Herbert Hoover photo

Rear Platform Remarks in West Virginia, Ohio, and Indiana

October 28, 1932


I am deeply gratified at this greeting and this reception which you are giving to Mrs. Hoover and me on our arrival again in the Ohio Valley. A few days ago I was called upon by a delegation of your citizens, comprising both your businessmen and representatives of your labor, in which they laid before me the situation that has arisen in your pottery industry, and that is a typical situation now arising in our country.

The depreciation of currency in foreign countries, particularly in Japan where the currency has dropped about 50 percent of its value 12 months ago, has dropped the cost of living and the cost of wages in Japan by 50 percent. The result has been that today a Japanese laborer working in their potteries is able to buy only one-eighth the amount of bread that can be purchased by the scale of wages paid in our pottery industry. The consequence of all that is that Japanese pottery is flowing in over our borders and depriving all of you of employment. We have placed that situation before the Tariff Commission. I am in hopes we will secure an early remedy of it. But it is one of the finest examples in the whole United States of the importance of the protective tariff.

The Republican Party has been the father, the supporter, and will continue to be the advocate and the supporter of the protective tariff. Our opponents propose to reduce that tariff. The reductions that have taken place in the past few months as the result of the depreciation of foreign currency are depriving the citizens of this city at this moment of their employment, and our opponents propose to still further reduce that tariff.

I leave you to make your own calculations, and I leave you to come to your own conclusions as to the action which you should take on November 8.

Thank you.

[2.] ATHENS, OHIO (9:19 a.m.)

Friends in Athens:

I greatly appreciate your greeting. It means that someone has been up early in the morning to have come in from outside the city at this hour, and it adds to the warmth of your welcome.

I notice that the large part of the crowd belong to the younger part of our generation, and indeed upon them does rest very great responsibilities in these times. More than half of the voters of our country are under 35 years of age today, and upon them will come the burden of the conduct of our country year by year.

Athens is a name which carries over the country the character of one of its institutions. I live in a college town which has not had the benefit of that indication of the character of the city, and I can appreciate the value of the institution and the type of life in this city that arises from the influence of your college.

There is one question which I am going to take a moment of your time this morning to mention because it is not only of importance to the neighborhood of Athens, but it is of great importance to all this section of the country--and that refers to the problem of the bituminous coal industry. That industry has gone through a long period of difficulty due to the competition of electricity, of gas, and of oil. It has in consequence suffered tremendously from the most destructive competition that we have known in any industry in the attempt of that industry to hold together in the face of a decreasing demand. There appears to be an end to that decrease, and the industry may look forward in the future to some expansion.

But nevertheless there is here in this industry a form of destructive competition such as we have seen in no industry in the course of two generations, and that destruction takes itself out on the backs of men. We have seen a constant decrease of competition in securing orders, and we have seen a degeneration in that industry such as we have in no other industry in our country.

A few years ago I recommended to the Congress that they should investigate the subject and make a determination of a method by which we might end some of the destructiveness of the competition going on. A year ago I returned to it and pointed out the enormous losses to our national resources, the tremendous suffering going on amongst the wage earners of the industry and the unprofitable character of it to the operator. It would seem to me, and I recommended at that time, that we must draft a new law for some measure of cooperation between the mines in order that labor should not be the fulcrum on which this constant destruction takes place, and I am in hopes that we can in the early part of next session of Congress find that remedy. None of us are proposing to withdraw or abandon the Sherman Act. That is essential for the Preservation of the small businessmen throughout the country, but on the other hand there is no reason in the world why the operation of a law should create the amount of misery and suffering which is now going on in the bituminous industry at the cost of the law itself.

I wish again to express the appreciation I have for your greeting. It is heartening. It is encouraging. It gives to me the feeling that we will receive your support on the 8th day of November.

Thank you.

[3.] HAMDEN, OHIO (10:03 a.m.)

My friends:

I deeply appreciate the welcome which you have given to me this morning. It is encouraging. It is heartening, and it is evidence of your feeling upon the 8th day of November. You will appreciate that so short a stop as this offers but little opportunity to discuss national issues. I do wish, however, for you to feel that your coming to the station to give us this sort of a greeting is the most heartening thing that can be done in this campaign. It is a great battle to preserve the foundations of American institutions. It is a battle far more important than the destinies of any one man. It is a battle that is of the first value to you and to your future, and that battle is being fought by the Republican Party.

[4. ] CHILLICOTHE, OHIO ( 10:37 a.m. )

It was very generous of you to come down and give this greeting so early in the morning. It has been only, I think, 4 days since I visited this city. I am glad to see that you are constant in your support to the campaign that we are carrying on.

BY STANDER. We are going to reelect you, Mr. Hoover.

THE PRESIDENT. That is the right spirit, but you are not reelecting me. You are reelecting the Republican Party.

[5.] CINCINNATI, OHIO (12:52 p.m.) Friends:

I deeply appreciate the generosity and the courtesy of your greeting this morning. It is heartening. It is encouraging, and it is an indication of where you will stand on the 8th of November next.

Our country has gone through a great strain during these last 3 years. The strain reached such a point a year ago, through the collapse of a great number of foreign countries, as to seriously jeopardize the whole of our country. The administration at once took unprecedented measures in dealing with that situation, and we have succeeded in defeating those forces. We have protected our institutions and our people. We have now transformed those measures into an attack upon this depression all along the line. The need today is to maintain and continue the constructive measures of the Republican Party in order to finally overcome the depression and restore our country. There are many evidences in the country today that these policies are working successfully. Men are returning to work. Orders are being placed with our manufacturers. Car loadings are increasing, and there are a score of other evidences of the success of the program, and, if it be not interrupted, will aid the march of recovery all along the line.

An occasion like this is hardly a time to review the battalions and the regiments and the army corps that we have in action in this great battle. They are both private and governmental. The first of these is the protective tariff upon our manufactured goods. Our opponents propose to reduce the tariff. They propose to reduce it in the face of the fact that, due to the depreciation of foreign currencies, the standards of living and the wages in 30 countries which compete with you have now been further lowered and a portion of our tariff protection has been already destroyed.

I have lately asked the Tariff Commission to review that situation because your industries in Cincinnati are vitally interested in maintaining that protection. It is the margin through which we maintain our standard of living and wages and your jobs.

A few days ago I asked the Department of Commerce to make a survey of the buying power of wages in different countries in the world as a result of these changes made by depreciation of foreign currencies. That survey showed that when you translate wages in those foreign countries into their ability to buy bread and butter, there is today no country where the wages will buy one-third the amount of bread and butter than can be bought by the wages in the United States. You are compelled to compete, if this tariff be lowered, with that kind of wage. But worse than that, one competitor, that is Japan, whose currency depreciated 40 percent, is today shipping goods into your city in competition with your industries. In Japan the standard of living has lowered to the extent that the power of their workmen of purchasing bread and butter is just one-eighth that of your workmen in this city.

There are other measures which we have introduced to bring about the recovery from this depression. One of them was the Reconstruction Corporation. You have seen evidences of its work in your own city. By loans made to your terminal company you are able to continue the construction of this railway terminal and secure its completion 2 or 3 years in advance of what would otherwise have been the case. You were able to maintain employment in a time of great distress to a great number of families.

Another of the measures that we have undertaken was the expansion of public construction. You have an example of that in this city in the postal terminal building, the contract for which has been let, which will result in the distribution of more than a million dollars of wages in this community.

Another of our Federal measures will no doubt reach into your city before winter is over--the provision of funds to save your unemployed from distress.

Another indication of the policies of the Republican Party has been the establishment in this city of one of the new home loan banks. These banks are for the purpose of mobilizing the strength of your building and loan associations and your savings banks, of increasing their ability to borrow money, and thereby in turn to relend it to the citizens of your city on more favorable terms than ever hitherto, and by opening new supplies of credit to increase the construction of new homes and the employment of further labor. Its further and more immediate object is to prevent the foreclosure upon homes where men are not able to secure renewals. That in itself is a measure of major importance in the safety of your work people and of your city.

Now, I will not go into the program of our opponents on this occasion. If any of you will read the record in the last session of Congress and the promises given in this campaign--many of them recklessly-you will find that they represent mostly destruction rather than construction. The Republican Party has been for the whole of its 70 years of life the constructive party of the United States. So that the issue for the ordinary businessman and the workingman is this: Whose election-the election of which party to the Government? Personalities are immaterial, the Government is conducted by parties and by the traditions of those parties. Which of these parties will bring us to a prompt industrial recovery ?

Our Republican program is definite, and it is specific. We do not hesitate to proclaim it. We do not sidestep the issues in this campaign. And this program is now actually working, greatly improving the conditions of business every week and every month. The Democratic program offers no actual measure unless it be reduction of the tariff, payment of the bonus, issue of paper money and half a dozen other destructive measures.

The program of the Republican Party is known to the whole business of the Nation, is based on sound governmental economic ideas. If on the 8th day of November there be no change, it will carry this great battle, in which we have already captured the first-line trenches, on to victory.

[6.] HAMILTON, OHIO (2:12 p.m.)

My friends:

I greatly appreciate the courtesy and generosity of your greeting. It is heartening, and it is encouraging. And it is a sure sign of what will happen on the 8th of November.

Our country has come in the last 3 years through a great crisis. At one time it appeared that that crisis might overwhelm everything that we hold dear. The unprecedented measures which were taken by your Government in Washington prevented that calamity. Those measures have today been turned into an attack upon this economic depression. All about you in all sections of the country people are returning to work. Loadings are increasing on the railroads. Merchants are giving new and additional orders. We are on the road out if we are able to continue these policies and if we shall not change the strategy of this attack in the midst of the greatest battle in which our Nation has been engaged.

I thank you again for this greeting. It is encouraging. I am speaking to you tonight over the radio at greater length, and I hope that many of you can listen in.

Thank you.

[7.] OXFORD, OHIO (1:38 p.m.)

It is a courteous and a generous reception that you are giving to me, and I take it as an earnest of what you will do on the 8th of November next.

This is not a very easy occasion on which to make a discussion of national issues, but most of you will be listening to the radio tonight, I have no doubt, and I shall give to you a solid hour of such discussion if you can endure it.

I thank you for this reception and encouragement.

[8.] CONNERSVILLE, INDIANA (2:19 p.m.)

My friends:

It is difficult to formulate words to give adequate expression to the appreciation I feel for this reception in the State of Indiana. It is encouraging. It is heartening. It is an indication of your action on the 8th day of November next. This is an occasion for me to see some of you and to say a word to the people of Indiana.

Tonight I shall speak to you over the radio. I am in hopes that most of you may have an opportunity to listen. I shall then deal with the questions which I believe are necessary to be understood by our people in coming to the judgment which will be required by them within another 10 or 12 days. And it is an important occasion to which you are coming. It is an action which can take our Nation on in the present course over the next few years, or it is an action as to whether you are to maintain the guidance and leadership of the Republican Party which has maintained this Nation in its stable form since the days of Abraham Lincoln.

I thank you for this reception. I tell you again that it is encouraging, and I believe it indicates where your hearts lie.

Thank you.

[9.] RUSHVILLE, INDIANA (2:51 p.m.)


I am glad to have the opportunity of seeing the faces of men and women who sent Senator Watson to Washington to cooperate with our administration. I would like to spend a half an hour with you to tell you of the service that the Senator has been to his country and to the State of Indiana and the friendship that he has shown for me.

I want to express to you my appreciation for your greeting. It is heartening. It is encouraging, and it is a sure sign of your action on the 8th day of November.

I shall speak to you tonight from Indianapolis. I hope you may be able to listen in on the radio. This is not a time to talk of national issues, but it is a time to express to you my appreciation for your greeting.

Note: The President was en route to Indianapolis, Ind., where he was scheduled to make a major campaign address. Times provided for the President's remarks are approximations based on his itinerary.

Herbert Hoover, Rear Platform Remarks in West Virginia, Ohio, and Indiana Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/208022

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