In 1962, President John F. Kennedy traveled to Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence was debated and signed, for a Fourth of July speech that highlighted its lasting importance, writes Michael S. Rosenwald for The Washington Post.
During his Independence Hall speech, President Kennedy told the audience of more than 90,000 people that he had visited the National Archives a week before to look at the Declaration of Independence.
“To read it today is to hear a trumpet call,” he said. “For that Declaration unleashed not merely a revolution against the British, but a revolution in human affairs. Its authors were highly conscious of its worldwide implications.”
He also linked the document to his policies both at home and abroad, emphasizing that the idea of national independence is cherished by everybody.
“Even those unwilling or unable to take part in any struggle between East and West are strongly on the side of their own national independence,” he said.
Read more about JFK’s speech in Philadelphia in The Washington Post by clicking here or listen to a July 4th 1957 recording of the then Freshman Senator from Massachusetts read the entire Declaration of Independence above.