Franklin D. Roosevelt

Remarks on Election Night, Hyde Park, New York.

November 04, 1941

This is one night that we will all of us remember. My memory goes back to the past century and as far as I know this is the first time since about 1871 that we have carried the town for the whole Democratic ticket. And I think the one explanation is that the two present members, the Supervisor and the Superintendent of Highways, have given such good service during the past two years that the electorate of the town decided that a few more 'like them wouldn't do any harm.

I said in the school yesterday that I was always starting something, and now that Elmer [Elmer Van Wagner] is in, with a Town Board, I am going to make a suggestion which even he hasn't heard of. I am going to suggest that we have for the Town of Hyde Park nothing in the way of an official planning board, but at least a group of citizens who would be called on from time to time to act as a planning board for the whole town.

The reason I am saying that is because the town is growing so fast, and there are so many new problems being presented to us from time to time, that in the long run it will pay us if we plan for the future. I don't think it will mean any increase in taxes, if we plan. And at the same time, when we do something, it will be in accordance with an effort to guess into the future, and do things that we won't have to re-do because of failure to plan ahead.

I think the time has come to do it. Up in Rhinebeck they have had a planning board for some time, and they have invited opinions from all kinds of people. They asked me to go up there this afternoon, because I was a neighbor and believed in planning. They have the problem of a new high school, as you know. And I went over a number of sites with the school trustees, to tell them what I thought of their relative merits. I don't pretend to be an expert, but as between the two best sites, I voted in favor of the bigger site; because we people know from our own experience that one of the best things we ever did was to get school property with enough playground. We have it today in all three of our new schools.

And so I hope that with this new Town Board we can look into the future a little bit more than we have before. We are all going to watch them like hawks. We are going to be on their trail every minute. And we might as well admit that the responsibility for the new government of this town for the next two years is going to lie in the hands of these Democratic candidates who have been duly elected today.

I think that we ought to have had tonight—of course it caught us by surprise, we weren't ready for it- we ought to have had the largest amount of red fire that we have ever had on Election Day night.

So I can properly say in behalf of the majority of the voters -men and women of the Town of Hyde Park— that we congratulate today's winners and wish them all the good luck in the world.

May I say one other thing in closing, and that is this. You know there are other democracies in the world besides the United States. Quite a number of them. There is one democracy from which the ancestors of a great many people in the Town of Hyde Park came- Holland. We are awfully happy today to be the hosts—this whole town—of Princess Juliana of the Netherlands. I have been driving her around through this township yesterday and today.

I am glad she saw an American polling place this morning-how we voted—the mechanics of it. I am glad she saw a Democratic victory tonight. Her mother, the Queen of the Netherlands, reigns over just as much of a democracy as we have in the United States, where people vote just the way we do, where things are decided by a congress that is not very different from ours- a country that today unfortunately, most unfortunately, hasn't any democratic processes left under the heel of an invader.

And I think all of us hope- for the Princess and for her mother—that the day will come very soon when they will go back to their home in the Netherlands, to join with the life of that great democracy- one of the earliest of all of the democracies of the world.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Remarks on Election Night, Hyde Park, New York. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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