A quote attributed to JFK allegedly 7 days before his assassination states, “There’s a plot in this country to enslave every man, woman and child. Before I leave this high and noble office, I intend to expose this plot.” Did JFK actually speak or write these words?
There is no evidence that John F. Kennedy ever spoke or wrote these words.
We could not find this quote in exhaustive searches of JFK speeches or biographies. Let’s take a look at the possible origins of the quote and its attribution to the 35th president.
Because this quote cannot be found in published books or newspapers, our next stop was Google, where we performed various searches for websites or news articles to determine when the quote first appeared online. It’s clear that the quote first gained popularity in November 2011. The earliest dated reference to the quote we could find on the web is dated November 27, 2011 by SaveAmericaFoundation. That web page included an older version of the meme, with the word “noble” spelled incorrectly. The quote was, however, referenced even earlier in a usenet discussion which dates back to April 2004. The first few words were slightly different, reading, “There exists in this country a plot to enslave every man woman and child…”
It only appeared sporadically on Usenet until its November 2011 web appearance, which is when the quote seemed to gain traction.
7 Days Before
Virtually all versions of the quote include a claim that Kennedy spoke (or wrote) those words seven days before his assassination. This would have been November 15, 1963. On that date, JFK gave two speeches. The texts of those speeches are available online (see links below) and in neither of these speeches did the quote in question appear, nor did Kennedy mention a plot of any kind.
Secret Societies Speech
It has been suggested that the quote was merely constructed later to consolidate the ideas presented by Kennedy in his so-called “Secret Societies” speech on April 27, 1961 in New York City. In that speech, Kennedy said, in part:
The very word “secrecy” is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon by those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment.
The meaning of President Kennedy’s speech has been debated, but it is clear from transcripts that he never spoke the exact quote above. It was also not spoken immediately before his assassination, but 2.5 years before that fateful day.
There is no evidence that John F. Kennedy wrote or spoke the quote that begins, “There’s a plot in this country to enslave every man, woman, and child.” It does not exist in any history or biography of the 35th president, nor can it be found in texts of his speeches. The quote’s earliest appearance on the internet was a 2004 Usenet post, and it gained popularity as a meme in 2011.
- Remarks in New York City at the National Convention of the Catholic Youth Organization (November 15, 1963)
- Remarks in New York City at the AFL-CIO Convention (November 15, 1963)
Updated January 7, 2016
Originally published June 2013.