Franklin D. Roosevelt

Rear-platform Remarks at Rochester, New York

November 02, 1940

My friends of Rochester and of Western New York:

It is a very good omen today that it has been raining, because I remember four years ago I was here in Rochester and it was raining then. I said to you, "If you can take it, I can take it." And we know what Western New York did on Election Day in 1936.

I want to call the attention of this State and of all other States to something that makes a very fortunate record, something that I do not boast about, but something that I am proud of, and something which happens to be true. I was Governor of this State, as you know, for four years. And during those four years, although in this State we had a good many causes of trouble, although we had a good many problems where the peace might be disturbed, in those four years I never once Ordered out the National Guard of the State of New York to put down riots.

I have been in Washington now for seven and one-half years, and during those seven and one-half years, the Army of the United States and the Navy of the United States have never been called out, except in a cause of humanity.

Never once have they been called out to restore civil peace or to put down riots. The only times they have been called out have been, first, when a portion of southern California was visited by a grievous earthquake. It so happened that the Fleet of the United States was lying off-shore, and, within half an hour, the men of the Fleet were in that area, taking care of the men, women and children, seeing to it that the injured were rushed to the hospital. The other occasion was the time of the disastrous floods of a few years ago, especially the Ohio flood. And then not only the Army and the Navy of the United States, but every other agency from the Red Cross down, was sent out there to save human beings.

It seems to me that a fellow with that kind of a record over a good many years must have his feet on the ground, rather than his finger on the trigger.

Your national Government down in Washington, in all of its component parts, is equally a Government of peace- a Government that intends to retain peace for the American people.

As your great Secretary of State said last night: "Outstanding is the wholly unwarranted and utterly vicious charge that the President is leading us into war." And then he said, "We are creating the weapons and the organization needed, first to discourage would-be assailants and, secondly, should we be assailed, to repel assailants."

That is our policy today; and you good people here understand it, and you are doing your bit to help it. You are producing all kinds of machines and tools and instruments that are needed for national defense.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Rear-platform Remarks at Rochester, New York Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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