|The American Presidency Project|
|• Harry S. Truman|
|Rear Platform and Other Informal Remarks in Colorado and Utah.|
|September 21, 1948|
[1.] GRAND JUNCTION, COLORADO (Rear platform, 9:19 a.m.)
Senator Walker, I appreciate most highly that introduction. I was hoping that I would have an opportunity to see you. I didn't know I'd have the honor of being presented by you to this great crowd.
I have had a most pleasant stay in Colorado, from the moment I hit Hugo early yesterday morning until today, this morning, when we are leaving the State.
Colorado is a great State. Colorado, you know, is about half made up of Missourians. Every place I go, when people came in to see me, they very carefully inform me that either they themselves were born in Missouri, or that their parents came from Missouri to Colorado.
My grandfather used to run a wagon train from Westport, now part of Kansas City, Mo., to Salt Lake City and Denver and San Francisco, from 1846 to about 1860, and I have heard a great many stories from him on how the opening of this country came about.
It was a long time, you know, before the people east of the Mississippi River could understand that the people out here didn't wear horns and a tail. Some of them still think that.
There are a great many people east of the Appalachian Mountains who are not yet sure that it's safe to come out West, because they're afraid Wild Bill Hickok or some Indian chief will scalp them.
I was at one time hopeful that at some time or other we could establish a summer capital between Denver and Colorado Springs and bring all those eastern fellows out here to let them see just exactly what kind of a country they have on this side of the Mississippi River. I haven't been successful in getting that done.
You are vitally interested, however, from your own economic welfare, in the policies pursued by the Federal Government. The Federal Government if it does what it should, can cause the development of the West to proceed from now on at a much greater rate than it has up to date.
There are a great many projects in which the Federal Government is vitally interested: reclamation, irrigation, and power. They are the lifeblood of the West.
And I want to say to you that in 1946 a great many of you stayed at home on election day--about two-thirds of you. Onethird of the people elected a Congress which I call the Republican "do-nothing" Both Congress, and the policies pursued by that Congress are an index as to what will happen to you if the Republicans get control of the Government. Now, if you stay at home this time on election day and let them get control of the Government you'll deserve just what you get.
The Reclamation Act has been on the books for 30 years and not much was done about it until the country, in 1932, elected Franklin D. Roosevelt to be President of the United States. From that time on developments of the West assumed a rolling advancement. More projects, more land was opened up than ever before in the history of the whole reclamation law during that administration and during the 3½ years that I have been in the White House.
If you'll just study history you can't possibly afford to go along with those people who want to turn the clock back. The Republicans haven't any program, they haven't any program. They're still crying the same thing that they cried in 1946--that there ought to be a change. Well, you got a change in 1946 and look what you got. You got your reclamation projects cut down. You got your power projects, in most instances, wiped out. Every appropriation that affects the West was slashed, and it was slashed with malice aforethought, because the people who were in charge of those Appropriations Committees in the Senate and the House--one of them comes from upper New York, the Chairman does, and the other comes from New Hampshire. What do they know about the West? I don't think either one of them set foot west of the Appalachian Mountains. The Chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the Senate may, some time or other on some Senate jaunt, have been out here, but he didn't know what he was looking at when he saw it.
You want to be careful, now, when you go to the polls next November the 2d. Don't two-thirds of you stay at home. All of you get out there, and if you want to do yourself a real favor, you'll send Ed Johnson back to the Senate, and you'll send Mr. Aspinall here to the Congress.
I've had a most pleasant time in Colorado. Your Governor has been most hospitable to me. He's a good Democratic Governor, and I hope you continue to have Democratic Governors in Colorado.
I've met most of your candidates for Congress. They all impress me as being fine gentlemen.
I want you to bear this in mind: not only do I want you to vote for me, as I said time and again in Iowa and Colorado and everywhere I've been, I want you to vote for yourselves, vote for your own interests. You can't possibly reestablish another 80th "do-nothing" Republican Congress and a Republican President in the White House. You can't afford to do that.
And if you'll just go to the polls and vote, I won't be troubled by the housing shortage--I can stay in the White House.
[2.] PRICE, UTAH (Rear platform, 1:05 p.m.)
Governor, Mr. Mayor, Congressman Granger:
This is not the first time that Congressman Granger has introduced me. You see, the Congressman and I have been friends for many, many years. He very ably represents you in Washington, and I hope you will keep him there. I like your Governor, too.
This certainly is a wonderful welcome to the great State of Utah. I appreciate these flags, and these Legionnaires, and the 48'ers who have come out here to give me the welcome I appreciate. I happened to be a veteran of the first war. I tried to be a veteran in the second war but General Marshall wouldn't let me.
I was in the United States Senate and the General was Chief of Staff, and after we passed the first Draft Act in 1940, I went down to see the General and asked him if he did not need somebody to train artillery men in the ability to shoot, as I had been doing that ever since the first World War was over, and that I thought I had the ability to do it. I was a colonel in the Reserve Corps.
The General pulled down his specs on the end of his nose, like that, and said, "How old are you?" I said, "Well, I am 56." "Well," he said, "you are just too old for this one. This is a young man's war. You had better go on back and do your duty in the Senate."
And I went back and did the best I could in the Senate, and you see where I got myself by doing it.
Then General Marshall afterwards, as Chief of Staff, was sitting out in my office one day to see me, and my Secretary, Mr. Connelly, asked him what his reply would be under the circumstance he then labored under, when I was President and he was Chief of Staff.
"Well," the General said, without batting an eye, "I would make the same answer, but I would be a little more diplomatic about it."
Congressman Granger paid me a very high compliment when I was out here as a Senator. He introduced me up at Bingham, and he told me that he had become so fond of me that when the Mormons moved back to Independence, he was going to let me stay. I thought that was the greatest compliment that could be paid to anybody.
I have been very appreciative of this wonderful valley through which we have been passing, I have been looking at it ever since we entered the great State of Utah; and I never saw any garden spot that is any better than this one.
I can't make odious comparisons because they will bring them home to me. I said something about the weather once in California, and I got charged with saying that California weather was better than Florida weather, and they have been fighting about it ever since. So I say that this valley is as beautiful as any I have seen.
I have been reading something about the history of your town, and it has a wonderful background.
I came into this State to talk to you about reclamation and conservation, and I shall make a speech on the subject tonight at Salt Lake City which will cover my views on that subject. And after I have set out the views and the principles of the Democratic Party, and the principles under which the Democratic Party works--which are those of being for the people and not special interests--I want you then to weigh the welfare of this country in your mind, and then on election day do what is best for you and the country--and if you do that I won't have to move out of the White House.
[3.] HELPER, UTAH (Rear platform, 1:37 p.m.)
Congressman Granger, Mr. Mayor, Governor Maw, and a lot of other distinguished. Democrats who are on board this train at this time, and ladies and gentlemen of Helper: It's a pleasure for me to be able to stop here today because I have been interested in this place for some time. I have been told that in real prosperous times you produce as many as 5 million tons of bituminous coal here in a year. That's a wonderful production; and that you furnish the coal for the steel plant down at Provo. You know, that's been one of my ambitious enterprises since I have been in the Congress of the U.S. and in the Presidency of the United States--to see that the industrial development of the West goes forward.
That great steel plant was built at Provo while I was chairman of an investigating committee in the U.S. Senate and I watched that plant grow from the start to the finish, and the location of that plant there was so that this great coalbed here could be used. They tell me that it's inexhaustible, and I hope that's true, because the time is going to come some time or other when we are going to have to make a lot of oil from coal. We have experimental plants now in the East, trying to develop, to make oil out of coal; and we have a shale plant going over in Colorado which is endeavoring to make oil out of shale, and if you have inexhaustible coalbeds here--and I understand you also have inexhaustible shale beds--that means that the fuel for our machine age economy will be absolutely dependent at some time or other upon this great West.
Tonight at Salt Lake City I'm going to go into the things that the Democratic Party stands for with regard to this great West. And I hope all of you will be able to hear me, and I hope you'll give heed to what I have to say.
I understand that there are a great many people who labor in this community, and if those men weigh their interests as the farmer should weigh his interests and as the small businessman should weigh his interests I don't think there's any doubt about my not having to be troubled by the housing problem next year--I'll still stay in the White House.
I wish it were possible for me to see some of these great mines in this neighborhood. They tell me they're wonderful. But, of course, there are 3,000 counties or more in this United States, and while I can't visit all the counties and all the towns, I'm going to do the best I can, and I'm trying to tell you what I stand for, and I'm trying to convince you that you ought to go along and go forward with the Democratic Party and not turn the clock back with the Republicans, as they tried to do with this terrible 80th Congress. That Congress gave you the rich man's tax bill and tried to take the freedom away from labor.
You know, labor never had a bill of rights until the Democrats got in power, when the famous Wagner Act was passed in 1935, and I was there and helped to pass it because I was in the U.S. Senate at that time.
Well, the very first time the Republicans had a chance they began to take those rights away from labor. And that's only a start.
They're doing the same things with the farmer and the small businessman because they believe in special privilege and we don't.
Now, if you want a special privilege Government, stay at home on election day. If you want the right sort of a Government, go to the polls on election day and vote Democratic.
[4.] SPRINGVILLE, UTAH (Rear platform, 3:50 p.m.)
Thank you, Governor. It is a pleasure indeed, and an unexpected pleasure. This was not a scheduled stop, but I am very happy that we were able to stop and say hello to you.
I have been very much intrigued by the beauty of this valley as we came across it. They tell me that it is one of the most productive in the country, and for that reason you are interested in the policies of the Federal Government towards such projects as makes the fertility of this valley possible. They are your vital interests, and you must survey them and then use your best judgment to get a job done. If you do that, then you will continue to be prosperous.
It has been the policy of the Democratic Party to be for the people.
It has been the policy of the Republican Party to be for the special interests.
Now, bear that in mind when you go to the polls on the second day of November, and be sure that you get that ticket in the box and mark the Democratic column, and then the country will be safe for another 4 years.
[At this point the President was presented with three large bunches of celery]
This is a present from the Utah Cooperatives. If the Republicans have their way, they will tax them out of business.
[5.] PROVO, UTAH (Rear platform, 4:13 p.m.)
These picture men use up enough films and bulbs to make a man rich. I wish I was in the film and bulb business.
Mrs. Bosone, thank you very much for that wonderful introduction, and I hope that after January 3 you will be in Washington along with me so that we can make this Government run like it should.
The Junior Chamber of Commerce just gave me that basket of peaches from Provo. That is a wonderful present. I'll eat peaches from now until I get to Washington. I have heard it said that some girls are as pretty as a peach, but you hardly ever see peaches that are that pretty.
It's a pleasure for me to be in Utah today. I have had a most cordial reception from all of your public officials, from the Governor, from the Democratic Chairman, and from the candidates for Congress, and I'm sincerely hoping that all of those people will be successful in their efforts for office. It'll be for the welfare of the country if that's the case.
I have been here at Provo on several different occasions. I came here as Chairman of the Special Committee to investigate the National Defense Program when this steel plant was partly completed, and I was here after the steel plant was completed and made a complete and thorough inspection and a report on it.
I was very much pleased when that plant was located here in Utah. As I said back in the coal country at Helper, industry in the West is absolutely essential for the economic welfare of the West. There have been a lot of people in times past who didn't believe that, and a great many times they've controlled the Government.
That has not been the policy of the Democratic administrations since Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President in 1932.
I know all of you here not only are interested in the industrial and the agricultural welfare of the great State of Utah but you're deeply interested in the educational welfare of these young people I see here before me today.
And, you are blessed in this town with a great university which has turned out some wonderful scholars. I'm interested in education. We are faced with a situation in education, the same sort of a situation that we are faced with in housing and prices and everything of that sort.
There are more pupils than there are rooms to hold them. There are more pupils than there are teachers to teach them. We have teachers in some of our crowded industrial centers who are teaching two and three times as many pupils--making an effort to teach two or three times as many pupils as they can do successfully.
I have been trying to interest the Nation as a whole in our educational crisis. I succeeded in getting an educational bill through the Senate of the United States, but it died in the House along with a lot of other good legislation which should have been passed by this 80th Congress but wasn't passed.
Now, I know you are interested in education. From the looks of these bright young men and young women and these boys and girls that I see down here before me, they are perfectly able to take an education. And you know the best defense against the totalitarian system in our Government is education. No man who knows his ABC's and who has an honest heart can even consider being a Communist if he's educated. It's only suffering, misery, and ignorance that breeds communism.
That's the reason I am fighting for the education of the people of this country. When you have the proper education, you can't help but believe that our system of Government is the best that's ever been conceived in the history of the world. It's a Government of the people. In fact, you are the Government. You are the Government, and you are the Government because you have a right of free franchise, and when you don't exercise that right of free franchise, you are not doing the right thing by your country. You are a shirker, and when things don't go right in your Government and you don't vote, you're to blame for it.
That's what you did 2 years ago. Twothirds of you stayed at home 2 years ago, and look what you got. You elected the 80th Congress, and you got just what you deserved; and I don't feel sorry for you about it either. If you do the same thing next time you won't have anybody but yourselves to blame for the conditions as you find them, and you've had a sample of what you're going to get if you continue such people who constituted the majority in the 80th Congress in power in this Government.
I'm asking you and urging you with everything I have to exercise that Godgiven right, which in this country is sacred, to go to the polls on the 2d of November and cast your ballot for the Democratic ticket--and then I can stay in the White House another 4 years.
[6.] AMERICAN FORK, UTAH (Rear platform, 4:45 p.m.)
Well! I am certainly happy to be in the hometown of the next Congresswoman from this district. I would rather not do it here, but when I get a chance to have a private conversation with her, I am going to tell her about another town that I think is the greatest town in the world. Naturally, if we don't think our hometown is the greatest in the world, we are not very loyal citizens. We all should feel that way.
You have every reason to be proud of this wonderful garden spot here. You don't know how beautiful it looks when you drive through, or when you fly over it, or when you go through it on a train such as we are doing now.
My interest is to keep this part of the world prosperous, and on a parity with the rest of United States. I think that has been the policy of the Democratic Party ever since it was organized--a fair deal for everybody--give everybody a chance.
You know, this country now has the largest income it has ever had in its history. We cannot appreciate just how much it is. It amounts to $217 billion for 1947, and it is going to be bigger for 1948.
That income is so distributed that the farmer, the working man, the white-collar man--all sectors of the population, get a fair share of that income.
That was not the case when we had a different sort of approach to this thing-when the special interests ruled the country. We had a phony boom, and a bust came very shortly after that. We can't afford to have that happen again. We can't afford to take a chance on having that happen again, and I am advising you for your own interest that you had better go to the polls on the second day of November and elect a Democratic Congressman from this district, and reelect the whole Democratic ticket.
Then you will know that the country is in safe hands, that the interests of the common people are being looked after as they should be.
I want to thank you very much for this privilege of getting to see you.
[7.] SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (Empire Room, Hotel Utah, 7:15 p.m.)
Governor Maw, President Smith:
I noticed very carefully that when the Governor addressed you, he said "Fellow Democrats." That included President Smith. [Laughter] That made me very happy.
I can't tell you how very much I appreciate the cordial welcome which has been extended to me in the great State of Utah. At Price and at Provo and all the cities in between, it looked as if everybody in the neighborhood had come out to greet the President of the U.S. and his family. That really does warm your heart. When we came on the streets here in Salt Lake City this afternoon, it looked to me as if everybody in Utah was there; and I rather think maybe half of them were.
A little later on in the evening, I am going to talk to you on one of the fundamental political issues of the day and try to explain to you the fundamental differences between the two parties on this subject.
You know, one of the great things in our country is the fact that we have a two-party system of government. We have party responsibility in Government, and the reason for our successful republic is because that is the case in this country.
We have one set of principles which one party adheres to, and we have another set which the other party adheres to, and you have a chance to carefully study the issues and then decide what you think is best for the country, because in the long run every citizen in this country is a part of the Government.
I think our own ancestors back in 1787, when they assembled to write the Constitution of the U.S. were not only among the wisest men in all the history of the world, but they were also practical men, who understood human emotions and human desires. And I always have been, and I always shall be, in my political career, a supporter of the Constitution of the U.S., because it is the greatest article of government that has ever been written in the history of the world, and as long as I adhere to that, and so long as we have our two-party system, with principles of one kind on one side and principles of another kind on the other side, you need not be uneasy about this old republic. It will continue to exist because I think Almighty God intended this republic to assume the leadership in the world. We refused it in 1920. We did not refuse it after this last conflagration, and we must continue to push forward as the leader for the moral well-being of the world as a whole. And then, some time, I don't know when, but we will have peace in the world, and we will have a situation where nations can live together just as these great States of our Union live together now.
[8.] SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (Address at the Mormon Tabernacle, 8:03 p.m., see Item 201)
[9.] OGDEN, UTAH (11 :15 p.m.)
Well! I certainly appreciate that reception by your able and distinguished Congressman. If anybody stayed at home in Ogden tonight, I doubt it very much. This morning, when I started out about 6:45 in Glenwood Springs, Colo., I thought everybody in western Colorado and eastern Utah were there. I was grossly mistaken. We finally got into Price and Springville and Provo and Salt Lake City, and now in Ogden; and I think I must have seen at least half the population of the great State of Utah. And I am glad I did get to see them.
I have just been made a member of the Sheriff's Mounted Posse of Weaver County, Utah. That mounted posse is the same situation as the 'plowing contest at Dexter, Iowa. I asked those people to bring me four mules so I could run a plow in the old-fashioned way. They told me they did not have a mule in the county, that everything was done by tractor.
Now I wonder if the mounted posse rides in jeeps? If it does, why I might have some chance. If it's a bucking bronco, I'll be out of luck.
I am happy to be in Ogden, Utah, this evening, because it is getting late in the evening and I am doubly pleased that this tremendous crowd has turned out.
You know, those eastern newspapers just won't believe it when they are told that past 11 o'clock there are 10,000 or 12,000 people out to listen to me in Ogden. They just think it is not possible. But here you are! Somebody I hope will take a picture of it and send it to all the eastern newspapers.
The prosperity which I have seen in Colorado and through Utah today is a prosperity which I am finding throughout the whole country, and I am finding it especially in the West. I spent yesterday in Colorado, and I thought everybody in Colorado came out to see me, and I think they did. We had a good time, and I told them some things that I thought they ought to know. And I said the same things today in telling you people here in Utah some of the things I think you ought to know.
I want to keep the West prosperous. I made that very plain tonight at the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City.
And I want to say to some of you young men over there, that if you want to come up here and make a speech, I will abdicate and let you do it.
The Democrats have a program for continued improvement and growth of the West, and for continued prosperity of the country, but there are serious obstacles in the way. They are the refusal of the Republican leadership to do anything about high prices, and the outright sabotage of the Western States.
You know, this last Congress--this Republican 80th "do-nothing" Congress--tried its best to take all your prosperity away from you. I wish you would read the record of that Congress. Then if you send another one back there like it, you will deserve what you get.
Let us look at what the Democratic administrations have done for the Western States--Utah, for example. In 1934 the Ogden River project was begun. That one project alone began making water available for 25,000 acres of farmland. On a project like this the cash income of Utah farmers has risen so fast that it is now six times what it was in 1932--six times what it was in 1932! That cash income of all Utah people rose from less than $150 million in 1932 to more than $700 million in 1947. And that is why I wonder, that is why I wonder--back in 1946 you said you wanted a change; and only a third of you-two-thirds of you stayed at home--only a third of you went to the polls, and you elected that awful 80th Congress. And you got just what you deserved. I don't feel sorry for you about it at all.
I am trying to tell you what you are about to get, if you go to the polls again, and a half of you, or a third of you go to the polls again, and the rest of you don't vote. You will have something that will make the Western States sorrowful, because the sympathies of the Republican leadership don't come very far west of the Mississippi River. In fact, I think it stopped at the Mississippi River, and most of it stopped at the Appalachian Mountains.
This great increase in this income was not accidental. It was due to the plans and policies of the Democratic administrations to develop the western resources for the benefit of the western people themselves, not for the benefit of the few bloodsuckers who have offices in Wall Street.
The Republicans have fought bitterly against the Democratic program for soil conservation, reclamation, and irrigation. Tonight in Salt Lake City, I told them how the Republicans have been selling out the best interests of this country by slashing appropriations, attacking reclamation laws, trying to stop the Government from building public power transmission lines, and things of that sort.
And that has not been by accident. That has been by intention.
And if you want that continued, you can do it very easily. You can either vote a Republican ticket, or you can stay at home and not vote at all. But I don't think that is what you are going to do. I think you are going to vote in your own interest. I think you are not only going to vote for me, but you are going to vote for yourselves.
And when you do that, that will keep me from suffering from a housing shortage on January 20, 1949, and I won't have to move out of the White House.
It has been a very great privilege for me to be with you tonight. I am glad to have had the chance to stop here. I had no idea that so many people would stay up to listen to the facts of life.
Thank you very much.
|Citation: Harry S. Truman: "Rear Platform and Other Informal Remarks in Colorado and Utah.", September 21, 1948. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=13007.|
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