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25 Robert Kennedy Quotes That Could Heal a Nation

Robert Kennedy, like his brother JFK, was an American politician.

Bobby, as he is often referred to, served in the US Naval Reserve, graduated from Harvard, and got his law degree from the University of Virginia.

He was also a senator from 1965 until 1968, when sadly, just like his brother, he was assassinated.

These Robert Kennedy quotes provide insight into how he felt about government, the law, and life.

There is even one about all his siblings!

Robert Kennedy was a prominent member of the democratic party and is viewed as an icon of modern American liberalism.

He held some impressive legal jobs, like Chief Counsel of the Senate Labor Rackets Committee.

He was active in his brother’s 1952 campaign for senator, and his 1960 campaign for president.

When JFK emerged victorious, Bobby was appointed as Attorney General.

Keep reading to learn more about who Robert Kennedy was, and how he shaped a movement.

Don’t forget to also check out these John F. Kennedy quotes on life, politics, and greatness.

Famous Robert Kennedy quotes about the meaning and ramifications of freedom

1. “Whenever men take the law into their own hands, the loser is the law. And when the law loses, freedom languishes.” ― Robert Kennedy

2. “Hand in hand with freedom of speech goes the power to be heard, to share in the decisions of government which shape men’s lives.”― Robert Kennedy

3. “Ultimately, America’s answer to the intolerant man is diversity, the very diversity which our heritage of religious freedom has inspired.” ― Robert Kennedy

4. “The freeway of life proposes ends, but it does not prescribe means.” ― Robert Kennedy

5. “The travail of freedom and justice is not easy, but nothing serious and important in life is easy. The history of humanity has been a continuing struggle against temptation and tyranny – and very little worthwhile has ever been achieved without pain.” ― Robert Kennedy

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6. “If freedom makes social progress possible, so social progress strengthens and enlarges freedom.” ― Robert Kennedy

7. “Freedom possesses many meanings. It speaks not merely in terms of political and religious liberty, but also in terms of economic and social progress.” ― Robert Kennedy

8. “No one needs to tell me about the importance of the free press in a democratic society or about the essential role a newspaper can play in its community.” ― Robert Kennedy

Famous RFK quotes about Racial Injustice

9. “We in the United States believe in the protection of minorities; we recognize the contributions that they can make and the leadership that they can provide, and we do not believe that any people – whether majority or minority or individual human beings – are ‘expendable’ in the cause of theory or of policy.” ― Robert Kennedy

10. “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

11. “Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings. He died in the cause of that effort.” ― Robert Kennedy

12. “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

13. “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

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14. “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

Bobby Kennedy quotes and words of inspiration

15. “Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not.” ― Robert Kennedy

16. “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” ― Robert Kennedy

17. “Progress is a nice word. But change is its motivator. And change has its enemies.” ― Robert Kennedy

18. “Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live.” ― Robert Kennedy

19. “In my judgment, physical fitness is basic to all forms of excellence and to a strong, confident nation.” ― Robert Kennedy

20. “I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil.” ― Robert Kennedy

21. “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 a comfortable past which, in fact, never existed.” ― 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. “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

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24. “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

25. “Every generation inherits a world it never made; and, as it does so, it automatically becomes the trustee of that world for those who come after. In due course, each generation makes its own accounting to its children.” ― Robert Kennedy

What did you learn from these Robert Kennedy quotes?

Robert Kennedy was a sharp legal mind and a progressive thinker.

He fought hard for the civil rights movement and believed in the promise of a great America.

His assassination happened before he could complete his bid for presidency.

The poor and young voters rallied for him; as did the African American, Hispanic, and Catholic voters, but the world never got to see a RFK presidency.

The brothers shared more than their family and political aspirations.

Both of their assassinations have become fodder for conspiracy theories and analysis.

Robert Kennedy was shot with a pistol by Sirhan Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian.

Sirhan claimed it was in retaliation for Kennedy’s support of Israel following the 1967 Six-Day War.

Kennedy died the following morning.

Sirhan was subsequently arrested, tried, and convicted.

Some Americans viewed Robert Kennedy as a “ruthless” opportunist.

His own father thought he was the child that was most like him, and “hard as nails.”

His mother, like the rest of Americans, saw him as a compassionate leader.

As we find ourselves in another time of division as a country, I wonder what Robert Kennedy would have to say.

What’s your biggest takeaway from these Robert Kennedy quotes and sayings?

Feel free to leave any other RFK quotes in the comment section below.

Danielle Dahl, Lead Contributor
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