Harry S. Truman photo

Rear Platform and Other Informal Remarks in Indiana and Illinois

October 12, 1948

[1.] RICHMOND, INDIANA (Rear platform, 8:04 a.m.)

Governor, and fellow Democrats of Richmond:

I am happy to be here this morning, and I want to assure you that this is not my first visit to Richmond. I came here once as President of the National Old Trails Road Association and helped the Daughters of the American Revolution set up a monument in one of your parks to the pioneer mother.

I understand that the first setters were attracted to this wonderful place because of the rich farmlands in this area, and since then Richmond has branched out and become one of the leading industrial towns of Indiana. It's known far and wide for the great college which the Governor mentioned awhile ago, Earlham College, which pioneered in higher education in this area.

Richmond is a fine example of the balance that we want to see between the farms and the cities. It is a good example of the way that farm prosperity makes for industrial prosperity, and the way industrial prosperity helps the farmers.

The prosperity we are enjoying now did not just happen. It was the result of policies started by the Democratic administration in 1933 under Franklin Roosevelt and continued through the following years. These policies have improved the farmer's position economically, improved the worker's position in the very same way, and have caused a fair distribution of the national income to all the people. But this prosperous condition of all the people of ours has been put in grave danger by the Republican 80th Congress. I can prove to you by the record of the 80th Congress and what it did to the people of the country and not for them.

That Congress did its best to weaken the position of all workingmen in the United States by passing the Taft-Hartley Act. I gave that a good going over last night, and a good analysis. I hope you'll read what I had to say on that subject. The Republican leaders wanted to repeal the Wagner Act but they knew they couldn't get away with it. They refused to raise the pitifully inadequate minimum wage of 40 cents an hour. They took social security away from nearly a million workers.

Now, that's action. They are talking about something else this morning.

The Republican Congress hit at the prosperity, of every farmer of the country. It slashed funds for rural electrification and soil conservation. That Congress nearly wrecked the Reciprocal Trade Agreements program, which provides a foreign market for our crops. It refused to ratify the International Wheat Agreement which would have given us a 5-year guaranteed foreign wheat market. And the 80th Congress refused to put the farm price supports on a permanent basis, leaving every farmer in the country in doubt as to his future income. And what a boon that situation has been to the speculators l Those exploiters of the farmer are now making a killing on the fact that the 80th Congress did not do the right thing by the farmer, when it rechartered the Commodity Credit Corporation. They fixed it so the speculators can control the farm prices, and that's what they have been trying to get for the last 2 years. We have kept them from it so far, and if you do the right thing in November we'll still keep them from it.

It wasn't only the farmers and the workers that the Republican Both Congress hurt. Every housewife suffers every time she goes to the store for the Republican refusal to pass laws to hold down prices. And every family in the United States that lives doubled up with other families or in city slums or in country shacks suffers because the Republicans refused to pass the kind of housing laws we need.

Now, the record of the Republican 80th Congress is a true indication of what we can expect if the Republican Party is elected in November. That's because the same backward-looking men would control in the 81st Congress. Don't fool yourselves. You would have the same old mossbacks running the next Congress if you don't turn them out.

Now, the Republican candidate for President has put his stamp of approval on the record of that 80th Congress. After that Congress had failed completely to give you the laws you need, this is what the Republican candidate said about that good-for-nothing 80th Congress: "I am proud of the record of my party and of the 80th Congress." That's a direct quote from a statement of his; and this also is what he said: "The 80th Congress delivered as no other Congress did for the future of the country." I'll say it delivered. It delivered for the special interests 100 percent.

There isn't much reason to hope for continued prosperity, or for good housing, or for better education for our children, or a genuine national health program, or for lower prices, as long as these backward men lead the Republican Party.

You know what to do to get the laws you need. The way to get them is very, very simple. Go to the polls on November 2d and vote for Robert C. Oliver for Congress from this 10th District. That gentleman will work with me during the next 4 years, during the next Congress, for a peaceful and prosperous United States. Vote the Democratic ticket from top to bottom and you'll have Schricker for Governor of Indiana, and a Democratic Congress and a Democratic President. And I won't be troubled with the housing shortage--I'll live in the White House for another 4 years.

And then you'll know the country is in safe hands because the Democratic Party always works for you, the people, and not against you.

Vote for yourselves on election day. Vote for your own best interests. And if you vote for yourselves and your best interests there won't be any doubt but what we'll have a Democratic administration in this country from top to bottom, both nationally and in the great State of Indiana.

Thank you very much.

[2.] GREENFIELD, INDIANA (Rear platform, 9:12 a.m.)

Mr. Chairman:

I appreciate most highly that introduction in this wonderful city of Greenfield. And I am particularly happy to have the book from the young lady on the rooster. In 1892, when Grover Cleveland was reelected President of the United States, my father decorated a rooster weather vane with all the colors of the American flag, and that flag flew from that rooster as a sign of victory in 1892 and nearly all through Cleveland's administration. I can remember that because I was 6 years old then--I don't mind admit-ting it.

It's a particular pleasure for me to be here in Greenfield today. Middle Westerners like myself all look upon your town as a sort of shrine because we feel that your own great poet, James Whitcomb Riley, belongs to all of us. I understand his birthday was just a week ago and that October 7th was made an official holiday in Indiana in 1915.

There was a lot of down-to-earth commonsense in Whitcomb Riley's poems, and we could use more of that in the world today. I don't think there is a kid in the country that doesn't know Orphan Annie, and I don't think there is a boy in the country who doesn't long for the "old swimmin' hole." And when you read Whitcomb Riley you read just what we people in the Middle West think and act and do. He gives us a turn that no other poet in the country has ever given.

The natural tendency on the part of all of us is to think of the old times as the best. We tend to forget the hard times, and remember the good times. We always remember the good things and hardly ever do we remember the things that caused us trouble-and some of us want to live in the past. You can't do that. You've got to go forward with civilization. You've got to follow the clock around. The clock never runs backward. You can't turn the world around the other way and bring it back. You've got to go forward with it.

You and I can remember that there were long periods of time in the so-called "good old days" when the times were bad for Indiana farmers and Indiana townspeople. All of you remember the great depression and what that meant to the American farmer. In order to pull the farmer out of the hole he was in after 12 years of Republican rule President Roosevelt started a number of programs designed to help the farmer and make a better living for him--rural electrification, soil conservation, the farm tenant purchase program, the farm price support program, the school lunch program, and many others. All these Democratic programs played their part in raising our farms to the tremendous prosperity they enjoy today.

You know, the farmers, like everybody else when things are easy for him, he tends to neglect his political duties. He becomes fat and lazy and won't go to the polls on election day. He did that in 1946--and look what he got. The Republican Congress began immediately to try to turn the clock back, and the first one they took a whack at was the farmer.

Prosperity is a good thing. It makes a better life possible for all farm families, and as a result, the whole country is better off. Farmers and laborers and businessmen can all be prosperous together--and that's the Democratic principle. We want to make everybody have a fair share of the national income.

It was a hard uphill fight to secure these great farm programs and to achieve prosperity for American farmers. There was determined Republican opposition to the Democratic efforts to get the necessary laws on the books.

When the Republicans finally got control of the 80th Congress a new fight began, a fight to save these Democratic programs. I had to fight throughout the Republican 80th Congress to keep the rural electrification program from being stopped altogether. They wanted to repeal it. They didn't want to give it any money at all. I had to fight for farm price supports and the school lunch program. It was all the administration of which I was the head could do to prevent the Congress from slashing funds for soil conservation right out of the budget. They did take it out in the House but we had enough good, sensible Democrats in the Senate and a few forward-looking Republicans, and we put that appropriation back. The Republican leaders seemed determined to knock the props from under farm prosperity, despite the fact that everyone knows that farm prosperity is essential to national prosperity.

I don't think American farmers intend to lose the ground they have won. That's why I am confident they will vote to send Mr. Oliver to the Congress, they will vote to send Mr. Schricker to the capital of Indiana, and they will vote to send me back to the White House, because that is to their best interests to do--to do all three of those things.

Now, the best thing you can do is to vote in your own selfish interest on election day, and when you do that you'll vote the Democratic ticket straight--and then you won't have to worry about the dock being turned back. If you vote that Republican Congress back you'll have the same old backward-looking leaders. You can't afford to do that.

Get up early, now, and go to the polls on election day and vote a straight Democratic ticket and vote in your own interest.

I do thank you a lot for this wonderful turnout, this wonderful welcome I have had in Indiana--in Richmond and at this place, just like it was everywhere else in the United States. Everybody is interested in these issues, and they are coming out to find out what I am thinking about them. And you don't have any trouble finding out where I stand. I tell you frankly where I stand on all these issues which affect the people. Try to get the other fellow to do that--and you'll be a good one if you can get it done.

[3.] CRAWFORDSVILLE, INDIANA (Rear platform, 11:16 a.m.)

Governor, Mr. Chairman, and fellow Democrats of Indiana:
It looks to me as if you are all here!

I am most happy to be in this wonderful city of Crawfordsville this morning. You have some very famous people with whom we are all familiar who came from this lovely town--Lew Wallace, Meredith Nicholson. "Alice of Old Vincennes"--Thompson, I think, wrote that book. He lived here till he died. It has been my privilege to read most of the books that these famous men have written, and especially have I been interested in James Whitcomb Riley's poetry. I was in his town of Greenfield this morning, and I had a grand time there. The people turned out in immense numbers, but nothing like this. This tops them all.

I have been making trips all over this country. I have been from the west coast and back again. I have been across the Middle Atlantic States. I have been through the Middle West. Now I am making a tour through Indiana and Illinois and Wisconsin and Minnesota. Then I am going to wind up by a tour across the northern side of the United States and tell everybody what is going on in this country and what this campaign means.

I am trying to have everyone of you understand that your interest is at stake and that this is one of the most important campaigns that the United States will have in several generations.

I feel very strongly on these issues. I feel that they are basic to the prosperity and welfare of the American people. I believe that the continuing welfare of our Nation depends on every voter's understanding these issues when he goes to the polls.

I have told the people what the Democratic Party stands for and what it has done for the people. Because the Republican candidates won't be frank and tell what the Republican Party intends to do to the people, I have also talked about the Republican Party and what it stands for and what it will do to you if it gets a chance. I don't think there is any Republican who could accuse me of 'pulling punches. I am telling facts, and they can't stand facts. They like to talk about unity and give you a little soothing syrup and make you believe that they are all right, but if you will study the record you will find that they are anything but right.

Today we are in the midst of the greatest prosperity this country has ever seen. That prosperity is threatened by runaway high prices which began when the Republicans, under the leadership of men like Senator Taft and Senator Wherry, destroyed price controls back in 1946. I want to see our prosperity continue. I want to see these high prices brought under control so that wages and salaries and farm income will maintain their purchasing power.

The prosperity that we have today has not come by accident. It was carefully planned. It is the result of Democratic policies for the last 16 years.

I would like to tell you all the things that the Democrats have done to bring about this situation--what the programs mean to the farmers and the workers and the small businessmen. They have all gotten their fair share of the national income. Never before in the history of the country--or the world, for that matter--has the national income of a great country like ours been more fairly distributed than it has been under Democratic administrations.

There isn't time to tell you all about these things, but I will describe just one Democratic program which has meant a lot to you people here in Indiana. That is rural electrification.

In 1933 only one farm in seven in the United States had electric power. Under President Roosevelt's leadership the Democratic Congress enacted the rural electrification program. The benefits from that program are apparent all over Indiana, and the rest of the country too. Now more than 60 percent of the Nation's farms have electric power.

Before REA began only one farm in ten in Indiana had electricity. Now nine of every ten Indiana farmers have electricity on the farms. One hundred and three thousand Indiana farm homes have REA electricity. Imagine what that means to a hungry world. It means food for people who would otherwise starve to death. And yet, the Republican Party is still fighting REA at every turn of the road. They are fighting it because the big power companies are opposed to it. The Republican Party is tied hand and foot to the big power companies-and they always have been.

I was on the Senate committee that wrote what they call the death sentence to the utility holding companies, and that utility holding company bill was fought tooth and toe-nail by every Republican in the Senate. But we passed it anyway and we gave the people back the things that the people are entitled to.

That's what the Democrats all stand for. That's why 73 percent of the Republicans voted against REA in 1943, and why almost 90 percent voted against it in 1947, and why three-fourths of them voted against electrification in 1948. It's just a continuing program of the Republicans to be against the people and for the special interests. Fortunately, REA won out every time because overwhelming majorities of the Democrats in Congress had your interest at heart, and supported it with everything they had.

There you have one specific issue you have to decide on November 2d. Do you want to have a Republican Congress and a Republican president in Washington who are working for the big power companies ? Do you? All right, then--all you've got to do is to do your duty on election day and vote a straight Democratic ticket, and then you'll be all right.

Exactly the same principle is involved in every issue that the farmer is interested in, not just REA. Exactly the same principle is involved in every issue that the workingman is interested in--fair labor laws, minimum wages, social security laws, and so forth. That principle is simply this: The Democratic Party believes that the Government should be run for the benefit of all groups of people. The Republican Party is interested only in doing what special privilege and special interest wants--just like they are trying to do with the power companies now in the West.

I don't think you're going to let them get away with it. I am confident that you're going to send lack O'Grady to the Congress from this district, and I am confident that you are going to elect Schricker Governor of Indiana--and if you do that you'll certainly send me back to the White House, and I won't be troubled with the housing problem.

I can't tell you how very much I appreciate this cordiality, this wonderful turnout, and the interest which the people are showing in the issues in this campaign.

I appreciate very much these young men and young women, these college students who are here this morning, because they are interested in the welfare of the country or they wouldn't be here. And this country is yours. You are going to take over the operation of this country in the next generation. And I am most happy to see you interested in things that are pending now in this campaign because your future is wrapped up in the results of this campaign--and the welfare of the country and the welfare of the world is wrapped up in this campaign.

Therefore, I want every one of you to go to the polls on November 2d and vote in your own interests, and if you do that you'll just vote a straight Democratic ticket--you can't help but do that.

[4.] DANVILLE, ILLINOIS (Rear platform, 1:10 p.m.)

Mr. Chairman:

Thank you very much. Can you imagine this outpouring of Democrats in old Joe Cannon's town--I just can't understand it!

It is certainly good to be in Danville. I am proud of you for I hear that you are going to send Wayne Cook, one of America's great war heroes, to the Congress as your representative. I also understand that Paul Douglas, a great Marine hero, is going to the Senate, and that Adlai Stevenson is going to Springfield as the Governor of this great State.

You know, the first political banner I ever wore in my life, I was about 7 or 8 years old. It was a cap with a sign on it that said Cleveland and Stevenson--Cleveland for President and Stevenson for Vice President. He was the father of Adlai Stevenson.

When I am here in Danville, I always think about a time, a hundred years or so ago, when a group of Abraham Lincoln's lawyer friends put him on trial before a kangaroo court down at the old McCormick House because his lawyer fees were too low. Lincoln lost the case and was fined a jug of whiskey.

I want you to think just how out of place Lincoln would be with present day Republicans. Republicans don't charge low fees any longer. The higher the better is their motto. They don't think any longer about "of the people, by the people, and for the people."

The record of the Republican 80th Congress is proof of that. And the Republican candidate for President is standing squarely on the record of that Congress in his campaign. Can you imagine that!

That Congress tore into the rights of the workingman. It undermined the prosperity of the farmer. It hurt every family in the country by refusing to do anything about high prices, or the housing shortage, or relieving the terribly crowded conditions of schools and hospitals all over the country.

All that the Republican Congress did was to pass laws that the lobbies of the railroads and the private power companies, and big business asked for. They even passed laws to benefit the grain speculators.

And the Republican candidate for President says that he is proud of the record of the Both Congress.

We don't have time now to go into all these issues. Let's look at just one of the things the Republican 80th Congress did that affects the prosperity of every man, woman, and child in this State.

The Commodity Credit Corporation, under the Democratic administrations, developed a program to store grain when there were bumper crops, so that grain could be marketed over a longer period of time. This helped the farmer to get good, steady prices for his crops, and gave him encouragement to reap big crops. If it hadn't been for that encouragement, millions of people in the world would have starved to death.

Well, the grain speculators don't like this because they make their killings when the farm prices go up and down in a hurry. They don't care what happens to the farmers. The speculators have always exploited the farmer until the New Deal put an end to that speculating and exploitation.

So, the grain lobbies got Republican Jesse Wolcott of Michigan, and Republican Leo Allen right up here in Chicago, Ill., to lead the fight in the 80th Congress to change the charter of the Commodity Credit Corporation so that it could no longer secure storage space for bumper crops.

That was a plain sellout to the lobbies by the Republican 80th Congress.

Well now, what happened? This year we had a bumper crop, and we have no place to put it. I was down in southern Illinois the other day, and corn down there in southern Illinois was selling for $1 a bushel, and the support price of corn is 47 cents a bushel. Now, who is getting that 47 cents? Not the farmer--not the farmer. The speculators are getting it because they prevented the ability to store that grain and give the farmers the benefit of the support price.

Farmers all over the country are being forced to dump their grain as "distress grain," or let it rot on the ground, because the Commodity Credit Corporation no longer has the power to provide emergency storage space for bumper crops. That is the Republican program, pure and simple. The farmers cannot get the Government support price, because their crops are not in storage. That is typical of the Republican attitude toward the farmer, and when the farmer suffers, every one of you in cities like Danville, feels the effects.

Don't let the Republicans fool you with their smooth talk about what they are going to do for the farmers, and the workers, and the small businessmen in this country.

Their actions speak louder than words. You know, Uncle Joe Cannon had quite a career in this great town, and he was present when one of your colleagues said he would rather be right than President. Old Uncle Joe made a famous answer. He said, "I am sure that my worthy friend will never be right, or president, either."

I think that is absolutely true of the Republicans today. They will never be right, and they will never elect a President if the people understand what they are trying to do.

You know what is right in this campaign. It is within your power to determine on election day whether you will have a government that will be to your best interest, or whether you will have a government that is run by the lobbies that have run the Both Congress. Now, there won't be any difference in the next Congress if you send Republicans back there. The same old backward-looking leadership will be in charge.

You have got to clean this thing out. You have got to send Democrats to Congress this time, and you have got to support the administration that is looking out for the people.

Go to the polls on election day and vote for yourselves. When you do that, you will vote the straight Democratic ticket, and I won't be troubled with the housing shortage, I will still live in the White House.

I can't tell you how very much I appreciate this wonderful turnout. It shows you are interested in the welfare of the country. Show that interest on election day. Get up early, and vote for the Democratic ticket on the 2d of November.

[5.] TOLONO, ILLINOIS (Rear platform, 2:10 p.m,)

Thank you very much. I appreciate that introduction very much, and I hope that Mrs. Goldman will be the next Congresswoman from this district, too.

I am always agreeably surprised at the wonderful receptions along the way. I have been from one end of the United States to the other and now I am going across, north and south. Having been east and west from one end to the other, I am going north and south from one side to the other. I have been in the Middle Atlantic States. I have been in the Middle Western States. I have been on the west coast. I have been down South. And everybody seems to be highly interested in the issues in this campaign.

The reception I am getting today in Illinois means victory for Paul Douglas, your next United States Senator, and for Olive Remington Goldman, your next Congresswoman, and for Adlai Stevenson, your next Governor--and for the straight Democratic ticket.

I am told it was just 87 years ago that Abraham Lincoln came through Tolono on his way to Washington. This was his last stop in Illinois before he went on to become President. And this is what I am told he said: "I am leaving you on an errand of national importance, attended, as you are aware, with considerable difficulties. Let us believe, as some poet has expressed it, 'Behind the cloud the sun is still shining.' I bid you an affectionate farewell." You don't know how well he spoke when he said he was going to a place of considerable difficulty. I can speak from 3 years' experience that he knew exactly what he was talking about.

The American people today want peace and prosperity. That's why Lincoln was going to Washington--to try to get peace and prosperity. I am trying to help them get peace and the prosperity they deserve. I want to see everybody in the country get a fair break, and I have been fighting to see that vital legislation--such as the farm price support program--doesn't get thrown out of the window by the Republicans.

After World War I the farmers in this country began a series of bad years that didn't end until the Democratic Party's farm program went into effect in the 1930's. I know the difficult times the farmers had because I was living on a Missouri farm then, and I could see the troubles the farmers were having. I was trying my best to make a 600-acre farm in Jackson County pay its way, and in those days it was a most difficult job, as you all remember.

The Democratic administrations of the last 16 years have been building a firm foundation for farm prosperity. We conceived and wrote the farm price support bill into a program of law. We placed a floor under the farmers' income so they wouldn't be wiped out in drought years or low-priced out of existence when a bumper crop hit the market. The prosperity and well-being of the American farmers showed that the Democratic programs have worked.

Farmers tell me they want them continued. Even the Republicans talk out of one side of their mouth about continuing them. But what do the Republicans do about the farm program when they are back in Washington ? Well, they cut the farm price support program to pieces. They cut funds from the rural electrification program, the soil conservation program, and the school lunch program. They refused to provide funds for rural housing or better schools.

Tonight in Springfield I am going to explain in full detail just exactly what the Democratic and the Republican Parties stand for. I hope you will listen. I will give a lot of detail that I can't give you now because we haven't the time.

Two years ago in the elections of 1946 the American people, particularly the farmers, seemed to forget about their Government in Washington. Two-thirds of you stayed at home. And what did you get? You got that Republican, 80th "do-nothing" Congress. It represented only a minority of the voters because two-thirds of you didn't vote. I say that minority should not rule the country, especially when the Congress they elect serves only special interests. This year everyone must vote so that the elected representatives of us all will be in control of the Congress, and then you'll get what you are entitled to.

You see, the policy of the Democratic Party has always been to support the welfare of the people as a whole. We believe that the farmer, the workingman, the small businessman, should have the same sort of a distribution of the national income as the big fellows at the top. That's not the policy of the Republican Party. They have always been for special privilege and special interest, and this 80th Congress conclusively proved what they had in mind.

If it hadn't been that I stood there with the veto, no telling what they would have done to this country. I vetoed more bills than any President since Grover Cleveland, and every bill I vetoed was vetoed in the public interest and not for some special interest. They passed 4 or 5 of those special interest bills over my veto. But there were a host of them that they couldn't pass.

And I want to say to you that for your own welfare and protection you better get out on election day and vote for your own interests. If you do that you will go to the polls and vote a straight Democratic ticket. Then you won't have to worry about whether the country is going to get into the hands of special privilege or not--you will have control of it. And that's your duty, that's your duty. When you fail to vote when you have the right to vote, you are shirking your duty. You are the Government when you exercise control of it. But if you are too lazy to go and vote--well, you get an 80th "do-nothing" Congress; and you deserve it when you stay at home and don't vote--I don't sympathize with you a bit.

Remember, now: The most important thing before you is this election on November 2d. I am going up and down this country explaining to you what the issues are. Study them a little. Use your brains. And I won't have to worry about a housing problem after the 20th of January if you do that--I'll still be living in the White House.

[6.] DECATUR, ILLINOIS (Rear platform, 3:30 p.m.)

Mr. Chairman, my fellow Democrats of Decatur:

I appreciate most highly this cordial welcome. You know, when I first started out on these tours, I made an effort to estimate the crowds, and I found that I just couldn't estimate them at all--and found I had to measure them by the acre. I did some figuring, and I figured out that in an acre, there are 4,850 square yards and that there ought to be at least two people to the square yard, and when you have an acre of people, you have 9,600 people, and when you have ten acres of people, you have 96,000. Now, I would say that we might have about five acres of people here this afternoon--and I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. It shows that you are interested in this campaign. It shows that you are interested in the welfare of the country, and I appreciate it. And I am always happy to see the young people come out because they are going to have the responsibility of running this country in the next generation. And they ought to be interested and they ought to understand all the issues that are before the country now.

I want to compliment these Junior Police for coming out and helping to preserve order this afternoon. They are doing a good job. This is one of the most orderly crowds I have seen.

The kind of receptions I have been getting here in Illinois today mean you are vitally concerned with what is going on in the country. It means that you are going to send Paul Douglas to the Senate, and Olive Remington Goldman to the House of Representatives, and Adlai Stevenson to the State Capitol in Springfield.

Now, I have been making a crusade all over this country to tell the American people what the issues in this campaign are. I am explaining just exactly what this election means to them. The Republicans are trying to pretend that there aren't any issues. Well, they couldn't be further from the truth if they tried, and they don't stick very closely to the truth very often.

This election will decide who runs the Government of the United States for the next 4 years. It will decide whether you, the people, are in control or whether a little group of reactionary Republicans, completely under the thumb of the lobbies of the special interests, will be in office and run the country.

I want to say to you that this 80th Congress was beset with more lobbyists than any other Congress in the history of the country, and they spent more money than ever has been spent in Washington in lobbies in the history of the country--and that Congress did nothing about it. They liked it. They sat and took it.

I have been going around the country, explaining how the actions of the Republican 80th Congress, which the Republican candidate for President has warmly endorsed, undermined the very foundation of the prosperity of the American people as they are enjoying it now.

In 1933, after 12 years of Republican misrule, Decatur was in very serious trouble. I am sure you remember what it was like in the railroad shops and the mills and plants and all the stores and shops that supply the farmers in this part of Illinois. Well, you got sort of tired of that, and in 1932 you elected Franklin D. Roosevelt President of the United States.

There was a steady improvement from that time on. And the postwar years have brought the greatest prosperity this area has ever known. That wasn't by accident. That came about because the Democratic Party believes in seeing that labor gets its fair share of the national income and that the farmer is on a parity basis with the rest of the economy, and that the small businessmen get a square deal. The Democrats passed the Wagner Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Social Security Act and a great many other measures that give workers better incomes and greater security than they ever had before in the history of the country. We provided for soil conservation and rural electrification and the farm price support program and a number of other laws--all to help the farmer, the workingman, and the small businessman. When the farmers and the workers are well off, then the businessmen are able to do well.

Since we are enjoying our present great prosperity, why can't it just continue on like this? We can't count on continued prosperity going on just like this because we have so many serious problems that need action, and they need action now. I tried all through the 80th Congress to get the Republican leaders to act on the worst problem of all--high prices. If this runaway inflation is not stopped, we are surely headed straight for another bust. But the Republican leaders absolutely refused to take one step that would bring down the cost of living. They refused to 'pass any housing bill which would clear away the city slums, provide public low-rental housing, or help meet the acute housing shortage in the rural areas. They refused to do anything about the crisis in education, or to help meet the acute shortage of doctors and hospitals, or to build the waterways and dams and powerplants we need if we are to continue to grow. The Republican 80th Congress not only refused to meet our pressing national problems-they actually tried to tear down the Democratic programs which are responsible for the growth and prosperity of this great country for the past 16 years.

Last night in Akron, Ohio, I told how the Republicans tried to crush the strength of the labor movement, how they took away social security from nearly a million people, how they have plans to take away even more of the rights of the workingman if they ever get a chance.

Tonight in Springfield, Ill., I am going to tell just exactly what the Republicans have done to the farmers--how they have already deprived many farmers of price supports, how they have cut rural electrification and soil conservation funds, how they have tried to put the farmer back where he was in the 1920's.

Remember, all these actions of the Republican 80th "do-nothing" Congress were approved by the Republican candidate for President when he said, "the 80th Congress delivered as no other Congress has done for the future of the country."

By your vote on November 2d you can get a government that's not going to forget about you in Washington. You are going to get a government that will work for the welfare of the people--if you vote right. But you can get a government on November 2d that will forget about you in Washington and worry only about the interests of big business--you can get a Republican government, which would be the worst thing that could happen to this country at this time.

I hope that you will make the right choice and that you'll have a government that has the interests of the people at heart, a government headed by Democrats--who believe in Democratic principles, who believe in the welfare of the whole country, and not just in the welfare of a special few.

I ask you to look at the record. Then get your friends and neighbors to get to the polls on election day, November the 2d. And just keep this in mind: When you go there, vote for yourselves; vote in your own interest. When you do that, you'll vote a straight Democratic ticket--and you'll have a Democratic Governor in Springfield, you'll have a Democratic Senator from Illinois, you'll have a Democratic Congressman from this district, and you'll have a Democratic President in the White House--and then I won't be troubled with the housing shortage next January.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate this interest and this turnout. It is magnificent. You can't appreciate it unless you can stand up here and look at all these smiling faces showing all the interest in the things that are taking place.

[7.] SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS (Dinner in the Rose Room, St. Nicholas Hotel, 7:55 p.m.)

Thank you, thank you very much. We are running on a time schedule, as you know, and I want to make it interesting for you, and suggest to you that I am highly appreciative of all the courtesies that you have extended to me in the great State of Illinois. I don't think I have had a more cordial reception anywhere in the whole United States--and that is a very high compliment for I have had the most cordial receptions from one end of the country to the other.

That's all I can say to you--thank you, and come to the show tonight, and I will try to tell you something about the Republican Party.

Note: In the course of his remarks on October 12 the President referred to former Governor Henry F. Schricker, Democratic candidate for Governor of Indiana, and Democratic candidates for Representative Robert C. Oliver and John O'Grady, both of Indiana; former Representative Joseph G. Cannon, Democratic candidates for Representative Wayne Cook and Mrs. Olive Remington Goldman, Democratic candidate for Senator Paul H. Douglas, Democratic candidate for Governor Adlai E. Stevenson, and Representative Leo E. Allen, all of Illinois; Senator Robert A. Taft of Ohio; Senator Kenneth S. Wherry of Nebraska; and Representative Jesse P. Wolcott of Michigan.

Harry S Truman, Rear Platform and Other Informal Remarks in Indiana and Illinois Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/233444

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