|222. Rear Platform and Other Informal Remarks in Kentucky and West Virginia|
October 1, 1948 |
[1.] SHELBYVILLE, KENTUCKY (Rear platform, 8:45 a.m.)
Mr. Chairman and citizens of Shelby County:
I imagine all the county is here; it is a very great pleasure to me this morning to have had the privilege of stopping in Shelbyville.
My grandfather Truman ran off with Mary Jane Holmes and was married here in Shelbyville, and lived on an adjoining farm out here west of town. Then he went to Missouri--was afraid to go back home. And about 3 or 4 years after that, why his father-in-law sent for him to come home, he wanted to see the first grandchild. That settled things and they got together, and my grandfather Young and grandmother Young lived right around here. My grandmother was the youngest of 13 children, and they lived out here on the farm between here and Louisville. The house sat half in Jefferson County and half in Shelby County, and when my grandmother's brother--she was raised by her oldest brother--didn't want to serve on the jury in Jefferson County, he would move over to Shelby County, and when he didn't want to serve in Shelby County, he moved to Jefferson--he was very conveniently fixed.
But I am proud of my Kentucky ancestry, naturally. Kentucky and Missouri are just symbolic of the ancestry there. Missouri was settled by people from Kentucky and Tennessee mostly, and the central part of Missouri from St. Louis to Kansas City is just a cross-section of Kentuckians, so I know exactly what you think about, and how you like things. If you will come out to Jackson County, I will show you a slice of Kentucky.
You are interested, of course, in this campaign, and it will be one of the most historic campaigns in the history of the United States, because there is just one issue in this campaign, and that issue is do the people rule the country or do the special interests rule the country.
Now, you are a great farming community here, and the first thing that this Republican Congress did, as soon as it got into session, was to begin to cut the ground from under the farmer.
You see, the Democratic administration, in 1933, took over the country when the farmers were broke, when the banks were closing all over the country so fast you were afraid to go into one for fear it would blow up in your face before you could get out. The laboringman was considered just a part of the cost of production.
The Democratic administrations inaugurated a policy which put the farmer on his feet in the right place, and gave him a fair share of the income of the country, and they did the same for the laboringman, and did the same for small business. And there hasn't been a bank failure in the United States in the last 3 years, due to the fact that we inaugurated the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
I don't think these Republicans dare tear up what the Democrats have done for the country. The farmer's income this year is $18 billion, compared with 4 1/2 billion in 1932. One hundred and twenty-three thousand farmers were put off their farms in 1932, and only 800 last year.
Now, if the farmers know which side their bread is buttered on, they will send the Democrats back to Congress, and they will let me live in the White House another 4 years, and I won't be troubled with the housing shortage.
You are interested in farm products, particularly tobacco. If it weren't for the price support program, you tobacco raisers would be out the window. That is Democratic policy, but the Republicans want to tear that up, and they have indicated that they will tear it up, if they get control of the Congress as well as the White House. They would have done it this time, if I hadn't been sitting there to prevent them from doing it. Now, in order to prevent that Republican Both Congress from being repeated in the 81st Congress, you will elect Virgil Chapman to the Senate of the United States from Kentucky, and you will elect Frank Chelf to the Congress; and if you do that all over the United States, we won't have another "donothing" Congress like we have had for the last 2 years.
[2.] FRANKFORT, KENTUCKY (Rear platform, 9:30 a.m.)
I certainly appreciate the privilege of stopping here in Frankfort this morning in the capital of the great State of Kentucky, and I am highly appreciative of this wonderful reception which you have given me.
It shows that you are interested in the affairs of state. It shows that you want to get the facts in this campaign. It shows that you are citizens of the greatest Republic in the world, and that you want to exercise the privileges of a citizen of this great country of ours. And if you exercise those privileges as you should, our Republic will continue to be the greatest that the sun has ever shone on.
If you do not exercise those privileges, the first thing you know, you will have a clique in control of the Government, and it will be out of your hands. And that is what you are faced with in this campaign.
If you do your duty as you should on election day, we won't be troubled with a Congress like the one we have now. Two-thirds of the people of the United States stayed at home and did not go out and vote, and that is how we got that 80th "do-nothing" Congress, the Congress that is the special privilege Congress. That Congress immediately went to work to cut the ground from under labor, and from under the farmer, and from under the general workingman, and the businessman who had a small business.
The Democratic Party believes in a fair distribution of the income of this country, so that everybody gets his fair share. We believe that labor ought to be well paid, we believe the farmer ought to get good prices, and we believe that small labor ought to be protected so he won't be gobbled up by the trusts.
That is the fight that we are making in this campaign now, and I want you to use good judgment and send Virgil Chapman to the Senate, and send Tom Underwood from the 6th District to represent this district in the Congress. And if we can get a Congress like that, the country will be safe from the special privilege fellows.
I want you to study the issues in this campaign. I wish I had the time to stand here and discuss them with you. I have gone from one end of the country to the other, and if you will study those issues, you can't help but go to the polls on election day and vote the Democratic ticket straight. And if you do that, we will have a Congress that is a Congress of the people, and not a Congress of special privilege; and I won't have to move out of the White House.
[3.] LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY (Rear platform, 10:35 a.m.)
Mr. Underwood, next Congressman from this district:
I appreciate that introduction very much. I am certainly happy to be here in Lexington, in the heart of the blue grass country. You know, every Kentuckian that used to come to Missouri--and they are pretty near the same way yet--would always say they had come from the blue grass of Kentucky near Lexington, and that old Doc Dudley had been the physician of their grandparents, and that set them up just right in Missouri.
I am sorry I can't stay very long this time, but you know that I am in the midst of a political race, and I have to keep running.
You people know a great deal about horse races in Lexington, and you know that it doesn't matter which horse is ahead or behind at any given moment, it's the horse that comes out ahead at the finish that Counts.
I am trying to do in politics what Citation has done in the horse races.
I propose at the finish line on November the 2d to come out ahead, because I think the people understand what the issues are in this campaign.
The stakes are high. In fact, the prosperity of this country is at stake. For the last 16 years our country has enjoyed increasing prosperity. The farms are prosperous, business is doing well, and the workers are reaping the benefits of full employment.
You know, last year this Nation had the greatest income in the history of the world. The national income was more than $217 billion, and there was a fair distribution of that income. The businessman got his fair share, the laboringman got his fair share, and the farmers got their fair share.
That was not a Republican policy, that was a policy inaugurated by the Democratic Party in 1933, when the farmer was at the bottom of the pile, and the workingman was out of work--14 or 15 million idle people in the country in 1932 when Franklin Roosevelt took over the Government.
Since that time, the farmer is at the top of the heap. We have 61 million employed, the greatest number of employed in the history of the world. And if we had inflation control, which I have asked for from the Congress time and time again, everybody would have been extremely happy.
Now, I wonder if you people here want to go back to 8-cent tobacco, and 3-cent hogs, and 15-cent corn, and 25-cent wheat. Well, that is what you were getting in 1932, when your farms were being taken away from you. You almost didn't have a market for your tobacco because you didn't have a place to raise it part of the time because the mortgagers were taking away your farms. There were 123,000 farmers taken off their farms in 1932. The smallest number of foreclosures in the history of the country was last year, less than 800.
That's all there is in this campaign--it's the special interests against the people. The people, I am sure, understand that situation, and if they understand it, they are going to send Virgil Chapman to the Senate from Kentucky this year, and they are going to send Tom Underwood to the House from this district this year.
I would like to see a complete Democratic delegation from Kentucky this year. You are going to have a man from Kentucky for Vice President this year, one of the greatest legislators that ever was in the Congress. He ranks with Henry Clay and those other great men of Kentucky.
Kentucky will take the place of Texas in the Congress, if Kentucky will just send a Democratic delegation to the Congress. You know, there was a time when Texas controlled all the principal committees in Congress under their chairmanships. Kentucky this time will have a Vice President. Kentucky, if it has a delegation in the Congress, will have some of the greatest chairmanships there are in the Congress.
Don't fail to do that now. Get up early on election day and go out and cast your vote for the straight Democratic ticket, and you can't make a mistake; and if you do that, I won't be troubled with the housing shortage and I can stay in the White House another 4 years.
[4.] WINCHESTER, KENTUCKY (Rear platform, 11:20 a.m.)
I appreciate very much that introduction, and I'm going to make you a promise that some day, if everything holds together and I'm President for the next 4 years--which I think I will be--we'll come back to Winchester, and I'm going to let you make that 30-minute speech that you had in your system that morning.
You know, I can't tell you how I appreciate the cordiality of the welcome I have received in the great State of Kentucky. Every city and town where we stopped the people have turned out just like this--not quite so many in some places, but just as cordial and just as happy as they possibly can be. And that makes me feel like I'm not wasting my time when I go up and down the country telling the people what the issues are in this campaign.
I've made it perfectly plain that the issues in this campaign are just the people against the special interests. The Democrats represent the people and the Republicans represent the special interests. And I have tried to prove that to every voter in the Nation that I have been able to come in contact with. And I think I have seen some 2,500,000 of them on this trip--and that's a record, ladies and gentlemen. That's a record.
This, you know, is the center of a great farming community. You're dependent on tobacco and agricultural crops in this part of the country, and if you study the issues carefully you'll find that just as soon as the Republicans got control of Congress they immediately began to try to cut the floor from under the agricultural policy which the Democrats inaugurated in 1933.
I wonder, now, if you would care to go back to 8-cent tobacco and 3-cent hogs and 15-cent corn and 25-cent wheat. That's what you had in 1932--and that's what these Republicans are trying to give you again.
The very first thing they did when they got there was to try to cut the ground from under the Agricultural Adjustment Act.
You can't afford to have that done. It's in your personal interest to go out and vote for yourselves on election day, and when you do that you'll vote a straight Democratic ticket-and you'll send Tom Underwood to the Congress, and you'll send Virgil Chapman to the Senate. And if you do that I'm very sure that you'll elect the present occupant of the White House, and he won't have to move out and be troubled with the housing shortage.
Don't fail to get to the polls early now, and vote a straight Democratic ticket.
[5.] MT. STERLING, KENTUCKY (Rear platform, 11:50 a.m.)
I appreciate very much that most cordial welcome here in Mr. Sterling. You know, that welcome seems to be innate to Kentuckians. Kentuckians have been so cordial to me, in every city I have been through, that I feel like I am a Kentuckian, and I appreciate it most highly, because I am by descent.
It is always a privilege for me to stop and visit with you, and if I had time, I would rather circulate through the crowd and talk to you, and listen to what you have to say, for that is what I like to do.
Kentucky, however, looks very prosperous this year; in fact, the whole country is doing pretty well. Under a Democratic administration, don't forget that!
Senator Barkley and I are going to keep Kentucky and the rest of the country on the high-road of prosperity. And you can help Senator Barkley and me do that if you will send Joe Bates to Congress, and send Virgil Chapman to the Senate. I know you are really with me on that request.
The key question in this campaign is whether we are going to keep running smoothly under a Democratic administration or whether we are going to let the country slide backward. I have known a lot of good Republicans in my life, but the Republican leadership of the 80th Congress have never listened to them, they have been doing what the lobbies said, not what the people said. This Congress has been completely surrounded with lobbies. More lobbies worked for this Both Congress than ever before in the history of the country. And they accomplished their purpose. This Congress did not work for the welfare of the whole people, they worked for the benefit of the lobbyists and the special interests. That is the reason I am very anxious for you to make a change there.
I told you last night in Louisville that there ought to be a change, you ought to change that Congress and put in a Democratic Congress that will work for the people. I am very sure that is what you are going to do before you get through.
Now if you remember, back in 1932, the Democratic administration is the difference between 15-cent corn and $1.47 corn, the difference between 8 1/2-cent tobacco and 50-cent tobacco. I don't believe you want to turn the clock back to the old days of Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover, and again go broke and have all your farms foreclosed, as was done in 1932. Last year there were fewer foreclosures than ever before in the history of the country.
You people who get your living from the soil, in my opinion had better go to the polls on election day and vote in your own special interest, and that is the interest of all the people. And if you do that, you will vote the Democratic ticket straight, and then I won't be troubled with the housing shortage in 1949, and I will still stay in the White House.
[6.] MOREHEAD, KENTUCKY (Rear platform, 12:45 p.m.)
I appreciate most highly that introduction. There must be something sweet about me, because there's a honeybee flying around this microphone. I'll say this to you, that Kentucky has been mighty sweet to me since I came into the State yesterday afternoon. I think I have seen more Kentuckians on this one trip than any other man in the history of the country; and they have been giving me a most cordial welcome, and I highly appreciate it.
This is beautiful country we have been coming through. It is country that reminds me of home. We have a part of Missouri that looks exactly like Kentucky. Missouri, you know, was settled by Kentuckians--all four of my grandparents were Kentuckians; and I met a football player at Lexington awhile ago, named Lee Truman, who is a great grandson of my grandfather's brother. Now, you figure out what that relationship is. But you are not interested in relationships, you didn't come out here to listen to me talk about that.
I want to discuss with you just a little bit the issues that are before this country. The one issue is the people against special privilege. And that issue was brought about by the election of the 80th Congress, the Congress which I call the Republican "donothing" 80th Congress, which since it has been controlled by Republican leadership the Democrats have had nothing to say about legislation in the last 2 years, except to head off some very bad legislation that this Republican Congress wanted to put through, and which required two-thirds vote to override, and I vetoed. The Democrats usually sustain me on my vetoes, and I put through more vetoes than any President except Grover Cleveland.
I want you to keep in mind that this is a crusade for the people against special privilege, and if you want to make that crusade work here in Kentucky, you will send Virgil Chapman to the Senate, and Joe Bates back to the House of Representatives, and then I will have some people to support me in the next administration--for I expect to be the next President--who will not allow the undermining of the program which the Democrats set up in 1933 for the farmer.
As you know, if it weren't for the price support program, which was inaugurated by the Democrats in the Agricultural Adjustment Act, you would be back probably getting 8 cents a pound for your tobacco, 3 cents a pound for hogs, and 15 cents a bushel for corn, and a quarter a bushel for wheat. That policy was inaugurated by the Democrats, with an objective in view: to put the farmers on a parity with industry, and that parity has been working.
We have a price support program that has caused the farmer to create a production situation that is the greatest in the history of the world. We have produced in the last 7 years food to feed ourselves and our army while it was in the field, and food to keep the world from starving to death. If it hadn't been for this country's wonderful production, encouraged by Democratic policies, millions of people would have starved to death.
Now then, the Republicans, as soon as they got the chance, tried to undermine that program. The Democratic record on the farm price supports is crystal clear. We enacted it, and we intend to support it.
But what do you think the Republicans intend to do about price supports? Right now, just because elections are coming up in a month, they are making a lot of campaign promises. Republicans don't talk that way except at election time.
Let me read to you what a Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania said right on the floor of the House of Representatives last June about price supports. He is a member of the House Agricultural Committee. This is what he said, and I am quoting him. "The whole parity program is wrong. The farmers are disgusted with this ridiculous program."
He is trying to tell the farmers that they don't want the prices they are getting now as compared with the prices they got in 1932. I wonder if that is so?
The Republican attitude on 'price supports is just an example of how they feel toward the farmer, the workingman, the small businessman, and the white-collar man.
You people can't afford to have a party in control in Washington that threatens your well-being.
It is up to you, whether you will turn your Government over to these men in November. If you want a Government that looks out for you, and looks out for peace and prosperity, you are going to vote the Democratic ticket on election day; and I think that is what you are going to do.
This is a crucial election, and that is the reason I am so happy to see so many young people out at every one of these stops, because they are interested in their Government, they are interested in the welfare of this country, and they are the coming generation.
I have said it time and again, that I think we are facing the greatest age in history, and I have said many a time that I wish I were 14 years old instead of 64 years old, and I could see the next generation and how it looks, because we are on the threshold of one of the finest ages that the world has ever seen, and this country is working toward that end.
It has been the policy of this Government to work for peace and prosperity--peace in the world and prosperity in the United States, and that is the policy that I intend to continue.
That is the reason I am making this trip across the country, because I want you people to understand exactly what the issues are: the people against special privilege.
Now, whatever you do, go to the polls early on election day, and don't waste any time. Just take that ticket and vote the Democratic ticket straight down the line, and you will be helping your country, and helping yourselves. You will be not only voting for me, and Virgil Chapman, and Joe Bates, but you will be voting for yourselves and your best interests; and I believe that is exactly what you are going to do.
Thank you very much.
[7.] OLIVE HILL, KENTUCKY (Rear platform, 1:21 p.m.)
You know, I like that prophecy very much, because I'm as sure as I can be, after this trip around the country, that the people aren't being fooled at all by Republican propaganda. We're going to have a Democratic Congress and a Democratic President for the next 4 years.
I can't tell you how very much I appreciate the wonderful welcome I have received in Kentucky. It's been just like this everywhere I have been for the last 2 days. And I can't understand why you do it, unless you're interested in the things I have to tell you.
I've been trying to tell the people what the issues are. I have been trying to give them a cross-section of why it's necessary for the President of the United States to make a campaign like this.
Well, I'll tell you why it is. I want you to know the facts and the truth about the issues that are before the country at this time. And if you know the facts and the truth you can't help but vote the Democratic ticket straight.
There is just one issue, and that is the people against special privilege.
You know, the first thing they did, when the Republicans got control of the 80th Congress, was to begin to take away the rights of labor. You see, when the Democrats took over the Government in 1933 they passed a Magna Carta for labor, known as the Wagner Act, and that act gave labor the right to bargain collectively with their employers and gave them a fair chance for a fair distribution of the profits and the wages in industry.
Well, the first thing this Both "do-nothing" Congress did was to try to tear up that Wagner Act by the Taft-Hartley law. I like to say "Taft-Hartley" because Mr. Taft said, in the last election year in Kentucky, that how that election went would show what would happen in the country. Well, you elected a Democratic Governor by the biggest majority that Kentucky ever gave any Governor, and I know that's a barometer to what you're going to do this fall.
Voice: What has the Taft-Hartley Act done?
Well, the Taft-Hartley Act has done a disservice to labor. I did everything I possibly could to keep it from becoming a law, and if you'll read my veto message on it you'll find exactly what it will do in the future.
And not only were they not satisfied with doing what they could to labor, but they began to undermine the farmer. They did everything they possibly could to take the farm price support program away from the farmer. In 1933 the Democrats inaugurated a farm program which has made the farmer prosperous. The Republicans want to do away with the parity price program. They are unfair to farmers, they are unfair to the laborer, and they are unfair to little business, because they want big business to get all the profits and let a little of it trickle down to the common, everyday man.
I want you to study the issues in this campaign. I want you to use your own head and judgment and vote for your own interests-vote for yourselves. And if you do that you'll send Virgil Chapman as the Democratic Senator from Kentucky, and you'll send Joe Bates back to the Congress--and then I'll have somebody I can work with in the next administration and I won't be troubled with the housing shortage--I'll still be in the White House.
[8.] ASHLAND, KENTUCKY (Rear platform, 3:54 p.m.)
Thank you very much. I particularly liked the cracker in that introduction--"the next President of the United States."
I'm certainly delighted to be in Ashland, and I am also very sorry because I'm leaving Kentucky. This will be my last stop in the great State of Kentucky--and I had a reception almost as large as this when I came into the State. And at Owensboro and at Louisville, at Lexington, at Winchester, at nearly every place we stopped, it looked to me as if everybody in Kentucky was there-and I think they are all here this time.
You know, I'm going across the country, trying to explain to the people that there is a great stake in this campaign. The basic issue is whether our Government is to be an instrument for the welfare of the people or a tool in the hands of special privilege. Don't let anybody tell you that the Democratic and the Republican Parties are just alike, and that it does not matter which party is in power. You need only to look at the record for the last 30 years and you can see the difference.
Under Republican rule in the twenties the rich were getting richer and the poor were getting poorer. Under the Democratic administration of the past 16 years all the people--business and farmers and workers alike--have marched forward toward a richer life.
You know, last year we had the greatest national income in the history of the world. It amounted to $217 billion. The farmer got his fair share of that income. Labor got its fair share of that income. And business got its fair share of that income. And that's what happens under the Democratic administration.
Let's look at the Republican record on labor for just a moment.
I wish I had time to discuss all the issues in this campaign, but it would take me all afternoon, so I'm only going to cite one or two instances.
The twenties, under Republican rule, were days of sweatshops, when there was no floor under wages. In 1934 the Democratic administration put through the Wagner Act. the Magna Carta of labor. Labor began to get its rightful share of the national income. And that's what the Democrats believe in. It believes that every single person should have a rightful share of the national income. The Republicans want the big fellows at the top to get the income and let a little trickle down to the everyday fellow.
Now, what did the Republicans do as soon as they got control of this "do-nothing" 80th Republican Congress? They passed the Taft-Hartley Act to weaken the strength of organized labor. The whole purpose of the Taft-Hartley Act is to undermine unions. And if labor is unable to secure decent wages so as to maintain its purchasing power our whole economy will suffer--not just labor alone. That's why I vetoed the Taft-Hartley Act.
You see, when the income is fairly distributed-when the farmers get high prices and can have great production and are assured that they are going to get fair prices for that great production, when labor gets fair wages, when the merchants can sell their merchandise at a fair profit, when the white-collar man has a fair salary--that means that everybody is getting a fair share of the good things of life. And that's what the Democratic Party stands for.
The Republicans aren't satisfied with all the damage they have done in this 80th "do-nothing" Congress. They want to finish tearing up the Wagner Act. They want to finish putting the farmer back where he'll get 3 cents for his hogs, 8 1/2 cents for his tobacco, 15 cents for corn, and a quarter a bushel for wheat.
Now, I'm going to prove to you that the Republicans are not through with either labor or the farmer.
One of the authors of the act, Congressman Hartley, proposed only a few days ago to bring the unions under the laws against monopolies. That's a typical Republican Party act. They want to put the laboringman, in his fight for good wages, in the same class with the billion-dollar corporation. They want to do that so they can cut down on the workingman's share of the national income.
It will be up to you on election day to determine whether you want that kind of Government or not for the next 4 years. You can travel down the road to another depression and disaster with the Republican Party or you can keep this country on the road to progress and prosperity.
Ours is the richest country on earth. We can make sure that all our people receive a fair share of what our mines and mills and farms produce, or we can let a privileged few take the lion's share and let the rest of us have the crumbs. That's the choice that's before you on November 2d.
You know, only a third of you voted in 1946--two-thirds of you stayed at home-and we got that 80th "do-nothing" Congress as a result of two-thirds of you not exercising the greatest privilege on earth, the privilege of taking a part in your Government-and when you vote you are a part of the Government. When you don't vote you don't have any right to kick about the kind of government you get.
Now, get out early in the morning on election day. All of you get out early on election day and vote the Democratic ticket straight, and if you do that you'll send Joe Bates back to the House and you'll send Virgil Chapman to the Senate, and then we'll have people from Kentucky with whom I can work.
And on top of that, you'll have the greatest Vice President that the country has ever had in Alben Barkley.
And another thing: You'll prevent me from suffering from the housing shortage. I won't have to move out of the White House.
You know, I had a grand time in Kentucky, and as I said before, I certainly hate to leave the State.
But you know, all the way across this great State more than half the audiences have been made up of young people, people who seem to be interested in the future. And they are interested in the future; and this campaign is a vital one. All you young people, when you get control of the Government-as you will in the next generation-will look back on this campaign as one of the key campaigns in the history of the whole country. It's a campaign to keep the special interests from getting control of the Government and to let you young people have something to inherit when we get through with this generation.
Thanks a lot, and it's certainly been awfully nice to have been here.
[9.] HUNTINGTON, WEST VIRGINIA (At the railroad station, 4:35 p.m.)
I appreciate that introduction most highly. Senator Kilgore and I had the pleasure of serving in the Senate together through a very crucial period. The Senator, in my opinion, is one of the ablest in the Senate. And I am happy to hear that West Virginia is going to send another able Senator to the Senate, Matt Neely. I am well acquainted with both of these gentlemen; and I am here to tell you that if we have Harley Kilgore and Matt Neely in the Senate, things will be a little bit different in the next 4 years.
I am delighted--certainly delighted to be here in Huntington on my first stop in West Virginia. This is a crusade to let the people of the country know just exactly what the issues are; and the way they are turning out, I think they are interested. I have been in a great many States since I left Washington--Iowa, Colorado, Utah, Califorina, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky; and the turnout at every place was just like this one--not quite so many in some places, I have to admit, but everybody is interested in these issues, and they are coming out to hear what the President has to say about them. That is a good sign that the people are ready to take the Government back into their hands, that's what I think.
Huntington has a great many vital industries, and Huntington made a very great contribution to the war effort. Nobody knows that better than Harley Kilgore and I, for we made some visits here to see what you were doing for the war effort.
Huntington has the advantage of a great many cities. Huntington has a great river port, and when you have a great river port, you can always make those fellows behave on freight rates.
One of the chief difficulties now is high prices and inflation. The farmers are getting good prices for their products, the laboringmen are getting good wages, but the special interests were very careful to see to it that we did not get the necessary laws to control inflation. So, those increased wages and increased prices are usually eaten up by the inflationary prices for the things you have to buy.
I did my best to get things stopped, but I had no luck with this 80th "do-nothing" Congress. For the last 2 years I have tried to get this Republican 80th Congress to do something about high prices, but they refused to consider my demands because the Republican Party is not interested in the welfare of the people as a whole.
The Republican Party is a special interest party, and it always has been. I do not need to tell you, and I certainly do not need to tell you housewives, that prices are going up, and up, and up. And these Republicans don't care how high they go, so long as they can get their rake-off on them, these special interest fellows.
Since the second half of 1946, prices have been going up faster than the wages of most people in the country. But the Republicans have been trying to cut down the living standards of workers even more. They have been trying to weaken labor unions so that unions no longer can fight for better wages and working conditions for their members.
That is why the Republican 80th Congress passed the Taft-Hartley Act. Don't let anybody tell you that the Taft-Hartley Act was passed to protect union members against their own people. The Taft-Hartley Act was passed to strengthen the hands of the employers and to weaken the unions.
Senator Taft, one of the authors of that act, and the Republican leader in the Senate, says so himself. He said, and I quote Senator Taft: "This bill is not a milk-toast bill. It covers about 3/4 of the things pressed on us very strenuously by the employers."
I vetoed the Taft-Hartley Act, and I shall do everything in my power to get this vicious, antilabor legislation wiped off the statute books. That is a part of the Democratic platform.
During the last 16 years of Democratic administrations, labor has made tremendous strides in this country. After 12 years of Republican rule, from 1920 to 1932, we had over 12 million unemployed. Today we have 61 million people in jobs, the greatest in the history of the world for any country.
In 1932 the average hourly wage was 47 cents in all industries, and 52 cents in coal mining. Last July it was $1.33 in manufacturing, and $1.85 in coal mining.
In 1932 only 2 1/2 million workers were members of unions. Today there are 16 million workers who are members of labor unions.
Under Democratic administrations, and with Democratic majorities in Congress, the American worker has marched forward towards a better and richer life. The farmer has done the same thing. They march side by side. Don't let anybody tell you that the farmer's and the laborer's interests are not exactly the same. When the farms are prosperous, industries are prosperous. When labor has good jobs, the farmers are prosperous. They go along together, and that is what makes our country great, because they do march side by side.
In the last 2 years, since the Republicans took over the Congress, labor has lost many of its gains, and the farmers are about to lose their bill of rights, also.
You people will determine on election day what kind of government you will have for the next 4 years.
In November 1946 two-thirds of you stayed at home, and you got just exactly what you deserved. You got the 80th "donothing" Republican Congress, because you stayed at home and did not vote. The Democratic Party wants to continue the forward march for the whole country. We are not interested in any one class, we are interested in all the people, and we want to see all the people have what is fair, and what is coming to them. You are the Government. You people are the Government. When you do like you did in 1946, you are shirking your duty. When only one-third of the people in the country vote, there is something radically wrong. You must exercise that privilege, because when you do exercise it, things are right; and when you don't, you get this 80th Republican "do-nothing" Congress.
The Republicans are not interested in the welfare of the whole people. They are only interested in special privilege, they are only interested in helping the rich. It is a policy of the Republican Party that the big fellows ought to get all the big money, and let just a little of it trickle down to the everyday fellow in the street.
That is not the Democratic way. We believe in beginning at the bottom, and letting the good things go up. If a man has got ability and brains and energy, I am glad to see him get to the top, and get a big salary, and have everything that is coming to him; but I want the common everyday fellow to have his fair share of the good things in life. That is the reason I am a Democrat. I have made that fight in the Senate for 10 long years, and I am making it now as President of the United States.
Now, do this for me. If you believe in what I am trying to preach--and I am making a crusade across the country, trying to tell the people what the situation is in this country--go out on election day, every one of you, go out early and go to the polls, and so as not to make any mistake, just vote that Democratic ticket straight; and if you do that, you will have a Democratic bunch of Representatives and Senators in the House and in the Senate, and I won't be troubled with the housing shortage, I will still live in the White House for another 4 years.
[10.] CHARLESTON, WEST VIRGINIA (Address, 8:30 p.m., see Item 223)
[11.] MONTGOMERY, WEST VIRGINIA (Rear platform, 10:43 p.m.)
I never expected to see a crowd like this at this time of night. I'll tell you what I want. I want one of you expert photographers to come up here and take a picture of this crowd, because this picture ought to go in all the newspapers of the country.
I have been all over the United States-I say that advisedly--from one end to the other, time after time. I started just 2 weeks ago today from Washington to make a preliminary campaign tour of the United States. I have been in a great number of States, and I want to say to you that the reception in every State has been just like West Virginia's reception--a most cordial one.
At Huntington this afternoon I thought I had seen everybody in West Virginia, but you have more people here tonight than there were at Huntington this afternoon.
I sincerely hope--I sincerely hope that all of you heard what I had to say at Charleston tonight. I explained just how important this election is to the people. You know, there's just one real issue in this campaign, but it has several ramifications. That issue is the people against special interests. The Democratic Party has always represented the people. The Republican Party has always represented special interests.
In this tour around the country I have been very careful to describe the differences between the stands of the Republican Party and the Democratic Party on the main issues that have come before the people. And you'll always find the Republicans on the side of special interests. When you understand just what the Republican Party has done to labor and to the housewife and to the farmer and what it intends to do, if it gets a chance, you can't do anything else but support the Democratic ticket from top to bottom.
You know, in 1946 two-thirds of you stayed at home, and one-third of the people who were interested enough to go out and vote elected this Both "do-nothing" Republican Congress. And that Congress set out to do three things: it set out to repeal the Wagner Act and take the liberties away from labor by passing the Taft-Hartley Act; and I vetoed it. And I wish you would read my veto on that. Then you would understand just exactly how I feel on the subject. Then they passed a law to undermine the farmers. And when the farmers are not prosperous and when labor is not receiving good wages we are in what the Republicans like to call a depression--a recession is a more kindly word that they use sometimes. We now are facing a situation which, if you do not go out and do your duty on election day, will bring about a boom and bust period, just like you had in the twenties. I'm sure you don't want that. I'm sure you don't want that. Let me urge you with everything I have, now, to vote--not necessarily for me--vote for yourselves. When you vote for yourselves you're voting in the public interest, and when you vote for yourselves you'll vote for me for President, and you'll vote for a Democratic Senator from West Virginia, and you'll vote for a Democratic Congressman for this district in West Virginia--and then maybe I can do some business. I can't, with another 80th Congress.
And when you do that, that will mean that I'll stay in the White House another 4 years, and I won't be troubled with the housing problem.
Voice: You won't have to worry about this county.
I'm not going to worry about this county, but I want every one of you to vote. That's the thing I want you to do. If you vote, West Virginia will have the necessary majority. Be sure, be sure that you elect Okey Patteson Governor.
NOTE: In the course of his remarks on October 1 the President referred to Representative Frank L. Chelf, Representative Virgil Chapman, Democratic candidate for Senator, Democratic candidate for Representative Thomas R. Underwood, Dr. Benjamin Winslow Dudley, Judge John Stevenson, Representative Joe B. Bates, and Governor Earle C. Clements, all of Kentucky; Senator Harley M. Kilgore, Democratic candidate for Senator Matthew M. Neely, and Democratic candidate for Governor Okey L. Patteson, all of West Virginia; Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio; and Representative Fred A. Hartley, Jr., of New Jersey.
Provided courtesy of The American Presidency Project. John Woolley and Gerhard Peters. University of California, Santa Barbara.