Franklin D. Roosevelt

Remarks at the Executive Mansion, Springfield, Ill.

September 04, 1936

Governor Horner is not only a very delightful host, but serves an awfully good meal. And, incidentally, after that meal he put on a show for me that was as good as any Governor has put on in this whole Western trip of mine. In other words, he called in all of the real experts in this State who know about drought conditions and the problems of water conservation and soil erosion. I suppose some people would call them a brain trust, but the fact remains that they "know their stuff" or else they would not keep their positions in the universities and colleges having to do with scientific research and practical farm problems.

As a result of this meeting, I have come away with a much better picture of the problem all along the line than when I came. In a nutshell, I can only repeat what I said before—that there are today and there will be all through this winter a good many thousands of farmers who, through no fault of their own, will have to have some kind of help. For these people the Government proposes—the State Government and the Federal Government and the local government—to see them through.

We are not only glad to see them through for the present time and this coming winter. We are trying to make it possible in the days to come for them not to be in need—in other words, to plan the use of land better than we have ever done it before.

We cannot prevent droughts—they come from on high—but at least we can order our farm economy in such a way that we shall have less shortage of water in the future after it comes out of the heavens and, also, that we shall have better soil. We should not let the soil run off into the rivers as we do today.

All of these things call for planning. The interesting thing to me is that the people in the very large cities, in the manufacturing centers, are beginning to understand that the problem of the farmer directly affects them in their manufacturing employment. After all, the purchasing power of this country is lodged, at least half, in the agricultural population. If that purchasing power is lessened, it means that there is less work for the men and women in the cities who are manufacturing the goods used on the farm. In the same way, if the people in the cities can be kept busy with plenty of work at better wages—not good wages but better wages—it means that they will have more money to buy beef and pork and lots of other things.

So you see that we have what has been called integrated economy-an economy that ties in every part of the Nation. It ties in the East with the Middle West and the Middle West with the Far West. It ties in the North with the South because, for example, if the Southern cotton farmer gets a good crop and gets a decent price for his crop, he will be able to buy a whole lot of things that are manufactured in the State of Illinois.

The country is becoming conscious of this. The country is becoming nationalistic in the best sense of the word and not in the exclusive sense of the word. We do not want to build a wall around ourselves and have no trade with any other Nation in the world. What we are getting is a national point of view in that we are appreciating in each section the problems of all the other sections. That is why it has been of such interest to me in the past ten days to go through the Middle West and the Northwest and the Great Plains area.

I am going back to Washington tomorrow afternoon, after I shall have had another conference in Indiana. I am going there with a great deal more knowledge than I had before I started. I hope to make use of that knowledge through better coordination of the activities of the Federal Government and the coordination of those activities with the fine work that your State Government and your local governments are doing.

In other words, we are all a part of one big whole, and we have to pull together.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Remarks at the Executive Mansion, Springfield, Ill. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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