Grover Cleveland

Remarks to Members of the Notification Committee of the Democratic National Convention Accepting the Presidential Nomination

July 28, 1884

Mr. Chairman, and Gentlemen of the Committee: Your formal announcement does not, of course, convey to me the first information of the result of the Convention lately held by the Democracy of the Nation.

And yet when, as I listen to your message, I see about me representatives from all parts of the land of the great party which, claiming to be the party of the people, asks them to entrust to it the administration of their government, and when ' I consider, under the influence of the stern reality which present surroundings create, that I have been chosen to represent the plans, the purposes and the policy of the Democratic party, I am profoundly impressed by the solemnity of the occasion and by the responsibility of my position.

Though I gratefully appreciate it, I do not at this moment congratulate myself upon the distinguished honor which has been conferred upon me, because my mind is full of an anxious desire to perform well the part which has been assigned to me.

Nor do I at this moment forget that the rights and interests of more than fifty millions of my fellow citizens are involved in our efforts to gain Democratic supremacy. This reflection presents to my mind the consideration which more than all others gives to the action of my party in Convention assembled its most sober and serious aspect.

The party and its representatives which ask to be entrusted at the hands of the people with the keeping of all that concerns their welfare and their safety should only ask it with the full appreciation of the sacredness of the trust, and with a firm resolve to administer it faithfully and well.

I am a Democrat because I believe that this truth lies at the foundation of true Democracy. I have kept the faith because I believe, if rightly and fairly administered and applied, Democratic doctrines and measures will insure the happiness, contentment and prosperity of the people.

If, in the contest upon which we now enter, we steadfastly hold to the underlying principles of our party creed, and at all times keep in view the people's good, we shall be strong, because we are true to ourselves, and because the plain and independent voters of the land will seek by their suffrages to compass their release from party tyranny where there should be submission to the popular will, and their protection from party corruption where there should be devotion to the people's interests.

These thoughts lend a consecration to our cause; and we go forth, not merely to gain a partisan advantage, but pledged to give to those who trust us the utmost benefit of a pure and honest administration of national affairs.

No higher purpose or motive can stimulate us to supreme effort, or urge us to continuous and earnest labor and effective party organization. Let us not fail in this, and we may confidently hope to reap the full reward of patriotic services well performed.

I have thus called to mind some simple truths; and trite though they are, it seems to me we do well to dwell upon them at this time.

I shall soon, I hope, signify in the usual formal manner my acceptance of the nomination which has been tendered to me. In the meantime, I gladly greet you all as co-workers in a noble cause.

SOURCE: Official Proceedings of the National Democratic Convention, Held in Chicago, Ill., July 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th, 1884. New York: Douglas Taylor's Democratic Printing House, 1884, pp 285-86.

Grover Cleveland, Remarks to Members of the Notification Committee of the Democratic National Convention Accepting the Presidential Nomination Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project