of the Presidential Nomination
July 15, 1948
I am sorry that the microphones are in the way, but I
must leave them the way they are because I have got to
be able to see what I am doing-- as I am always able to
see what I am doing.
I can't tell you how very much I appreciate the honor
which you have just conferred upon me. I shall continue
to try to deserve it.
I accept the nomination.
And I want to thank this convention for its unanimous
nomination of my good friend and colleague, Senator Barkley
of Kentucky. He is a great man, and a great public servant.
Senator Barkley and I will win this election and make these
Republicans like it-- don't you forget that!
We will do that because they are wrong and we are right,
and I will prove it to you in just a few minutes.
This convention met to express the will and reaffirm the
beliefs of the Democratic Party. There have been differences
of opinion, and that is the democratic way. Those differences
have been settled by a majority vote, as they should be.
Now it is time for us to get together and beat the common
enemy. And that is up to you.
We have been working together for victory in a great cause.
Victory has become a habit in our party. It has been elected
four times in succession, and I am convinced it will be
elected a fifth time in November.
The reason is that the people know that the Democratic
Party is the people's party, and the Republican party is
the party of special interest, and it always has been and
always will be.
The record of the Democratic Party is written in the accomplishments
of the last 16 years. I don't need to repeat them. They
have been very ably placed before this convention by the
keynote speaker, the candidate for Vice President, and
by the permanent chairman.
Confidence and security have been brought to the people
by the Democratic Party. Farm income has increased from
less than $2-1/2 billion in 1932 to more than $18 billion
in 1947. Never in the world were the farmers of any republic
or any kingdom or any other country as prosperous as the
farmers of the United States; and if they don't do their
duty by the Democratic Party, they are the most ungrateful
people in the world!
Wages and salaries in this country have increased from
29 billion in 1933 to more than $128 billion in 1947. That's
labor, and labor never had but one friend in politics,
and that is the Democratic Party and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
And I say to labor what I have said to the farmers; they
are the most ungrateful people in the world if they pass
the Democratic Party by this year.
The total national income has increased from less than
$40 billion in 1933 to $203 billion in 1947, the greatest
in all the history of the world. These benefits have been
spread to all the people, because it is the business of
the Democratic Party to see that the people get a fair
share of these things.
This last, worst 80th Congress proved just the opposite
for the Republicans.
The record on foreign policy of the Democratic Party is
that the United States has been turned away permanently
from isolationism, and we have converted the greatest and
best of the Republicans to our viewpoint on that subject.
The United States has to accept its full responsibility
for leadership in international affairs. We have been the
backers and the people who organized and started the United
Nations, first started under that great Democratic President,
Woodrow Wilson, as the League of Nations. The League was
sabotaged by the Republicans in 1920. And we must see that
the United Nations continues a strong and growing body,
so we can have everlasting peace in the world.
We removed trade barriers in the world, which is the best
asset we can have for peace. Those trade barriers must
not be put back into operation again.
We have started the foreign aid program, which means the
recovery of Europe and China, and the Far East. We instituted
the program for Greece and Turkey, and I will say to you
that all these things were done in a cooperative and bipartisan
manner. The Foreign Relations Committees of the Senate
and House were taken into the full confidence of the President
in every one of these moves, and don't let anybody tell
you anything else.
As I have said time and time again, foreign policy should
be the policy of the whole Nation and not the policy of
one party or the other. Partisanship should stop at the
water's edge; and I shall continue to preach that through
this whole campaign.
I would like to say a word or two now on what I think
the Republican philosophy is; and I will speak from actions
and from history and from experience.
The situation in 1932 was due to the policies of the Republican
Party control of the Government of the United States. The
Republican Party, as I said a while ago, favors the privileged
few and not the common everyday man. Ever since its inception,
that party has been under the control of special privilege;
and they have completely proved it in the 80th Congress.
They proved it by the things they did to the people, and
not for them. They proved it by the things they failed
Now, let's look at some of them-- just a few.
Time and time again I recommended extension of price control
before it expired June 30, 1946. I asked for that extension
in September 1945, in November 1945, in a Message on the
State of the Union in 1946; and that price control legislation
did not come to my desk until June 30, 1946, on the day
on which it was supposed to expire. And it was such a rotten
bill that I couldn't sign it. And 30 days after that, they
sent me one just as bad. I had to sign it, because they
quit and went home.
They said, when OPA died, that prices would adjust themselves
for the benefit of the country. They have been adjusting
themselves all right! They have gone all the way off the
chart in adjusting themselves, at the expense of the consumer
and for the benefit of the people that hold the goods.
I called a special session of the Congress in November
1947-- November 17, 1947 -- and I set out a 10-point program
for the welfare and benefit of this country, among other
things standby controls. I got nothing. Congress has still
Way back 4-1/2 years ago, while I was in the Senate, we
passed a housing bill in the Senate known as the Wagner-Ellender-Taft
bill. It was a bill to clear the slums in the big cities
and to help to erect low-rent housing. That bill, as I
said, passed the Senate 4 years ago. It died in the House.
That bill was reintroduced in the 80th Congress as the
Taft-Ellender-Wagner bill. The name was slightly changed,
but it is practically the same bill. And it passed the
Senate, but it was allowed to die in the House of Representatives;
and they sat on that bill, and finally forced it out of
the Banking and Currency Committee, and the Rules Committee
took charge, and it still is in the Rules Committee.
But desperate pleas from Philadelphia in that convention
that met here 3 weeks ago couldn't get that housing bill
passed. They passed a bill they called a housing bill,
which isn't worth the paper it's written on.
In the field of labor we needed moderate legislation to
promote labor-management harmony, but Congress passed instead
that so-called Taft-Hartley Act, which has disrupted labor-
management relations and will cause strife and bitterness
for years to come if it is not repealed, as the Democratic
platform says it ought to be repealed.
On the Labor Department, the Republican platform of 1944
said, if they were in power, that they would build up a
strong Labor Department. They have simply torn it up. Only
one bureau is left that is functioning, and they cut the
appropriation of that so it can hardly function.
I recommended an increase in the minimum wage. What did
I get? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
I suggested that the schools in this country are crowded,
teachers underpaid, and that there is a shortage of teachers.
One of our greatest national needs is more and better schools.
I urged Congress to provide $300 million to aid the States
in the present educational crisis. Congress did nothing
about it. Time and again I have recommended improvements
in the social security law, including extending protection
to those not now covered, and increasing the amount of
benefits, to reduce the eligibility age of women from 65
to 60 years. Congress studied the matter for 2 years, but
couldn't find time to extend or increase the benefits.
But they did find the time to take social security benefits
away from 750,000 people, and they passed that over my
I have repeatedly asked the Congress to pass a health program.
The Nation suffers from lack of medical care. That situation
can be remedied any time the Congress wants to act upon
Everybody knows that I recommended to the Congress the
civil rights program. I did that because I believed it
to be my duty under the Constitution. Some of the members
of my own party disagree with me violently on this matter.
But they stand up and do it openly! People can tell where
they stand. But the Republicans all professed to be for
these measures. But Congress failed to act. They had enough
men to do it, they could have had cloture, they didn't
have to have a filibuster. They had enough people in that
Congress that would vote for cloture.
Now everybody likes to have low taxes, but we must reduce
the national debt in times of prosperity. And when tax
relief can be given, it ought to go to those who need it
most, and not those who need it least, as this Republican
rich man's tax bill did when they passed it over my veto
on the third try.
The first one of these was so rotten that they couldn't
even stomach it themselves. They finally did send one that
was somewhat improved, but it still helps the rich and
sticks a knife into the back of the poor.
Now the Republicans came here a few weeks ago, and they
wrote a platform. I hope you have all read that platform.
They adopted the platform, and that platform had a lot
of promises and statement of what the Republican Party
is for, and what they would do if they were in power. They
promised to do in that platform a lot of things I have
been asking them to do that they have refused to do when
they had the power.
The Republican platform cries about cruelly high prices.
I have been trying to get them to do something about high
prices ever since they met the first time.
Now listen! This is equally bad, and as cynical. The Republican
platform comes out for slum clearance and low-rental housing.
I have been trying to get them to pass that housing bill
ever since they met the first time, and it is still resting
in the Rules Committee, that bill.
The Republican platform favors educational opportunity
and promotion of education. I have been trying to get Congress
to do something about that ever since they came there,
and that bill is a rest in the House of
The Republican platform is for extending and increasing
social security benefits. Think of that! Increasing social
security benefits! Yet when they had the opportunity, they
took 750,000 off the social security rolls!
I wonder if they think they can fool the people of the
United States with such poppycock as that!
There is a long list of these promises in that Republican
platform. If it weren't so late, I would tell you about
them. I have discussed a number of these failures of the
Republican 80th Congress. Every one of them is important.
Two of them are of major concern to nearly every American
family. They failed to do anything about high prices, they
failed to do anything about housing.
My duty as President requires that I use every means within
my power to get the laws the people need on matters of
such importance and urgency.
I am therefore calling this Congress back into session
On the 26th day of July,
which out in Missouri we call "Turnip
Day," I am going to call Congress back and ask them
to pass laws to halt rising prices, to meet the housing
crisis-- which they are saying they are for in their platform.
At the same time I shall ask them to act upon other vitally
needed measures such as aid to education, which they say
they are for; a national health program; civil rights legislation,
which they say they are for; an increase in the minimum
wage, which I doubt very much they are for; extension of
social security coverage and increased benefits, which
they say they are for; funds for projects needed in our
program to provide public power and cheap electricity.
By indirection, this 80th Congress has tried to sabotage
the power policies the United States has pursued for 14
years. That power lobby is as bad as the real estate lobby,
which is sitting on the housing bill.
I shall ask for adequate and decent laws for displaced
persons in place of this anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic law
which this 80th Congress passed.
Now, my friends, if there is any reality behind that Republican
platform, we ought to get some action from a short session
of the 80th Congress. They can do this job in 15 days,
if they want to do it. They will still have time to go
out and run for office.
They are going to try to dodge their responsibility. They
are going to drag all the red herrings they can across
this campaign, but I am here to say that Senator Barkley
and I are not going to let them get away with it.
Now, what that worst 80th Congress does in this special
session will be the test. The American people will not
decide by listening to mere words, or by reading a mere
platform. They will decide on the record, the record as
it has been written. And in the record is the stark truth,
that the battle lines of 1948 are the same as they were
in 1932, when the Nation lay prostrate and helpless as
a result of Republican misrule and inaction.
In 1932 we were attacking
the citadel of special privilege and greed. We were fighting
to drive the money changers from the temple. Today, in
1948, we are now the defenders of the stronghold of democracy
and of equal opportunity, the haven of the ordinary people
of this land and not of the favored classes or the powerful
few. The battle cry is just the same now as it was in
1932, and I paraphrase the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt
as he issued the challenge, in accepting nomination in
Chicago: "This is more
than a political call to arms. Give me your help, not to
win votes along, but to win in this new crusade to keep
America secure and safe for its own people."
Now my friends, with the help of God and the wholehearted
push which you can put behind this campaign, we can save
this country from a continuation of the 80th Congress,
and from misrule from now on.
I must have your help. You must get in and push, and win
this election. The country can't afford another Republican