At the height of the Cold War struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union, President Kennedy stated in his inaugural address (January 20, 1961): “In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility—I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it—and the glow from that fire can truly light the world. And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.”
What can we assume was President Kennedy’s broad goal in making this speech?

uniting Americans to support the struggle to contain the Soviet Union


President Kennedy was speaking in broad terms of the Cold War struggle against Soviet expansion. We can assume he wanted Americans to support this struggle in some way. Fighting in the military, joining the Peace Corps, and paying taxes, would all be ways of supporting this struggle, but Kennedy wasn’t just thinking of one of these things in particular, and the question specifically asks for the “broad” goal. Kennedy supported the civil rights movement), but he was not talking about that in this part of his speech.

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