Public Papers of Harry S. Truman, 1952-1953

Author: Harry S Truman  | Date: October 7, 1952

Rear Platform and Other Informal Remarks in Colorado.
October 7, 1952

[1] MALTA, COLORADO (Rear platform, 9:30 a.m.)

Good morning. I am certainly glad to be here this morning. I have had a grand time watching the train go through Tennessee Pass. I heard my grandfather talk about it many a time. He used to cross with an ox team a little higher up.

I have been seeing some fine scenery in this mountain country of yours. I have been talking with one of the nicest groups of State and local candidates I have ever met. You can’t go wrong on November the 4th if you go to the polls and vote the Democratic ticket, and elect for the House of Representatives, Wayne Aspinall, and for Governor, Bill Metzger—two fine gentlemen.

And while you are doing that, the Democratic ticket is headed this year by one of the country’s great leaders—Adlai Stevenson. I think Adlai Stevenson will make a great President. He has experience and integrity, and he will drive forward with the great advances we have made for the welfare of all the people.

Senator John Sparkman is an excellent running mate for Governor Stevenson. Senator Sparkman knows the problems of the. average man, and understands what it means to stand up and fight for the average man.

Here in this area you have some of the richest mineral deposits in the world. I am told that 75 percent of one of the world’s most important minerals is produced near here.

I understand that the Leadville drainage tunnel, built with the help of Federal funds, has helped revive metal mining in this area. The cost of that tunnel will be repaid many times over in the lead and zinc that is mined as a result of it.

That is an example of how the Government’s resources can be used for the benefit of all the people.

That is what the Democratic Party believes in—and there are many, many instancesthroughout the country where Federal projects are contributing to our welfare and prosperity. But there are still some who call these projects socialism.

I think you will agree with me it is just the plain commonsense way to use the powers of the Government for the benefit of the people. That is what the Democratic Party has always stood for, and what it always will stand for.

So think it over. Study the record of the two great parties. I want each one of you to ask yourselves which political party has done most for Colorado and for your family and your children. All you need do is just do a little thinking in your own welfare and interest. Especially is this neighborhood here lucky in the fact that there have been Democratic administrations in Washington.

Now I am very much interested in the historical background of this great mining area. I read all the stories and all the books I can get on the men who were at the top of the heap when Leadville was the greatest mining center in the world. I read stories about H. A. W. Taber and his silver mine and his wedding in Washington with Grover Cleveland a guest at the wedding of Taber and his second wife. And I have read a lot of cloak and dagger stories about things that happened in the silver and gold mines here in Leadville.

When I was out here on several occasions, I have come to Leadville and looked the city over on account of its historic background. And now with the construction of this Government project, maybe we can bring Leadville back as the greatest mining center in the history of the world. And I hope we can do that.

Now remember this, that it is your interest that is at stake. We have a wonderful ticket nationally and statewide. For your own best interests go to the polls and vote for yourselves on November the 4th, and we will have 4 more years of good government in the United States for the benefit of the people.
Thank you very much.

[2.] SALIDA, COLORADO (Rear platform, 11

Thank you—thank you very much. I certainly do appreciate that welcome. I wish I could come back to Salida. I have been here many times with my family, and each time you always treat me better than you did the last time—and that makes me want to come back.

I have always been very much interested in this part of the world. When we stopped up at Malta, I couldn’t help but think of the wonderful stories I have read of that great mining center and some of the men it produced-as well as metal.

My wife’s grandfather always spent his summers in Buena Vista, and he had a silver mine up on top of one of those mountains; and it’s still there—and the silver is still there. So I feel always very comfortable when I come to this part of the world.

Yesterday and today I have been traveling through your wonderful State. I have been seeing many of your State and local candidates. I am sure that if you want Colorado to move forward, you will go to the polls and elect the Democratic ticket on the 4th.

The gentleman who just introduced me, Wayne Aspinall, is one of the best Congressmen in the Congress. He is one I hope you will keep there as long as he wants to stay. There are a great many there, though, that I would be perfectly willing to get rid of. And he is not one of them.

I have been acquainted with your candidate for Governor for a long time. He is a fine young man, and I hope you will elect him Governor. Bill Metzger has been a friend of our family for many years. I am proud to be campaigning for these candidates, and hope I have helped them today and not hurt them.

My only object in getting into this campaign is my sincere desire to serve the welfare of this country.
Now, my friends, you are the Government.The Constitution says that the powers of Government shall rest in the people in this great Republic of ours. It is you that says who shall be President, who shall be Vice President, who shall be Governor, who shall be Congressman, and who shall fill the other offices that are vacant in this great State this election year.

If you don’t use your judgment and do your duty as voters, if you do not inform yourselves on the situation as it exists, then you get bad government—and you get just what you deserve.

Our country is now the leader of all the free nations of the world. We are the most powerful free nation in the history of the world. As the leader of the world, we must accept the responsibility of leadership. Sometimes we think it would be fine if we could build a fence around ourselves and not accept this responsibility. We tried to do that once, back in 1920. It didn’t work. It simply brought on the Second World War. We can’t do it now.

These are critical times you are going through, because the danger of Communist aggression threatens us with another world war. It will take all the wisdom, all the courage, all the patience, and a lot of hard work to avoid an all-out war.

Now to meet that responsibility we must have a man for President of the United States who understands just exactly what all that means. That man is Adlai Stevenson. He is a civilian, trained and skilled in civil government. He has had experience as a great Governor of one of the greatest States in the Union. He has also had excellent experience in foreign affairs.

I am sure that he will carry on the policies which have made this country great. And under him, the civil power, the people’s power, will continue to be supreme in the Government.

We have, on the other side of the picture, a general who has been nominated by the Republicans to run for President. I have been very fond of this general. I liked him very much, but his whole life has been spent as a military man. He has a military mind, which is a very peculiar one. I have had a great deal to do with the military mind, ever since I went to Washington, and I think I understand it pretty well. That is no reflection on our generals. They are great men in their line, but their training doesn’t fit them or prepare them for the responsibilities of civil government.

Moreover, the Republican candidate has fallen in with a pretty bad crowd, the reactionary Old Guard, which has taken him into camp. Some of the advice he has been getting lately could ruin our prosperity, wreck our whole foreign policy, and endanger the peace of the world. We don’t want that to happen. We want to continue the prosperity of this great country of ours. We certainly don’t want to get into a third world war by wrecking our economy at home or by reckless action overseas.

I think, in your own interest, you must look at all this very carefully. You should vote for your own welfare, and the welfare of this country. You must have in mind the ability of this great Nation to keep the peace of the world. You must have those things in mind.

There is only one action you can take, if you do have those things in mind on the 4th of November, and that is to vote the Democratic ticket, and vote for every man on it.

In that way you will assure good government for the United States and for its approach to the peace of the world and the welfare of the Nation for the next 4 years. Thank you very much.

[3.] CANON CITY, COLORADO (Rear platform, 1:10 p.m.)

I am certainly pleased to be back here. I remember coming through here one afternoon after dark, and you had a wonderful turnout but nothing like this. I am certainly glad to have a chance to go through the canyon in daylight. It was moonlight when I went through it before. And, of course, I am not on a vacation. I saw a lot of vacationersup there in the canyon and wished I could be with them.

I am here campaigning for the Democratic ticket as President of the United States. The head of the party is one of my five jobs. The President has five jobs, any one of which is more than a full-time job for one man, but he has to do all five of them, whether he likes it or not.

I want to say to you that you have a wonderful ticket here in Colorado. Congressman Marsalis was one of the ablest Congressmen that ever came to Congress. You turned him down in 1950 and you had better send him back this time, when you have the opportunity.

I have known John Bill Metzger for many years. I think very highly of him. I think he would make you a good Governor, and that is the reason I am speaking for him.

Now, the national ticket is one that I am very proud of. I hope you have been hearing or reading Governor Stevenson’s speeches. He has been talking sense to the American people. He has been talking facts and issues.

I wish the Republicans would stick to the facts and to the issues, but of course they won’t, because they know as well as I do that the facts and the record would show them up. So what they do is to try and fool the people by rewriting the record and pretending that everything was the exact opposite of what really happened. They think, if they tell these stories over and over you will forget what really happened and come to believe their version of it. This is very dangerous, and you want to watch out for it.

To help you do that, I will give you just one example of something a lot of you know about firsthand; that is our rural electrification program, a program which has helped the farmers of Colorado bring electric power to nearly eight times as many farms as it had 20 years ago. Seventy-eight percent of all the farms in this State are now electrified, and the figure is growing all the time. Now that is true all over the farm belts. That is true wherever there are farms.

Now the Republican candidate for President had the nerve to stand up in Omaha the other day and say that the 80th Congress had gladly appropriated $800 million for REA, and that proved the Republicans just loved electrification.

What he did not say was this: There were five record votes on funds for REA during the life of that Congress, and every single time the Republicans in both the House and the Senate voted overwhelmingly to slash those funds.

The only reason REA got the appropriation-the authorization, not the appropriation-got the authorization for $800 million was that practically every Democratic Member of Congress voted for it, and a handful of friendly Republicans helped them to put it over. And then you know what happened? In the Appropriations Committee of the Senate, the senior Republican Member of the Appropriations Committee of the Senate succeeded in getting the operations appropriation-fie appropriation that would put this $800 million into effect—succeeded in getting it cut $700,000 so the REA outfit could not operate. Eight hundred million dollars all right, but they would not let us spend it.

Yet the Republican candidate wants you to believe the Republican Party favored REA 4 years ago. That is what I mean by rewriting the record.

Now I want you to realize they pull the same kind of stunt in every other field. So, no matter what you are interested in, you had better not take their word for it. Look at what they do, not what they say. If you want the evidence on that, I hope you will take the Congressional Record and read it. It is the driest reading in the world, but the record is there. Read the fine print. See how they vote—and you will find that the great majority of the Republicans always have voted wrong against the people and for special interests.

They don’t do things for the little man, because they don’t have any heart for him. They have a calculating machine where theirheart ought to be—and that calculator works only for the big lobbies, for the special interests, the ones who pay the bills for the Republican Party and call the tune.

Don’t vote for an outfit like that. It won’t be good for you, and it won’t be good for the country. It won’t serve your interests.

Vote for yourselves. You are the Government. The power of the Government in this great Republic of ours is lodged in the people, and their way of exercising that power is to vote on election day, and to vote in their own interests.

Vote for the welfare of the greatest Republic in the history of the world. And vote for the welfare of the world as a whole, because we are now the free leader of the whole world.

If you do that, you will vote for Adlai Stevenson and John Sparkman and you will have the country in safe hands for another 4 years.

Thank you very much.

[4.] PUEBLO, COLORADO (Rear platform, 2:32 p.m.)

Thanks for that fine welcome. You were very kind when I was here 4 years ago. And I appreciate it this time, too.

I suspect you know why I am here. I am campaigning for the Democratic ticket. You have got some good people on the ticket here in Colorado. For Congress, John Marsalis, your fellow townsman here in Pueblo. I certainly was sorry when you didn’t send him back in 1950—you missed something, for John Marsalis is a wonderful man—and I hope you will rectify that situation now.

You have a very fine young man for Governor, John W. Metzger. He will make you a good Governor.

Then there is the national ticket—Adlai Stevenson for President, and John Sparkman for Vice President. Both of them are men you can trust to work for you and look out for your interests. Their records prove they are real friends of the workingman and the farmer—and of all the people. That’s a lot more than you can say for the Republican candidates. Their presidential candidate has no record in civil government at all. He has been in the Army for 40 years.

And as for their vice-presidential candidate, you have been hearing about his financial—personal finances, but what is more important to you is his voting record in the Congress. And it’s simply awful.

He has voted against public housing. He has voted against REA appropriations. He has voted against price controls. He is for Taft-Hartley 100 percent. He has been against the little fellow all along the line. He never looks out for the welfare of the people.

Yesterday I told the people in Grand Junction the prosperity we have seems to be driving the Republican Party crazy. They can’t bear to see the country so well off under the Democrats. So they are doing their best to try to explain it away.

First, they say the country is not prosperous at all. Then they tell you that even if it is, there is something wrong about it. Then they say it can’t last. And of course they have been saying that ever since 1936, but they keep on trying the same old propaganda, with a new twist now and then.

I had a copy of the farm Journal, that slick magazine published by the Saturday Evening Post for the farmers’ benefit, and it had an editorial in it on the front page telling what an awful situation the farmers were in and what they ought to do to get in a better situation. Then over in the reading part of the magazine they had a great long article telling the farmer what to do with his surplus money. I don’t know how he got it.

Now they are trying to tell you our prosperity can’t last, because they say the defense effort is the only thing holding up our economy. They are trying to get across the notion that we Democrats don’t know how to keep this country prosperous except by spending money on national defense.

Now this is not true. It is just one more Republican falsehood to scare you and confuse you in this campaign. The truth is, that our prosperity today is very sound and healthy. Right now we have a total national production of $340 billion. Defense accounts were less than one-sixth of the output.

Now get this straight. If it were not for the defense effort, we would be even more prosperous than we are now. The defense effort is making us postpone and put off a lot of things we need—things that would make our country greater and stronger and more prosperous than now.

Let me give you some examples. Take Colorado and the whole Rocky Mountain region. You need more water for your agriculture, more power for your farms and industry. The more water and power you can get, the bigger you will grow. That calls for more dams and power plants and irrigation works, more great projects like Big Thompson.

You need more and better roads, lots of them, and so does every State in the Union. I am told your State Highway Commission thinks 70 percent of the secondary roads in Colorado are out of date. I have no doubt about it at all. Then there are schools and hospitals. We need lots more of them all over this country.

Our population is growing fast. Just look at your city here. That means a lot of other things to do. We need more houses, better and cheaper houses. We need more food and more consumer goods of every kind. There are thousands of businessmen all ready to expand their plants or build new ones. They see bigger markets ahead. That is the sign of good times in the future.

In all these ways we are building a big backlog of peacetime work. And as soon as we can ease off on defense, all this work will be waiting for us.

Some day we may reduce the work of your ordnance depot here. But that will be the time we can step up steel production even more than now, to take care of all these dams and roads, and factories and schoolhouses.

That means there need be no depression in this country. And there won’t be a depression, if you keep the kind of government in Washington that understands these things and will help get new production going in the right places and at the right time.

That is one thing the Democratic Party knows how to do. We have proved that. For the first time in history we kept you out of a depression after a big war. In 1949 when things started to slide back, we took quick action; and by the spring of 1950 we were back in boom times. That was before Korea started. The defense buildup had nothing to do with it.

But the Republicans are right about one thing. There could be a depression. They ought to know. They are experts at bringing them about.

The last time they held office, we had two depressions in 12 years—7 million out of work in 1921, and 14 million in 1932. They improved the situation in 1932—but it was a backward improvement.

There is no sign they wouldn’t let it happen again. They don’t seem to have any notion of how to get prosperity and growth.

For 20 years they have been working against social security and good wages for workers, and against fair prices for farmers, against aid to small business, against reclamation, against flood control, against housing, and just about everything else that helps to build the country.

Unfortunately, their candidate for President is in no position to make them behave any better, even if he wanted to. He just wouldn’t know how, because he has been in the Army for 40 years.

He has been a fine general, but the Army is all he has ever known in his whole life. And you don’t learn much in the Army about what workers and farmers need, or what it’s like to be out of a job. Now he is surrounded by the Republican Old Guard, and they have taken him into camp completely.
What a combination. A military man whodoesn’t know anything about civilian problems in the hands of men who speak and work for the banker, the power lobby, the real estate lobby, and all the other special privilege groups.

I don’t think you can take the chance on turning the country over to an outfit like that. You must vote for your own interests. Vote for yourselves. Vote for your interests and your Government.

Vote the Democratic ticket and send Stevenson and Sparkman to Washington, and you will have 4 more years of good government.

[5.] COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO (Address at train side, 3:58 p.m., see Item 283)

[6.] LIMON, COLORADO (Rear platform, 6:50 p.m.)

I was talking to Senator Johnson about how to tell how many people were present, and I told him I always measure them by the acre. It’s easier that way. They tell me that you have all the bands in the county here. That is certainly a compliment, and I appreciate it very much. I wish we were going to stay long enough so that each one of them could play a piece. I would like very much to listen to them. I like music.

You may have heard a report that I am out here campaigning for the Democratic ticket. Well, that is so. I am doing my best to do what I can to see that the Government of the United States stays in safe hands. I am going to tell you something about the record of the Democratic Party, and I am going to tell you something about the record of the Republican Party, then you can make up your own minds when you know about that record. And when Governor Stevenson has told you about what he hopes to do as President of the United States, you can’t help but vote the Democratic ticket.

Now this city is the center of an agricultural area. You people have taken your dryland area that has little rainfall, and you have made it into one of the richest grain and cattle raising sections in the great State of Colorado. Bank deposits are the largest in the history of this area. Better times have brought better herds and lots of registered cattle. You have some wonderful 4-H programs. Your children are proud of what they are doing. And I expect they steal the show when they take their livestock to your fairs. All in all, I expect you find this pretty good country to live in, and you are proud of it—and you have every right in the world to be proud of it.

There has been a lot of progress here in the last 20 years, and you are the people who brought it about. But I don’t think you could have made this progress unless you had had the Government in Washington that understood your problems and helped you to meet them. And if you don’t keep that kind of government, you are likely to lose all the gains you have made. So you folks here have a real stake in this election.

I think it is perfectly plain which party has your best interests at heart. Let me give you a couple of examples. First, there is the question of price supports on the basic agricultural commodities. What can you count on there ? There is no doubt about the Democratic Party. We are for continuing mandatory supports at not less than 90 percent of parity. That is what our platform says. That is what our candidate for President says, and that is the way the Democrats vote in the Congress—and that is what you can count on from the Democratic Party.

What can you count on from the Republican Party ? I don’t know, and I don’t think you do, either. Their platform says one thing. Their candidate says another. And the Republicans in Congress vote as they please. And they are the ones who call the tune for the Republican Party.

We know what they did in the 80th Congress. They voted a sliding scale under which supports could go down to 60 percent of parity. And just last spring 53 percentof the Republicans in the House of Representatives voted against continuing supports at 90 percent of parity for the next 2 years.

Now I believe the price support program is good for the whole country, not just for the farmers but for everybody. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t be for it.

But the Republicans either don’t understand these things, or they don’t care what happens to the farmers’ welfare. Let me give you another example of the Republican attitude toward the farmer—and that is on the matter of rural electrification. Now I think the REA program has been one of the most successful of all the New Deal undertakings.

I am told that many farms in this area have received electricity under this program within the last 2 years. It has brought happiness and better living conditions to many. Many farm homes all across this great land of ours have had electricity who otherwise would not have received it if it had not been for REA. I have never understood how many elected representatives of the people could be against it.

But the private power lobby was against it and, by coincidence or otherwise, most of the Republicans in the Congress have been against it ’too. As recently as last year the Republicans in the House voted against expanding rural electric power—they voted 9 to 1 against it.

Now my friends, in the face of that record-and I have only told you a very small part of it—I don’t see how you can vote to turn this country over to the Republican Party.

You will be voting in your own interests, and in the country’s interest if you support the Democratic ticket.

Send Ralph Williams to Congress. He knows about the problems you have out here. He will be working for you and not for any special interest.

I hope you will elect Bill Metzger for Governor. I have known him a long time, and I am sure he will make a good Governor for this great State.

And I want to ask you most especially to vote for your own interests. You are the Government. You, the people, constitute the Government of the United States, and the way you control that Government is by your vote; and when you don’t exercise that franchise you are doing yourself an injustice. And when you get bad government, under those circumstances, you deserve it.

What I want you to do is to go to the polls and vote in your own interest. Vote for the welfare of the country. Vote the Democratic ticket and have Adlai Stevenson in the White House and John Sparkman as President of the Senate, and the country will be safe then for another 4 years—and so will you.

[7.] DENVER, COLORADO (Union Station Plaza, 9:16 p.m.)

Thanks very, very much for this wonderful turnout, and this fine welcome. I want you to know I am very glad to be back in Denver, even for this short time.

A lot of good men have come out of Denver. I know, because I have selected several of them to work with me. There is Oscar Chapman, Secretary of the Interior; Charlie Brannan, Secretary of Agriculture, both trained by that great and good man, Senator Costigan. And then there is John Carroll, who has worked for me in the White House—he is another Costigan man-a very fine person. I have had all three of these fellows working for me, and they have been tops.

As you may have heard, I am out campaigning for a Democratic victory this fall. You have some fine Democratic candidates here in Colorado. You have a good Representative in Congress in Byron Rogers of Denver and Ralph Williams of the 2d District. I hope you will keep them both there.

Vote for John Metzger for Governor. have known him a long time, and I think very highly of him.

Now we have a great national ticket, one of the greatest the country has ever had-Adlai Stevenson and John Sparkman. Adlai Stevenson is one of the best qualified candidates we have ever had. He has been an able Governor of a great State. He is experienced in foreign policy. He is brilliant and courageous, and he is on the side of the people.

The developments of the present campaign, which I have discussed at Colorado Springs and other places, have led me to the conviction that we should always keep civilians at the head of this great Government. I have come to the conclusion, as the campaign has unfolded—I have gone back and studied the role of generals in our politics, and I think history bears me out that the professional generals should not be President.

We have many fine generals, who are great and able men. We owe them a great deal, for our victories in war, and for our preparation against aggression. There are some generals here tonight, and I honor and respect them. They live a life of real public service, but they can render that service best in their respective fields.

Military training and military life does not qualify a man to be President. A President has to know politics and civil government. This has to be learned by experience. Only a man who understands politics thoroughly can keep from being imposed upon and pushed around, and used as a tool by politicians. A man who spends all his life in the Army can’t possibly learn the business of political life. He has too much else to do. Furthermore, the military life is almost the opposite of political life. A good many of you have been in the Armed forces and know how different Army life is. In the Army, a general gets things done by giving orders, but that is not the way the Government works. A President cannot and should not order the people of the United States around. Most good military leaders recognize that their training does not fit them for the Presidency. Most of them follow tradition and keep out of politics.

One of our great generals once put this idea very well, in words which I shall read to you. Here is what he said; and there never was anything truer:

"Politics is a profession, a serious, complicated and in its true sense, a noble one.

"In the American scene I see no dearth of men fitted by training, talent, and integrity for national leadership. On the other hand, nothing in the international or domestic situation especially qualifies for the most important office in the world a man whose adult years have been spent in the country’s military forces. At least, this is true in my case."

That statement was made 4 years ago by the man who is now the Republican candidate for President.
It was true then. It is true now.

It would be a great mistake to send a professional military man to the White House. Our history proves this. In all our history, we have elected a purely professional military man to the Presidency only on two occasions.

We have elected other men who had fine military records, and who had been generals—like Washington and Jackson and Garfield; but they were not Regular Army men. They were civilians first, lawyers or legislators—and soldiers second.

We have had only two lifelong Army men in the White House. The first one was Zachary Taylor, who had been in the Army for 40 years. He was a hero of the Mexican War. He was inaugurated in 1849, and died a year and a half later at the age of 65. In his campaign, he made a lot of promises about cleaning up the Government and doing away with political patronage. After he was elected, he doled out more political jobs than all his predecessors, and restored the "spoils system." Instead of cleaning up corruption, he increased it.

He was succeeded by Vice President Millard Fillmore, who made a very unpopular President.

The second last professional military man elected to the Presidency was General Grant. He had two terms from 1869 to1877. He gave the country the most corrupt administration it ever had in all its history. He was a fine general, and personally honest, but a complete failure as a President. The politicians led him around by the nose and got him to give them anything they wanted.

In fact, both of these generals were babes in the wood when it came to politics. They were set up by the political leaders of the Whig Party and the Republican Party to bamboozle the people. The politicians used them.

It is very interesting to look into the history of our country and study the reasons why generals have run for President. In addition to the two regular generals who were successful, three Regular Army generals have run and been defeated. In almost every case, they were put up by a political party that was hopelessly divided into factions, or on the wrong side of the right issues.

Political leaders are never willing to let a general have the nomination if they think their party has a good chance of winning the election. They want the Presidency for themselves. The politicians nominate generals in the hope that military glamor will fool the people, and keep them from thinking about the issues.

There are a lot of examples of this, but I have time to mention only a few. The Whig Party was probably the worst offender in this matter of nominating generals. The Whig Party was the successor of the old Federalist Party, and the ancestor of the Republican Party of today. The Whigs were always disunited and a divided party. They started in the 1820’s, and about the only thing they could agree on was that they hated Andrew Jackson, who was, of course, a Democrat. They were the party that put up General William Henry Harrison in 1840. He was a Regular Army general, but he had also served a good part of his life in civil government. However, he was picked for his reputation as a hero of the wars against the Indians.

That was one of the wildest campaigns in our history. That was the "Tippecanoe and Tyler too" campaign. The Whigs never talked about a single issue. They didn’t even have a platform, and nobody knew where this general stood on anything—except that he was against the Democrats. They bamboozled the people with the General’s glamor, and a lot of ballyhoo, and he was elected. But he died almost as soon as he was inaugurated.

It worked so well in 1840 that the Whigs tried it again in 1848 with General Zachary Taylor. It was the same story then. The Whig Party was hopelessly divided into two factions. They couldn’t agree on the issues. Again they had no platform. So they nominated a general who had never cast a vote in his life, and whose views, if he had any, were completely unknown.

The Whig Party tried the same stunt in 1852, but by this time the people were beginning to catch on. In that year, to hide their own divisions, the Whigs eliminated all the candidates who had ever taken a position on any issue, and nominated another Mexican War hero, General Winfield Scott. He was known as "Old fuss and feathers." And the Democrats beat the tar out of him. And that, by the way, was the end of the Whig Party. It fell apart after the election, and soon expired.

In 1864, the Democratic Party in the North was in a weak position. They wanted to capitalize on the people’s weariness with the Civil War without appearing unpatriotic. So they picked an Army general who hated Lincoln—General McClellan. But he was defeated, and that was a very good thing for the country.

The Democratic Party in 1864 was a lot like the Republican Party is today. The isolationist Republicans now want to make an issue out of Korea and our whole policy of checking Communist aggression, without appearing to be unpatriotic. So they are using a general to front for them.
This is the way it goes all through ourhistory. Whenever you see a Regular general as a party’s candidate, you know the politicians in that party are desperate, that the party is so unpopular or so divided that they think they can’t win without military glamor.

That is exactly the situation in the Republican Party today.

The Republicans haven’t won a national election in 20 years. Their policies are reactionary and out of step with the people. They can’t possibly win on domestic issues, and they are hopelessly divided over foreign policy—and very bitter. At their convention they were calling each other thieves and robbers. They are a desperate and divided minority party, who can’t go before the people and tell them what they really stand for. So they have used the old trick of desperate politicians, and picked a Regular Army general to hide their own miserable record, and take the people’s minds off the issues.

They are not going to get away with it. I am going to keep the people’s mind on the issues.

Now this is an old trick of the Republicans, and that old trick isn’t going to work. Don’t let them fool you. It is a good thing to study American history. It helps you to understand what is happening, and to avoid getting fooled.

So don’t fall this year for one of the oldest political tricks in American history. Vote for the civilian head of your Government. Vote for civilians to head your Government. Because the Presidency is intended to be a civilian office. And to keep the military under control, they made the President the Commander in Chief of the Armed forces of the Nation.

Now I will say for you that this President has kept them pretty well under control.

Now, vote for the party that knows what it stands for. Vote for one of the best men who has ever been nominated for the Presidency—Adlai Stevenson of Illinois. And vote the whole Democratic ticket, and this country will be safe for another 4 years.
Thank you very much.

[8.] AKRON, COLORADO (Rear platform, 11:35 p.m.)

Well, I am highly complimented. You must be interested in the welfare of the country, and interested in the issues of this campaign if you stay up this late at night just to hear me talk. I appreciate it more than I can tell you.

As you have heard, I am doing a little campaigning for the Democratic ticket in the election this fall. The reason I am campaigning is because I want us to continue the kind of government in this country that works for the welfare of the average citizen—the workingman, the farmer, and the consumer. That is the kind of government we have had for the last 20 years, and the people in the country are a lot better off because of it.

I am not going to quote a lot of figures, although I could do so. But you know from your own situation that conditions have improved a great deal in recent years. Wages have been good, and in spite of price increases, the purchasing power of the workingman’s wages has been at consistently high levels. The same thing is true of the farmers. You know how much the value of farmland has increased in this area.

We have had many Government pro, grams to bring about better conditions. You know, for example, how much rural electrification has meant to your own area here. I don’t mean to say things are perfect, of course—far from it. I know for instance, how much people here are concerned about falling prices for your beef cattle. I am concerned about it, too.

Now, the strange thing about it is that while your cattle prices have gone down, the housewife at the other end of the line is still having to pay just as much for beef in the stores. I want you to know where that extra money is going. I have got a good idea, and I think you have, too. But I am going to pin it down.

Before I left Washington, I wrote the Federal Trade Commission that I wanted them to find out who gets the consumer’sdollar. I don’t see any reason why the price of beef cattle should be at the mercy of the meat packers, and why you should be blamed for the high price of meat in the cities. The drought in the South and Southwest caused shipment of the stock and feeder cattle in large numbers to the Federal markets, and they used that as an excuse to put down the price of the stock and feeder cattle. At the same time they put down the price of beef cattle, but beef on the retail counter and beef to the wholesaler did not go down one penny. I am going to find out why.

Now, when you people go to the polls on election day, I think you ought to keep in mind the record of the Democratic Party and the record of the Republican Party. The Republicans have fought every step of the way against the laws we have passed for the benefit of the people.

lust this year, a majority of the Republicans in the House of Representatives voted against continuing price supports on wheat and other basic commodities at 90 percent of parity. If they had had their way, the mandatory support price for wheat would be $1.59 a bushel instead of $2.20 as it is now under the law passed by the Democrats over Republican opposition.

In order to have the kind of government that will look after your welfare and the welfare of the country, I think you ought to consider your own situation, consider your own welfare, consider how much it means to you to have a government that looks after the people. If you do that, you can’t do anything but vote the Democratic ticket.

I have become very well acquainted on this ride through Colorado with Ralph Williams. He looks to me like he would make a good Congressman, and I know he would be on your side. He knows about the problems you have here and he will help you take care of them.

I hope you will vote for my good friend Bill Metzger. I have known him a long time, and I am sure he will make you a good Governor.
And I am sure that you are going to take everything into consideration, the welfare of yourselves, the welfare of this great Nation of ours, the welfare of the world—and vote for Adlai Stevenson for President and John Sparkman for Vice President. They are just as fine a ticket as any party has ever offered to the voters of this Nation.

If you do that, as I said awhile ago, you are voting for yourselves, voting for your own interests, and that means that the welfare of this great country of ours will be safe for another 4 years.

The only reason I am out on this trip is because I am interested in the welfare of this Nation, in the welfare of the world. I have fought for 7 years to get peace in the world. I hope that with a continuing policy which I have put into effect over the last 7 years, we will eventually get that peace.

What I have worked for is to prevent a third world war, to prevent a depression which we have always had after every crisis in this country when we have had to take up arms.

I could have stayed in Washington because on the 29th of March I said that I did not intend to be a candidate for President again. I could have stayed in Washington and taken it easy from now until after the election is over. But the Democratic Party has given me everything a man could ask for. I have been in elective public office for 30 years, and in that time I have been elected a great many times. I never had an office that I really wanted, and never had one that I let them take away from me when I finally got it.

I think you have a right to know just why I am doing this. I am doing it out of gratitude to the Democratic Party for what they have done for me. And I am doing it because I think the welfare of the country is at stake.

It is in your hands. I want you to inform yourselves, and use your judgment, and the country will be safe for another 4 years.

NOTE: In the course of his remarks on October 7 the President referred to Representative Wayne N. Aspinall, John W. Metzger, Democratic candidatefor Governor, former Representative John Marsalis, Democratic candidate for Representative, Senator Edwin C. Johnson, Ralph Williams, Democratic candidate for Representative, Oscar L. Chapman, Secretary of the Interior, Charles F. Brannan, Secretary of Agriculture, John Carroll, former Representative and former Special Assistant to the President, and Representative Byron Rogers, all of Colorado, and Edward Costigan, Senator from Colorado, 1931-1937.


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Chicago: Harry S Truman, "282 Rear Platform and Other Informal Remarks in Colorado.," Public Papers of Harry S. Truman, 1952-1953 in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Harry S Truman, 1952-1953 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.1216 726–734. Original Sources, accessed March 29, 2023,

MLA: Truman, Harry S. "282 Rear Platform and Other Informal Remarks in Colorado." Public Papers of Harry S. Truman, 1952-1953, in Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Harry S Truman, 1952-1953 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.1216, pp. 726–734. Original Sources. 29 Mar. 2023.

Harvard: Truman, HS, '282 Rear Platform and Other Informal Remarks in Colorado.' in Public Papers of Harry S. Truman, 1952-1953. cited in , Federal Register Division. National Archives and Records Service, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Harry S Truman, 1952-1953 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1956-), P.1216, pp.726–734. Original Sources, retrieved 29 March 2023, from