, more on hospitals than the terrible tools of war, more on decent houses than military aircraft.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  63. “Ultimately, America’s answer to the intolerant man is diversity, the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  64. “Nations around the world look to us for the leadership not merely by strength of arms but by strength of our convictions.” ~ Robert Kennedy
  65. “The essential humanity of men can be protected and preserved only where government must answer, not just to the wealthy, not just to those of a particular religion, or a particular race, but to all its people.” ~ Robert Kennedy

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