Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Remarks at United Republican Dinner in Chicago

January 20, 1958

Mr. Vice President, Fellow Republicans, My Friends:

We have two important anniversaries to celebrate this year.

One is a Republican Centennial: it was in 1858 that the Republican Party won, for the first time, control of the House of Representatives. Let's make 1958 just as notable.

During the past century the Republican Party, for almost three-fourths of the time, has had major responsibility for guiding our country's transition from an isolated agricultural economy to a world industrial power. We are proud of that political record.

The other anniversary occurs today.

It marks the completion under a Republican Administration, of five full years of sound government.

Early in 1953, our economy was relieved of stifling controls.

A war was stopped. No other war has been allowed to take its place. The nation's security has been markedly strengthened. Prosperity has risen from peak to peak. A record-breaking tax reduction was granted. The economic security of all our people has risen.

The direction of government has been brought in line with the homegrown political principles of the American people.

More than a year ago, by the test of the ballot box, America vigorously approved the Republican national record and direction of advance. The lesson is clear: when what we stand for is known and understood, the overwhelming majority of the American people support our objectives and programs!

That being so, our task is plain.

We must define in simple terms what we stand for. Then we must make these objectives known to every American.

Our first objective--security and a just peace--is not a partisan or political matter. Americans must never and will never let the issue of security and peace become a pawn in anyone's political chess game.

As to defense, then, I will say only this: the American people rightly expect their government will keep the nation's defense strong. These defenses are strong: they command the respect of all the world, friendly and unfriendly. For the future, we have charted a program of action that will maintain that respect.

No one can tear aside the veil of the future and say just what new exertions or self-denial will be demanded of us by the grim necessities of our military defense. But whatever the demand, we will respond.

A necessary feature of this program is a prompt and effective modernization of our Defense Organization.

We must be just as quick to respond to the less obvious demands of security and peace: improving educational and research facilities; strengthening mutual assistance programs; fostering more vigorous foreign trade; cooperating with our allies in science; and supporting the United Nations in replacing force by persuasion.

Possibly armed strength alone might win a battle. But it takes also brains and understanding to win the long struggle for a just peace.

As a second major objective of Republicans we support the system of American private enterprise, with its individual opportunities and its built-in drives.

And we believe that, to provide the necessary amount of governmental vigilance, it is not necessary to abuse business as if it were an evil thing. It is not necessary to dictate to workers, or to load agriculture with self-perpetuating governmental controls.

We believe that one of the most sinister threats to prosperity is inflation. An even worse danger is the attitude that accepts inflation as inevitable or even desirable. Appeasement is just as dangerous in dealing with inflation as in dealing with aggression.

The third objective of Republicanism is to do for people what needs to be done, but what they cannot do for themselves.

In pursuit of this objective we have, among other things, brought about great improvements in social security, unemployment insurance, and other social, health and labor measures. Moreover, we believe that social protection and labor harmony can be achieved while at the same time preserving every right of the citizen, his individual dignity, and his economic freedom.

In pursuit of these objectives, Republicans are guided by convictions so deeply imbedded that they have become our Party principles.

First of all, we believe in the pre-eminence of the individual person, with the Government his servant, not his master or his keeper.

We believe that whatever can be done by private effort should be done by private effort rather than by government--not the reverse.

We believe that good management is essential in government. We deplore extravagance in governmental spending.

And we especially believe in quality and integrity in government.

You are the ones to choose the men and women who, in government, must guide domestic and foreign programs for the Nation's benefit.

Right now is the time to make sure that the most talented and devoted members of your community are drawn upon to serve as your Republican candidates.

When we consider what is at stake in the great world struggle, we realize that America cannot afford to send in a third-string team. Both parties have their candidates for the team. We want theirs to be good, but we must make ours a team of All-Stars.

Now, in this brief moment we have glanced at the purposes and principles that have guided us for five eventful years. They will continue to keep us on a straight course as we head into the crosscurrents and storms that lie ahead.

We owe it to the American people to unite behind these objectives and principles.

We shall not always agree on every detail. That is only natural. But the whole reason for the existence of a political party is to bring about concerted action by people who, while differing in detail, are in clear agreement about basic direction.

We are in agreement on basic direction, and this is the great advantage of our cause. We know that we stand for a sound and dynamic program for the future. Now, tell all Americans about it--every day.

Thank you for your generous support of good Republicanism, and your hard work in the past. May we be dedicated to renewed efforts for the future--not only to bring about victory in November and in the years ahead, but especially to be worthy of the victory.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Remarks at United Republican Dinner in Chicago Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/233777

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