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At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 65,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Kennedy, John F. (1917-1963) [Speech of Senator John F. Kennedy to the National Rural Electric Cooperation Association]

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC05628 Author/Creator: Kennedy, John F. (1917-1963) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Typed document Date: 11 February 1959 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: Speech given in Washington, D.C. on the topic of rural electrification. Advocates continuing the development of electricity championed by Senator George W. Norris during the New Deal. Argues that electric power will be central to America's expanding economy. Criticizes the policies of the Eisenhower administration and expresses his own desire to protect the REA. Discusses the need to harness and clean the Potomac River. Ties the need to increase generating capacity with the need to keep apace with the Soviet Union, claiming that "The hard, tough question for the next decade...is whether any free society...can meet the single-minded advance of the Communists." With several autograph notations and deletions by Kennedy, especially on the verso of the last page.

People: Kennedy, John Fitzgerald, 1917-1963.
Norris, George W. (George William), 1861-1944.

Historical Era: 1945 to the Present

Keywords/Subjects: Electricity, President, Economics, New Deal, Government and Civics, Communism, Global History and Civics, Foreign Affairs

Sub Era: Postwar Politics and the Origins of the Cold War The Fifties