In His Own Words

"For all my years in public life, I have believed that America must sail toward the shores of liberty and justice for all. There is no end to that journey, only the next great voyage. We know the future will outlast all of us, but I believe that all of us will live on in the future we make."



The Beginning of a Lifetime of Service

March 14, 1962 | Boston, Massachusetts
1962 Senate Candidacy Announcement
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First Floor Speech

April 8, 1964 | Floor of the United States Senate
Standing Up for Equality and Staring Down Discrimination
On April, 9, 1964, barely four months after the assassination of his brother, President John F. Kennedy, Senator Kennedy took to the Senate floor and gave his maiden speech on the floor of the United States Senate. He chose as his topic the paramount domestic issue of the day, and urged support of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination in employment, education and public accommodations. Senator Kennedy tirelessly fought throughout his career to end discrimination and ensure justice, fairness and equal opportunity for all.
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Tribute to Robert F. Kennedy

June 8, 1968 | St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York, N.Y.
Senator Kennedy’s Tribute to Robert F. Kennedy
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Hamburger Hill Speech

May 20, 1969
Calling for an End to Military Operations in Vietnam
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Liberty Baptist College Speech

October 3, 1969 | Liberty College, Lynchburg, Virginia
A Call for Tolerance in Religious and Political Beliefs
At a time in which the religious right gained prominence in American politics, Senator Kennedy spoke to the student body of Liberty Baptist College as a guest of the Rev. Jerry Falwell and called for an end to religious intolerance in American political debate.
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Lowering the National Voting Age to 18

March 9, 1970 | Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments
Voting Age to 18 Testimony Before the Senate Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments
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Democratic National Convention Health Care

December 9, 1978 | Memphis, Tennessee
Health Care for All. A Right Not a Privilege.
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.
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1980 Democratic National Convention

August 12, 1980 | Democratic National Convention, New York City
And the Dream Shall Never Die
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 renewed commitment to social and economic justice for all.
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Ending the Cold War with a Nuclear Freeze

June 4, 1983 | Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
“Star Wars Speech.” EMK Address at the Brown University Commencement Forum.
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Ending Segregation and Discrimination Against Disabled Americans

September 7, 1989
Floor Statement Praising the Passage of the ADA
Senator Kennedy was a chief sponsor, together with Senator Tom Harkin, of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, which ensures that millions of disabled Americans are able to live productive lives free from discrimination in public accommodations and employment. The ADA requires that public facilities accommodate the needs of disabled Americans, and that employers make reasonable accommodations for disabled workers.
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Peace for Northern Ireland

January 9, 1998 | University of Ulster, Derry, Northern Ireland
Peace for the People of Northern Ireland
In January of 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 at the University of Ulster and the inclusive peace talks that accompanied it led to the Good Friday Peace Agreement and the most promising opportunity for lasting peace in the three-decade old conflict in Northern Ireland.
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Speech Against the Invasion of Iraq

September 27, 2002 | Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
Iraq: A War of Choice
In September 2002, as the Bush Administration was preparing to go to war in Iraq without the support of the international community, Senator Kennedy, in a historic speech at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, was the first to argue that Iraq did not pose the type of threat that justified immediate, pre-emptive war. When no one else would, Senator Kennedy argued that America should not rush to war and that we should get UN inspectors back into Iraq without conditions.
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Senator Kennedy Rallies for Immigration

April 10, 2006 | National Mall, Washington, D.C.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy Rallies for Immigration
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Hate Crimes Speech

September 25, 2007 | Standing Against Hate
Senator Kennedy on the Matthew Shepard Act
Facing a veto threat from the President of the United States and an uncertain vote in the U.S. Senate, Senator Kennedy fought to pass the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Eventually signed into law in a later Congress, this legislation broadens existing law to prohibit hate crimes against women, gays, lesbians, and transgender persons; and gives prosecutors enhanced ability to charge and penalize those who commit hate crimes.
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Senator Kennedy’s Obama Endorsement Speech

January 28, 2008 | American University, Washington, D.C.
Passing the Torch to a New Generation
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2008 Democratic National Convention

August 25, 2008 | Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado
And the Dream Lives On
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Serve America Act

April 21, 2009 | SEED School, Washington, D.C.
Remarks of Senator Edward M. Kennedy at the Signing of the Serve America Act
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