Harry S. Truman photo

Rear Platform and Other Informal Remarks in Michigan

October 30, 1952

[1.] MUSKEGON, MICHIGAN (Rear platform, 8 a.m.)

You know, it's very, very hard for me to understand what is taking place in this campaign and in the country. I have never in the history of the country--and I am rather familiar with it known of a "has been" drawing so many people to hear what he has to say.

Now I am very glad to be here in Muskegon this morning. It is a pleasure to me to have your Governor and candidate for Senator, and their families, on the train this morning. I know that Michigan is going to return both of them to office. And they should, because you have had a good administration under Governor Williams, and Blair Moody has been a real representative for you in the Senate of the United States.

I understand that this is the first time a President of the United States has come to Muskegon, and I want to thank you for coming out here to greet your President at this time of day.

In the past 2 months I have traveled miles and made 200 speeches. I have met with crowds like this in cities and towns from coast to coast, and all of them have been interested in hearing about the issues in this election.

I want to tell you why I decided to come out here and work so hard in this campaign. The future of this great country of ours is at stake in this election. The future of the whole free world is at stake. I know it in my heart, and I want you to think and pray about it. I have been trying to get people to think. I have been trying to tell people the facts. And I have told them the facts, and all I want them to do is to think about those facts.

You are faced with a great decision on Tuesday, the most important decision, in my opinion, that has faced the country since the Civil War. Are you going to turn back the clock by electing the Old Guard Republicans, or are you going to move forward with prosperity ? Are we going to go soft in our struggle against communism and Communist aggression, as the Republican Old Guard wants, or are we going ahead with our defense program and win the fight for peace?

We are fighting in Korea today to keep from fighting here on United States soil tomorrow. So far, we have won that fight and prevented a third world war. We should be eternally proud and grateful for what our soldiers have done over there, and I will tell you I am proud of them. And we ought to back them up and make our defenses and our allies stronger. But if we follow the advice of the Republicans, we will weaken our defenses and let communism take over the world.

When I leave the White House next January, I want to see this great Republic of ours in safe hands. I want to see as President of the United States a man who will fight for the general welfare of the average man, just as Franklin Roosevelt and I have fought for the last 20 years. I want to see as President of the United States a man who will fight for lasting peace. My friends, that man is Adlai Stevenson of Illinois.

The Democratic Party has done great things for the people of this country in the past 20 years. We gave you social security, minimum wag e laws, sound farm programs, and full employment. That is what the New Deal and the fair Deal mean to you. Try to think of one thing the Republican Party has done to advance your interests. You will have a hard time finding it.

The Republicans have fought against the fair Deal and against the New Deal, and just about everything we have done for the welfare of the people.

But we have made great progress in spite of them. You don't have to take my word for it. Let me read you something from a magazine, a magazine that is no friend of mine--and very few of the slick magazines are friends of mine, or the Democratic Party, either--this is from the October 18th issue of Business Week, a magazine that is read mostly by Republicans.

The article points out that 10 percent of the people at the very top of the economic scale get a smaller proportion of the national income than they used to, and the other 90 percent of the people get more of it. This means that most of the people are better off than ever before. And the magazine points out that this is due to the things your Government has been doing.

Now let me read you this from Business Week, and here it is. And you can get it yourself and check me up on this:

"High levels of employment have put millions of jobless under somebody's payroll, cut unemployment to rock bottom. In addition, the number of women workers has jumped sharply, giving many low-income farmers a double paycheck. Farm prosperity has lifted a whole economic class out of the bottom brackets into the middle class. Many marginal holdings have been expanded--built up or merged into some income producing units. There are fewer farm families now, and they are making a lot more as a result of machinery, fertilizer, Government supports, and higher demands. The unionization of labor and Government policy on wages have boosted the bottom bracket incomes. At the same time they have caught many businesses in a vice that has squeezed down profits. Labor has used its new economic strength to take a bigger slice of the economic pie for itself. Welfare programs, unemployment compensation, social security, and the like fatten up family incomes that otherwise might shrink to the vanishing point."

Now there you have it. There you have it--in the words of an opposition magazine. That is what the Democratic Party means to you. So, my friends, when you go to the polls on Tuesday, think of the welfare of this great country of yours. The welfare of this United States, the greatest and the most powerful Republic in the history of the world is at stake. The welfare of the free world is at stake.

And there is another thing that you ought to think about--and that is why I am going around the country. I am trying to get you to do a little thinking for yourselves. Your own welfare is at stake. If you will study the record--all I want you to do is to read the record of the Republicans in the Congress, because that is where the policy is made. Read the record of the Democrats in the Congress, and then when you do that, you will send John H. Piercey to Congress, you will reelect your fighting liberal team of Senator Blair Moody and Governor Mennen Williams. And you will send Adlai Stevenson to the White House, and we will have 4 more years of good government in your interest.

[2.] GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN (Rear platform, 9:55 a.m.)

I am very glad to be here in Grand Rapids again. This is the first time I have had a chance to come to Michigan in this campaign, and I certainly am enjoying it.

No one comes here to Grand Rapids who can fail to think of your late townsman and Senator, Arthur Vandenberg. I hope you will permit me to speak about him. You see, I knew him very well for years, and he was a good friend of mine, and I had his help and counsel many times. I miss him very much. We all have cause to miss him. That is what I wish to talk to you about today.

Despite his tragic and untimely death last year, Arthur Vandenberg is still a great figure of importance in this campaign. What he did for the Republicans in his last and best years, and what the Republicans did without his wise counsel and advice after he passed on, illustrates one of the most vital of all issues in this election.

This is the issue of peace and war. At the close of World War II, we helped set up the United Nations, and tried to work with all our wartime allies to build a lasting peace. But the Kremlin started its cold war against the free world. And this country, to our everlasting credit, took up that challenge, assumed leadership of the free nations and organized the free world in strong resistance to the threat from Moscow.

Korea marks the greatest test, the most important landmark in all that we have done to hold and counter Soviet imperialism. The free world met that test as it never had the will or the courage to meet the Japanese aggression in Manchuria, or Hitler's march into Austria.

We have stopped aggression in Korea and hurled it back. We have done it there so we will not be forced to do it somewhere else, on a larger scale, closer to home. We are fighting in Korea so that we will not have to fight in Wichita, or San Francisco, or Grand Rapids, Michigan.

We have been building up the free world's strength to hold the Communists, secure the face, and prevent another world war. As long as Senator Vandenberg was with us, he was a tower of strength, a leader and a counselor at every step of this great enterprise.

He saw what we were up against, right from the start. He knew we must have strong friends and allies, all around the world, to prevent the Communists from starting another world war, and to help fight them if they were rash enough to start that world war. He knew this was the only way to safeguard freedom and to save American lives.

Because of his leadership, a majority of the Republicans in Congress voted for the Greek-Turkish aid program in 1947. Because of his leadership, a majority of the Republicans voted for the Marshall plan in 1948. Because of the leadership of Arthur Vandenberg, a majority of the Republicans voted for the North Atlantic Treaty in 1949.

Senator Vandenberg was a great Republican leader. The importance of his leadership is most clearly demonstrated by what happened as soon as illness forced him to withdraw his guiding hand.

My friends, from that time onward, the Republican Party in Congress has gone backwards into the hands of the Old Guard isolationists, who always hated Vandenberg, and made haste to reverse the whole direction of his work.

Look at the record. If there is anything that Senator Vandenberg stood for and believed in, it is our alliance with the North Atlantic countries and our programs of economic and military aid to help them. Yet most of the present leaders of the Republicans in Congress have now turned against these programs, and vote time after time to hamper or cripple them.

Their usual technique, of course, is to attack the funds required to carry out these vital programs. Here are some examples: In 1950 more than four-fifths of the Republican Senators voted, two separate times, for serious cuts in the Marshall plan. In 1951 Republican Senators voted overwhelmingly, six separate times, to cripple economic aid for Europe and to slash military aid. Their colleagues in the House did exactly the same thing. In 1952--this year, mind you-three-fourths of the Republican Senators and nine-tenths of the Republican Congressmen voted for most dangerous slashes in economic and military aid to the free nations of Europe.

This is the record of the Republican Party without Senator Vandenberg. By these votes they have sought to undermine, in actual operation, the policies that he helped to create. In this way they have repudiated his leadership. Yet these are the men who come before the country now, asking that this Nation's future, and the whole world's hopes for peace, be placed in their hands for 4 long years.

And what of the leader of their so-called crusade? Has he supported the great principles of the bipartisan foreign policy? Until this summer he was the Supreme Commander in Europe under the North Atlantic Treaty. I appointed him to that job. In that capacity he was charged with carrying out an important part of our effort to build a solid system of mutual security.

Now, early this year I sent down to the Congress a carefully considered budget for this vital task. Quite naturally, in considering my request, congressional committees sought out the views of the Supreme Commander in Europe. They asked for his opinion on the sum I had requested, and they also asked his views on the effect of cuts in that amount.

He sent them word that a reduction of as much as a billion dollars would be heavily and seriously felt. He also stated, and I quote, "Any cut materially greater than this would create such difficulties that a drastic revision of the whole program might be indicated, and might therefore endanger the proposed military buildup... which I consider essential in the interest of United States security." That is a direct quote from the testimony before the Committee.

Yet with that warning clear before them, the Republicans in Congress--aided by a few backward-looking Democrats--proceeded to slash not one, but nearly $2 billion from the funds I had requested.

The Supreme Commander did not protest. He said not a word. Instead he came home to run for the Republican nomination for President. And after he became the nominee, he promptly endorsed for reelection the Senators and Congressmen who had ignored his warnings and slashed the funds that were essential for the enterprise he had led in Europe.

Now, this man recently came to Michigan and wrapped himself in Arthur Vandenberg's mantle and called himself a "Vandenberg Republican." He rode across your State extolling the policies of Vandenberg that he and he himself had believed in and worked for.

Then he went to Illinois, where Bertie McCormick and Senator Dirksen reign over the Republican Party. And there he sneered at these same policies and talked like an isolationist.

If he was a "Vandenberg" Republican in Michigan, he most surely was a "Dirksen-Taft-McCormick" Republican in Illinois.

The Republican candidate asks that he be made the leader of our country. But in politics, my friends, just as in the Army, a leader should lead. He talks about the Vandenbergs, but in this whole campaign he has not displayed an ounce of leadership such as Vandenberg exerted every day.

My friends, I am convinced that it would be most dangerous to our hopes of peace if this country were turned over to a man like that, and to the party he now represents. Above all, you will vote to send to the White House a man who has proved by his record and by his conduct in this campaign that he possesses wisdom and the courage of his convictions--a real understanding of the problems of world leadership in these troubled times. And that is Adlai Stevenson of Illinois.

Now I want to point out something to you--I want to point out something to you people here. I went out on this campaign with the simple purpose of getting people like you to think. I want you to hear Eisenhower carefully. I want you to be courteous to him. I want you to know the issues. I want you to think about those issues. That is the only reason I am here. I want you to study the record in the Congress of the Republicans, and that is the only way you can find out what the policy of the Republican Party will be, should they get control of the Government.

You must consider the welfare of the free world. You must consider the welfare of the greatest Republic the sun has ever shone on. You must reject the leadership of the isolationists and the reactionaries. You must vote instead for the party that has worked steadfastly to build a strong America and a strong free world.

You will choose Blair Moody for your Senator. You will choose Mennen Williams for your Governor. You will choose Vincent O'Neill for your Congressman. You will send Adlai Stevenson to the White House, and the country will be safe for another 4 years.

[3.] LANSING, MICHIGAN (Rear platform, 11:21 a.m.)

I am very, very happy to be here this morning. And it reminds me of something that happened on a former trip of mine, when I went to the west coast and came back. I have been told by the Associated Press that Michigan State has the most outstanding football team in the country. I stopped in a little town in Hudson, New York, which is just north of New York City. And I had had a letter from the president of the student council in which he said that they were having a football game that night and he wished I would stop and go to it. Well, of course I couldn't. I read his letter. And then told him that I would hope very much--he said they hadn't had any crowds at their games--I told him that I hoped very much that he would have a big crowd that night and that he would win, but that I couldn't take sides because I was trying to get votes and the other side would vote just as well as his would. Well, I got a telegram from him, after I got back from Washington. He said the stadium was not only filled, it was overflowing and that they won the game. Now, I hope this will bring luck to Michigan State.

I'm very glad, of course, to have this opportunity to visit the capital of Michigan, and the official home of Governor Williams.

Now, I hope you Democrats here in Michigan realize how fortunate you are in having Mennen Williams as your Governor, and Blair Moody to represent you in the United States Senate.

Both of them have won national recognition as two of the ablest and most promising young leaders in the entire Democratic Party. Next Tuesday, you'll have a chance to show the rest of the country how much you appreciate them--here in your own great State.

Of course, you know that I am not a candidate for office this year. I'm looking forward to a good rest after next January the 20th. But I'm not going to rest--and I hope you won't, either--between now and election day.

I'm going to do everything I can--and I want you to do everything you can--to make sure that we elect as our next President a great civilian leader--Adlai Stevenson of Illinois.

The most important job that you have to do during the next few days is to get out and work to see that the people go to the polls on Tuesday.

Just remember that this election and the future of our country are going to be decided by the people who vote. Those who stay at home won't have any right to complain, no matter what happens to them. The right to vote is a hard-earned privilege. It is a duty you owe to your country. It is a fundamental duty, because you are the Government, and when you don't exercise your right to vote, you have not done your duty by this great country.

Now I've been saying all across the country, that the Republican Party is not the party to trust if you want world peace. It is not the party to trust if you want prosperity at home.

You can't trust it, for the simple reason that its leaders are the same hopeless, outmoded mossbacks that have dominated that party for almost a century.

Teddy Roosevelt got out of the party back in 1912 because he couldn't stand the Old Guard. And just the other day, a great liberal Senator got out of it for the very same reason--that was Wayne Morse of Oregon.

The Old Guard reactionaries have opposed almost every step that the New Deal and the fair Deal have taken over the last 20 years to bring prosperity.

The Old Guard isolationists have voted against most of the measures we have taken to build up a strong alliance of the free people of the world against communism. And when they haven't voted to kill these measures outright, they have voted to make them ineffective by cutting out the funds required to support them.

Now, the Republican candidate for President must know that the Old Guard would drag him down to defeat in this election. So while he has been campaigning in the East, he has been desperately trying to convince the people he hasn't made any deals with that wrecking crew.

The American people know that all the Old Guard are on the Republican candidate's team. If you elect that team, they will write the laws and fix the appropriations.

If it were true that he had not made any deals yet, he would still have to make some later on--or the Old Guard wouldn't do a thing he asked the Congress.

But the fact is he has already made a coldblooded deal with the Old Guard. And I thought I'd spell out that deal a little for you today, in case any of you have been taking the Republican candidate at face value when he says he is a "no-deal man."

You remember that Senator Taft went to Canada, right after the Republican Convention, for a long vacation. On July 17th, the Republican candidate sent him a telegram up there requesting his assistance in the campaign.

But Senator Taft was in no hurry to come back. I suspect he figured the longer he waited the better deal he could get from the Republican candidate.

Several newspapermen went up to Canada to see Senator Taft. When they came back, they said Senator Taft wouldn't get into the campaign actively unless and until he got written assurance from the presidential candidate on at least two points.

He wanted a definite commitment from the Republican candidate that his campaign would be an all-out attack on the domestic and foreign policies of the Democratic Party. He also wanted a commitment that Taft supporters would get their share of the jobs, if the Republican candidate were elected.

He and the candidate finally met at Morningside Heights in New York on September 12. They spent 2 hours together. They had breakfast together. Now does anyone doubt that the subject of their negotiation was control of the Republican Party, and of this campaign? Does anyone doubt that the control of the next administration was discussed--if the Republicans won?

When the meeting was over, Senator Taft read to the press conference a long prepared statement, which he said he and the candidate for President had just agreed upon. That statement was an unequivocal reiteration of the views of Senator Taft and of the reactionary, isolationist Old Guard wing of the Republican Party.

It was something else, too. It was a commitment, in writing, that Senator Taft had served notice of what he was going to demand from the Republican candidate for President. And I think he got what he wanted a lot easier than he thought he would.

Just listen to this from the statement that Taft prepared so carefully: "General Eisenhower stated without qualification that in the making of appointments at high levels, or low levels, there would be no discrimination against anyone because he or she had supported me." Earlier, Taft had made clear that his supporters were, in his words, at least half the party.

That agreement means that the Republican candidate would make half his appointments from the ranks of the Old Guard. And if it didn't mean that one-half the Cabinet members will be from the Old Guard, I just don't understand the English language.

Yet he says, when he is in the East, that he is a "no-deal man." The Republican candidate must think that the American people have short memories and that they are easily fooled.

At that same breakfast, the candidate for President even gave up the right to conduct his own campaign in his own way. He permitted Senator Taft to say for both of them, in that written statement, that the issue in this campaign was "liberty against socialism," and that the greatest threat to liberty is "internal"--in other words, the danger comes not from world communism but from our own Government.

That meant the candidate adopted the isolationist position. The whole struggle within the Republican Party in Chicago had been between the isolationists and those Republicans who believed in international cooperation. We all thought that the internationalists had won. But they didn't, because the Republican candidate surrendered on that issue without one word of protest.

The candidate for President also gave up his right to use his best judgment on the amount of money that would be required for national defense during the next 2 years. Senator Taft exacted a promise that the budget would be cut about $20 billion in the fiscal year 1954, and $10 billion more in the fiscal year 1955.

That casual pledge, over a cup of coffee-to cut $20 billion from our expenditures-could mean the difference between peace and a third world war. Most of that reduction would have to come from national defense and mutual security, and nobody knows that better than the Republican candidate.

Now, I could go on to talk about some other deals--like the one he made to give away some of your property. I refer to the rich offshore oil lands, which the Supreme Court has said belong to all the people of the United States--including you folks here in Michigan. He bargained away your property for votes of the oil interests in the three coastal States. Yet he says he has made no deals! He cooked up a deal with the Shivercrats and with that Dixiecrat Governor of Louisiana on these very oil properties, and they belong to you, my friends. And you ought to look out for your property.

The oil deal only costs you money. The Taft deal costs you something more important.

I don't know whether the candidate is being dishonest or whether he is just not aware of what happened to him when he talked to Senator Taft.

If he is not aware of having made a deal, he will find it out mighty fast--if you people make the mistake of electing him President. He will find the Old Guard ready to collect on that agreement the first time he asks for a law or sends them a budget.

No matter whatever he might want to do, they would plunge this country into isolationism. And, my friends, isolationism is the road to war. No matter what he might want to do, they would take this country back to the outmoded, discredited Republican economic policies of the 1920's. And that kind of economics is the road to another depression.

I want to make a different kind of a deal with you folks this morning, and it's one we don't have to try to hide.

Let's all go to the polls on Tuesday and elect Democrats. Let's put Mennen Williams back in the Governor's chair here in Lansing. Let's send Don Hayworth to Congress and Blair Moody back to the Senate.

Let's vote for a government in Washington that won't sell out the people of this country--either to the reactionaries or the Communist aggressors.

Vote for an administration that will protect our national prosperity and our national defense.

Vote for Adlai Stevenson and John Sparkman, and our country will be safe for 4 more years.

I appreciate very much the courteous treatment of these young people, over here, and I understand that they have been brought for the purpose--it's very fine. I have a fine feeling of courtesy from the people of Lansing--and you young people have added to it. I appreciate it very much.

[4.] DURAND, MICHIGAN (Rear platform, 12:40 p.m.)

Thank you very much for this turnout. It certainly is helpful to me, because I know you are interested in the issues, and that is what I am trying to put out to the people. I am enjoying the trip through Michigan very much. I am not out here trying to get anything for myself. After January 20th I will be out of a job, and a "has been." I will be just plain Harry Truman--I will probably be around asking you for a job about that time.

I will be especially glad if I can leave behind me in the White House a man who will work for all the people all the time-Adlai Stevenson of Illinois.

I hope you have been listening to Governor Stevenson's fine speeches. They show you he is a man of principle, honest with himself and honest with you. They also show he really understands civilian government and civilian problems. And he is as sound as he can be in his grasp of the great problems of world peace.

Of course, he has had a lot of experience in government, and it is natural that he should know a lot about it. He worked in the Agricultural Department at the start of the New Deal. When World War II came along he was Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy, and learned about the top level military problems from a civilian viewpoint.

Also, during the war, he headed up a very important mission to Italy to help that country get back on its feet. And then he was taken by the State Department to help set up the United Nations. And now, as you know, for the past few years, he has been Governor of Illinois, and he has given that great State about the cleanest, most efficient, and most progressive government in the history of that State.

This is good training for a man who is going to be President--the best kind of training. You can count on a man with experience like that. It is a very reassuring contrast to the military man who is running on the other side. He has been a great general--a very great general--but he doesn't know a thing about civilian life or civilian problems, or how to run civil government. He has military training and a military mind. And those are very specialized minds indeed--the military minds are.

Think these things over. Compare the qualifications of the two candidates. Compare the platforms, and the voting records of the two parties. Then make your decision in the light of what helps you.

And remember the welfare of this great Nation of ours, and remember your own interests when you go to vote. If you do that, I have no doubt how you will vote next Tuesday. You will vote to send Blair Moody back to the Senate, and Mennen Williams back to the State Capitol again. And you will put that able and experienced man, Clarence Smazel, in Congress to represent your interests.

Above all, you will cast your vote for the next President of the United States--Adlai Stevenson.

Thank you very much.

[5.] FLINT, MICHIGAN (Rear platform, 1:16 p.m.)

In 1948 I came to Flint on Labor Day to ask you to vote for me and to keep the Democratic Party in Washington. And you did.

I am not running for office this time, but I am working harder than ever for a Democratic victory next Tuesday. You know, I have been in politics for 40 years, and I have been in elective public office for 30 years, and I have had everything that a man can have at the hands of the Democratic Party, and I am going to do something that is a little unusual. I am going to keep on being a Democrat and keep on working for the Democratic Party.

Now, in this campaign you are going to need the very best men you can get to lead the fight for peace and prosperity in the coming 4 years, and you have these men on the Democratic ticket in this State.

For the Senate you have Blair Moody. I don't have to tell you what a wonderful record Blair Moody has already made in his short time in the Senate. He will continue to give the great State of Michigan real representation in Washington.

For Congress you have Donald Hayworth. He will be a fine addition to the Michigan delegation in Congress--and I hope you send him down there.

I don't need to say anything about your candidate for Governor. He has already shown you what he can do and how he can work for this great State--and you ought to send him back to Lansing.

Now this year the Democratic Party has as its candidate for President a man who really understands the needs and hopes of the American people. Adlai Stevenson will be a great President. I hope you have been listening to his speeches. They tell you just what his ideas are about protecting the gains we have made over the past 20 years, and we can continue to move forward for another 20 years if we go at this thing like we should.

Many of those gains of the past 20 years have to do with labor. I have been accused by the Republican Party of many sins since I have assumed the Office of the President over 7 years ago. One sin which they say I am guilty of is that I have been pro-labor. Well, I want to say to you I plead guilty. I am a friend of labor, and so is the Democratic Party.

for example, the Democratic Party is in favor of laws which see to it that labor has a right to organize and get an even break when dealing with big management. I know that in the eyes of the Republican Old Guard, it is a sin to think that way. The men who have been fighting labor for years--the men who had labor organizers arrested and run out of town, who hired scabs and strikebreakers--are a powerfully organized group in the Republican Party. They are the men who profit by the Taft-Hartley law. In Republican councils their voices drown out the voices of the men who say that labor unions are here to stay.

I am also in favor of an economy of full employment, and so is the Democratic Party. That is another example of that awful sin of being pro-labor, according to the Republicans. In 1946 the Republicans in the House of Representatives voted 2 to 1 against a bill that would have committed the Government to full employment.

Senator Taft led the fight on that bill in the Senate, and he will run the Congress if you elect the Republicans. He said he couldn't see any magic in more jobs and more people working. He hasn't changed a bit--he's the same old Taft he was then. And he is going to be the boss of this administration, if you make the mistake of electing a Republican ticket.

Some of the powerful businessmen in the Republican Party go so far as to advocate unemployment. In 1949 Winthrop Aldrich of the Chase National Bank was saying that what he called a "corrective recession" was "necessary" and ought not to be feared.

I am also in favor of social security for the workingman, and so is the Democratic Party. That means old-age insurance, unemployment compensation--which we have--and other forms of protection which we don't have, but which we have been trying to get.

That is what being a friend of labor has meant under the New Deal and the fair Deal. It means we believe in the right to organize, in full employment, and in security.

There is an awful lot at stake in this election, my friends. The same reactionary forces that have opposed almost every progressive program of the New Deal and the fair Deal for the past 20 years are in the driver's seat in the Republican campaign this year. They are just as apt to reverse our policies of peace in the world as they are to reverse our policies of prosperity at home.

I know you people have been thinking about these matters, and thinking hard in this election year. I want you to elect a party that believes in the workingman's right to organize, in his needs for security. I know you want to elect a party that works for all the people.

Now, the only reason I am out making such a terrific fight in this campaign is because I think that it is the most important campaign since the Civil War. There are things at stake in this campaign which go to the very roots of free government. I am asking you people to do some thinking. I have gone up and down the country--I have been 17,000 to 18,000 miles talking to crowds just like this, all over the United States, urging them to use their heads, to get the facts--and you can't get the facts by reading this Republican press, we have--and you can't get the facts from the Republican leaders. So I have taken it upon myself to go out and tell you exactly what the facts are, and I know them better than anybody else in the United States, for I have been at this--as I was telling you--for 40 years, and I have been in Washington since 1935, and I know what is going on. I know what is likely to go on, if you make the terrible mistake of sending these backward-looking people down to Washington on November the 4th.

I know that you have faith in America, under the right leadership, that can prevent depressions and provide jobs for everyone who wants to work. That also can win the fight for peace. That is why I know you are going to the polls on November the 4th to vote for the party of the people, the Democratic Party--and send Adlai Stevenson to the White House for 4 years, and we will have 4 more years of good government.

[6.] PONTIAC, MICHIGAN (Rear platform, 3:20 p.m.)

I appreciate most highly this cordial welcome. I remember the grand reception I received here 4 years ago, but this one is even better, and I am not running for office this time and I can't understand it. You see, on the 20th of January I will be out of a job. I may be back here asking you to put me to work.

I am working harder than I did before, though, in the other campaign, because I think it is so very important that you make the right choice at the polls on Tuesday. You have a fine slate of men to choose on the Democratic ticket here in Michigan.

For Senator you have Blair Moody. He has really worked for you people down in Washington. He is a fine young man--a good Democrat, and I know you are going to keep him in the Senate so that he can continue his excellent record.

For Congress you have Arthur Law, whom you just met. He has had wide experience in your local government, and he knows the problems of the workingman-which is very important for a man when he is in Washington.

For Governor, of course you are going to send Mennen Williams back to Lansing, as you should. He has made you a good Governor, and he will continue to make you a good Governor, and when a man makes good, you ought to reward him for it.

Now this year the national Democratic ticket is headed by two of the finest men in public service in this generation--and that is Adlai Stevenson and John Sparkman. They are men who can stand on their records of accomplishment in civilian government. They can be trusted with the great responsibilities of leadership in the critical years ahead of us.

Make no mistake about it, your jobs and your very welfare depend upon the men you choose in this election to lead your country.

The Democratic Party has worked hard for peace and prosperity over the past 20 years, and this country has made tremendous gains. But our work is far from completed. We can lose all those gains in short order if the party in control of our Government does not understand the programs that have brought such great returns to the American people.

During the final 2 weeks of this campaign, the Republican candidate for President has come forth--as I predicted--with a lot of "me too" promises about the programs of the New Deal and the fair Deal. It took him quite a while to learn that the people of this country really believe in the programs that have been endorsed in five presidential elections.

Now he is trying to convince the voters of this country that they can trust him and his Old Guard friends to keep these programs going, if they get control of the Government. Don't you take a chance like that--you'11 be sorry if you do.

That line just won't work with the people. A victory for the reactionary Republicans, who are running this campaign, would threaten every one of the gains the people of this country have made in the past 20 years. The Republican Party is still the party that is run by the special interests. There's just no two ways about it.

If the Republicans get a chance to tear down the social and economic reforms we have brought about in this country, that will be bad enough. But if they get a chance to start tearing down all the work we have done for world peace, that will be something that will be bad indeed.

Everybody knows that Communist aggression is a serious threat to the whole free world. We have been working to meet that threat without bringing on a third world war. The only way to do this is by building up our military strength and the strength of our allies. The only way we can do it is through international cooperation. But most of the Republicans do not believe in these programs of international cooperation. They usually vote to cripple them whenever they get a chance. If they had their way, very soon we would be left alone with no friends or allies to help fight off the Communists.

Instead of fighting in Korea, we might soon be fighting here in Michigan, or San Francisco, or New Orleans. I am terribly afraid of what might happen to this country if the Republican isolationists get control of the Government.

Now I know you are not going to let that happen. I know you don't want to see a third world war any more than I do. I want you to think about these things. It is absolutely necessary that the people of this country use their heads. The only reason in the world that I am going around over the country talking about the issues is because you can't find out about them any other way. The Republican press and the Republican leaders are not going to tell you anything about the issues. They want to get you off on a side road and fool you. I am going to see that they don't do that.

All I am asking you to do is to study the record. Study the record of the Republicans in the Congress. Study the record of the Democrats in the Congress. Think about the things that have happened over the last 20 years, and then decide whether you want the clock to be turned back, or whether you want to go forward with Adlai Stevenson in the White House for the next 4 years--and 4 years of good government.

[7.] HAMTRAMCK, MICHIGAN (Memorial Park, 4:26 p.m.)

I appreciate most highly this cordial reception. I have always remembered with pleasure my former visit here. This is the best Democratic town in the country, and I am always glad to be here for that reason. I remember how well you treated me when I came here in 1948. And I remember also how you voted for me that year, too--and I appreciate that most highly, and always will--for I needed it then.

Now I am out here for another purpose this time. I hope that you will do even better for Adlai Stevenson. Governor Stevenson is a great American, and he will make you a great President--I haven't any doubt of that at all. If you will elect him and a good Democratic Congress, then you will continue to have a government that works for the welfare of the plain people--the everyday people in this country. That is what the Democratic Party believes in: It believes in the people. Its first consideration is the welfare of the people.

The Republican Party has no heart. I have always said that they use a calculating machine for a heart, for they are thinking about the big wealth all the time.

The Democrats think of the people that make up the country--the vast majority of them. We believe that the Government ought to help provide jobs for people, and help make it possible for workingmen to raise their families in decency and health.

We believe that people ought to have decent homes in which to live, and a chance to send their children to good schools. We believe that people are entitled to some security in their old age.

Now that is the kind of government you have had for 20 years under the New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt, and the fair Deal of Harry Truman. That is the kind of government you will get from Adlai Stevenson. But I will tell you right now, it is not the kind of government you would get from the Republicans and their five-star general. Oh no, my friends, they don't believe in that kind of thing. They are coming around now, at election time, making you a lot of promises, giving you a lot of false propaganda. But I hope you won't believe them. You have been through that kind of propaganda five times before, and you weren't fooled, and I don't want you to be fooled this time.

Ask your good Democratic Congressman about them--ask Thad Machrowicz. He can tell you what the Republicans really stand for and what they have been doing down there in the Congress. Thad has done a fine job for you in the Congress. He has fought for the St. Lawrence Seaway. He has done good work for the committee that investigated the Katyn forest massacre. I was glad to cooperate with that committee, because they were doing a job that needed to be done. The facts about that terrible crime ought to be fully exposed.

Thad Machrowicz helped me fight that terrible immigration law that Congress passed over my veto. That law discriminates against the Poles and other people in eastern Europe. It gives a second-class status to naturalized citizens. That is un-American, and the Democratic Party platform promises to get it changed. The platform also pledges further aid to refugees from communism, and we ought to change our laws so we can take into this country more of the people who escape from behind the Iron Curtain.

I have been working for that for 7 long years. Blair Moody has been in this fight, too. Send him back to the Senate to work with Thad Machrowicz--and Adlai Stevenson. I am sure you will do that. And if the rest of the country will send us enough good Democrats like yours, we will get those terrible immigration laws corrected.

We don't believe in the Republican theory that the Poles and other people from eastern Europe are not desirable immigrants. On the contrary, we welcome them with open arms--and we always will.

Now the Republicans have been coming around telling you all the things they would do about Poland. But they don't tell you what they have been doing down in Washington to cripple our fight against Communist aggression. You know and I know that for the peoples behind the Iron Curtain to achieve their freedom, the free nations of the world must first have strong defenses against Communist aggression. That is what we have been working for, and we have made a lot of progress. We have built up the strength of our own Armed forces, and we have helped our allies build up theirs.

But we haven't had much help from the Republicans. They have been voting to cut the funds for our national defense and for help to our friends abroad. That is still what they want to do. And if you were to elect a Republican President and a Republican Congress, they would wreck our programs against Communist aggression, just as sure as I am standing here. And we would be that much closer to a third world war.

But I know you are not going to do that. I know you are not going to turn this country over to the Republican isolationists and reactionaries. Instead, you are going to vote for this fine bunch of Democratic candidates you have here in the great State of Michigan. You are going to send Thad Machrowicz to Congress, Blair Moody to the United States Senate, Mennen Williams you will make your Governor again, because he has made you a good Governor--and because a man has been tried and true you ought to give him another chance.

I have been going up and down this country from one end to the other--I have been between 17,000 and 18,000 miles, and I have made over 180 talks on the subject of government and the issues that are before the people. The only way you can find out what the issues really are and get the truth on them is to have the President of the United States tell you about them. That is what the President of the United States has been doing. That is one of his duties, to let the people know and to report to them just exactly what the situation is.

You will not find out what the issues are from the Republican press. The Republicans won't tell you anything about the issues. They want to get you off on a side street and keep you from looking at the issues.

I want you to do a little thinking. I want you to study the record, and that is the only way you can find out--because what people will do is what they have done in the past. Study the record of the Republicans in the Congress. Study the record of the Democrats in the Congress, and find out which of those records is for the people, and which of those records is for the special interests. When you do that, I won't have to argue with you. You will vote your own interests. You will vote the Democratic ticket on November the 4th, and you will send Adlai Stevenson to the White House for the next 4 years, and we will have 4 more years of good government. Now vote in your own interests on election day.

[8.] DETROIT, MICHIGAN (Maybury Grand, 4:48 p.m.)

I appreciate that more than I can tell you. I think you took in a little too much territory, Mr. Chairman. I don't pose as the greatest man who ever sat in the President's chair. But I do pose as one of the hardest working ones that ever sat there.

I have had quite a career in public life. Thirty years ago next month I will have been elected to elective public office for 30 years. I have been in elective public office for 30 years--except for 2 years which I spent in the first World War. So I have been in public office for 30 years. And I have tried my best always to give the people the best I had in me.

Now one of the great problems which I faced when I became President of the United States, was the problem of the unfairness in racial conditions in this country. I immediately appointed a commission which made a complete survey of the whole situation. That commission brought in one of the best reports that has ever been made to any President--the best report, in fact, that has ever been made on that subject.

The effect of that report has been phenomenal. There has been an immense improvement in racial relations in the United States of America since that report was made. We have been able to do away with segregation in the Armed forces of the United States. We are continuing with everything we have to integrate that report as a whole. I have tried and tried, time and again, to get the FEPC law on the Federal statute books. I have not been able to do that, on account of the fact that the Republicans always joined hands with the Dixiecrats and refused to help me to do anything about it.

I know that you understand that situation. You remember, back in 1948, the Republicans wrote a platform, which was a pretty good platform--about the best one they ever had. The one they have now is about the rottenest one they ever had, too.

Well, in Philadelphia, about two o'clock in the morning, when I accepted the Democratic presidential nomination, I called a special session of Congress, and I called it the "Turnip Day" session, because it came on the 26th of July, and that is "Turnip Day" in Missouri.

I asked those Republicans--and they had an FEPC endorsement in their platform-to join with the liberal Democrats and put that law through. And do you know, they didn't do it. They wouldn't turn a wheel on it.

No matter how long I live, I shall continue to work for fair treatment for every citizen of the United States, no matter what the color of his skin.

I am proud of what has been accomplished in the 7 years that I have been in the Presidency. Every effort has been made to do what was promised in the Democratic platform..

And I want to say to you people that the Democratic platform this year has the best paragraph on the subject that has ever been written into a platform. And I want to say to you--and I want you to remember this carefully--the men who are responsible for writing that plank in the Democratic platform were William Dawson, the Congressman from Chicago, and John Sparkman, the Congressman from Alabama. And John Sparkman has come out wholeheartedly for the Democratic platform. And John Sparkman is an honorable man, as your Congressman here can tell you.

Don't you worry about John Sparkman's stand on the Democratic platform, because he stands squarely on it.

I want you to consider your own welfare now. I want you to do a little thinking on the situation with which we are faced. We are going into one of the greatest elections, and one of the most important elections, in the history of the country. You must think about what the issues really are.

The reason I am going up and down the country and telling the people what the issues are is because you can't find them out in any other way. You can't get them from the Republican press, and the Republicans won't tell you what the issues are, because they don't want you to look at the issues. They don't dare to.

If you do what I ask you--do a little thinking in the interests of this great Republic of ours--and do a little thinking in your own interests, you can't do anything else on November the 4th but send Adlai Stevenson to the White House, and we will have 4 more years of good government.

Note: In the course of his remarks on October 30 the President referred to Governor G. Mennon Williams, Senator Blair Moody, and John H. Piercey and Vincent E. O'Neill, Democratic candidates for Representative, all of Michigan, Arthur H. Vandenberg, Senator from Michigan, 1928-51, Senators Wayne Morse of Oregon and Robert A. Taft of Ohio, Donald Hayworth, Clarence V. Smazel, and Arthur J. Law, Democratic candidates for Representative, and Representative Thaddeus Machrowicz, all of Michigan, Winthrop Aldrich, chairman of the board of the Chase National Bank of New York, and Representative William L. Dawson of Illinois.

Harry S Truman, Rear Platform and Other Informal Remarks in Michigan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/230999

Filed Under





Simple Search of Our Archives