Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks at Ceremonies Marking the 100th Anniversary of Dallastown, Pennsylvania

September 03, 1966

Mayor Orwig, Governor Scranton, my good friend Congressman Craley:

I am very grateful to you, my friend, Neiman Craley, for inviting me here to Dallastown for your 100th anniversary.

Congressman Craley's district--York, Cumberland, and Adams Counties--has seen a lot of history, and as a Member of the 89th Congress, Congressman Craley and the other members of the distinguished Pennsylvania delegation who are here with me today have helped to write a lot of history.

A very important part of our program effort to build the America of tomorrow is pollution control. A very able former Congressman from this district, Jim Quigley, is one of the key people in the Nation in this program.

I have named him as the Commissioner of the Federal Water Pollution Control Administration in the Department of the Interior.

Joining Neiman Craley and me here today are several of his colleagues and my friends from the very fine Pennsylvania delegation in the House of Representatives: Congressman George Rhodes, Congressman Frank Clark, Congressman John Kunkel, Congressman James Fulton.

I am very pleased to be joined here today by a man who has the interest of Dallastown very much at heart as well as all the interests of America and all of the interests of Pennsylvania's many cities and towns because we have always felt that he put his country before his party, Governor Bill Scranton and Mrs. Scranton.

I would like to introduce to you two more very distinguished Governors from our neighboring States in this great heartland of America, States whose fortunes have been intertwined with those of Pennsylvania since the beginning of this Nation. I refer to Governor Charles Terry, of Delaware, and Governor Richard Hughes, of New Jersey.

We are also very pleased to have with us two distinguished Congressmen from the great State of West Virginia that we visited earlier in the day, Ken Hechler and John Slack.

It is a great pleasure for me to see again today one of my friends of many years, one of your great native sons, your former Governor, George Leader.

As Congressman Craley said to you, as a native of Texas I have come here today to acknowledge a debt. Your town was named in honor of a great citizen of Pennsylvania-President Polk's Vice President, George Dallas. George Dallas wanted Texas in the Union. He made it an issue in the campaign of 1844, and that helped President Polk get elected.

Incidentally, it also helped a later President who happened to come from Texas.

But I have a second reason for wanting to visit you. They told me that Dallastown is one of the loveliest small towns in Pennsylvania.

In the little town in Texas where I grew up, we used to say that in small towns the girls are fonder, and the dinner pails are fuller. I think a great many Americans seem to share that opinion.

Mrs. Johnson and I cannot tell you how deeply we appreciate this warm welcome from our fellow Americans of this great State. We have been visiting in the State of Pennsylvania for many years in your larger cities, in your rural towns. We are always glad to come and accept your invitation, and we always hate to leave. We look forward to your hospitality, your friendship, and your beautiful countryside.

Pennsylvanians have a lot to be proud of. You have been a leader throughout this Nation in the field of education. You have been a leader for many years and have produced some of the greatest leaders in America in the field of conservation.

You have been a leader in preserving American heritage in this country. You have been a leader in protecting the beauty of our land.

You have been a leader in defending our security on battlefields around the world.

For many years you have given our Nation the strong men and women in positions of leadership. And some of those men are here with me on this platform today.

Ever since we became a nation, Pennsylvanians have been leading and have been pushing us along the road to greater progress and to greater freedom. Many of the concepts of American democracy first saw the light of day right here in your own great State of Pennsylvania. So Americans owe a lot to Pennsylvania.

Like every other State you have had problems, problems that were brought on by changing society. Your cities have grown and your rural areas have declined. You have had urban blight and you have had rural undevelopment. But when you consider what cities like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have done to combat their urban problems, it shows us, again, that the American people can accomplish just about anything that they set out to do.

Your leadership in Washington is up to date on Pennsylvania needs in the 1960's. Working with your able Governor, working with your progressive State government in Harrisburg, working with your city and county officials, working with your fine, able, strong delegation in the House of Representatives--your own Congressman Craley--we are going to continue to build Dallastown, to build Pennsylvania.

As we meet here this afternoon, your sons and husbands are in Southeast Asia helping to defend the peace and the freedom of not just Dallastown but free men everywhere in the world.

Here at home we are uniting and we are joining together to fight some crucial wars against the other enemies of freedom in the world. We are trying to conquer the toughest enemies of all: ignorance and prejudice, bigotry, disease, and poverty.

We think we can win these wars. We are confident our country will never be satisfied until we have won them.

So to see you here gives us great encouragement to work all the harder for programs that will magnify the greatness of this land of ours. For when we worry about our problems, let's remember the problems that peoples in other lands are facing.

Someone said to me yesterday they were concerned about the problems of inflation.

Yes, our prices have gone up 10 percent since 1960. And our earned income, our wages, has gone up only 18 percent to pay that 70 percent with. And our profits are up only 83 percent.

When we worry about our problems, let's remember the problems that peoples in other lands at this hour are facing.

I don't know of a single nation in the world--and I don't know of a single people in the world--that we are ready to change places with. Do you?

We have the highest standard of living in the history of any people at any time in the history of all the world, and we are working to improve it even more.

A few months ago, one of the polltakers went out across the country asking this question:

"If you could live anywhere in the United States that you wanted to, would you prefer a city, a suburban area, a small town, or a farm?"

Half of those polled said they preferred the small town or the farm.

I didn't get asked any questions in that poll, but you know where my vote would have been.

What does this mean at a time when more and more Americans are moving to our big cities?

It means that millions of Americans feel deprived of a fundamental human right: the right to live where they choose.

History records a long, hard struggle to establish man's right to go where he pleases and to live where he chooses. It took many centuries and many bloody revolutions to break the chains that bound him to a particular plot of land, or confined him within the walls of a particular community.

We lose that freedom when our children are obliged to live someplace else, that is, if they want a job or if they want a decent education.

Not just sentiment demands that we do more to help our farms and rural communities.

I think the welfare of this Nation demands it. And strange as it may seem, I think the future of the cities of America demands it, too.

One of the greatest tasks facing our generation is to rebuild the American city. That is why last year--more than too years after Abraham Lincoln created the Department of Agriculture--we created the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

I am proud that those who live in cities achieved the recognition that was long due them.

President John F. Kennedy started the fight to create a Department of Housing and Urban Development. I carried on that fight. And I am glad the Congress successfully passed our bill and it is now a fact.

I am concerned about the 50 million Americans who still live in communities of less than 50,000. The cities will never solve their problems unless we solve the problems of the towns and the smaller areas.

So consider the problem of urban growth. If the present trend continues, by 1985 as many people will be crowded into our cities as occupy the entire Nation today--in 1960. That means people enough to make five more New Yorks, or that means people enough to make 25 more Washingtons.

Many will migrate to the cities against their will, if we continue to allow this to happen.

But should we or must we allow this to happen? Must we export our youth to the cities faster than we export our crops and our livestock to the market?

I believe that we can do something about this.

I believe with your help we can change this trend of going from the rural town, and the small town, to the cities.

To begin with, I think we can set a higher goal than parity for farm prices. We want to achieve full parity for all rural life in all places in this country.

Today, a rural worker earns less for his day's work than a city worker with similar skills. And that is one reason why you have a labor shortage here in your own county.

Today, a high school or college graduate sees a bigger future for himself always in a major city. That is why too many of your sons and daughters move to Philadelphia or to Atlantic City or to New York.

That same story is being repeated all over America.

But I don't think it has to happen. Modern industry and modern technology and modern transportation can bring jobs to the countryside rather than people to the cities.

And modern government could also help.

I want to see more factories located in rural regions.

I want more workers able to supplement their incomes by part-time farming and more farmers working part-time in industry.

I want those who love the land to reap all the benefits of modern living. And we are working to make this happen. More than half of all the families who have benefited from our public housing and urban renewal programs now live in communities of less than 50,000 people.

Nintey-five out of every 100 urban planning grants go to communities under 50,000.

Four out of five of the communities receiving public housing grants now have populations under 25,000.

Ninety-seven out of every 100 public facility loans to help build libraries and water systems have gone to communities with fewer than 25,000 people.

I went to New England week before last to dedicate one of the first rural water systems under new legislation that we have just passed under the guidance of Senator George Aiken, the dean of the Republican Party in the Senate, and under Congressman Bob Poage, from my State.

So we need these thriving, healthy, rural areas, and we need thriving, healthy cities. But does it really make sense, on this great continent which God has blessed, to have more than 70 percent of our people crammed onto 1 percent of our land?

We must rebuild our cities into better places to live, but we must clean out the slums, and we must end the crime, and we must clear the polluted air. Let's give these children their parks and their playgrounds. But we must do much more than that.

We must make better use of the 99 percent of this continent which lies outside of the big cities of America.

We must ask more from and we must give more to communities like your own. For you have resources that no man can manufacture. You have space, you have room to breathe, you have an extra dimension of time.

In our great cities, men travel an hour to get to work. In towns like yours, they can get there in minutes.

We have major programs to promote high-speed urban transportation. But the same $4 million which produces one mile of a thoroughfare in a city can create more than five miles of freeway in the countryside.

By the year 2000--and that is only a third of a century away--there will be 130 million more Americans here on this earth than there are today. We grow at a rate of more than 6,000 new Americans every day.

Each day, by our deeds, we shape the quality of life for these children and for their children's children.

Each day, by the example we set, we are helping to shape the lives of hundreds of millions of people throughout the world.

For this migration away from farms and countrysides is universal--bringing heavy burdens to men and women in a hundred different lands.

So if we can begin to stem the migration in our own land, we will make our mark on history.

I believe that we have the brains and the will and the imagination to make our mark.

I believe that more and more of our people will choose to live in towns like Dallastown.

I know they would, if they could come here and see what I am looking at this afternoon.

I hope by my deeds as your President I will help to bring this about and help to make this possible for them. Because, indeed, I know in the end what I said in the beginning, that this is where the girls are fonder and the dinner pails are fuller.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 2:45 p.m. at Dallastown, Pa. His opening words referred to Mayor LaVerne Orwig of Dallastown, Governor William W. Scranton, and Representative N. Neiman Craley, Jr., all of Pennsylvania. Later he referred to Representatives George M. Rhodes, Frank M. Clark, John C. Kunkel, and James G. Fulton, all of Pennsylvania, James M. Quigley, Commissioner, Federal Water Pollution Control Administration, Governor Charles L. Terry, Jr., of Delaware, Governor Richard J. Hughes of New Jersey, Representative Ken Hechler and Representative John M. Slack, Jr., both of West Virginia, George M. Leader, former Governor of Pennsylvania, and George M. Dallas, Vice President of the United States 1845-1849.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at Ceremonies Marking the 100th Anniversary of Dallastown, Pennsylvania Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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