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Rear Platform and Other Informal Remarks in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey

October 31, 1932

[1. ] BALTIMORE, MARYLAND (Mount Royal Railroad Station, 11:30 a.m.)

My friends in Baltimore:

It is always difficult for me to formulate the expression of appreciation that I feel for so heartening a greeting and so courteous and generous a reception as you have given me this morning. I do feel that it is an indication of the action which the State of Maryland will take on the 8th day of November.

It has been my opportunity and pleasure during the past years of public service to visit practically every part of the State of Maryland. I have visited it particularly in search of those landmarks in the history of our whole country from the days of the first landings on our coast, in which this State is so rich. I deem it an honor to have had a great-grandfather who lived for the span of a generation at Union Bridge in Frederick County of this State. Every imprint of the development of American national life is to be found in the State of Maryland.

Because the time is short on this occasion, I must limit myself to a statement of a few of the wide differences of policies which have developed between the Republican and the Democratic Parties during this campaign. With the important concern you of this city have in the issues in this campaign there is no better place to point out the effect which the course you may choose on the 8th of November will have upon the future of your own welfare.

A few days ago in this city the Democratic candidate made a statement in respect to the Supreme Court which must be the negation of the sentiment, the feeling, and the resolution of the people of the State that produced Chief Justice Taney 1 and other honored members who have helped to make the long history of the Supreme Court of the United States. While the Constitution was actually brought into being in a neighboring State, yet every schoolchild in Maryland knows that it was the preliminary meeting at Annapolis from which the Constitution was born. And every student of history knows, and every person in the modern world knows, that Maryland has maintained a peculiar fidelity to the Constitution, and that it surely would not be the will of the people of Maryland that the independence of this great tribunal shall be undermined or brought into question for political party purposes, whether they be Democratic or Republican. It is the genius of our form of government that the independence of the Supreme Court stands unique in all the governments of the world and is the strongest bulwark of the permanence of our democracy.

Of other matters for which Maryland has always stood constantly from her beginning, I might mention the protective tariff. Lately at Cumberland, I recalled that the first petition lodged with the Congress which had just convened under the Constitution was a petition signed by merchants and manufacturers and the workers, chiefly of the city of Baltimore, requesting a protective tariff in order that they might have industrial freedom as well as political freedom from Europe. That was the first petition acted upon by the Congress of the United States. Thus the first piece of legislation signed by George Washington as President under the newly formulated Constitution was a protective tariff measure passed in response to a petition from the State of Maryland. From that day to this your varied industries have grown and thrived under protective tariffs. They have wilted and shriveled whenever that tariff has been lowered or when those protections have been abandoned. The livelihood of your workmen are peculiarly dependent upon it. Your agriculture is in particular danger from lowering of these tariffs because you are situated close to the seaboard and close to the point of attack of foreign imports. At this precise moment there is scarcely an agricultural or industrial product in your State that could not, under the depreciated currencies of Europe and South America, be brought to your doors at from 25 to 40 percent below the prices you at present realize, depressed as they may be. The taking off of that tariff must mean a lowering of wages and a lowering of standards of living in the State of Maryland.

The Democratic Party proposed to reduce this tariff. It proposes not only to reduce it generally, but it proposes to negotiate reciprocal tariffs, which can mean but one thing and that is to negotiate away the tariffs in favor of the import of some variety of goods. That is the reason why Maryland, except on a few occasions during the last 40 years has been Republican in national elections and has realized that the fundamental interest of the State lay with the party which has stood staunchly for the protective tariff ever since that party was born. There has never been an hour when it was more necessary that Maryland maintain that vigilant attitude as to the tariff as the one which now threatens us.

Another of the policies upon which the State of Maryland has stood staunchly since the beginning is a sound and stable currency. This is an added reason why the State of Maryland has so often supported the Republican Party in national elections. It is because it has been the party of sound and stable money. We have had within the last 5 months the passage of an act of Congress by a Democratic House of Representatives to issue $2,300 million of greenback currency--one of the most glaring attempts to violate the stability and sacred character of currency of a people that we have seen in our country since the days of the Civil War when it was issued only in complete desperation and paid for by a price of a thousand sufferings in the years which followed. The Vice-Presidential candidate in this campaign fathered this measure, and the Democratic candidate or any other speaker in this campaign has not seen fit to disavow it.

In view of the attitude which the State of Maryland has always taken in the support of stable currency, I should like to repeat to you the most prophetic statement of an American statesman--Daniel Webster. One hundred years ago, he said:

"He who tampers with the currency robs labor of its bread. He panders, indeed, to greedy capital, which is keen-sighted and may shift for itself, but he beggars labor, which is unsuspecting and too busy with the present to calculate for the future. The prosperity of the workpeople lives, moves and has its being in established credit and steady medium of payment.

This has been a State given to economy in public expenditure, and this last session of the Democratic House of Representatives passed measures calling for an expenditure of 3 1/2 billion, or an increase in Federal expenditures by over 80 percent in the face of the tremendous difficulties of our taxpayers and of the Federal Treasury. These efforts were stopped, but the House refused to accept recommendations of the administration for decreases in expenditure. It forced increased expenditure upon the Government. It is not now the party of economy in conduct of public affairs.

The Republican Party stands today as the safeguard against a series of measures which would drive this country from the foundations which 150 years of constructive building by our own fathers has wrought. In a peculiar way the State of Maryland has stood for the maintenance of these traditions, for the upholding of progress based upon these views; it has never departed from them. Both the interest and the sentiment of this State can find its satisfaction and its expression alone in a national Republican administration.

[2.] NEWARK, DELAWARE (Rear platform, 1:10 p.m.)

I deeply appreciate such a greeting as you have given to me. It is most encouraging, and it is heartening. And it is an indication of how you are going to act on the 8th of November.

I have one thing in common with many of you in this audience, and that is that I have lived all my life and made my home in a college town. I have lived with a college and helped to nurture that college, and I have appreciation of the problems not only of colleges but of students.

I have been very much interested in the past few days to have been sent a poll of the students of a large number of the colleges in the United States, showing that they are overwhelmingly for the support of the Republican ticket. That is because our institutions are pledged to the upbuilding of the United States upon its historical foundations and not for tearing down those foundations in order to win elections.

Now, I appreciate your coming and the greeting you have given to me, and I can only add thanks to you.

[3.] WILMINGTON, DELAWARE (Rear platform, 1:30 p.m.)

My friends:

It is difficult to find words to express the appreciation that I feel and the gratitude that I feel for so courteous and so enthusiastic a reception. It is a fine augury of what Delaware will do on the 8th of November.

This is not an occasion on which one can discuss national issues at such length as you deserve. I am speaking in New York tonight. Through the magic of the radio many of you will be able to listen in, and I hope you will like what I shall say.

We have been passing through a great crisis during this last 3 years. The major part of our difficulties has come upon us from abroad. They were not the doing of the American people. We have set up for the American people, by a Republican administration, great protective measures which have saved this country from 20 years of chaos and destruction which otherwise would have ensued, and we have now turned those measures towards recovery. We have carried the first trenches in that great battle.

The indications of the gradual improvement of the country are coming in from all sides. This morning I am informed that our Government agencies state that over a million men have returned to work since the adjournment of the Democratic House of Congress. If that battle can go on without change of strategy and without change of policy and without halting, this country will recover its employment and will recover in its agriculture.

Now, there is one of our Republican policies which is of the most vital importance to the people of Delaware, and that is the maintenance of the protective tariff. Our Democratic opponents propose to reduce that tariff, and they propose to reduce it in the face of the fact that during the last 14 months the collapse of foreign nations abroad brought about an enormous depreciation in their currency and a tremendous reduction in their wages and standards of living, to a point where the difference between the purchasing power of American wages and those of our competitors have been enormously widened. The real problem before the American people today is not the reduction of the tariff but to reconsider whether our tariff is high enough at this moment to protect you in your employment and in your living. Our Democratic opponents have proposed some measures in respect to this emergency. One of them is a proposal to inflate the currency of the United States by issuing unconvertible greenback money. That idea is not new in the Democratic Party every time the Nation falls into distress. The Republican Party has had to meet it before, and it has had to meet it in this election and in the last session of Congress.

I would like to be able to take the time to explain to you what inflation-the issuance of paper money--means to the man who works at the bench and who works in the field. It is a subtle destruction of his living. It serves no one except the greedy. It is one of the most vital things before the American people at this moment. A sound currency and a stable currency is the very beginning and the very end of sustained wages and sustained prices.

Now, I could go on with a number of our other issues, but I will not take your time. I can assure you that the Republican Party stands for the maintenance of these great principles of a protective tariff. It stands for sane and rigid economy in government. It stands for sound currency. It stands for stability in the finance of the Federal Government. It stands for measures that will care for distress pending the working out of these gigantic instrumentalities which we have established for the restoration of the country. I cannot find that our Democratic opponents have been able to meet these issues fairly and frankly.

Thank you.

[4.] CHESTER, PENNSYLVANIA (Rear platform, 1:52 p.m.)

My friends:

I deeply appreciate your greeting this morning. Some of you, I am told, have come a long distance. You must rise early in this part of the United States because I get up at 6 o'clock, and some of you must have gotten up before that. Your greeting this morning is encouraging. It is sustaining in a great right. It is an indication of where the State of Pennsylvania is going to be on the 8th day of November.

This is not an occasion when one can discuss at any length or with any adequacy our greater national issues. I am speaking tonight in New York. Through the magic of the radio many of you will be able to listen in, and I hope you will be interested.

There is one matter which is of importance in every manufacturing city of the United States, and that is the maintenance of the protective tariff. Our opponents are proposing to reduce that tariff to a competitive basis. I recently had a survey made as to the purchasing power of wages in the countries with which you have to compete. We reduced it to a common denominator of bread and butter, and we found that there was no country at the present moment where the rate of wages in that country would buy more than one-third of the amount of bread and butter that could be bought in Pennsylvania from your wages. And that has been due to a large extent to the reductions, the discounts, and the depreciation in currencies that have taken place by the collapse of the financial systems of those governments during the past 18 months. The problem is not so much the reduction of the tariff today as it is not only the maintenance of it but an inquiry into whether or not the tariff in the face of these depreciated currencies is adequately protecting you. That is a matter which the Republican Party is confronting and a problem which the Democratic Party is concerned with as to how much they don't say about the reduction of the tariff and still obtain your votes.

I want to express my appreciation to you for coming to this station, for the tremendous greeting which you have given to me on entering the State of Pennsylvania. None of us have any doubt about the action of this State. It has been the staunch supporter of the Republican Party from the very day it was born, and I have no lack of confidence as to its continuance.

I thank you.

[5.] PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA (City Hall, 2:30 p.m.)

My friends:

It is hard for me to find words of appreciation for such a greeting and such a reception as you are giving me at this moment.

I have a great deal of pleasure in coming into the great Common. wealth founded by William Penn, and to the city laid out and established by him as the seat of its government. If public business had permitted, I should have been particularly pleased to have accepted the invitation to be here last week to participate in the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the memorable day on which he first set foot on this soil. His noble contribution to civil and religious liberty is without parallel in the histories of the world.

In the certainty and the amplitude of the international political philosophy of his "Essay Toward the Present and Future Peace of Europe," he was two centuries ahead of his time. How appropriate to his theories of government, as he applied them in practice, are the words of the Liberty Bell, first put in place in the statehouse tower 179 years. ago, "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, to all the inhabitants thereof." I could have participated in that celebration with personal sentiment because it was his faith and the proclamation of his principles of liberty that led my first American ancestor to land in this city just 46 years after Penn first established this Commonwealth.

I also have pleasure in coming today because your kind invitation stated that I should not be expected to make a political speech. I expressed my genuine appreciation of that gracious and generous condition and interpreted it, as your committee states that it should be interpreted, that the great majority of the voters of this Commonwealth were determined that her electoral votes should be cast for the Republican ticket.

Your city shares with the Nation her great historic heritage, long the scene of the proprietary government of Pennsylvania; the meeting place of the early Continental Congress where the Declaration of Independence was signed and given to the world; where the Constitution was framed; the early seat of the National Government. Very properly have such events made Philadelphia a shrine of American freedom.

If there were time, I might at this point remind you at some length that it was in this city, on June 17, 1856, on the anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill, that the first Republican National Convention met. It is a privilege to have contact 'with the earliest springs of American traditions and strong spiritual fortresses of American institutions at a time when those traditions and institutions are boldly threatened. But I must pass on.

I know that the fame and the greatness of this city and of this Commonwealth depend not alone on their early history. The people of this State were pioneers in the construction and development of systems of transportation by canal and by rail; over these the products of her abundant natural resources reached the markets. A great industrial commonwealth inevitably resulted. It is to be noted, too, that this growth has been continuous and the progress steady. So long as the destinies of government, of society, and of industry in this Commonwealth remain in the control and management of high character, as in the past, her historic bell will indeed proclaim liberty throughout the world.

[6.] TRENTON, NEW JEREY (Rear platform, 3:33 p.m.)

My friends:

I deeply appreciate the courtesy and the generosity of your greeting. It is encouraging, and it is an indication of what New Jersey intends to do on November 8.

These short stops give too little opportunity to discuss our national issues. I am speaking in New York tonight. With the magic of the radio, I hope you will be able to listen on that occasion.

Now, there is one issue that I would like to impress on you. You are a great pottery city, and today the depreciation in foreign currencies is such that the protection given to your potteries by the Republican Party is in jeopardy, and yet our Democratic opponents propose to reduce that tariff in the face of that jeopardy. We are having an inquiry and an examination as to prices by the Tariff Commission to see whether or not relief can be given to you. But if on November 8 a party is to come in power which is to reduce your tariff, it is a reduction of your wages and your standard of living, and it may as well be stated in those plain terms.

During the last 3 years, our Nation has been involved in a great crisis. The larger part of that crisis has flowed over our borders from abroad. We have met it with courage. Our people have met it with fortitude. The Republican administration has initiated such measures as have saved our country from infinite chaos.

I am informed by the Government agencies this morning that since the adjournment of the Democratic House of Representatives there has been an increase of nearly a million of men taken into employment in the United States. It is important to you to consider whether or not you shall continue those measures and those policies or whether you will have this battle halted in its midst by a delay of at least 4 months while its command is reformulated, a delay of a year while a new session of Congress is called for the purpose of reconstructing the policies which are to guide this Nation towards recovery.

I thank you.

1 Brooke Taney served as Chief Justice from 1836 to 1864.

Note: The President was en route to New York City where he was scheduled to make a major campaign address. Times provided for the President's remarks are approximations based on his itinerary.

Herbert Hoover, Rear Platform and Other Informal Remarks in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/208067

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