Franklin D. Roosevelt

Remarks to the Conference of the Associated Country Women of the World.

June 01, 1936

UNTIL comparatively recent years people in almost every Nation believed a current saying that farmers would never be able to agree among themselves. If this saying applied to the farmers, I, as a mere man, suppose it applied to the farmers' wives and daughters as well.

Recent history has exposed the fallacy; we have changed it to read—farmers and farmers' wives and farmers' sons and farmers' daughters can cooperate and do cooperate.

The very fact of this cooperation has made possible here and abroad the great progress that has been made in improving the conditions of life in rural communities.

People are prone to forget that by far the greater part of the world's population is actively engaged in agriculture or is directly dependent on the results of agriculture. This means that you ladies have a great responsibility for today and for the future; it means that you can raise not only the standards of agricultural life but the standards of all life as well.

For we are coming more and more to realize that the city dwellers cannot be prosperous, cannot work in their factories and their stores unless the agricultural population and those dependent on them have a greater purchasing power throughout the years.

Your task and mine concerns itself not only with new problems: we are confronted with the necessity of undoing past mistakes, of restoring the former gifts of Nature to their former value, and of seeing to it that harmful practices of the olden days shall not be repeated.

We are trying many new things. Most of them we believe will succeed; some of them may not succeed, and in such cases we shall seek better substitutes.

I congratulate you on this fine gathering which has exceeded our hopes both in numbers and in the scope of territory represented. We, citizens of the United States, are proud to present to you, the representatives of so many other Nations, a cross-section of the farm women of our country. We are glad to have you visit the United States and, as a result of this friendly meeting, the farm life of every Nation is bound to march forward with increasing efficiency and increasingly high standards.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Remarks to the Conference of the Associated Country Women of the World. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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