Franklin D. Roosevelt

Remarks at the Saddle and Sirloin Club, Chicago, Illinois.

December 09, 1935

Mayor Kelly, Governor Horner, my friends:

It was a very generous welcome you have given me. I have had a most delightful stay. I wish it were longer and that the train were not going in ten minutes, but if I had stayed longer the Postmaster General and I would have asked for just one more steak. One of my greatest responsibilities in Washington is looking after the figures of the members of the Cabinet.

I am glad the Mayor has spoken as he has about Chicago, but there is a great deal more he could have said. Chicago, more than almost any other city in the country, is a veritable crossroads—a place where all the elements of the Nation meet. The stockyards form one of the focal points of that crossroads. That is why the people of this great city have as good an opportunity as any people in the Nation to see a cross-section of the Nation. You see the industrial factors, the labor factors, the agricultural factors, the transportation factors.

As you know, we are trying to weld all those factors into a more unified whole. We are trying to prevent any one of them from growing at the expense of the other. We want all of them to grow in the same proportion, with that proportion based, of course, on the needs of the whole country.

Up to recently we were, in a large sense, a pioneering Nation, trying out many new fields of endeavor in virgin territory. That is why some of the things that are being attempted by Government-not just the Government in Washington, but also the State and city Governments- are concerned with new problems, new problems that have come with the rounding out of the Nation.

Suppose, to use a very simple example, that I am working personally on a problem which will affect Chicago. Down in Georgia I have a few acres of very cheap land and on that land I am trying to grow beef cattle. That is one of the things that show that we in this country are developing new lines of thought. Probably my beef cattle will never see Chicago but, to carry the illustration a little farther, think what has been done with cattle and hogs. Think of the livestock of the United States a hundred years ago. Stack up any of the beef cattle or any of the hogs of that period against the average run that you get in this city every day. We have shown over that period of years that we can round out cattle and hogs through unified national effort. We have improved the breed and we are continuing to improve the breed, not only of livestock but of human beings as well.

We are seeking to give certain advantages to a whole lot of people in this country who are underprivileged. And the simple way of describing what we—Government of all kinds throughout the country—are trying to do is that we are trying to help the underprivileged, because by helping them we know that we will also help those people who have more of the good things of life.

I am very proud of the people as a whole, regardless of party, though I suppose in a campaign year a lot of people will not think so. But it actually goes deeper than mere party; it goes down to some of the basic things that we in the greatest country in the world are trying to do for humanity. In doing it, in helping ourselves make our own country better, we are doing the only thing we can possibly do to help the rest of the world.

You and I know that we have no intention of getting mixed up in the wars of the rest of the world. About the only thing that is left for us to do is to set an example for them, with the hope that when they see the road we are traveling as a great Nation of 125 million people, they will stop their local and their international quarrels and squabbles, and take a leaf out of the notebook of the United States.

I want to tell you all again how happy I am to have been here today. These have been wonderful gatherings, both the one of the farmers and this one where I see so many distinguished citizens of this great city and great State.

I love to come to Chicago. I have been here, as you know, many times before, and I am coming back again very soon.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Remarks at the Saddle and Sirloin Club, Chicago, Illinois. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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