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Rear Platform Remarks in West Virginia

October 29, 1932

[1.] CLARKSBURG (9:10 a.m.)

I have come to believe that the people of West Virginia arise earlier in the morning than the citizens of any other State. In order to manage my job I have to get up about 6 o'clock in the morning, but I believe from the great crowds that welcome me early each morning as I pass through this State that you rise even earlier than that. The greetings that I have received in passing to and fro through West Virginia are most encouraging. You have been courteous. You have been generous, and you have given a profound indication to the country as to where you will stand on the 8th day of November.

A short occasion like this renders it difficult to adequately speak on national issues. There are one or two points, however, of vital importance. in this campaign to you in this city. I have seen this morning an advertisement of a New York retail establishment, in which they state that they are able to offer hosiery at prices which are demonstrated by our officials as 30 to 40 percent less than you can manufacture them in this community, and that the reason they are able to offer them at these prices is due to the depreciated currencies abroad and their ability to take advantage of that lower exchange in securing commodities in competition with your workmen.

And in the face of this our Democratic opponents propose to reduce the tariff as it stands. The Republican Party not only proposes to hold the tariff where it stands but through the Tariff Commission, whose authorities were created by the Republican Party in the Smoot-Hawley bill about a year ago, we propose a review of the differences in cost of production at home and abroad and determine if we are justified in an adjustment that should protect your community.

That inquiry is now underway. If this advertisement is true I am confident that it will show such a change in the costs of production as will make it possible to give to you relief. And I ask you whether the fate of your city and your community and your State will be more safe in the hands of the party which has fathered and for 70 years supported and strengthened the protective tariff than in the hands of the party who have always opposed these policies and who now promise a reduction of these protective tariffs.

Our Nation for the past 3 years has been passing through a great crisis. The early stages of the depression were more or less the normal stages of retribution from overspeculation and exploitation of our people. We have experienced them many times before and recovery has speedily followed. But about 18 months ago came a blow to the United States through the collapse of the nations abroad as an aftermath of the World War, the repercussions of which endangered this entire Republic.

The unprecedented action taken by the Republican Party, supported, I am glad to say, by those patriotic members of the Democratic Party who placed patriotism higher than politics, enabled the Nation to escape those dangers, have saved the Nation from chaos and collapse, and brought us into the stage of recovery. Our measures and policies have been turned from defense into measures of attack upon the depression.

Since the adjournment of the Democratic House of Representatives, we have seen every day evidences of constant recovery. You will notice if you look at the business statistics of the country the increasing employment month by month. You will notice the increased car loadings which show again the increasing movement of goods. You will find in every quarter of the country the signs of recovery. And if the strategy and if the policies which have directed this great battle for the preservation of the United States and for the institutions and are now operating for recovery shall be continued without change they will bring restored prosperity to the American people. We have carried the first-line of trenches by the reestablishment of confidence in the stability of the United States. And if we can proceed with the battle without change or halt we shall win a victory for the American people that will assure their safety.

I wish again to express the appreciation that I have for the support and encouragement from the people of West Virginia. I believe that you will rally to the support of the Republican Party on the 8th day of November as the party of constructive action and give to us a victory which the party deserves for the service it has given over these many years to the American people.

[2.] GRAFTON (9:55 a.m.)

My friends:

I deeply appreciate this greeting. It is encouraging, and it is an indication of the action which you will take on the 8th of November.

In the short moment I have here I would like to refer just one moment to the railway problems which we have faced during the past 2 or 3 years. You are interested in the success of the railways. A year and a half ago we were faced with the fact that the earnings of the railways were less than the amount necessary to meet their fixed charges. Over the trough of this depression we were faced with the possibility of receivership of three-fourths of the railways of the United States. Such a failure would jeopardize the policyholders in our insurance companies and the savings in our banks which are invested in our railways. And those of you who have had experience with a railroad in receivership know what the result is to the men who work upon those railways. You know that once the railways go out of the hands of their responsible managers, the intimate contacts of the men with the management of the railways is gone, contracts and understandings suffer. And of further importance is the fact that by supporting the railways we have been able to support them in the maintenance of a reasonable wage to the men who have to operate the railways of the United States.

You will recollect that early in the depression I secured an agreement between the industrial leaders, including the railway leaders and the leaders of labor, that there would be no reduction in wages. That was the first time in the history of 15 depressions in the United States that the first act of depression was not the so-called liquidation of wages--placing the first burden of the readjustment of the depression on the back of the workers. As time went on and the depression deepened, the cost of living decreased, profits vanished, and there were readjustments in wages, but those readjustments represented the contribution of the men to the stability of their own industry. They were not by the violence of strikes and lockouts and social disturbances and destruction to the whole social stability of the United States. They were your voluntary contribution to your own order.

We have gone further. We have immediately provided advances to the railways to enable them to repair equipment, to replace their equipment in order that with the gradual resumption of traffics they shall be able to meet that demand, and thus increase and maintain employment.

You know and I know that since the adjournment of the Democratic House of Representatives these great measures that we have in action for rehabilitation of the country have begun to have their effect. We have witnessed increase of car loadings from about 490,000 cars a week to over 650,000 a week. This means the recovery of the United States, and it means the recovery of employment to the railway workers.

And this is but one segment of the great program and the great problems that are involved in the rehabilitation of our country. There are many others affecting different communities, but everywhere they have begun to have their effect and we have begun to see their results. This is no time, when we are in the midst of the most gigantic battle that our country has ever been plunged into in time of peace, to change that strategy or the policies of battle.

[ 3. ] PIEDMONT ( 12: 10 p.m. )

My friends:

I wish to express my appreciation for this greeting. It gives me an opportunity to see some of the people of West Virginia. It gives you an opportunity to look at me. But it is very encouraging to have you come to the station and give me this welcome. It is an evidence of what you will do on the 8th of November, for it means the support and encouragement of this administration in its work for restoration of employment and agriculture in the United States. We have already made progress on that road. We are making more rapid progress every day.

But this is not a time to discuss national issues. It is a time for me to express my appreciation to you for the kindliness of your greeting.

[4.] KEYSER (12:23 p.m.)

My friends:

I deeply appreciate your coming this morning to give me this greeting. It is heartening, and it is encouraging. And it is evidence of what you propose to do on the 8th day of November.

This is not an occasion at which I could speak at length on our national issues. Many of you realize the difficulties we have passed through in the last 3 years and the battle which we have made to protect our country from great disasters. You know that we have succeeded in a great defensive battle against the sweep of destruction and chaos. You know that we have now turned the forces and agencies in our control towards restoration of employment and the restoration of agriculture. You have seen during the past few months evidence of recovery from these difficulties. They are evidence that the Republican Party has conducted the country wisely; that it has met the Nation's difficulties with courage; that it has devised the means and methods by which our people have been protected and by which they shall continue to make progress to recovery.

I wish to express again my appreciation for your coming. It is a great encouragement. It gives me a great hope and a great faith in the battle which we are carrying on.

[5.] MARTINSBURG (2:15 p.m.)

My friends:

I wish to express my gratitude this time for two things: first, for the basket of apples. They are always gratefully received from Martinsburg. And second, I want to express my appreciation for your coming to greet me. It is always an encouragement. It is always helpful, and besides that it is a sign as to what will happen in Martinsburg on the 8th day of November.

I have thought the people of Martinsburg might be interested if I was to read an advertisement. Sometimes we resent reading advertisements, but here happens to be one of peculiar interest to the people of Martinsburg. This advertisement in a New York paper, refers to wool hose. It states that 8,000 pairs of these snug fitting, ribbed, soft English hose have been purchased abroad at the low wool and sterling prices because of the depreciation on that currency. And they are offered for sale at 39 cents a pair. I am informed that even at the reduced wages--and I understand there have been two or three reductions in wages in your factory in Martinsburg--but even at this reduced wage you cannot manufacture those hose for less than 50 cents a pair.

This raises a great question--a question that is an issue in this campaign. The Republican Party stands for the protective tariff. Our Democratic opponents propose to reduce the tariff, and they propose to reduce it in the face of these depreciated foreign currencies, in the face of the fact that living and wages have been decreased abroad as the result of the depreciation of those currencies below the standards of the tariff when that act was passed. Today at reduced wages, the people in Martinsburg are losing employment and suffering reductions of wages.

I recently asked the Tariff Commission, a bipartisan body, to investigate the differences of cost of production between those of Martinsburg and those of the places in England where these hose are produced, and to determine whether or not under the flexible provisions of the tariff some relief could be given to the people of Martinsburg.

The Democratic Party proposes as one of the issues in this campaign that it will take from that Commission the authority under which such acts could be performed.

I want to leave these thoughts with you that here is a town where the well-being of your homes, where the satisfactions and comforts of your life, are today and will be further jeopardized by the transfer of the power of the Government of the United States to the Democratic Party on the 8th day of next November. Do you think things cannot be worse ?

You will all realize that we have gone through a time of great difficulty. For the last 3 years we have been fighting with forces such as we have never before met in peacetime history of the United States. They have accumulated in strength and in volume at one time to a point where it appeared that we could scarcely save our country from chaos and degeneration. We did, however, through the courage of the American people, through the cooperation of the united action of the whole of the country, and the leadership of the Republican Party, get by and save ourselves from collapse. And we have now turned those agencies and those policies to the problem of recovery in the United States, and those of you who are familiar with the events of the last 4 months will realize that we are moving on that road to recovery.

As a final word, I wish to say that we cannot recover if you are going to lose the work of your factories, as is indicated by this advertisement in yesterday's papers.

I thank you.

Note: The President was en route to Washington, D.C. after delivering a major campaign address at Indianapolis, Ind. Times provided for the President's remarks are approximations based on his itinerary.

Herbert Hoover, Rear Platform Remarks in West Virginia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/208039

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