Remarks in Quincy, Illinois

April 29, 1903

Mr. Chairman and my fellow citizens:

There is one matter which I think presses for national legislative attention—the matter of the currency. From your sister State of Iowa I have a Secretary of the Treasury, who, as he showed last fall, can be counted on to act with courage and with wisdom when ever the need arises, and to use fearlessly and coolly whatever the law now allows him to use. Our currency laws have been recently improved by specific declarations intended to secure permanency of values; but this does not imply that these laws may not be further improved and strengthened. It is well nigh universally admitted, certainly in any business community such as this, that our currency system is wanting in elasticity; that is, the volume does not respond to the varying needs of the country as a whole, nor to the varying needs of the different localities as well as of different times. Our people scarcely need to be reminded that grain-raising communities require a larger volume of currency at harvest time than during the summer months; and the same principle in greater or less extent applies to every community. Our currency laws need such, modification as will ensure definitely the parity of every dollar coined or issued by the government, and such expansion or contraction of the currency as will promptly and automatically respond to the varying needs of commerce. Permanent increase would be dangerous, permanent contraction ruinous, but the needed elasticity must be brought about by provisions which will permit both contraction and expansion as the varying needs of the several communities and business interests at different times and in different localities require.

Theodore Roosevelt, Remarks in Quincy, Illinois Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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