Skip to main content

Senator Kennedy’s Speeches

1980 Democratic National Convention

Tuesday | August 12, 1980

Senator Kennedy addressed the Democratic National Convention in New York City in 1980 after a heated primary campaign.  During his dramatic speech he called for a renew commitment to social and economic justice for all.

2008 Democratic National Convention

Monday | August 25, 2008

In a surprise appearance at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, Senator Kennedy spoke about new leadership and the hope for a “better country and a newer world.”

Democratic National Committee Work Shop on Health Care

Saturday | December 9, 1978

When Cancer affected his son Teddy at an early age, Senator Kennedy made it the cause of his career to ensure that all Americans have access to high quality, affordable health care.

Ending Segregation and Discrimination Against Disabled Americans

Thursday | September 7, 1989

Senator Kennedy was a chief sponsor, together with Senator Tom Harking, of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which ensures that disabled Americans are able to live productive lives free from discrimination.

Ending the Cold War with a Nuclear Freeze

Brown University’s Commencement Forum

Saturday | June 4, 1983

As the nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union escalated, Senator Kennedy challenged President Reagan’s policies and declared that the “best defense against nuclear war is arms control and the disarmament.”

First Floor Speech

Thursday | April 9, 1964

On April 9, 1964, barely four months after the assassination of his brother, President John F. Kennedy, Senator Kennedy gave his maiden speech on the floor of the United States Senate, urging support for the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Hamburger Hill Speech

Tuesday | May 20, 1969

At the height of our nation’s involvement in the war in Vietnam, Senator Kennedy called on President Nixon to begin an immediate drawdown of our forces in that region.

Hate Crimes Speech

Tuesday | September 25, 2007

Senator Kennedy fought to pass the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which would broaden existing law to prohibit hate crimes against women, gays, lesbians, and transgender persons.

Liberty University (formerly Liberty Baptist College) Speech

Monday | October 3, 1983

At a time in which the religious right gained prominence in American politics, Senator Kennedy spoke as a guest of the Rev. Jerry Falwell and called for an end to religious intolerance in American political debate.

Lowering the National Voting Age to 18

Monday | March 9, 1970

With the voting age at the time set to 21 years of age, Senator Kennedy argued that it was wrong that young Americans could be drafted to serve in Vietnam, but could not vote.

Peace for Northern Ireland

Friday | January 9, 1998

In 1998, Senator Kennedy visited Northern Ireland to meet with its opposing political parties and to address its people about the need for peace.  This speech and the inclusive peace talks that accompanied it led to the Good Friday Peace Agreement.

Senator Kennedy on Republicans and Minimum wage

Thursday | January 25, 2007

“When does the greed stop?”, Senator Kennedy asked in an impassioned speech on the Senate floor.

Senator Kennedy Rallies for Immigration

Monday | April 10, 2006

In 2006, Senator Kennedy introduced a bill with Senator John McCain to reform the nation’s immigration laws.  He was one of few national political leaders to join immigrants in their rallies around the country.

Senator Kennedy’s Obama Endorsement Speech

Monday | January 28, 2008

On January 28, 2008 Senator Kennedy endorsed Barack Obama for President.  Embracing Obama’s message of hope and change, Senator Kennedy passed the torch to a new generation of Americans.

Serve America Act

Tuesday | April 21, 2009

In 2009, Senator Kennedy and Senator Hatch introduced the Serve America Act.  Kennedy, battling brain cancer, attended and delivered remarks at the bill signing with President Obama.

Speech Against the Invasion of Iraq

Friday | September 27, 2002

In 2002, as the Bush administration was preparing to go to war in Iraq, Senator Kennedy was the first to argue that Iraq did not pose the type of threat that justified immediate, pre-emptive war.

The Beginning of a Lifetime of Service

Wednesday | March 14, 1962

In March of 1962, Senator Kennedy entered the United States Senate, filling the seat of his brother President Kennedy.  He went on to serving 47 years in the Senate, making him the third longest Senator of all time.

Tribute to Robert F. Kennedy

Saturday | June 8, 1968

On June 8, 1968, Senator Kennedy eulogized his brother Robert “as a good and decent man who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.”