Herbert Hoover photo

Rear Platform and Other Informal Remarks in California

November 08, 1932

[1] COLFAX, CALIFORNIA (Rear platform)
My friends of Nevada County:

I am deeply affected by your welcome. It is difficult to formulate phrases to express the feelings of one's heart on that part of a touching recollection. I recollect the full facts, and I recollect Nevada County with a peculiar vividness because at that age and that time in life one remembers everything that happens. When you are from 15 to 22 or thereabouts, everything is an adventure and everything is an event. As we get along further in life we don't mind, so much, some of us, what happened this month or next month. But at the time I spent in Nevada County I remember everything--the Harmony Mine, and I remember the Grass Valley and the Mayflower and the mine where I worked at one time. All of it I remember, and I remember the road all of the way from here to Nevada City and back again. I have recollections of Colfax from many hundreds of passages through later on, but none are so vivid as at that time.

It is fine of you to come down to welcome me so early in the morning. I have to get up about 6 o'clock in the morning to do my normal job, but I didn't know anybody else in the world had to. You will recollect that my voice has just about completed itself, and if the campaign had lasted another 48 hours I should have been whispering everything I had to say.

[2] SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA (Rear platform, 8:30 a.m.)
Fellow Californians:

It is always difficult for Californians to express the feeling they have on coming back. I think probably one of the disappointments of the last 4 years has been the inability to leave Washington for more than a night's journey because of the most difficult and terrible crisis which the United States has been going through.

The election is on today. Most of you have come to your own conclusions. There are many things that California is interested in in this election. All of our industries, practically, are supported by the protective tariff. However, our opponents say that they will reduce the tariff. California has seen in the last Democratic administration nine-tenths of the products of California placed on the free list, and if it had not been for the intervention of the World War, California's industries would have been destroyed. We are now faced with the same problem. And you have many problems which are important not alone to agriculture. California has many industries besides agriculture which are interested in the protective tariff.

I was reading this morning a circular put out by some labor organization here asking why I refused to employ white labor on the ranch I own at Palo Alto. I may say to you in reply to that that I am not unwilling to answer that question. I have not hesitated, and I have no hesitation now in answering any question during the whole of this campaign. First, I have no ranch at Palo Alto, only owning a half acre of ground there. Second, up to 2 years ago I had an interest in a ranch in the San Joaquin Valley, and the photographs which are being circulated were taken about a year and a half ago by a political trick.

And that leads me to make a remark on the conduct of the campaign here in California particularly. There has been such unceasing misrepresentation by the Congress of California, and particularly by the press of William Randolph Hearst, that one would have thought that the President of the United States, although he had come from the State of California, was a monster.

No attention has been particularly given to the people of California of the tremendous crisis through which the world has passed; the dangers that have been warded off from the American people; and that much as has been the distress we have had, we can point with pride to the fact that there is no starvation and cold in our country as there has been in every other country attacked by this calamity. We can point to the fact that we have made more progress than any other country in the world in emergence from that calamity.

During the last 2 or 3 days I can say that our Government departments have stated that during the last 4 months a million of men have been returned to their normal jobs. Last night I received the correction of that statement. The American Federation of Labor does not agree with my statement. They place the month of September increases of employment at 560,000 when I estimated it at 360,000. That increase has been more rapid than I had anticipated, and with that ratio of increase of 1,500,000 men returned to their jobs as the result of the constructive measures which we have introduced in Washington for the benefit of every family and fireside in the United States; the picture of the presentation of those measures has been distorted and has been misrepresented morning, noon, and night to the people of California.

I have gotten on to a vein which I had not thought to discuss because of the statement which was presented to me a few moments ago.

But I do want to express to you my gratitude for the welcome which you have given to me back to my native State--my State of California. I established my home here 17 years ago, and it has been my home ever since that time. The major absences from this State I have given in public service to the American people. Your reception gives me faith and confidence and hope, and I thank you for it.

[3] OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA (Rear platform, 11:10 a.m.)
Friends in Oakland:

It is difficult to phrase the expression and the depth of feeling I have at the welcome that I have received not only by yourselves in this courteous and gracious reception but that I have received in every village since I entered the State of California. I felt it was a homecoming not to the President of the United States but the homecoming of a fellow Californian.

Four years now our Nation has been in the depths of the greatest crisis ever known in its peacetime history. It has been involved in the fears of the calamities of a score of nations. I have not felt that California would want their representative in the Presidency to leave his station of duty for even an hour when it was necessary for national good. I have therefore not been away from the National Capital for more than a night for over 2 1/2 years. Now that things are becoming better, now that the country has turned the tide and is moving toward recovery with great rapidity, I have felt justified in returning back to my State to vote. I am not going to discuss national issues with you now.

I want to thank you from the depth of my heart for the welcome that you are giving me on my return home.

My fellow Californians:

I am deeply moved by the reception I have in coming home to my own State. I have been absent now for nearly 4 years. Any Californian suffers a deprivation if he is away for so long a period from its hills and valleys and from people of his own kind. Nothing but the greatest national crisis we have ever met in peacetime, nothing but the office to which you in California have elected me, would have held me so long from the refreshment of soul that comes to every man from the hills, valleys, and mountains and the people of California.

I have felt that I could only properly represent California which sent me to the Presidency by staying on the job day and night so long as there was peril to this Nation. Until this journey, I have not in 2ð years been able to be away from the Capital of the Nation for more than a night's journey. But the measures that have been taken by our administration have now proved such overwhelming evidence of the turn of the tide that I have felt justified in returning home to vote with my neighbors.

The other day a man discovered a fact that I had known for most of my life--that my first registration as a voter at the age of 21 was across the bay from this city and for the purpose of voting for President McKinley.

Now, the receptions I have had at every station and in every town since early this morning will remain as a never-to-be-forgotten memory of welcome, not as President of the United States but as a fellow Californian. This I feel to be the spirit today in this my home city. I have had memories raised as I have driven out from the ferry. Many landmarks have been wiped away before the march of progress.

I get a special joy out of the mass of children who have come to see me along the way and who are here in such numbers today. They are the dearest product of California, these our healthy, ambitious children. They are the sweetest things in our lives because they are nearest from the hands of God.

I wish again to express my gratification for the generosity, the courtesy, and the enthusiasm of your welcome. It is not my purpose to discuss national issues at this time. Today is the day when you are registering your views on the future conduct of your country. That is the most solemn act of your citizenship. You have already made your determinations, and the result will greatly depend upon the views expressed by my own State.

I have represented California for 4 years in the Presidency of the United States, and in many other years prior to that I have represented my country in great national undertakings. I can say to you that the name of California is wider known, the glories of its hills, valleys, and of its people have wider spread because of that, and there has been no time when the esteem of the Nation or the world for California and its ideals has not been upheld by my representation of your State.

[5] PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA (Memorial Court, Stanford University)
My friends:

I am just glad to come home. I have brought back everything with me except my voice. I can tell you the emotions of occasions like this are too much for expression. I just thank you.

Note: Times provided for the President's remarks are approximations based on his itinerary.

The President left the train at Oakland and went to San Francisco and Palo Alto by automobile.

Herbert Hoover, Rear Platform and Other Informal Remarks in California Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/207535

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