Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Remarks for the President's Birthday Celebration in San Francisco.

October 14, 1957

[ Recorded on tape ]

My friends :

When a man reaches another birthday, there is no place he would rather be than among old friends--in old familiar places. Because I claim so many friends in San Francisco and, indeed, in all California, and because I have so many pleasant memories of that region, I would truly like to be with you tonight. It would give us the chance, together, to talk of many things, not the least of which would be the memorable days we spent in the Cow Palace last year.

A birthday seems to induce a man to look backward into time-and forward into the future. Now, I shall bore you with neither personal memories nor prophesies, but I would like to recall to you a few facts of America in 1890, the year I was born, so that you may contrast them with similar features of American life today.

During these 67 years we have passed through wars, epidemics, depressions and panics. In all her tests, no matter how stern, America has proved she can survive and conquer adversity; at this moment she seems called upon to prove that she can live with sustained prosperity without damaging the free system that has produced that prosperity.

In 1890 there were 63 million citizens living in our land. Now there are 171 million--nearly three times as many. Our Nation is growing at a rapid rate, a growth that brings with it many blessings and many problems.

In 1890 we were still moving into the Western frontier. Sitting Bull, the Indian Chief, was killed in that year--and a vast tract of his people's land was thrown open to American settlers. Today there is no more free land like this to be had. Instead we are trying to learn how to adapt ourselves to the requirements of a crowded, competitive, industrialized, pulsating society. No longer do we live as adventuresome settlers, but as responsible citizens of a maturing nation. Our tasks include the conserving of our resources, planning for the fullest use of our great strength, channeling our pioneer spirit into the endless task of making this Nation--and this world--a better place for our children--and our neighbors' children.

To do this requires the cooperative effort of us all, working together. This is not an age of pioneers pouring into open territory, staking out individual claims. We must still--must always--have our scouts out in front, but we need more than individual effort today. We need teamwork, joint effort, cooperation--at home and abroad--and a respect for the rights of everyone.

In 1890, America was beginning to feel this need--the need for cooperative effort. In 1890, the women of America did not have the right to vote, but that was the year they formed the powerful National American Woman Suffrage Association to secure their basic rights of citizenship. They knew they had to do this together, not alone.

In 1890, the men who worked in the mines of America joined together in a new union called the United Mineworkers. They discovered that only by working together could they improve their wages and hours and working conditions.

In that same year, the Congress passed the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, a measure by which the American people together protected themselves from destructive economic pressure of a few individuals.

Of course, the value of cooperative effort has long been appreciated by those who are responsible for the common defense of our land. It is interesting to note that in 1890 the classic book on the "Influence of Sea Power" was published by Admiral Mahan of the United States Navy. That book, long in advance of its time, took a broad view of world society and showed, among other things, the essential inter-dependence of all efforts: military, economic, social--in the protection and advancement of civilization.

The Republican Party is an organization of many like-minded individuals joined together to promote the common welfare. Our immediate aims and purposes are charted in the Republican Party Platform, written last year in San Francisco's Cow Palace. It points the way to a better life for America--a strong America, her citizens living justly and fairly and happily among themselves, and at peace with others.

We value the contribution of each member of the Party and, within the broad limits of our guiding principles, respect his right to differ from the majority. America would not be America if we tried to regiment the individual--but we can surely work together. And that is what Republicans must do. By our example of teamwork, by the results of our united effort in local communities and across the land, we shall advance together toward greater heights of public usefulness to California and to our entire country.

So, as I thank you most sincerely for your invitation to address these few words to you, I am happy that I can join you, in this way, in a confident look at the future of the Republican Party in its service to the Nation.

Note: These remarks were recorded by the President for the birthday celebration at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, sponsored by the San Francisco Regional Republican Committee.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Remarks for the President's Birthday Celebration in San Francisco. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/233752

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