Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Remarks to Members of the National Independent Committee for Johnson and Humphrey.

September 03, 1964

I AM GRATEFUL that the record and conduct of this administration have earned your vote of confidence this afternoon--as independent Americans. And, I might add, so is Senator Humphrey.

Our American system was not intended to be controlled by the rigid disciplines of party. On the contrary, it was founded on the belief that in political decisions affecting the fate and fortune of their country, all Americans would be, as you are, proudly and patriotically independent.

This year independent Americans, of all walks of life, have a choice: the choice of the kind of country they want America to be.

They can choose an America which sails a straight and sure course, steered by experience, confident in its strength, steadfast in its purposes. They can choose an America devoted, as America has always been devoted, to peace in the world and progress for mankind.

Or they can choose quite a different America--an America tacking sail and turning about to retrace its course. They can choose an America whose purposes will not be understood by the people of the world, or even by the people at home.

Yes, the independent American has a choice, and with that choice goes a responsibility: the responsibility to stand up and be counted.

In this year of 1964, we are not determining the future of our parties. But we are determining the fate and fortune of America itself--and of the cause we are privileged to lead.

I commend all of you not only on the choice you have made for your country, but on your courage in now assuming the responsibility of your convictions.

Ten months ago, it fell to me to become the 36th man--in 188 years--to take up the burdens of this office I hold. I entered these duties with the same determination that guides me now: to strive to be--always and only--President of all the people.

I did not, I do not, I shall never seek to be a labor President or a business President, a president for liberals or a President for conservatives, a President for the North or a President for the South--but only President for all the people.

In these 10 months, as you well know, the record of our Nation's progress tells the story of what Americans can do together in unity.

Our GNP is up nearly $20 billion.

Our industrial production is up 5.2 percent.

Personal income after taxes is up $20 billion.

Corporate profits are up more than $3 1/2 billion.

Your stock values are up more than $100 billion.

In all our history, business has never been better than in these last 43 months of uninterrupted prosperity and the families of our land have never been more prosperous.

Times are good, but never easy. There is still work to be done--hard work, demanding work, but infinitely rewarding work--here at home as well as across the seas. It is this work that I want a united America, a progressive America, a prudent America, to be doing in the years to come.

I want the world to know beyond doubt that America stands for peace and that we are prepared to protect it. I also want the people of America to know that their Government, here in Washington, stands for the people's progress and is determined to continue it.

In all the world and in all history, no men have ever had so much to conserve as we. You know, I know--all thoughtful Americans know--that we do not conserve the goodness of our life or the nobility of our values by abruptly changing our national character or course.

Our national history for 188 years has been a history of liberal and conservative working together. Liberalism and conservatism are partners, not enemies--and it must always be so.

We have a heritage to preserve from our ancestors. But we also have trust to keep with our posterity.

In this year of national decision, I am confident that responsible and independent Americans will play a decisive role in holding America on course, so that we may keep faith with those before us and those who shall come after us.

Note: The President spoke in the Cabinet Room at the White House. In his opening remarks he referred to a resolution adopted by the National Independent Committee for Johnson and Humphrey at its organization meeting earlier in the day expressing confidence in the President's leadership. The Committee, a group of 45 business and financial leaders--many of them former supporters of the Republican Party--was formed to sponsor "a collective public endorsement of President Johnson and Senator Humphrey by outstanding people throughout the country who are well known for their accomplishments in nonpartisan and nonpolitical activities."

As printed, this item follows the prepared text released by the White House.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks to Members of the National Independent Committee for Johnson and Humphrey. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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