Richard Nixon photo

Excerpts from Remarks by the Vice President, City Hall Parking Lot, Mount Clemens, MI

September 20, 1960

I have spoken of the necessity for America's being strong militarily, strong economically, with a firm, wise, mature foreign policy if we are to keep the peace and extend freedom. But there is something else that is even more important than these, something else that I've already implied by what I have said, and that is this: The America of 185 years ago, that these schoolchildren have studied about as you and I did when we were in school, was not a strong country militarily but one of the weakest. It was not a large country economically, but had a poor agricultural economy. It was not even a strong country politically - 13 loosely united States at that period, with difficulty getting a strong central government. But, believe me, it was strong in the world because its ideals were strong, and I say to you today above everything else, let's remember that if we are going to win the struggle for peace and freedom, American must keep its moral and its spiritual strength strong as an ideal that all the world will respect, one the world will respect as I saw the people in Poland show their respect when I was there last year. In this connection, let me answer a question that is often asked me. People say, young people particularly but old people as well: "What can I do, Mr. Nixon, to work for the cause of peace and freedom?"

There is something you can do. Keep America's ideals strong. Love of country is supposed to be old fashioned, but haven't we needed it? When the others are working for the victory of communism, we have got to work even harder for the victory of freedom and the ideals for which we stand around the world.

Love of country, spiritual strength - where do these come from? Not from Washington. It can help, but they come from the home, from the churches and from the schools of America.

And what can you do? Be America at its best in your lives, in everything you say and everything you do. Strike down prejudice where you see it. Strike down hatred where you see it - that is unworthy of this country.

Remember that America in its strength is a country which is diversified. Diversity is our strength, but it is a strength only if we are united in the face of those who are opponents of all religion, of all idealism, of all freedom.

Richard Nixon, Excerpts from Remarks by the Vice President, City Hall Parking Lot, Mount Clemens, MI Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project