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A New View of Citizenship

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From 1961 Revisited
1961 Revisited
(Image by H. Michael Karshis)
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1961 Revisited by H. Michael Karshis

"The trumpet summons us again ...struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself."

President John F. Kennedy, 1961 [i]


The New Vision


In his Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961, President John F. Kennedy outlined a new conception of citizenship.   There he said:


"Now the trumpet summons us again--not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need--not as a call to battle, though embattled we are--but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, 'rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation'--a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself.'"


The Old Philosophy of Citizenship


Many hold that our society is merely a rule-of-law system with no need to have any concern for the quality of the individual citizens who populate it.   Such individuals tend to believe that our founding fathers did not have a common view of citizenship or they believe that this view is embedded in the constitution.   But this is not correct.   Their real view was actually embodied in their way of life.   And they were conscious of this fact.


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Eric Z. Lucas is an alumnus of Stanford University (Creative Writing Major: 1972-1975), the University of Washington (1981: BA English Literature and Elementary Education) and Harvard Law School, J.D. 1986. Since law school he has been a public (more...)

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