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The Torch Has Passed to a New Generation: John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address and Responsibility

45 min

Walk-In-The-Shoes Questions
As you read, imagine you are the protagonist.

  • What challenges are you facing?
  • What fears or concerns might you have?
  • What may prevent you from acting in the way you ought?

Observation Questions

  • What was John F. Kennedy’s identity during this time? Was it different from how others perceived his identity?
  • What were the purposes of Kennedy’s speech? What were Kennedy’s purposes as president?
  • What did the purpose of Kennedy’s speech reveal about him as a leader?
  • Kennedy implored his fellow citizens to act responsibly in their own lives. What did this say about Kennedy’s own identity?

Discussion Questions
Discuss the following questions with your students.

  • What is the historical context of the narrative?
  • What historical circumstances presented a challenge to the protagonist?
  • How and why did the individual exhibit a moral and/or civic virtue in facing and overcoming the challenge?
  • How did the exercise of the virtue benefit civil society?
  • How might exercise of the virtue benefit the protagonist?
  • What might the exercise of the virtue cost the protagonist?
  • Would you react the same under similar circumstances? Why or why not?
  • How can you act similarly in your own life? What obstacles must you overcome in order to do so?
  • Students will analyze John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address.
  • Students will examine Kennedy’s understanding of responsibility in American citizens.
  • Students will understand why acting responsibly affects the future of the United States.
  • Students will act responsibly in their own lives to protect freedom.

Student Handouts