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Rear Platform Remarks in Illinois and Iowa

October 04, 1932

[1.] ROCK ISLAND, ILLINOIS (11:15 a.m.)

I deeply appreciate the cordiality and enthusiasm of your reception. It is most heartening. My many friends in Rock Island have extended most hospitable invitations to me during the past 2 years to visit your city. I regret exceedingly that I have not been able to do so. I know you all realize the difficulties with which the country has been confronted and appreciate that the greatly enlarged burdens upon the office of the President have made it impossible for me to accept such pleasures. Indeed, the duties of my office are still so pressing that I shall have the opportunity to visit but few parts of our country during this campaign to talk directly to the people about the problems before us and the work of the administration.

I should like to have had this personal contact, but I am sure you and our other cities and States will realize that the work of the Government with its vast reconstruction program and greatly enlarged administrative responsibilities must be given complete precedence in these difficult times.

Your city is directly participating in many ways in the reconstruction work of the Government, not only in speeding up of public buildings, but as you know, I have been intensely interested in the development of waterways for many years.

Two years ago we passed the necessary legislation authorizing construction of the full 9-foot channel for the upper Mississippi to Minneapolis and St. Paul. The first point of attack on this great project has been at Rock Island. I have been keeping track of the progress of the work. We have expedited it even more rapidly than originally intended in order to aid unemployment. The War Department informs me that the new locks are nearly completed and while the other works at Rock Island were contracted to be completed in March 1934, they will most likely be completed at a much earlier date. We are also expediting work on the river above, and we will see the full 9-foot waterway from St. Paul and Minneapolis to New Orleans completed much earlier than originally anticipated. Full 9-foot transportation between Rock Island and the other cities on the Mississippi River system cannot fail to advance prosperity of your city.

I shall not attempt to discuss national issues with you in so short a time as this. I trust you may be able to listen this evening to my statement at Des Moines. I wish you to know how deeply I appreciate your coming to meet me and the encouragement you give.

[2.] DAVENPORT, IOWA (11:25 a.m.)

I deeply appreciate your reception upon my entry to my native State. It gives me a glow of happiness and encouragement.

Davenport is one of the towns which I visited as a boy in this State. If I were able to go through the town today, I would not be able to recognize a single part because of its growth and improvement.

A moment ago at your sister city across the river, I referred to the relation to you of the great reconstruction program which the Government is putting forward in aid to recovery from the depression. You in Davenport are equally interested in the legislation passed 2 years ago for the construction of the 9-foot channel in the upper Mississippi to Minneapolis and St. Paul. Here has been the first point of major attack in that great construction work. We have greatly speeded it up as an aid to employment. The whole of this improved waterway in which your city is so much interested will be completed long before originally anticipated.

There is another point at which the reconstruction program of the Government touches your community deeply. Well do I remember a visit from your citizens in presenting to me the plight of the leading banking institution of your city which had been compelled to suspend, not because of mismanagement, not because of lack of validity of its assets, but because of the impossibility of instantly realizing these deposits and assets to meet demands of depositors. With the assistance we were able to give through the Reconstruction Corporation to the patriotic effort of your citizens that bank has been reopened; thousands of depositors have been saved. The pressure has been removed from thousands of borrowers that they should instantly pay their loans. The institution has been constructively functioning in your community.

These examples better than words of mine indicate the solicitude which I and my colleagues have had for you in these times.

I thank you for the welcome you have accorded me to the State where I was born. I deeply appreciate your encouragement and your support.

[3.] WEST LIBERTY, IOWA (12:30 p.m.)

I am deeply affected by the cordiality and generous welcome which you have given me. I am glad to make even this short visit to the town where I was carried as occasional baggage during my boyhood. It has been an especial pleasure to meet old friends of my boyhood and especially Mrs. Carran, the devoted and self-sacrificing teacher of my first schooling. It all brings back recollections of all those adventures and joys of living that come to childhood. These adventures on an American farm in an American village are the stimulus in life I could wish for every boy and girl. Working with one's hands in the growing crops, the harvest, the preparation for winter, new discoveries and adventures in the streams and the hills with every changing season--all build for health and the understanding of life which is denied many of our city children.

No food will ever taste so good as the family supper of those days; no sport will ever equal the mud-lined swimming hole; no speed will ever seem so great as sliding down hills on one's tummy. No prowess in ascendancy over wild animals will ever equal the rabbit tracked through the snow to his lair; no deed of valor so great as to bring him back alive.

I deeply appreciate your reception and thank you for the warmth of your greeting.

Note: The President was en route to Des Moines, Iowa where he was scheduled to make his first major campaign address. Times provided for the president's remarks are approximations based on his itinerary.

In his remarks, the President referred to Mrs. Mollie Brown Carran, who joined the President at West Liberty and accompanied him to Des Moines, Iowa.

Herbert Hoover, Rear Platform Remarks in Illinois and Iowa Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/207756

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