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Rear Platform Remarks in Utah and Nevada

November 07, 1932

[1] OGDEN, UTAH (2:15 p.m.)

My friends:

It is difficult to find words to express oneself adequate in gratitude for so fine a reception.

There are one or two matters of national interest on which I should like to talk a moment with you. The first one of those applies to the question of the working people in the United States. Ogden is particularly a center of industry. You will recollect that in the first month of this depression we brought about an agreement between the employers and the leaders of employees of the Nation that there should be no reductions of wages--that wages should be sustained. And you will recollect that after more than 2 years, not until after the cost of living had decreased and the profits of industry had vanished that that agreement was held. I call your attention to it because this is the first time in the history of 15 depressions in the United States that the first action of the Government has been to protect the working family and the working home. Furthermore, we have sought to give that same protection continuously over this period.

Through an administrative order I stopped all immigration into the United States. Had immigration gone on at its normal rate we should have had another half a million men in the United States today to labor in competition with you at the doors of our works and factories. We have continued in that protection. And if you examine the buying power of wages in the United States today, somewhat depressed though they may be, you will find that it is greater in proportion at this moment than it was 4 years ago in comparison with foreign nations. In other words, whatever our difficulties may have been, we have sustained the working family in the United States more fully than any other government in the world. It has been our purpose not only that we should sustain the buying power of our working people, which puts us on a very low level, but it has been a higher purpose that we should remove all cause for industrial conflict in the United States. And we have witnessed for the first time amongst 15 depressions of a century that we have had no consequential industrial disturbances. The number of strikes and lockouts have not only been less in this than in those previous depressions but they have been very much less than even those in the normal course of American life. And in that, there is a tribute to all the working people of the United States and to our employers for a steadfast purpose to maintain the social calm of this country in a period of great crisis.

Now, there are many other points which I could go into. The unprecedented measures we have undertaken to carry this country through this crisis have had the greatest success in warding off the calamities which have overturned other nations. The construction work we have undertaken has been three times that known in history; the stimulation of private work; the initiation of another billion and a half of work through the Reconstruction Finance Corporation; and finally the placing of the Federal Government behind all of the States in an assurance that there shall be at this calamitous time no single home in which hunger and cold shall enter--those are actions of a government solicitous for the welfare of the working people of the United States. And I am happy to tell you that during the last 4 months, since we have had freedom from the endeavors of the Democratic House of Representatives through its destruction of public confidence, that the measures which we have initiated have begun to show their effects. Over a million of men, up to the end of October, had been returned to work, and they are returning today at the rate of over 500,000 a month. And I have had telegrams as well the last 2 days from every section of the country showing that this reemployment is improving day by day. We are, I am confident, on the way out now.

And there are other matters of vital interest to the working people as well as the agricultural people. Every product of this State, from its copper to its sugar, to its lead, to its vegetable products, to its wool, and its cattle are dependent on the maintenance of the protective tariff. Our opponents have assured us that they are going to reduce those tariffs. They talk at times differently in the West from what they do in the East. But nevertheless, the historic action of the party at all times, the promises in their platform, the promises of their candidate can assure that if they are placed in power you will have to meet that catastrophe within the State of Utah.

Now, there are other questions of vital importance. They are questions that reach to the very philosophy and basis of our Government that are at stake in this election. To those ends I have endeavored in this campaign by presentation in a manner unprecedented by any President to bring before the American people the concrete facts, and to appeal to their logic, their sense, and their thought, with the hope that they would base their action not upon destructive emotion but upon constructive emotion and upon the logic of their own interest.

I want to thank you again for your reception. It is encouraging. It is hopeful. It is helpful, and it is a sign of what you will do on the 8th day of November.

[2] ELKO, NEVADA (7 p.m.)

My friends:

At this stage of the campaign my voice has gone somewhat the way that I find Senator Oddie's has gone. I am glad to have an opportunity to speak to you a moment because I want to say something about the Senator.

I understand that the usual misrepresentation which seems to be the accompaniment of all the activities of our opponents these days has been directed against the Senator on the silver question. I know something about the history of that problem. I recollect very vividly the Senator's visit to China and the East and his return to Washington and his urgency of the necessity that something must be done in connection with silver if we were to restore the buying power of those countries and if we were to prevent them from manufacturing goods so cheaply as to flood our markets. In response to his urging I made inquiry of the principal nations of Europe as to whether they would accept an invitation to come to a conference in the United States to consider the entire problem, not from the point of view of displacing the gold standard, but from the point of view of increasing the use of silver throughout the world for subsidiary coinage and other purposes. I found unfortunately that some of the other nations were not prepared to enter upon the question at that time, and it went over after considerable delay.

The Senator never lost an opportunity to urge action. In fact, I came to more or less dislike him because of his pertinacity on the question. Nevertheless, at a later stage the question arose of an international conference to consider the whole of the problem of this depression, to see if we could find a method by which we would prevent these calamities which had happened from the failures of Europe. And I made it a condition of our attendance at that conference that the silver question should be taken up and should be considered as if it were a separate conference on silver. Then I had to go back to the Senator to secure an appropriation with which to send our delegation to that conference, and he helped in the Senate to secure that appropriation.

I have gone even further in this matter and have said that I will select somebody on the recommendation of our leaders in the West as a member of the American delegation that goes to that conference who will represent the western point of view on the silver question. So that you can disabuse your mind of any misrepresentations that have been made about the Senator because I know the character of the people that make them.

I am most appreciative of this reception. It is most heartening. It is encouraging as to what you may do on next Tuesday. We have gone through a great crisis. We have adopted unprecedented measures. We have brought our country through that period with less damage than any other country in the world that has been involved in it. Our measures were measures not only of defense but measures of counterattack, and since the chairman of the Democratic House of Representatives made a second destruction of public confidence--up until this gentleman had left Washington that program was beginning to work. And it has shown its results in the fact that, as I have said several times in the last few days, a million men will have returned to work before the end of October. I notice today that the American Federation of Labor revises my figures and puts them up 300,000 higher; in other words, that 1,300,000 have already been restored to their jobs, and they are being restored at the rate of more than 500,000 a month.

Another point that I might pass on to you that I have no doubt Senator Oddie has explained to you before, and that is the tariff. Our opponents promise you to reduce the tariff, and disheartening as the prices of our agricultural products are, they are far higher than the prices of any of our competing countries, and our prices would not hold if the tariff were taken down. Our policy has been not only to hold that tariff up but to strengthen it further.

And now I thank you again for your reception. I must not address you any further because I will have nothing left for this last radio speech tonight.

Thank you.

Note: The President was en route to Palo Alto, Calif.

He spoke to a crowd assembled in Elko, Nev., just prior to broadcasting his final campaign address to the Nation.

Times provided for the President's remarks are approximations based on his itinerary.

Herbert Hoover, Rear Platform Remarks in Utah and Nevada Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/207524

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