Remarks before the Subcommittee on Executive Reorganization of the Committee on Government Operations of the United States Senate

December 10, 1966


Washington, D.C.

The city is not just housing and stores. It is not just education and employment, parks and theaters, banks and shops. It is a place where men should be able to live in dignity and security and harmony, where the great achievements of modern civilization and the ageless pleasures afforded by natural beauty should be available to all. If this is what we want—and this is what we must want if men are to be free for that “pursuit of happiness” which was the earliest promise of the American nation—we will need more than poverty programs, housing programs and employment programs, although we will need all of these. We will need an outpouring of imagination, ingenuity, discipline and hard work unmatched since the first adventurers set out to conquer the wilderness. For the problem is the largest we have ever known. And we confront an urban wilderness more formidable and resistant and in some ways more frightening than the wilderness faced by the pilgrims or the pioneers.