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<title="Address to the General Assembly of the United Nations">
<date="September 18, 1974">
Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, your Excellencies: In 1946, President Harry Truman welcomed representatives of 55 nations to the first General Assembly of the United Nations. Since then, every American President has had the great honor of addressing this Assembly. Today, with pleasure and humility, I take my turn in welcoming you, the distinguished representatives of 138 nations. When I took office, I told the American people that my remarks would be "just a little straight talk among friends." Straight talk is what I propose here today in the first of my addresses to the representatives of the world. Next week, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger will present in specifics the overall principles which I will outline in my remarks today. It should be emphatically understood that the Secretary of State has my full support and the unquestioned backing of the American people. As a party leader in the Congress of the United States, as Vice President, and now as President of the United States of America, I have had the closest working relationship with Secretary of State Kissinger. I have supported and will continue to endorse his many efforts as Secretary of State and in our National Security Council system to build a world of peace. Since the United Nations was rounded, the world has experienced conflicts and threats to peace, but we have avoided the greatest danger--another world war. Today, we have the opportunity to make the remainder of this century an era of peace and cooperation and economic well-being. The harsh hostilities which once held great powers in their rigid grasp have now begun to moderate. Many of the crises which dominated past General Assemblies are fortunately behind us. And technological progress holds out the hope that one day all men can achieve a decent life. Nations too often have had no choice but to be either hammer or anvil, to strike or to be struck. Now we have a new opportunity--to forge, in concert with others, a framework of international cooperation. That is the course the United States has chosen for itself. On behalf of the American people, I renew these basic pledges to you today:--We are committed to a pursuit of a more peaceful, stable, and cooperative world. While we are determined never to be bested in a test of strength, we will devote our strength to what is best. And in the nuclear era, there is no rational alternative to accords of mutual restraint between the United States and the Soviet Union, two nations which have the power to destroy mankind.--We will bolster our partnerships with traditional friends in Europe, Asia, and Latin America to meet new challenges in a rapidly changing world. The maintenance of such relationships underpins rather than undercuts the search for peace.--We will seek out, we will expand our relations with old adversaries. For example, our new rapport with the People's Republic of China best serves the purposes of each nation and the interests of the entire world.--We will strive to heal old wounds, reopened in recent conflicts in Cyprus, the Middle East, and in Indochina. Peace cannot be imposed from without, but we will do whatever is within our capacity to help achieve it.--We rededicate ourselves to the search for justice, equality, and freedom. Recent developments in Africa signal the welcome end of colonialism. Behavior appropriate to an era of dependence must give way to the new responsibilities of an era of interdependence. No single nation, no single group of nations, no single organization can meet all of the challenges before the community of nations. We must act in concert. Progress toward a better world must come through cooperative efforts across the whole range of bilateral and multilateral relations. America's revolutionary birth and centuries of experience in adjusting democratic government to changing conditions have made Americans practical as well as idealistic. As idealists, we are proud of our role in the founding of the United Nations and in supporting its many accomplishments. As practical people, we are sometimes impatient at what we see as shortcomings. In my 25 years as a Member of the Congress of the United States, I learned two basic, practical lessons: First, men of differing political persuasions can find common ground for cooperation. We need not agree on all issues in order to agree on most. Differences of principle, of purpose, of perspective, will not disappear. But neither will our mutual problems disappear unless we are determined to find mutually helpful solutions. Second, a majority must take into account the proper interest of a minority if the decisions of the majority are to be accepted. We who believe in and live by majority rule must always be alert to the danger of the "tyranny of the majority." Majority rule thrives on the habits of accommodation, moderation, and consideration of the interests of others. A very stark reality has tempered America's actions for decades and must now temper the actions of all nations. Prevention of full-scale warfare in the nuclear age has become everybody's responsibility. Today's regional conflict must not become tomorrow's world disaster. We must assure by every means at our disposal that local crises are quickly contained and resolved. The challenge before the United States <Nations> is very clear. This organization can place the weight of the world community on the side of world peace. And this organization can provide impartial forces to maintain the peace. And at this point I wish to pay tribute on behalf of the American people to the 37 members of the United Nations peacekeeping forces who have given their lives in the Middle East and in Cyprus in the past 10 months, and I convey our deepest sympathies to their loved ones. Let the quality of our response measure up to the magnitude of the challenge that we face. I pledge to you that America will continue to be constructive, innovative, and responsive to the work of this great body. The nations in this hall are united by a deep concern for peace. We are united as well by our desire to ensure a better life for all people. Today, the economy of the world is under unprecedented stress. We need new approaches to international cooperation to respond effectively to the problems that we face. Developing and developed countries, market and nonmarket countries-we are all a part of one interdependent economic system. The food and oil crises demonstrate the extent of our interdependence. Many developing nations need the food surplus of a few developed nations. And many industrialized nations need the oil production of a few developing nations. Energy is required to produce food and food to produce energy--and both to provide a decent life for everyone. The problems of food and energy can be resolved on the basis of cooperation, or can, I should say, <be> made unmanageable on the basis of confrontation. Runaway inflation, propelled by food and oil price increases, is an early warning signal to all of us. Let us not delude ourselves. Failure to cooperate on oil and food and inflation could spell disaster for every nation represented in this room. The United Nations must not and need not allow this to occur. A global strategy for food and energy is urgently required. The United States believes four principles should guide a global approach: First, all nations must substantially increase production. Just to maintain the present standards of living the world must almost double its output of food and energy to match the expected increase in the world's population by the end of this century. To meet aspirations for a better life, production will have to expand at a significantly faster rate than population growth. Second, all nations must seek to achieve a level of prices which not only provides an incentive to producers but which consumers can afford. It should now be clear that the developed nations are not the only countries which demand and receive an adequate return for their goods. But it should also be clear that by confronting consumers with production restrictions, artificial pricing, and the prospect of ultimate bankruptcy, producers will eventually become the victims of their own actions. Third, all nations must avoid the abuse of man's fundamental needs for the sake of narrow national or bloc advantage. The attempt by any nation to use one commodity for political purposes will inevitably tempt other countries to use their commodities for their own purposes. Fourth, the nations of the world must assure that the poorest among us are not overwhelmed by rising prices of the imports necessary for their survival. The traditional aid donors and the increasingly wealthy oil producers must join in this effort. The United States recognizes the special responsibility we bear as the world's largest producer of food. That is why Secretary of State Kissinger proposed from this very podium last year a world food conference to define a global food policy. And that is one reason why we have removed domestic restrictions on food productions in the United States. It has not been our policy to use food as a political weapon, despite the oil embargo and recent oil prices and production decisions. It would be tempting for the United States--beset by inflation and soaring energy prices--to turn a deaf ear to external appeals for food assistance, or to respond with internal appeals for export controls. But however difficult our own economic situation, we recognize that the plight of others is worse. Americans have always responded to human emergencies in the past, and we respond again here today. In response to Secretary General Waldheim's appeal and to help meet the long-term challenge in food, I reiterate: To help developing nations realize their aspirations to grow more of their own food, the United States will substantially increase its assistance to agricultural production programs in other countries. Next, to ensure that the survival of millions of our fellow men does not depend upon the vagaries of weather, the United States is prepared to join in a worldwide effort to negotiate, establish, and maintain an international system of food reserves. This system will work best if each nation is made responsible for managing the reserves that it will have available. Finally, to make certain that the more immediate needs for food are met this year, the United States will not only maintain the amount it spends for food shipments to nations in need but it will increase this amount this year. Thus, the United States is striving to help define and help contribute to a cooperative global policy to meet man's immediate and long-term need for food. We will set forth our comprehensive proposals at the World Food Conference in November. Now is the time for oil producers to define their conception of a global policy on energy to meet the growing need and to do this without imposing unacceptable burdens on the international monetary and trade system. A world of economic confrontation cannot be a world of political cooperation. If we fail to satisfy man's fundamental needs for energy and food, we face a threat not just to our aspirations for a better life for all our peoples but to our hopes for a more stable and a more peaceful world. By working together to overcome our common problems, mankind can turn from fear towards hope. From the time of the founding of the United Nations, America volunteered to help nations in need, frequently as the main benefactor. We were able to do it. We were glad to do it. But as new economic forces alter and reshape today's complex world, no nation can be expected to feed all the world's hungry peoples. Fortunately, however, many nations are increasingly able to help. And I call on them to join with us as truly united nations in the struggle to produce, to provide more food at lower prices for the hungry and, in general, a better life for the needy of this world. America will continue to do more than its share. But there are realistic limits to our capacities. There is no limit, however, to our determination to act in concert with other nations to fulfill the vision of the United Nations Charter, to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, and to promote social progress and better standards, better standards of life in a larger freedom. Thank you very, very much.
<title="Remarks on Taking the Oath of Office">
<date="August 9, 1974">
Mr. Chief Justice, my dear friends, my fellow Americans:
The oath that I have taken is the same oath that was taken by George Washington and by every President under the Constitution. But I assume the Presidency under extraordinary circumstances never before experienced by Americans. This is an hour of history that troubles our minds and hurts our hearts.
Therefore, I feel it is my first duty to make an unprecedented compact with my countrymen. Not an inaugural address, not a fireside chat, not a campaign speech -- just a little straight talk among friends. And I intend it to be the first of many.
I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your President by your ballots, and so I ask you to confirm me as your President with your prayers. And I hope that such prayers will also be the first of many.
If you have not chosen me by secret ballot, neither have I gained office by any secret promises. I have not campaigned either for the Presidency or the Vice Presidency. I have not subscribed to any partisan platform. I am indebted to no man, and only to one woman -- my dear wife -- as I begin this very difficult job.
I have not sought this enormous responsibility, but I will not shirk it. Those who nominated and confirmed me as Vice President were my friends and are my friends. They were of both parties, elected by all the people and acting under the Constitution in their name. It is only fitting then that I should pledge to them and to you that I will be the President of all the people.
Thomas Jefferson said the people are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. And down the years, Abraham Lincoln renewed this American article of faith asking, "Is there any better way or equal hope in the world?"
I intend, on Monday next, to request of the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate the privilege of appearing before the Congress to share with my former colleagues and with you, the American people, my views on the priority business of the Nation and to solicit your views and their views. And may I say to the Speaker and the others, if I could meet with you right after these remarks, I would appreciate it.
Even though this is late in an election year, there is no way we can go forward except together and no way anybody can win except by serving the people's urgent needs. We cannot stand still or slip backwards. We must go forward now together.
To the peoples and the governments of all friendly nations, and I hope that could encompass the whole world, I pledge an uninterrupted and sincere search for peace. America will remain strong and united, but its strength will remain dedicated to the safety and sanity of the entire family of man, as well as to our own precious freedom.
I believe that truth is the glue that holds government together, not only our Government but civilization itself. That bond, though strained, is unbroken at home and abroad.
In all my public and private acts as your President, I expect to follow my instincts of openness and candor with full confidence that honesty is always the best policy in the end.
My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.
Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule. But there is a higher Power, by whatever name we honor Him, who ordains not only righteousness but love, not only justice but mercy.
As we bind up the internal wounds of Watergate, more painful and more poisonous than those of foreign wars, let us restore the golden rule to our political process, and let brotherly love purge our hearts of suspicion and of hate.
In the beginning, I asked you to pray for me. Before closing, I ask again your prayers, for Richard Nixon and for his family. May our former President, who brought peace to millions, find it for himself. May God bless and comfort his wonderful wife and daughters, whose love and loyalty will forever be a shining legacy to all who bear the lonely burdens of the White House.
I can only guess at those burdens, although I have witnessed at close hand the tragedies that befell three Presidents and the lesser trials of others.
With all the strength and all the good sense I have gained from life, with all the confidence my family, my friends, and my dedicated staff impart to me, and with the good will of countless Americans I have encountered in recent visits to 40 States, I now solemnly reaffirm my promise I made to you last December 6: to uphold the Constitution, to do what is right as God gives me to see the right, and to do the very best I can for America.
God helping me, I will not let you down.
Thank you.
<title="Remarks on Pardoning Richard Nixon">
<date="September 8, 1974">
I have come to a decision which I felt I should tell you and all of my fellow American citizens, as soon as I was certain in my own mind and in my own conscience that it is the right thing to do. I have learned already in this office that the difficult decisions always come to this desk. I must admit that many of them do not look at all the same as the hypothetical questions that I have answered freely and perhaps too fast on previous occasions. My customary policy is to try and get all the facts and to consider the opinions of my countrymen and to take counsel with my most valued friends. But these seldom agree, and in the end, the decision is mine. To procrastinate, to agonize, and to wait for a more favorable turn of events that may never come or more compelling external pressures that may as well be wrong as right, is itself a decision of sorts and a weak and potentially dangerous course for a President to follow. I have promised to uphold the Constitution, to do what is right as God gives me to see the right, and to do the very best that I can for America. I have asked your help and your prayers, not only when I became President but many times since. The Constitution is the supreme law of our land and it governs our actions as citizens. Only the laws of God, which govern our consciences, are superior to it. As we are a nation under God, so I am sworn to uphold our laws with the help of God. And I have sought such guidance and searched my own conscience with special diligence to determine the right thing for me to do with respect to my predecessor in this place, Richard Nixon, and his loyal wife and family. Theirs is an American tragedy in which we all have played a part. It could go on and on and on, or someone must write the end to it. I have concluded that only I can do that, and if I can, I must. There are no historic or legal precedents to which I can turn in this matter, none that precisely fit the circumstances of a private citizen who has resigned the Presidency of the United States. But it is common knowledge that serious allegations and accusations hang like a sword over our former President's head, threatening his health as he tries to reshape his life, a great part of which was spent in the service of this country and by the mandate of its people. After years of bitter controversy and divisive national debate, I have been advised, and I am compelled to conclude that many months and perhaps more years will have to pass before Richard Nixon could obtain a fair trial by jury in any jurisdiction of the United States under governing decisions of the Supreme Court. I deeply believe in equal justice for all Americans, whatever their station or former station. The law, whether human or divine, is no respecter of persons; but the law is a respecter of reality. The facts, as I see them, are that a former President of the United States, instead of enjoying equal treatment with any other citizen accused of violating the law, would be cruelly and excessively penalized either in preserving the presumption of his innocence or in obtaining a speedy determination of his guilt in order to repay a legal debt to society. During this long period of delay and potential litigation, ugly passions would again be aroused. And our people would again be polarized in their opinions. And the credibility of our free institutions of government would again be challenged at home and abroad. In the end, the courts might well hold that Richard Nixon had been denied due process, and the verdict of history would even more be inconclusive with respect to those charges arising out of the period of his Presidency, of which I am presently aware. But it is not the ultimate fate of Richard Nixon that most concerns me, though surely it deeply troubles every decent and every compassionate person. My concern is the immediate future of this great country. In this, I dare not depend upon my personal sympathy as a long-time friend of the former President, nor my professional judgment as a lawyer, and I do not. As President, my primary concern must always be the greatest good of all the people of the United States whose servant I am. As a man, my first consideration is to be true to my own convictions and my own conscience. My conscience tells me clearly and certainly that I cannot prolong the bad dreams that continue to reopen a chapter that is closed. My conscience tells me that only I, as President, have the constitutional power to firmly shut and seal this book. My conscience tells me it is my duty, not merely to proclaim domestic tranquillity but to use every means that I have to insure it. I do believe that the buck stops here, that I cannot rely upon public opinion polls to tell me what is right. I do believe that right makes might and that if I am wrong, 10 angels swearing I was right would make no difference. I do believe, with all my heart and mind and spirit, that I, not as President but as a humble servant of God, will receive justice without mercy if I fail to show mercy. Finally, I feel that Richard Nixon and his loved ones have suffered enough and will continue to suffer, no matter what I do, no matter what we, as a great and good nation, can do together to make his goal of peace come true."Now, therefore, I, Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, have granted and by these presents do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from July <January> 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.""In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of September, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and seventy-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and ninety ninth."
<title="State of the Union Address">
<date="January 19, 1976">
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of the 94th Congress, and distinguished guests: As we begin our Bicentennial, America is still one of the youngest nations in recorded history. Long before our forefathers came to these shores, men and women had been struggling on this planet to forge a better life for themselves and their families. In man's long, upward march from savagery and slavery -- throughout the nearly 2,000 years of the Christian calendar, the nearly 6,000 years of Jewish reckoning -- there have been many deep, terrifying valleys, but also many bright and towering peaks. One peak stands highest in the ranges of human history. One example shines forth of a people uniting to produce abundance and to share the good life fairly and with freedom. One union holds out the promise of justice and opportunity for every citizen: That union is the United States of America. We have not remade paradise on Earth. We know perfection will not be found here. But think for a minute how far we have come in 200 years. We came from many roots, and we have many branches. Yet all Americans across the eight generations that separate us from the stirring deeds of 1776, those who know no other homeland and those who just found refuge among our shores, say in unison: I am proud of America, and I am proud to be an American. Life will be a little better here for my children than for me. I believe this not because I am told to believe it, but because life has been better for me than it was for my father and my mother. I know it will be better for my children because my hands, my brains, my voice, and my vote can help make it happen. It has happened here in America. It has happened to you and to me. Government exists to create and preserve conditions in which people can translate their ideas into practical reality. In the best of times, much is lost in translation. But we try. Sometimes we have tried and failed. Always we have had the best of intentions. But in the recent past, we sometimes forgot the sound principles that guided us through most of our history. We wanted to accomplish great things and solve age-old problems. And we became overconfident of our abilities. We tried to be a policeman abroad and the indulgent parent here at home. We thought we could transform the country through massive national programs, but often the programs did not work. Too often they only made things worse. In our rush to accomplish great deeds quickly, we trampled on sound principles of restraint and endangered the rights of individuals. We unbalanced our economic system by the huge and unprecedented growth of federal expenditures and borrowing. And we were not totally honest with ourselves about how much these programs would cost and how we would pay for them. Finally, we shifted our emphasis from defense to domestic problems while our adversaries continued a massive buildup of arms. The time has now come for a fundamentally different approach for a new realism that is true to the great principles upon which this nation was founded. We must introduce a new balance to our economy -- a balance that favors not only sound, active government but also a much more vigorous, healthy economy that can create new jobs and hold down prices. We must introduce a new balance in the relationship between the individual and the government -- a balance that favors greater individual freedom and self-reliance. We must strike a new balance in our system of federalism -- a balance that favors greater responsibility and freedom for the leaders of our state and local governments. We must introduce a new balance between the spending on domestic programs and spending on defense -- a balance that ensures we will fully meet our obligation to the needy while also protecting our security in a world that is still hostile to freedom. And in all that we do, we must be more honest with the American people, promising them no more than we can deliver and delivering all that we promise. The genius of America has been its incredible ability to improve the lives of its citizens through a unique combination of governmental and free citizen activity. History and experience tells us that moral progress cannot come in comfortable and in complacent times, but out of trial and out of confusion. Tom Paine aroused the troubled Americans of 1776 to stand up to the times that try men's souls because the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. Just a year ago I reported that the state of the Union was not good. Tonight, I report that the state of our Union is better -- in many ways a lot better -- but still not good enough. To paraphrase Tom Paine, 1975 was not a year for summer soldiers and sum shine patriots. It was a year of fears and alarms and of dire forecasts -- most of which never happened and won't happen. As you recall, the year 1975 opened with rancor and with bitterness. Political misdeeds of the past had neither been forgotten nor forgiven. The longest, most divisive war in our history was winding toward an unhappy conclusion. Many feared that the end of that foreign war of men and machines meant the beginning of a domestic war of recrimination and reprisal. Friends and adversaries abroad were asking whether America had lost its nerve. Finally, our economy was ravaged by inflation -- inflation that was plunging us into the worse recession in four decades. At the same time, Americans became increasingly alienated from big institutions. They were steadily losing confidence, not just in big government but in big business, big labor, and big education, among others. Ours was a troubled land. And so, 1975 was a year of hard decisions, difficult compromises, and a new realism that taught us something important about America. It brought back a needed measure of common sense, steadfastness, and self-discipline. Americans did not panic or demand instant but useless cures. In all sectors, people met their difficult problems with the restraint and with responsibility worthy of their great heritage. Add up the separate pieces of progress in 1975, subtract the setbacks, and the sum total shows that we are not only headed in a new direction, a direction which I proposed 12 months ago, but it turned out to be the right direction. It is the right direction because it follows the truly revolutionary American concept of 1776, which holds that in a free society the making of public policy and successful problemsolving involves much more than government. It involves a full partnership among all branches and all levels of government, private institutions, and individual citizens. Common sense tells me to stick to that steady course. Take the state of our economy. Last January, most things were rapidly getting worse. This January, most things are slowly but surely getting better. The worst recession since World War II turned around in April. The best cost-of-living news of the past year is that double-digit inflation of 12 percent or higher was cut almost in half. The worst -- unemployment remains far too high. Today, nearly 1,700,000 more Americans are working than at the bottom of the recession. At year's end, people were again being hired much faster than they were being laid off. Yet, let's be honest. Many Americans have not yet felt these changes in their daily lives. They still see prices going up far too fast, and they still know the fear of unemployment. We are also a growing nation. We need more and more jobs every year. Today's economy has produced over 85 million jobs for Americans, but we need a lot more jobs, especially for the young. My first objective is to have sound economic growth without inflation. We all know from recent experience what runaway inflation does to ruin every other worthy purpose. We are slowing it. We must stop it cold. For many Americans, the way to a healthy, noninflationary economy has become increasingly apparent. The government must stop spending so much and stop borrowing so much of our money. More money must remain in private hands where it will do the most good. To hold down the cost of living, we must hold down the cost of government. In the past decade, the federal budget has been growing at an average rate of over 10 percent a year. The budget I am submitting Wednesday cuts this rate of growth in half. I have kept my promise to submit a budget for the next fiscal year of $395 billion. In fact, it is $394.2 billion. By holding down the growth of federal spending, we can afford additional tax cuts and return to the people who pay taxes more decisionmaking power over their own lives. Last month I signed legislation to extend the 1975 tax reductions for the first six months of this year. I now propose that effective July 1, 1976, we give our taxpayers a tax cut of approximately $10 billion more than Congress agreed to in December. My broader tax reduction would mean that for a family of four making $15,000 a year, there will be $227 more in take-home pay annually. Hardworking Americans caught in the middle can really use that kind of extra cash. My recommendations for a firm restraint on the growth of federal spending and for greater tax reduction are simple and straightforward. For every dollar saved in cutting the growth in the federal budget, we can have an added dollar of federal tax reduction. We can achieve a balanced budget by 1979 if we have the courage and the wisdom to continue to reduce the growth of federal spending. One test of a healthy economy is a job for every American who wants to work. Government -- our kind of government -- cannot create that many jobs. But the federal government can create conditions and incentives for private business and industry to make more and more jobs. Five out of six jobs in this country are in private business and in industry. Common sense tells us this is the place to look for more jobs and to find them faster. I mean real, rewarding, permanent jobs. To achieve this we must offer the American people greater incentives to invest in the future. My tax proposals are a major step in that direction. To supplement these proposals, I ask that Congress enact changes in federal tax laws that will speed up plant expansion and the purchase of new equipment. My recommendations will concentrate this job-creation tax incentive in areas where the unemployment rate now runs over 7 percent. Legislation to get this started must be approved at the earliest possible date. Within the strict budget total that I will recommend for the coming year, I will ask for additional housing assistance for 500,000 families. These programs will expand housing opportunities, spur construction, and help to house moderate- and low-income families. We had a disappointing year in the housing industry in 1975. But with lower interest rates and available mortgage money, we can have a healthy recovery in 1976.A necessary condition of a healthy economy is freedom from the petty tyranny of massive government regulation. We are wasting literally millions of working hours costing billions of taxpayers' and consumers' dollars because of bureaucratic redtape. The American farmer, who now feeds 215 million Americans, but also millions worldwide, has shown how touch more he can produce without the shackles of government control. Now, we badly need reforms in other key areas in our economy: the airlines, trucking, railroads, and financial institutions. I have submitted concrete plans in each of these areas, not to help this or that industry, but to foster competition and to bring prices down for the consumer. This administration, in addition, will strictly enforce the federal antitrust laws for the very same purposes. Taking a longer look at America's future, there can be neither sustained growth nor more jobs unless we continue to have an assured supply of energy to run our economy. Domestic production of oil and gas is still declining. Our dependence on foreign oil at high prices is still too great, draining jobs and dollars away from our own economy at the rate of $125 per year for every American. Last month, I signed a compromise national energy bill which enacts a part of my comprehensive energy independence program. This legislation was late, not the complete answer to energy independence, but still a start in the right direction. I again urge the Congress to move ahead immediately on the remainder of my energy proposals to make America invulnerable to the foreign oil cartel. My proposals, as all of you know, would reduce domestic natural gas shortages; allow production from federal petroleum reserves; stimulate effective conservation, including revitalization of our railroads and the expansion of our urban transportation systems; develop more and cleaner energy from our vast coal resources; expedite clean and safe nuclear power production; create a new national energy independence authority to stimulate vital energy investment; and accelerate development of technology to capture energy from the sun and the Earth for this and future generations. Also, I ask, for the sake of future generations, that we preserve the family farm and family-owned small business. Both strengthen America and give stability to our economy. I will propose estate tax changes so that family businesses and family farms can be handed down from generation to generation without having to be sold to pay taxes. I propose tax changes to encourage people to invest in America's future, and their own, through a plan that gives moderate-income families income tax benefits if they make long-term investments in common stock in American companies. The federal government must and will respond to clear-cut national needs -- for this and future generations. Hospital and medical services in America are among the best in the world, but the cost of a serious and extended illness can quickly wipe out a family's lifetime savings. Increasing health costs are of deep concern to all and a powerful force pushing up the cost of living. The burden of catastrophic illness can be borne by very few in our society. We must eliminate this fear from every family. I propose catastrophic health insurance for everybody covered by Medicare. To finance this added protection, fees for short-term care will go up somewhat, but nobody after reaching age 65 will have to pay more than $500 a year for covered hospital or nursing home care, nor more than $250 for one year's doctor bills. We cannot realistically afford federally dictated national health insurance providing full coverage for all 215 million Americans. The experience of other countries raises questions about the quality as well as the cost of such plans. But I do envision the day when we may use the private health insurance system to offer more middle-income families high quality health services at prices they can afford and shield them also from their catastrophic illnesses. Using resources now available, I propose improving the Medicare and other federal health programs to help those who really need protection -- older people and the poor. To help states and local governments give better health care to the poor, I propose that we combine 16 existing federal programs, including Medicaid, into a single $10 billion federal grant. Funds would be divided among states under a new formula which provides a larger share of federal money to those states that have a larger share of low-income families. I will take further steps to improve the quality of medical and hospital care for those who have served in our armed forces. Now let me speak about social security. Our federal social security system for people who have worked and contributed to it for all their lives is a vital part of our economic system. Its value is no longer debatable. In my budget for fiscal year 1977, I am recommending that the full cost-of-living increases in the social security benefits be paid during the coming year. But I am concerned about the integrity of our Social Security Trust Fund that enables people -- those retired and those still working who will retire -- to count on this source of retirement income. Younger workers watch their deductions rise and wonder if they will be adequately protected in the future. We must meet this challenge head on. Simple arithmetic warns all of us that the Social Security Trust Fund is headed for trouble. Unless we act soon to make sure the fund takes in as much as it pays out, there will be no security for old or for young. I must, therefore, recommend a three-tenths of 1 percent increase in both employer and employee social security taxes effective January 1, 1977. This will cost each covered employee less than one extra dollar a week and will ensure the integrity of the trust fund. As we rebuild our economy, we have a continuing responsibility to provide a temporary cushion to the unemployed. At my request, the Congress enacted two extensions and two expansions in unemployment insurance which helped those who were jobless during 1975. These programs will continue in 1976.In my fiscal year 1977 budget, I am also requesting funds to continue proven job training and employment opportunity programs for millions of other Americans. Compassion and a sense of community -- two of America's greatest strengths throughout our history -- tell us we must take care of our neighbors who cannot take care of themselves. The host of federal programs in this field reflect our generosity as a people. But everyone realizes that when it comes to welfare, government at all levels is not doing the job well. Too many of our welfare programs are inequitable and invite abuse. Too many of our welfare programs have problems from beginning to end. Worse, we are wasting badly needed resources without reaching many of the truly needy. Complex welfare programs cannot be reformed overnight. Surely we cannot simply dump welfare into the laps of the 50 states, their local taxpayers, or their private charities, and just walk away from it. Nor is it the right time for massive and sweeping changes while we are still recovering from the recession. Nevertheless, there are still plenty of improvements that we can make. I will ask Congress for Presidential authority to tighten up the rules for eligibility and benefits. Last year I twice sought long overdue reform of the scandal-riddled food stamp program. This year I say again: Let's give food stamps to those most in need. Let's not give any to those who don't need them. Protecting the life and property of the citizen at home is the responsibility of all public officials, but is primarily the job of local and state law enforcement authorities. Americans have always found the very thought of a federal police force repugnant, and so do I. But there are proper ways in which we can help to insure domestic tranquility as the Constitution charges us. My recommendations on how to control violent crime were submitted to the Congress last June with strong emphasis on protecting the innocent victims of crime. To keep a convicted criminal from committing more crimes, we must put him in prison so he cannot harm more law-abiding citizens. To be effective, this punishment must be swift and it must be certain. Too often, criminals are not sent to prison after conviction but are allowed to return to the streets. Some judges are reluctant to send convicted criminals to prison because of inadequate facilities. To alleviate this problem at the federal level, my new budget proposes the construction of four new federal facilities. To speed federal justice, I propose an increase this year in the United States attorneys prosecuting federal crimes and the reinforcement of the number of United States marshals. Additional federal judges are needed, as recommended by me and the Judicial Conference. Another major threat to every American's person and property is the criminal carrying a handgun. The way to cut down on the criminal use of guns is not to take guns away from the law-abiding citizen, but to impose mandatory sentences for crimes in which a gun is used, make it harder to obtain cheap guns for criminal purposes, and concentrate gun control enforcement in highcrime areas. My budget recommends 500 additional federal agents in the 11 largest metropolitan high-crime areas to help local authorities stop criminals from selling and using handguns. The sale of hard drugs is tragically on the increase again. I have directed all agencies of the federal government to step up law enforcement efforts against those who deal in drugs. In 1975, I am glad to report, federal agents seized substantially more heroin coming into our country than in 1974.As President, I have talked personally with the leaders of Mexico, Colombia, and Turkey to urge greater efforts by their governments to control effectively the production and shipment of hard drugs. I recommended months ago that the Congress enact mandatory fixed sentences for persons convicted of federal crimes involving the sale of hard drugs. Hard drugs, we all know, degrade the spirit as they destroy the body of their users. It is unrealistic and misleading to hold out the hope that the federal government can move into every neighborhood and clean up crime. Under the Constitution, the greatest responsibility for curbing crime lies with state and local authorities. They are the frontline fighters in the war against crime. There are definite ways in which the federal government can help them. I will propose in the new budget that Congress authorize almost $7 billion over the next five years to assist state and local governments to protect the safety and property of all their citizens. As President, I pledge the strict enforcement of federal laws and -- by example, support, and leadership -- to help state and local authorities enforce their laws. Together, we must protect the victims of crime and ensure domestic tranquility. Last year I strongly recommended a five-year extension of the existing revenue sharing legislation, which thus far has provided $23 billion to help state and local units of government solve problems at home. This program has been effective with decisionmaking transferred from the federal government to locally elected officials. Congress must act this year, or state and local units of government will have to drop programs or raise local taxes. Including my health care program reforms, I propose to consolidate some 59 separate federal programs and provide flexible federal dollar grants to help states, cities, and local agencies in such important areas as education, child nutrition, and social services. This flexible system will do the job better and do it closer to home. The protection of the lives and property of Americans from foreign enemies is one of my primary responsibilities as President. In a world of instant communications and intercontinental ballistic missiles, in a world economy that is global and interdependent, our relations with other nations become more, not less, important to the lives of Americans. America has had a unique role in the world since the day of our independence 200 years ago. And ever since the end of World War II, we have borne -- successfully -- a heavy responsibility for ensuring a stable world order and hope for human progress. Today, the state of our foreign policy is sound and strong. We are at peace, and I will do all in my power to keep it that way. Our military forces are capable and ready. Our military power is without equal, and I intend to keep it that way. Our principal alliances with the industrial democracies of the Atlantic community and Japan have never been more solid. A further agreement to limit the strategic arms race may be achieved. We have an improving relationship with China, the world's most populous nation. The key elements for peace among the nations of the Middle East now exist. Our traditional friendships in Latin America, Africa, and Asia continue. We have taken the role of leadership in launching a serious and hopeful dialog between the industrial world and the developing world. We have helped to achieve significant reform of the international monetary system. We should be proud of what America, what our country, has accomplished in these areas, and I believe the American people are. The American people have heard too much about how terrible our mistakes, how evil our deeds, and how misguided our purposes. The American people know better. The truth is we are the world's greatest democracy. We remain the symbol of man's aspiration for liberty and well-being. We are the embodiment of hope for progress. I say it is time we quit downgrading ourselves as a nation. Of course, it is our responsibility to learn the right lesson from past mistakes. It is our duty to see that they never happen again. But our greater duty is to look to the future. The world's troubles will not go away. The American people want strong and effective international and defense policies. In our constitutional system, these policies should reflect consultation and accommodation between the President and the Congress. But in the final analysis, as the framers of our Constitution knew from hard experience, the foreign relations of the United States can be conducted effectively only if there is strong central direction that allows flexibility of action. That responsibility clearly rests with the President. I pledge to the American people policies which seek a secure, just, and peaceful world. I pledge to the Congress to work with you to that end. We must not face a future in which we can no longer help our friends, such as Angola, even in limited and carefully controlled ways. We must not lose all capacity to respond short of military intervention. Some hasty actions of the Congress during the past year -- most recently in respect to Angola -- were, in my view, very shortsighted. Unfortunately, they are still very much on the minds of our allies and our adversaries. A strong defense posture gives weight to our values and our views in international negotiations. It assures the vigor of our alliances. And it sustains our efforts to promote settlements of international conflicts. Only from a position of strength can we negotiate a balanced agreement to limit the growth of nuclear arms. Only a balanced agreement will serve our interests and minimize the threat of nuclear confrontation. The defense budget I will submit to the Congress for fiscal year 1977 will show an essential increase over the current year. It provides for real growth in purchasing power over this year's defense budget, which includes the cost of the all-volunteer force. We are continuing to make economies to enhance the efficiency of our military forces. But the budget I will submit represents the necessity of American strength for the real world in which we live. As conflict and rivalry persist in the world, our United States intelligence capabilities must be the best in the world. The crippling of our foreign intelligence services increases the danger of American involvement in direct armed conflict. Our adversaries are encouraged to attempt new adventures while our own ability to monitor events and to influence events short of military action is undermined. Without effective intelligence capability, the United States stands blindfolded and hobbled. In the near future, I will take actions to reform and strengthen our intelligence community. I ask for your positive cooperation. It is time to go beyond sensationalism and ensure an effective, responsible, and responsive intelligence capability. Tonight I have spoken about our problems at home and abroad. I have recommended policies that will meet the challenge of our third century. I have no doubt that our Union will endure, better, stronger, and with more individual freedom. We can see forward only dimly -- one year, five years, a generation perhaps. Like our forefathers, we know that if we meet the challenges of our own time with a common sense of purpose and conviction, if we remain true to our Constitution and to our ideals, then we can know that the future will be better than the past. I see America today crossing a threshold, not just because it is our Bicentennial but because we have been tested in adversity. We have taken a new look at what we want to be and what we want our nation to become. I see America resurgent, certain once again that life will be better for our children than it is for us, seeking strength that cannot be counted in megatons and riches that cannot be eroded by inflation. I see these United States of America moving forward as before toward a more perfect Union where the government serves and the people rule. We will not make this happen simply by making speeches, good or bad, yours or mine, but by hard work and hard decisions made with courage and with common sense. I have heard many inspiring Presidential speeches, but the words I remember best were spoken by Dwight D. Eisenhower. "America is not good because' it is great," the President said. "America is great because it is good."President Eisenhower was raised in a poor but religious home in the heart of America. His simple words echoed President Lincoln's eloquent testament that "right makes might." And Lincoln in turn evoked the silent image of George Washington kneeling in prayer at Valley Forge. So, all these magic memories which link eight generations of Americans are summed up in the inscription just above me. How many times have we seen it? "In God We Trust."Let us engrave it now in each of our hearts as we begin our Bicentennial.
<title="Veto of Immigration Legislation">
<date="January 28, 1915">
To the House of Representatives:
It is with unaffected regret that I find myself constrained by clear conviction to return this bill (H. R. 6060, "An act to regulate the immigration of aliens to and the residence of aliens in the United States") without my signature. Not only do I feel it to be a very serious matter to exercise the power of veto in any case, because it involves opposing the single judgment of the President to the judgment of a majority of both the Houses of the Congress, a step which no man who realizes his own liability to error can take without great hesitation, but also because this particular bill is in so many important respects admirable, well conceived, and desirable. Its enactment into law would undoubtedly enhance the efficiency and improve the methods of handling the important branch of the public service to which it relates. But candor and a sense of duty with regard to the responsibility so clearly imposed upon me by the Constitution in matters of legislation leave me no choice but to dissent.
In two particulars of vital consequence this bill embodies a radical departure from the traditional and long-established policy of this country, a policy in which our people have conceived the very character of their Government to be expressed, the very mission and spirit of the Nation in respect of its relations to the peoples of the world outside their borders. It seeks to all but close entirely the gates of asylum which have always been open to those who could find nowhere else the right and opportunity of constitutional agitation for what they conceived to be the natural and inalienable rights of men; and it excludes those to whom the opportunities of elementary education have been denied, without regard to their character, their purposes, or their natural capacity.
Restrictions like these, adopted earlier in our history as a Nation, would very materially have altered the course and cooled the humane ardors of our politics. The right of political asylum has brought to this country many a man of noble character and elevated purpose who was marked as an outlaw in his own less fortunate land, and who has yet become an ornament to our citizenship and to our public councils. The children and the compatriots of these illustrious Americans must stand amazed to see the representatives of their Nation now resolved, in the fullness of our national strength and at the maturity of our great institutions, to risk turning such men back from our shores without test of quality or purpose. It is difficult for me to believe that the full effect of this feature of the bill was realized when it was framed and adopted, and it is impossible for me to assent to it in the form in which it is here cast.
The literacy test and the tests and restrictions which accompany it constitute an even more radical change in the policy of the Nation. Hitherto we have generously kept our doors open to all who were not unfitted by reason of disease or incapacity for self-support or such personal records and antecedents as were likely to make them a menace to our peace and order or to the wholesome and essential relationships of life. In this bill it is proposed to turn away from tests of character and of quality and impose tests which exclude and restrict; for the new tests here embodied are not tests of quality or of character or of personal fitness, but tests of opportunity. Those who come seeking opportunity are not to be admitted unless they have already had one of the chief of the opportunities they seek, the opportunity of education. The object of such provisions is restriction, not selection.
If the people of this country have made up their minds to limit the number of immigrants by arbitrary tests and so reverse the policy of all the generations of Americans that have gone before them, it is their right to do so. I am their servant and have no license to stand in their way. But I do not believe that they have. I respectfully submit that no one can quote their mandate to that effect. Has any political party ever avowed a policy of restriction in this fundamental matter, gone to the country on it, and been commissioned to control its legislation? Does this bill rest upon the conscious and universal assent and desire of the American people? I doubt it. It is because I doubt it that I make bold to dissent from it. I am willing to abide by the verdict, but not until it has been rendered. Let the platforms of parties speak out upon this policy and the people pronounce their wish. The matter is too fundamental to be settled otherwise.
I have no pride of opinion in this question. I am not foolish enough to profess to know the wishes and ideals of America better than the body of her chosen representatives know them. I only want instruction direct from those whose fortunes, with ours and all men's, are involved.
<title="Message Regarding US-German Relations">
<date="February 3, 1917">
Gentlemen of the Congress:
The Imperial German Government on the thirty-first of January announced to this Government and to the governments of the other neutral nations that on and after the first day of February, the present month, it would adopt a policy with regard to the use of submarines against all shipping seeking to pass through certain designated areas of the high seas to which it is clearly my duty to call your attention.
Let me remind the Congress that on the eighteenth of April last, in view of the sinking on the twenty-fourth of March of the cross-Channel passenger steamer Sussex by a German submarine, without summons or warning, and the consequent loss of the lives of several citizens of the United States who were passengers aboard her, this Government addressed a note to the Imperial German Government in which it made the following declaration:
"If it is still the purpose of the Imperial Government to prosecute relentless and indiscriminate warfare against vessels of commerce by the use of submarines without regard to what the Government of the United States must consider the sacred and indisputable rules of international law and the universally recognized dictates of humanity, the Government of the United States is at last forced to the conclusion that there is but one course it can pursue. Unless the Imperial Government should now immediately declare and effect an abandonment of its present methods of submarine warfare against passenger and freight-carrying vessels, the Government of the United States can have no choice but to sever diplomatic relations with the German Empire altogether."
In reply to this declaration the Imperial German Government gave this Government the following assurance:
"The German Government is prepared to do its utmost to confine the operations of war for the rest of its duration to the fighting forces of the belligerents, thereby also insuring the freedom of the seas, a principle upon which the German Government believes, now as before, to be in agreement with the Government of the United States.
"The German Government, guided by this idea, notifies the Government of the United States that the German naval forces have received the following orders:
In accordance with the general principles of visit and search and destruction of merchant vessels recognized by international law, such vessels, both within and without the area declared as naval war zone, shall not be sunk without warning and without saving human lives, unless these ships attempt to escape or offer resistance.
"But," it added, "neutrals cannot expect that Germany, forced to fight for her existence, shall, for the sake of neutral interest, restrict the use of an effective weapon if her enemy is permitted to continue to apply at will methods of warfare violating the rules of international law. Such a demand would be incompatible with the character of neutrality, and the German Government is convinced that the Government of the United States does not think of making such a demand, knowing that the Government of the United States has repeatedly declared that it is determined to restore the principle of the freedom of the seas, from whatever quarter it has been violated."
To this the Government of the United States replied on the eighth of May, accepting, of course, the assurances given, but adding,
"The Government of the United States feels it necessary to state that it takes it for granted that the Imperial German Government does not intend to imply that the maintenance of its newly announced policy is in any way contingent upon the course or result of diplomatic negotiations between the Government of the United States and any other belligerent Government, notwithstanding the fact that certain passages in the Imperial Government's note of the fourth instant might appear to be susceptible of that construction. In order, however, to avoid any possible misunderstanding, the Government of the United States notifies the Imperial Government that it cannot for a moment entertain, much less discuss, a suggestion that respect by German naval authorities for the rights of citizens of the United States upon the high seas should in any way or in the slightest degree be made contingent upon the conduct of any other Government affecting the rights of neutrals and non-combatants. Responsibility in such matters is single, not joint; absolute, not relative."
To this note of the eighth of May the Imperial German Government made no reply.
On the thirty-first of January, the Wednesday of the present week, the German Ambassador handed to the Secretary of State, along with a formal note, a memorandum which contains the following statement:
"The Imperial Government, therefore, does not doubt that the Government of the United States will understand the situation thus forced upon Germany by the Entente-Allies' brutal methods of war and by their determination to destroy the Central Powers, and that the Government of the United States will further realize that the now openly disclosed intentions of the Entente-Allies give back to Germany the freedom of action which she reserved in her note addressed to the Government of the United States on May 4, 1916.
"Under these circumstances Germany will meet the illegal measures of her enemies by forcibly preventing after February 1, 1917, in a zone around Great Britain, France, Italy, and in the Eastern Mediterranean all navigation, that of neutrals included, from and to England and from and to France, etc., etc. All ships met within the zone will be sunk."
I think that you will agree with me that, in view of this declaration, which suddenly and without prior intimation of any kind deliberately withdraws the solemn assurance given in the Imperial Government's note of the fourth of May, 1916, this Government has no alternative consistent with the dignity and honor of the United States but to take the course which, in its note of the eighteenth of April, 1916, it announced that it would take in the event that the German Government did not declare and effect an abandonment of the methods of submarine warfare which it was then employing and to which it now purposes again to resort.
I have, therefore, directed the Secretary of State to announce to His Excellency the German Ambassador that all diplomatic relations between the United States and the German Empire are severed, and that the American Ambassador at Berlin will immediately be withdrawn; and, in accordance with this decision, to hand to His Excellency his passports.
Notwithstanding this unexpected action of the German Government, this sudden and deeply deplorable renunciation of its assurances, given this Government at one of the most critical moments of tension in the relations of the two governments, I refuse to believe that it is the intention of the German authorities to do in fact what they have warned us they will feel at liberty to do. I cannot bring myself to believe that they will indeed pay no regard to the ancient friendship between their people and our own or to the solemn obligations which have been exchanged between them and destroy American ships and take the lives of American citizens in the willful prosecution of the ruthless naval program they have announced their intention to adopt.
Only actual overt acts on their part can make me believe it even now.
If this inveterate confidence on my part in the sobriety and prudent foresight of their purpose should unhappily prove unfounded; if American ships and American lives should in fact be sacrificed by their naval commanders in heedless contravention of the just and reasonable understandings of international law and the obvious dictates of humanity, I shall take the liberty of coming again before the Congress, to ask that authority be given me to use any means that may be necessary for the protection of our seamen and our people in the prosecution of their peaceful and legitimate errands on the high seas. I can do nothing less. I take it for granted that all neutral governments will take the same course.
We do not desire any hostile conflict with the Imperial German Government. We are the sincere friends of the German people and earnestly desire to remain at peace with the Government which speaks for them. We shall not believe that they are hostile to us unless and until we are obliged to believe it; and we purpose nothing more than the reasonable defense of the undoubted rights of our people. We wish to serve no selfish ends. We seek merely to stand true alike in thought and in action to the immemorial principles of our people which I sought to express in my address to the Senate only two weeks ago, -- seek merely to vindicate our right to liberty and justice and an unmolested life. These are the bases of peace, not war. God grant we may not be challenged to defend them by acts of wilful injustice on the part of the Government of Germany!
<title="Second Annual Message">
<date="December 8, 1914">
The session upon which you are now entering will be the closing session of the Sixty-third Congress, a Congress, I venture to say, which will long be remembered for the great body of thoughtful and constructive work which it has done, in loyal response to the thought and needs of the country. I should like in this address to review the notable record and try to make adequate assessment of it; but no doubt we stand too near the work that has been done and are ourselves too much part of it to play the part of historians toward it. Our program of legislation with regard to the regulation of business is now virtually complete. It has been put forth, as we intended, as a whole, and leaves no conjecture as to what is to follow. The road at last lies clear and firm before business. It is a road which it can travel without fear or embarrassment. It is the road to ungrudged, unclouded success. In it every honest man, every man who believes that the public interest is part of his own interest, may walk with perfect confidence. Moreover, our thoughts are now more of the future than of the past. While we have worked at our tasks of peace the circumstances of the whole age have been altered by war. What we have done for our own land and our own people we did with the best that was in us, whether of character or of intelligence, with sober enthusiasm and a confidence in the principles upon which we were acting which sustained us at every step of the difficult undertaking; but it is done. It has passed from our hands. It is now an established part of the legislation of the country. Its usefulness, its effects will disclose themselves in experience. What chiefly strikes us now, as we look about us during these closing days of a year which will be forever memorable in the history of the world, is that we face new tasks, have been facing them these six months, must face them in the months to come, face them without partisan feeling, like men who have forgotten everything but a common duty and the fact that we are representatives of a great people whose thought is not of us but of what America owes to herself and to all mankind in such circumstances as these upon which we look amazed and anxious. War has interrupted the means of trade not only but also the processes of production. In Europe it is destroying men and resources wholesale and upon a scale unprecedented and appalling, There is reason to fear that the time is near, if it be not already at hand, when several of the countries of Europe will find it difficult to do for their people what they have hitherto been always easily able to do, -- many essential and fundamental things. At any rate, they will need our help and our manifold services as they have never needed them before; and we should be ready, more fit and ready than we have ever been. It is of equal consequence that the nations whom Europe has usually supplied with innumerable articles of manufacture and commerce of which they are in constant need and without which their economic development halts and stands still can now get only a small part of what they formerly imported and eagerly look to us to supply their all but empty markets. This is particularly true of our own neighbors, the States, great and small, of Central and South America. Their lines of trade have hitherto run chiefly athwart the seas, not to our ports but to the ports of Great Britain and of the older continent of Europe. I do not stop to inquire why, or to make any comment on probable causes. What interests us just now is not the explanation but the fact, and our duty and opportunity in the presence of it. Here are markets which we must supply, and we must find the means of action. The United States, this great people for whom we speak and act, should be ready, as never before, to serve itself and to serve mankind; ready with its resources, its energies, its forces of production, and its means of distribution. It is a very practical matter, a matter of ways and means. We have the resources, but are we fully ready to use them? And, if we can make ready what we have, have we the means at hand to distribute it? We are not fully ready; neither have we the means of distribution. We are willing, but we are not fully able. We have the wish to serve and to serve greatly, generously; but we are not prepared as we should be. We are not ready to mobilize our resources at once. We are not prepared to use them immediately and at their best, without delay and without waste. To speak plainly, we have grossly erred in the way in which we have stunted and hindered the development of our merchant marine. And now, when we need ships, we have not got them. We have year after year debated, without end or conclusion, the best policy to pursue with regard to the use of the ores and forests and water powers of our national domain in the rich States of the West, when we should have acted; and they are still locked up. The key is still turned upon them, the door shut fast at which thousands of vigorous men, full of initiative, knock clamorously for admittance. The water power of our navigable streams outside the national domain also, even in the eastern States, where we have worked and planned for generations, is still not used as it might be, because we will and we won't; because the laws we have made do not intelligently balance encouragement against restraint. We withhold by regulation. I have come to ask you to remedy and correct these mistakes and omissions, even at this short session of a Congress which would certainly seem to have done all the work that could reasonably be expected of it. The time and the circumstances are extraordinary, and so must our efforts be also. Fortunately, two great measures, finely conceived, the one to unlock, with proper safeguards, the resources of the national domain, the other to encourage the use of the navigable waters outside that domain for the generation of power, have already passed the House of Representatives and are ready for immediate consideration and action by the Senate. With the deepest earnestness I urge their prompt passage. In them both we turn our backs upon hesitation and makeshift and formulate a genuine policy of use and conservation, in the best sense of those words. We owe the one measure not only to the people of that great western country for whose free and systematic development, as it seems to me, our legislation has done so little, but also to the people of the Nation as a whole; and we as clearly owe the other fulfillment of our repeated promises that the water power of the country should in fact as well as in name be put at the disposal of great industries which can make economical and profitable use of it, the rights of the public being adequately guarded the while, and monopoly in the use prevented. To have begun such measures and not completed them would indeed mar the record of this great Congress very seriously. I hope and confidently believe that they will be completed. And there is another great piece of legislation which awaits and should receive the sanction of the Senate: I mean the bill which gives a larger measure of self-government to the people of the Philippines. How better, in this time of anxious questioning and perplexed policy, could we show our confidence in the principles of liberty, as the source as well as the expression of life, how better could we demonstrate our own self-possession and steadfastness in the courses of justice and disinterestedness than by thus going calmly forward to fulfill our promises to a dependent people, who will now look more anxiously than ever to see whether we have indeed the liberality, the unselfishness, the courage, the faith we have boasted and professed. I can not believe that the Senate will let this great measure of constructive justice await the action of another Congress. Its passage would nobly crown the record of these two years of memorable labor. But I think that you will agree with me that this does not complete the toll of our duty. How are we to carry our goods to the empty markets of which I have spoken if we have not the ships? How are we to build tip a great trade if we have not the certain and content means of transportation upon which all profitable and useful commerce depends? And how are we to get the ships if we wait for the trade to develop without them? To correct the many mistakes by which we have discouraged and all but destroyed the merchant marine of the country, to retrace the steps by which we have.. it seems almost deliberately, withdrawn our flag from the seas.. except where, here and there, a ship of war is bidden carry it or some wandering yacht displays it, would take a long time and involve many detailed items of legislation, and tile trade which we ought immediately to handle would disappear or find other channels while we debated the items. The case is not unlike that which confronted us when our own continent was to be opened up to settlement and industry, and we needed long lines of railway, extended means of transportation prepared beforehand, if development was not to lag intolerably and wait interminably. We lavishly subsidized the building of transcontinental railroads. We look back upon that with regret now, because the subsidies led to many scandals of which we are ashamed; but we know that the railroads had to be built, and if we had it to do over again we should of course build them, but in another way. Therefore I propose another way of providing the means of transportation, which must precede, not tardily follow, the development of our trade with our neighbor states of America. It may seem a reversal of the natural order of things, but it is true, that the routes of trade must be actually opened -- by many ships and regular sailings and moderate charges -- before streams of merchandise will flow freely and profitably through them. Hence the pending shipping bill, discussed at the last session but as yet passed by neither House. In my judgment such legislation is imperatively needed and can not wisely be postponed. The Government must open these gates of trade, and open them wide; open them before it is altogether profitable to open them, or altogether reasonable to ask private capital to open them at a venture. It is not a question of the Government monopolizing the field. It should take action to make it certain that transportation at reasonable rates will be promptly provided, even where the carriage is not at first profitable; and then, when the carriage has become sufficiently profitable to attract and engage private capital, and engage it in abundance, the Government ought to withdraw. I very earnestly hope that the Congress will be of this opinion, and that both Houses will adopt this exceedingly important bill. The great subject of rural credits still remains to be dealt with, and it is a matter of deep regret that the difficulties of the subject have seemed to render it impossible to complete a bill for passage at this session. But it can not be perfected yet, and therefore there are no other constructive measures the necessity for which I will at this time call your attention to; but I would be negligent of a very manifest duty were I not to call the attention of the Senate to the fact that the proposed convention for safety at sea awaits its confirmation and that the limit fixed in the convention itself for its acceptance is the last day of the present month. The conference in which this convention originated was called by the United States; the representatives of the United States played a very influential part indeed in framing the provisions of the proposed convention; and those provisions are in themselves for the most part admirable. It would hardly be consistent with the part we have played in the whole matter to let it drop and go by the board as if forgotten and neglected. It was ratified in May by the German Government and in August by the Parliament of Great Britain. It marks a most hopeful and decided advance in international civilization. We should show our earnest good faith in a great matter by adding our own acceptance of it. There is another matter of which I must make special mention, if I am to discharge my conscience, lest it should escape your attention. It may seem a very small thing. It affects only a single item of appropriation. But many human lives and many great enterprises hang upon it. It is the matter of making adequate provision for the survey and charting of our coasts. It is immediately pressing and exigent in connection with the immense coast line of Alaska, a coast line greater than that of the United States themselves, though it is also very important indeed with regard to the older coasts of the continent. We can not use our great Alaskan domain, ships will not ply thither, if those coasts and their many hidden dangers are not thoroughly surveyed and charted. The work is incomplete at almost every point. Ships and lives have been lost in threading what were supposed to be well-known main channels. We have not provided adequate vessels or adequate machinery for the survey and charting. We have used old vessels that were not big enough or strong enough and which were so nearly unseaworthy that our inspectors would not have allowed private owners to send them to sea. This is a matter which, as I have said, seems small, but is in reality very great. Its importance has only to be looked into to be appreciated. Before I close may I say a few words upon two topics, much discussed out of doors, upon which it is highly important that our judgment should be clear, definite, and steadfast?One of these is economy in government expenditures. The duty of economy is not debatable. It is manifest and imperative. In the appropriations we pass we are spending the money of the great people whose servants we are, not our own. We are trustees and responsible stewards in the spending. The only thing debatable and upon which we should be careful to make our thought and purpose clear is the kind of economy demanded of us. I assert with the greatest confidence that the people of the United States are not jealous of the amount their Government costs if they are sure that they get what they need and desire for the outlay, that the money is being spent for objects of which they approve, and that it is being applied with good business sense and management. Governments grow, piecemeal, both in their tasks and in the means by which those tasks are to be performed, and very few Governments are organized, I venture to say, as wise and experienced business men would organize them if they had a clean sheet of paper to write upon. Certainly the Government of the United States is not. I think that it is generally agreed that there should be a systematic reorganization and reassembling of its parts so as to secure greater efficiency and effect considerable savings in expense. But the amount of money saved in that way would, I believe, though no doubt considerable in itself, running, it may be, into the millions, be relatively small, small, I mean, in proportion to the total necessary outlays of the Government. It would be thoroughly worth effecting, as every saving would, great or small. Our duty is not altered by the scale of the saving. But my point is that the people of the United States do not wish to curtail the activities of this Government; they wish, rather, to enlarge them; and with every enlargement, with the mere growth, indeed, of the country itself, there must come, of course, the inevitable increase of expense. The sort of economy we ought to practice may be effected, and ought to be effected, by a careful study and assessment of the tasks to be performed; and the money spent ought to be made to yield the best possible returns in efficiency and achievement. And, like good stewards, we should so account for every dollar of our appropriations as to make it perfectly evident what it was spent for and in what way it was spent. It is not expenditure but extravagance that we should fear being criticized for; not paying for the legitimate enterprise and undertakings of a great Government whose people command what it should do, but adding what will benefit only a few or pouring money out for what need not have been undertaken at all or might have been postponed or better and more economically conceived and carried out. The Nation is not niggardly; it is very generous. It will chide us only if we forget for whom we pay money out and whose money it is we pay. These are large and general standards, but they are not very difficult of application to particular cases. The other topic I shall take leave to mention goes deeper into the principles of our national life and policy. It is the subject of national defense. It can not be discussed without first answering some very searching questions. It is said in some quarters that we are not prepared for war. What is meant by being prepared? Is it meant that we are not ready upon brief notice to put a nation in the field, a nation of men trained to arms? Of course we are not ready to do that; and we shall never be in time of peace so long as we retain our present political principles and institutions. And what is it that it is suggested we should be prepared to do? To defend ourselves against attack? We have always found means to do that, and shall find them whenever it is necessary without calling our people away from their necessary tasks to render compulsory military service in times of peace. Allow me to speak with great plainness and directness upon this great matter and to avow my convictions with deep earnestness. I have tried to know what America is, what her people think, what they are, what they most cherish and hold dear. I hope that some of their finer passions are in my own heart, -- some of the great conceptions and desires which gave birth to this Government and which have made the voice of this people a voice of peace and hope and liberty among the peoples of the world, and that, speaking my own thoughts, I shall, at least in part, speak theirs also, however faintly and inadequately, upon this vital matter. We are at peace with all the world. No one who speaks counsel based on fact or drawn from a just and candid interpretation of realities can say that there is reason to fear that from any quarter our independence or the integrity of our territory is threatened. Dread of the power of any other nation we are incapable of. We are not jealous of rivalry in the fields of commerce or of any other peaceful achievement. We mean to live our own lives as we will; but we mean also to let live. We are, indeed, a true friend to all the nations of the world, because we threaten none, covet the possessions of none, desire the overthrow of none. Our friendship can be accepted and is accepted without reservation, because it is offered in a spirit and for a purpose which no one need ever question or suspect. Therein lies our greatness. We are the champions of peace and of concord. And we should be very jealous of this distinction which we have sought to earn. just now we should be particularly jealous of it because it is our dearest present hope that this character and reputation may presently, in God's providence, bring us an opportunity such as has seldom been vouchsafed any nation, the opportunity to counsel and obtain peace in the world and reconciliation and a healing settlement of many a matter that has cooled and interrupted the friendship of nations. This is the time above all others when we should wish and resolve to keep our strength by self-possession, our influence by preserving our ancient principles of action. From the first we have had a clear and settled policy with regard to military establishments. We never have had, and while we retain our present principles and ideals we never shall have, a large standing army. If asked, Are you ready to defend yourselves? we reply, Most assuredly, to the utmost; and yet we shall not turn America into a military camp. We will not ask our young men to spend the best years of their lives making soldiers of themselves. There is another sort of energy in us. It will know how to declare itself and make itself effective should occasion arise. And especially when half the world is on fire we shall be careful to make our moral insurance against the spread of the conflagration very definite and certain and adequate indeed. Let us remind ourselves, therefore, of the only thing we can do or will do. We must depend in every time of national peril, in the future as in the past, not upon a standing army, nor yet upon a reserve army, but upon a citizenry trained and accustomed to arms. It will be right enough, right American policy, based upon our accustomed principles and practices, to provide a system by which every citizen who will volunteer for the training may be made familiar with the use of modern arms, the rudiments of drill and maneuver, and the maintenance and sanitation of camps. We should encourage such training and make it a means of discipline which our young men will learn to value. It is right that we should provide it not only, but that we should make it as attractive as possible, and so induce our young men to undergo it at such times as they can command a little freedom and can seek the physical development they need, for mere health's sake, if for nothing more. Every means by which such things can be stimulated is legitimate, and such a method smacks of true American ideas. It is right, too, that the National Guard of the States should be developed and strengthened by every means which is not inconsistent with our obligations to our own people or with the established policy of our Government. And this, also, not because the time or occasion specially calls for such measures, but because it should be our constant policy to make these provisions for our national peace and safety. More than this carries with it a reversal of the whole history and character of our polity. More than this, proposed at this time, permit me to say, would mean merely that we had lost our self-possession, that we had been thrown off our balance by a war with which we have nothing to do, whose causes can not touch us, whose very existence affords us opportunities of friendship and disinterested service which should make us ashamed of any thought of hostility or fearful preparation for trouble. This is assuredly the opportunity for which a people and a government like ours were raised up, the opportunity not only to speak but actually to embody and exemplify the counsels of peace and amity and the lasting concord which is based on justice and fair and generous dealing. A powerful navy we have always regarded as our proper and natural means of defense, and it has always been of defense that we have thought, never of aggression or of conquest. But who shall tell us now what sort of navy to build? We shall take leave to be strong upon the seas, in the future as in the past; and there will be no thought of offense or of provocation in that. Our ships are our natural bulwarks. When will the experts tell us just what kind we should construct-and when will they be right for ten years together, if the relative efficiency of craft of different kinds and uses continues to change as we have seen it change under our very eyes in these last few months ?But I turn away from the subject. It is not new. There is no new need to discuss it. We shall not alter our attitude toward it because some amongst us are nervous and excited. We shall easily and sensibly agree upon a policy of defense. The question has not changed its aspects because the times are not normal. Our policy will not be for an occasion. It will be conceived as a permanent and settled thing, which we will pursue at all seasons, without haste and after a fashion perfectly consistent with the peace of the world, the abiding friendship of states, and the unhampered freedom of all with whom we deal. Let there be no misconception. The country has been misinformed. We have not been negligent of national defense. We are not unmindful of the great responsibility resting upon us. We shall learn and profit by the lesson of every experience and every new circumstance; and what is needed will be adequately done. I close, as I began, by reminding you of the great tasks and duties of peace which challenge our best powers and invite us to build what will last, the tasks to which we can address ourselves now and at all times with free-hearted zest and with all the finest gifts of constructive wisdom we possess. To develop our life and our resources; to supply our own people, and the people of the world as their need arises, from the abundant plenty of our fields and our marts of trade to enrich the commerce of our own States and of the world with the products of our mines, our farms, and our factories, with the creations of our thought and the fruits of our character, this is what will hold our attention and our enthusiasm steadily, now and in the years to come, as we strive to show in our life as a nation what liberty and the inspirations of an emancipated spirit may do for men and for societies, for individuals, for states, and for mankind.
<title="Message Regarding German Actions">
<date="April 19, 1916">
Gentlemen of the Congress:
A situation has arisen in the foreign relations of the country of which it is my plain duty to inform you very frankly.
It will be recalled that in February, 1915, the Imperial German Government announced its intention to treat the waters surrounding Great Britain and Ireland as embraced within the seat of war and to destroy all merchant ships owned by its enemies that might be found within any part of that portion of the high seas, and that it warned all vessels, of neutral as well as of belligerent ownership, to keep out of the waters it had thus proscribed or else enter them at their peril. The Government of the United States earnestly protested. It took the position that such a policy could not be pursued without the practical certainty of gross and palpable violations of the law of nations, particularly if submarine craft were to be employed as its instruments, inasmuch as the rules prescribed by that law, rules founded upon principles of humanity and established for the protection of the lives of non-combatants at sea, could not in the nature of the case be observed by such vessels. It based its protest on the ground that persons of neutral nationality and vessels of neutral ownership would be exposed to extreme and intolerable risks, and that no right to close any part of the high seas against their use or to expose them to such risks could lawfully be asserted by any belligerent government. The law of nations in these matters, upon which the Government of the United States based its protest, is not of recent origin or founded upon merely arbitrary principles set up by convention. It is based, on the contrary, upon manifest and imperative principles of humanity and has long been established with the approval and by the express assent of all civilized nations.
Notwithstanding the earnest protest of our Government, the Imperial German Government at once proceeded to carry out the policy it had announced. It expressed the hope that the dangers involved, at any rate the dangers to neutral vessels, would be reduced to a minimum by the instructions which it had issued to its submarine commanders, and assured the Government of the United States that it would take every possible precaution both to respect the rights of neutrals and to safeguard the lives of non-combatants.
What has actually happened in the year which has since elapsed has shown that those hopes were not justified, those assurances insusceptible of being fulfilled. In pursuance of the policy of submarine warfare against the commerce of its adversaries, thus announced and entered upon by the Imperial German Government in despite of the solemn protest of this Government, the commanders of German undersea vessels have attacked merchant ships with greater and greater activity, not only upon the high seas surrounding Great Britain and Ireland but wherever they could encounter them, in a way that has grown more and more ruthless, more and more indiscriminate as the months have gone by, less and less observant of restraints of any kind; and have delivered their attacks without compunction against vessels of every nationality and bound upon every sort of errand. Vessels of neutral ownership, even vessels of neutral ownership bound from neutral port to neutral port, have been destroyed along with vessels of belligerent ownership in constantly increasing numbers. Sometimes the merchantman attacked has been warned and summoned to surrender before being fired on or torpedoed; sometimes passengers or crews have been vouchsafed the poor security of being allowed to take to the ship's boats before she was sent to the bottom. But again and again no warning has been given, no escape even to the ship's boats allowed to those on board. What this Government foresaw must happen has happened. Tragedy has followed tragedy on the seas in such fashion, with such attendant circumstances, as to make it grossly evident that warfare of such a sort, if warfare it be, cannot be carried on without the most palpable violation of the dictates alike of right and of humanity. Whatever the disposition and intention of the Imperial German Government, it has manifestly proved impossible for it to keep such methods of attack upon the commerce of its enemies within the bounds set by either the reason or the heart of mankind.
In February of the present year the Imperial German Government informed this Government and the other neutral governments of the world that it had reason to believe that the Government of Great Britain had armed all merchant vessels of British ownership and had given them secret orders to attack any submarine of the enemy they might encounter upon the seas, and that the Imperial German Government felt justified in the circumstances in treating all armed merchantmen of belligerent ownership as auxiliary vessels of war, which it would have the right to destroy without warning. The law of nations has long recognized the right of merchantmen to carry arms for protection and to use them to repel attack, though to use them, in such circumstances, at their own risk; but the Imperial German Government claimed the right to set these understandings aside in circumstances which it deemed extraordinary. Even the terms in which it announced its purpose thus still further to relax the restraints it had previously professed its willingness and desire to put upon the operations of its submarines carried the plain implication that at least vessels which were not armed would still be exempt from destruction without warning and that personal safety would be accorded their passengers and crews; but even that limitation, if it was ever practicable to observe it, has in fact constituted no check at all upon the destruction of ships of every sort.
Again and again the Imperial German Government has given this Government its solemn assurances that at least passenger ships would not be thus dealt with, and yet it has again and again permitted its undersea commanders to disregard those assurances with entire impunity. Great liners like the Lusitania and the Arabic and mere ferryboats like the Sussex have been attacked without a moment's warning, sometimes before they had even become aware that they were in the presence of an armed vessel of the enemy, and the lives of non-combatants, passengers and crew, have been sacrificed wholesale, in a manner which the Government of the United States cannot but regard as wanton and without the slightest color of justification. No limit of any kind has in fact been set to the indiscriminate pursuit and destruction of merchantmen of all kinds and nationalities within the waters, constantly extending in area, where these operations have been carried on; and the roll of Americans who have lost their lives on ships thus attacked and destroyed has grown month by month until the ominous toll has mounted into the hundreds.
One of the latest and most shocking instances of this method of warfare was that of the destruction of the French cross-Channel steamer Sussex . It must stand forth, as the sinking of the steamer Lusitania did, as so singularly tragical and unjustifiable as to constitute a truly terrible example of the inhumanity of submarine warfare as the commanders of German vessels have for the past twelvemonth been conducting it. If this instance stood alone, some explanation, some disavowal by the German Government, some evidence of criminal mistake or wilful disobedience on the part of the commander of the vessel that fired the torpedo might be sought or entertained; but unhappily it does not stand alone. Recent events make the conclusion inevitable that it is only one instance, even though it be one of the most extreme and distressing instances, of the spirit and method of warfare which the Imperial German Government has mistakenly adopted, and which from the first exposed that Government to the reproach of thrusting all neutral rights aside in pursuit of its immediate objects.
The Government of the United States has been very patient. At every stage of this distressing experience of tragedy after tragedy in which its own citizens were involved it has sought to be restrained from any extreme course of action or of protest by a thoughtful consideration of the extraordinary circumstances of this unprecedented war, and actuated in all that it said or did by the sentiments of genuine friendship which the people of the United States have always entertained and continue to entertain towards the German nation. It has of course accepted the successive explanations and assurances of the Imperial German Government as given in entire sincerity and good faith, and has hoped, even against hope, that it would prove to be possible for the German Government so to order and control the acts of its naval commanders as to square its policy with the principles of humanity as embodied in the law of nations. It has been willing to wait until the significance of the facts became absolutely unmistakable and susceptible of but one interpretation.
That point has now unhappily been reached. The facts are susceptible of but one interpretation. The Imperial German Government has been unable to put any limits or restraints upon its warfare against either freight or passenger ships. It has therefore become painfully evident that the position which this Government took at the very outset is inevitable, namely, that the use of submarines for the destruction of an enemy's commerce is of necessity, because of the very character of the vessels employed and the very methods of attack which their employment of course involves, incompatible with the principles of humanity, the long established and incontrovertible rights of neutrals, and the sacred immunities of non-combatants.
I have deemed it my duty, therefore, to say to the Imperial German Government that if it is still its purpose to prosecute relentless and indiscriminate warfare against vessels of commerce by the use of submarines, notwithstanding the now demonstrated impossibility of conducting that warfare in accordance with what the Government of the United States must consider the sacred and indisputable rules of international law and the universally recognized dictates of humanity, the Government of the United States is at last forced to the conclusion that there is but one course it can pursue; and that unless the Imperial German Government should now immediately declare and effect an abandonment of its present methods of warfare against passenger and freight carrying vessels this Government can have no choice but to sever diplomatic relations with the Government of the German Empire altogether.
This decision I have arrived at with the keenest regret; the possibility of the action contemplated I am sure all thoughtful Americans will look forward to with unaffected reluctance. But we cannot forget that we are in some sort and by the force of circumstances the responsible spokesmen of the rights of humanity, and that we cannot remain silent while those rights seem in process of being swept utterly away in the maelstrom of this terrible war. We owe it to a due regard for our own rights as a nation, to our sense of duty as a representative of the rights of neutrals the world over, and to a just conception of the rights of mankind to take this stand now with the utmost solemnity and firmness.
I have taken it, and taken it in the confidence that it will meet with your approval and support. All sober-minded men must unite in hoping that the Imperial German Government, which has in other circumstances stood as the champion of all that we are now contending for in the interest of humanity, may recognize the justice of our demands and meet them in the spirit in which they are made.
<title="Fourth of July Address">
<date="July 4, 1914">
Mr. Chairman and Fellow-Citizens:
We are assembled to celebrate the one hundred and thirty-eighth anniversary of the birth of the United States. I suppose that we can more vividly realize the circumstances of that birth standing on this historic spot than it would be possible to realize them anywhere else. The Declaration of Independence was written in Philadelphia; it was adopted in this historic building by which we stand. I have just had the privilege of sitting in the chair of the great man who presided over the deliberations of those who gave the declaration to the world. My hand rests at this moment upon the table upon which the declaration was signed. We can feel that we are almost in the visible and tangible presence of a great historic transaction.
Have you ever read the Declaration of Independence or attended with close comprehension to the real character of it when you have heard it read? If you have, you will know that it is not a Fourth of July oration. The Declaration of Independence was a document preliminary to war. It was a vital piece of practical business, not a piece of rhetoric; and if you will pass beyond those preliminary passages which we are accustomed to quote about the rights of men and read into the heart of the document you will see that it is very express and detailed, that it consists of a series of definite specifications concerning actual public business of the day. Not the business of our day, for the matter with which it deals is past, but the business of that first revolution by which the Nation was set up, the business of 1776. Its general statements, its general declarations cannot mean anything to us unless we append to it a similar specific body of particulars as to what we consider the essential business of our own day.
Liberty does not consist, my fellow-citizens, in mere general declarations of the rights of man. It consists in the translation of those declarations into definite action. Therefore, standing here where the declaration was adopted, reading its businesslike sentences, we ought to ask ourselves what there is in it for us. There is nothing in it for us unless we can translate it into the terms of our own conditions and of our own lives. We must reduce it to what the lawyers call a bill of particulars. It contains a bill of particulars, but the bill of particulars of 1776. If we would keep it alive, we must fill it with a bill of particulars of the year 1914.
The task to which we have constantly to readdress ourselves is the task of proving that we are worthy of the men who drew this great declaration and know what they would have done in our circumstances. Patriotism consists in some very practical things -- practical in that they belong to the life of every day, that they wear no extraordinary distinction about them, that they are connected with commonplace duty. The way to be patriotic in America is not only to love America but to love the duty that lies nearest to our hand and know that in performing it we are serving our country. There are some gentlemen in Washington, for example, at this very moment who are showing themselves very patriotic in a way which does not attract wide attention but seems to belong to mere everyday obligations. The Members of the House and Senate who stay in hot Washington to maintain a quorum of the Houses and transact the all-important business of the Nation are doing an act of patriotism. I honor them for it, and I am glad to stay there and stick by them until the work is done.
It is patriotic, also, to learn what the facts of our national life are and to face them with candor. I have heard a great many facts stated about the present business condition of this country, for example -- a great many allegations of fact, at any rate, but the allegations do not tally with one another. And yet I know that truth always matches with truth and when I find some insisting that everything is going wrong and others insisting that everything is going right, and when I know from a wide observation of the general circumstances of the country taken as a whole that things are going extremely well, I wonder what those who are crying out that things are wrong are trying to do. Are they trying to serve the country, or are they trying to serve something smaller than the country? Are they trying to put hope into the hearts of the men who work and toil every day, or are they trying to plant discouragement and despair in those hearts? And why do they cry that everything is wrong and yet do nothing to set it right? If they love America and anything is wrong amongst us, it is their business to put their hand with ours to the task of setting it right. When the facts are known and acknowledged, the duty of all patriotic men is to accept them in candor and to address themselves hopefully and confidently to the common counsel which is necessary to act upon them wisely and in universal concert.
I have had some experiences in the last fourteen months which have not been entirely reassuring. It was universally admitted, for example, my fellow-citizens, that the banking system of this country needed reorganization. We set the best minds that we could find to the task of discovering the best method of reorganization. But we met with hardly anything but criticism from the bankers of the country; we met with hardly anything but resistance from the majority of those at least who spoke at all concerning the matter. And yet so soon as that act was passed there was a universal chorus of applause, and the very men who had opposed the measure joined in that applause. If it was wrong the day before it was passed, why was it right the day after it was passed? Where had been the candor of criticism not only, but the concert of counsel which makes legislative action vigorous and safe and successful?
It is not patriotic to concert measures against one another; it is patriotic to concert measures for one another.
In one sense the Declaration of Independence has lost its significance. It has lost its significance as a declaration of national independence. Nobody outside of America believed when it was uttered that we could make good our independence; now nobody anywhere would dare to doubt that we are independent and can maintain our independence. As a declaration of independence, therefore, it is a mere historic document. Our independence is a fact so stupendous that it can be measured only by the size and energy and variety and wealth and power of one of the greatest nations in the world. But it is one thing to be independent and it is another thing to know what to do with your independence. It is one thing to come to your majority and another thing to know what you are going to do with your life and your energies; and one of the most serious questions for sober-minded men to address themselves to in the United States is this: What are we going to do with the influence and power of this great Nation? Are we going to play the old role of using that power for our aggrandizement and material benefit only? You know what that may mean. It may upon occasion mean that we shall use it to make the peoples of other nations suffer in the way in which we said it was intolerable to suffer when we uttered our Declaration of Independence.
The Department of State at Washington is constantly called upon to back up the commercial enterprises and the industrial enterprises of the United States in foreign countries, and it at one time went so far in that direction that all its diplomacy came to be designated as "dollar diplomacy." It was called upon to support every man who wanted to earn anything anywhere if he was an American. But there ought to be a limit to that. There is no man who is more interested than I am in carrying the enterprise of American business men to every quarter of the globe. I was interested in it long before I was suspected of being a politician. I have been preaching it year after year as the great thing that lay in the future for the United States, to show her wit and skill and enterprise and influence in every country in the world. But observe the limit to all that which is laid upon us perhaps more than upon any other nation in the world. We set this Nation up, at any rate we professed to set it up, to vindicate the rights of men. We did not name any differences between one race and another. We did not set up any barriers against any particular people. We opened our gates to all the world and said, "Let all men who wish to be free come to us and they will be welcome." We said, "This independence of ours is not a selfish thing for our own exclusive private use. It is for everybody to whom we can find the means of extending it." We cannot with that oath taken in our youth, we cannot with that great ideal set before us when we were a young people and numbered only a scant 3,000,000, take upon ourselves, now that we are 100,000,000 strong, any other conception of duty than we then entertained. If American enterprise in foreign countries, particularly in those foreign countries which are not strong enough to resist us, takes the shape of imposing upon and exploiting the mass of the people of that country it ought to be checked and not encouraged. I am willing to get anything for an American that money and enterprise can obtain except the suppression of the rights of other men. I will not help any man buy a power which he ought not to exercise over his fellow-beings.
You know, my fellow-countrymen, what a big question there is in Mexico. Eighty-five per cent of the Mexican people have never been allowed to have any genuine participation in their own Government or to exercise any substantial rights with regard to the very land they live upon. All the rights that men most desire have been exercised by the other fifteen per cent. Do you suppose that that circumstance is not sometimes in my thought? I know that the American people have a heart that will beat just as strong for those millions in Mexico as it will beat, or has beaten, for any other millions elsewhere in the world, and that when once they conceive what is at stake in Mexico they will know what ought to be done in Mexico. I hear a great deal said about the loss of property in Mexico and the loss of the lives of foreigners, and I deplore these things with all my heart. Undoubtedly, upon the conclusion of the present disturbed conditions in Mexico those who have been unjustly deprived of their property or in any wise unjustly put upon ought to be compensated. Men's individual rights have no doubt been invaded, and the invasion of those rights has been attended by many deplorable circumstances which ought sometime, in the proper way, to be accounted for. But back of it all is the struggle of a people to come into its own, and while we look upon the incidents in the foreground let us not forget the great tragic reality in the background which towers above the whole picture.
A patriotic American is a man who is not niggardly and selfish in the things that he enjoys that make for human liberty and the rights of man. He wants to share them with the whole world, and he is never so proud of the great flag under which he lives as when it comes to mean to other people as well as to himself a symbol of hope and liberty. I would be ashamed of this flag if it ever did anything outside America that we would not permit it to do inside of America.
The world is becoming more complicated every day, my fellow-citizens. No man ought to be foolish enough to think that he understands it all. And, therefore, I am glad that there are some simple things in the world. One of the simple things is principle. Honesty is a perfectly simple thing. It is hard for me to believe that in most circumstances when a man has a choice of ways he does not know which is the right way and which is the wrong way. No man who has chosen the wrong way ought even to come into Independence Square; it is holy ground which he ought not to tread upon. He ought not to come where immortal voices have uttered the great sentences of such a document as this Declaration of Independence upon which rests the liberty of a whole nation.
And so I say that it is patriotic sometimes to prefer the honor of the country to its material interest. Would you rather be deemed by all the nations of the world incapable of keeping your treaty obligations in order that you might have free tolls for American ships? The treaty under which we gave up that right may have been a mistaken treaty, but there was no mistake about its meaning.
When I have made a promise as a man I try to keep it, and I know of no other rule permissible to a nation. The most distinguished nation in the world is the nation that can and will keep its promises even to its own hurt. And I want to say parenthetically that I do not think anybody was hurt. I cannot be enthusiastic for subsidies to a monopoly, but let those who are enthusiastic for subsidies ask themselves whether they prefer subsidies to unsullied honor.
The most patriotic man, ladies and gentlemen, is sometimes the man who goes in the direction that he thinks right even when he sees half the world against him. It is the dictate of patriotism to sacrifice yourself if you think that that is the path of honor and of duty. Do not blame others if they do not agree with you. Do not die with bitterness in your heart because you did not convince the rest of the world, but die happy because you believe that you tried to serve your country by not selling your soul. Those were grim days, the days of 1776. Those gentlemen did not attach their names to the Declaration of Independence on this table expecting a holiday on the next day, and that 4th of July was not itself a holiday. They attached their signatures to that significant document knowing that if they failed it was certain that every one of them would hang for the failure. They were committing treason in the interest of the liberty of 3,000,000 people in America. All the rest of the world was against them and smiled with cynical incredulity at the audacious undertaking. Do you think that if they could see this great Nation now they would regret anything that they then did to draw the gaze of a hostile world upon them? Every idea must be started by somebody, and it is a lonely thing to start anything. Yet if it is in you, you must start it if you have a man's blood in you and if you love the country that you profess to be working for.
I am sometimes very much interested when I see gentlemen supposing that popularity is the way to success in America. The way to success in this great country, with its fair judgments, is to show that you are not afraid of anybody except God and his final verdict. If I did not believe that, I would not believe in democracy. If I did not believe that, I would not believe that people can govern themselves. If I did not believe that the moral judgment would be the last judgment, the final judgment, in the minds of men as well as the tribunal of God, I could not believe in popular government. But I do believe these things, and, therefore, I earnestly believe in the democracy not only of America but of every awakened people that wishes and intends to govern and control its own affairs.
It is very inspiring, my friends, to come to this that may be called the original fountain of independence and liberty in American and here drink draughts of patriotic feeling which seem to renew the very blood in one's veins. Down in Washington sometimes when the days are hot and the business presses intolerably and there are so many things to do that it does not seem possible to do anything in the way it ought to be done, it is always possible to lift one's thought above the task of the moment and, as it were, to realize that great thing of which we are all parts, the great body of American feeling and American principle. No man could do the work that has to be done in Washington if he allowed himself to be separated from that body of principle. He must make himself feel that he is a part of the people of the United States, that he is trying to think not only for them, but with them, and then he cannot feel lonely. He not only cannot feel lonely but he cannot feel afraid of anything.
My dream is that as the years go on and the world knows more and more of America it will also drink at these fountains of youth and renewal; that it also will turn to America for those moral inspirations which lie at the basis of all freedom; that the world will never fear America unless it feels that it is engaged in some enterprise which is inconsistent with the rights of humanity; and that America will come into the full light of the day when all shall know that she puts human rights above all other rights and that her flag is the flag not only of America but of humanity.
What other great people has devoted itself to this exalted ideal? To what other nation in the world can all eyes look for an instant sympathy that thrills the whole body politic when men anywhere are fighting for their rights? I do not know that there will ever be a declaration of independence and of grievances for mankind, but I believe that if any such document is ever drawn it will be drawn in the spirit of the American Declaration of Independence, and that America has lifted high the light which will shine unto all generations and guide the feet of mankind to the goal of justice and liberty and peace.
<title="Sixth Annual Message">
<date="December 4, 1928">
To the Congress of the United States: No Congress of the United States ever assembled, on surveying the state of the Union, has met with a more pleasing prospect than that which appears at the present time. In the domestic field there is tranquility and contentment, harmonious relations between management and wage earner, freedom from industrial strife, and the highest record of years of prosperity. In the foreign field there is peace, the good will which comes from mutual understanding, and the knowledge that the problems which a short time ago appeared so ominous are yielding to the touch of manifest friendship. The great wealth created by our enterprise and industry, and saved by our economy, has had the widest distribution among our own people, and has gone out in a steady stream to serve the charity and the business of the world. The requirements of existence have passed beyond the standard of necessity into the region of luxury. Enlarging production is consumed by an increasing demand at hom6 and ail expanding commerce abroad. The country can regard the present with satisfaction and anticipate the future with optimism. The main source of these unexampled blessings lies in the integrity and character of the American people. They have had great faith, which they have supplemented with inighty works. They have been able to put trust in each other and trust in their Government. Their candor in dealing with foreign governments hag commanded respect and confidence. Yet these remarkable powers would have been exerted almost in vain without the constant cooperation and careful administration of the Federal Government. We have been coming into a period which may be fairly characterized as a conservation of our national resources. Wastefulness in public business and private enterprise has been displaced by constructive economy. This has been accomplished by bringing our domestic and foreign relations more and more under a reign of law. A rule of force has been giving way to a rule of reason. We have substituted for the vicious circle of increasing expenditures, increasing tax rates, and diminishing profits the charmed circle of diminishing expenditures, diminishing tax rates, and increasing profits. Four times we have made a drastic revision of our internal revenue system, abolishing many taxes and substantially reducing almost all others. Each time the resulting stimulation to business has so increased taxable incomes and profits that a surplus has been ro, duced. One-third of the national debt has been paid, while much of the other two-thirds has been refunded at lower rates, and these savings of interest and constant economies have enabled us to repeat the satisfying process of more tax reductions. Under this sound and healthful encouragement the national income has increased nearly 50 per cent, until it is estimated to stand well over $90,000,000,000. It gas been a method which has performed the secining miracle of leaving a much greater percentage of earnings in the hands of the taxpayers 'with scarcely any diminution of the Government revenue. That is constructive economy in the highest degree. It is the corner stone of prosperity. It should not fail to be continued. This action began by the application of economy to public expenditure. If it is to be permanent, it must be made so by the repeated application of economy. There is no surplus on which to base further tax revision at this time. Last June the estimates showed a threatened deficit for the current fiscal year of $94,000,000. Under my direction the departments began saving all they could out of their present appropriations. The last tax reduction brought 'an encouraging improvement in business, beginning early in October, which w1,11 also increase our revenue. The combination of economy and good times now indicates a surplus of about $37,000,000. This is a margin of less than I percent on out, expenditures and makes it obvious that the Treasury is in no condition to undertake increases in ditures to be made before June 30. It is necessary therefor"Stuing the present session to refrain from new appropriations for immediate outlay, or if such are absolutely required to provide for them by new revenue; otherwise, we shall reach the end of the year with the unthinkable result of an unbalanced budget. For the first time during my term of office we face that contingency. I am certain that the Congress would not pass and I should not feel warranted in approving legislation which would involve us in that financial disgrace. On the whole the finances of the Government are most satisfactory. Last year the national debt was reduced about $906,000,000. The refunding and retirement of the second and third Liberty loans have just been brought to a successful conclusion, which will save about $75,000,0W a year in interest. The unpaid balance has been arrangedin maturities convenient for carrying out our permanent debt-paying Program. The enormous savings made have not been at the expense of any legitimate public need. The Government plant has been kept up and many improvements are tinder way, while its service is fully manned and the general efficiency of operation has increased. We have been enabled to undertake many new enterprises. Among these are the adjusted compensation of the veterans of the World War, which is costing us $112,000,000 a year; amortizing our liability to the civil service retirement funds, $20,000,000; increase of expenditures for rivers and harbors including flood control, $43,000,000; public buildings, $47,000,000. In 1928 we spent $50,000,000 in the adjustment of war claims and alien property. These are examples of a large list of items. FOREIGN REIATIONS When we turn from our domestic affairs to our foreign relations, we likewise perceive peace and progress. The Sixth International Conference of American States was held at Habana last winter. It contributed to a better understanding and cooperation among the nations'. Eleven important conventions were signed and 71 resolutions passed. Pursuant to the plan then adopted, this Government has invited the other 20 nations of this hemisphere to it conference on conciliation and arbitration, which meets in Washington on December 10. All the nations have accepted and the expectation is justified that important progress will be made in methods for resolving international differences by means of arbitration. During the year we have signed 11 new arbitration treaties, and 22 more are tinder negotiation. NICARAGUA When a destructive and bloody revolution lately broke out in Nicaragua, at the earnest and repeated entreaties of its Government I dispatched our Marine forces there to protect the lives and interests of our citizens. To compose the contending parties, I sent there Col. Henry L. Stimson, former Secretary of War and now Governor General of the Philippine Islands, who secured an agreement that warfare should cease, a national election should be held and peace should be restored. Both parties conscientiously carried out this agreement, with the exception of a few bandits who later mostly surrendered or left the country. President Diaz appointed Brig. Gen. Frank R. McCoy, United States Army, president of the election board, which included also one member of each political party. A free and fair election has been held and has worked out so successfully that both parties have joined in requesting like cooperation from this country at the election four years hence, to which I have refrained from making any commitments, although our country must be gratified at such an exhibition of success and appreciationNicaragua is regaining its prosperity and has taken a long step in the direction of peaceful self-government. TACNA-ARICA The long-standing differences between Chile and Peru have been sufficiently composed so that diplomatic relations have been resumed by the exchange of ambassadors. Negotiations are hopefully proceeding as this is written for the final adjustment of the differences over their disputed territory. MEXICO Our relations with Mexico are on a more satisfactory basis than at any time since their revolution. Many misunderstandings have been resolved and the most frank and friendly negotiations promise a final adjustment of all unsettled questions. It is exceedingly gratifying that Ambassador Morrow has been able to bring our two neighboring countries, which have so many interests in common, to a position of confidence in each other and of respect for mutual sovereign rights. CHINA The situation in China which a few months ago was so threatening as to call for the dispatch of a large additional force has, been much composed. The Nationalist Government has established itself over the country and promulgated a new organic law announcing a program intended to promote the political and economic welfare of the people. We have recognized this Government,, encouraged its progress, and have negotiated a treaty restoring to China completetariff autonomy and guaranteeing our citizens against discriminations. Our trade in that quarter is increasing and our forces are being reduced. GREEK AND AUSTRIAN DEBTS Pending before the Congress is a recommendation for the settlement of the Greek debt and the Austrian debt. both of these are comparatively small and our country can afford to be generous. The rehabilitation of these countries await& their settlement. There would also be advantages to our trade. We could scarcely afford to be the only nation that refuses the relief which Austria seeks. The Congress has already granted Austria a long-time moratorium, which it is understood will be waived and immediate payments begun on her debt on the same basis which we have extended to other countries. PEACE TREATY One of the most important treaties ever laid before the Senate of the United States will be that which the 15 nations recently signed at Paris, and to which 44 other nations have declared their intention to adhere, renouncing war as a national policy and agreeing to resort only to peaceful means for the adjustment of international differences. It is the most solemn declaration against war, the most positive adherence to peace, that it is possible' for sovereign nations tomake. It does not supersede our inalienable sovereign right and duty of national defense or undertake to commit us before the event to any mode of action which the Congress might decide to be wise. it ever the treaty should be broken. But it is a new standard in the world around which can rally the informed and enlightened opinion of nations to prevent their governments from beii4'forced into hostile action by the temporary outbreak of international animosities. The observance of this covenant, so simple and so straightforward, promises more for the peace of the world than any other agreement ever negotiated among the nations. NATIONAL DEFENSE The first duty of our Government to its own citizens and foreigners within its borders is the preservation of order. Unless and until that duty is met a government is not even eligible for recognition among the family of nations. The advancement of world civilization likewise is dependent upon that order among the people of different countries which we term peace. To insure our citizens against the infringement of their legal rights at home and abroad, to preserve order, liberty, and peace by making the law supreme, we have an Army and a Navy. Both of these are organized for defensive purposes. Our Army could not be much reduced, but does not need to be increased. Such new housing and repairs as are necessary are tinder way and the 6-year program in aviation is being put into effect in both branches of our service. Our Navy, according to generally accepted standards, is deficient in cruisers. We have 10 comparatively new vessels, 22 that are old, and 8 to be built. It is evident that renewals and replacements must be provided. This matter was thoroughly canvassed at the last session of the Congress and does not need restatement. The bill before the Senate with the elimination of the time clause should be passed. We have no intention of competing with any other country. This building program is for necessary replacements and to meet our needs for defense. The cost of national defense is stupendous. It has increased $118,000,000 in the past four years. The estimated expenditure for 1930 is $668,000,000. While this is made up of many items it is, after all, mostly dependent upon numbers. Our defensive needs do not can for any increase in the number of men in the Army or the Navy. We have reached the limit of what we ought to expend for that purpose. I wish to repeat again for the benefit of the timid and the suspicious that this country is neither militaristic nor imperialistic. Many people at home and abroad, who constantly make this charge, are the same ones who are even more solicitous to have us extend assistance to foreign countries. When such assistance is granted, the inevitable result is that we have foreign interests. For us to refuse the customary support and protection of such interests would be in derogation of the sovereignty of this Nation. Our largest foreign interests are in the British Empire, France, and Italy. Because we are constantly solicitous for those interests, I doubt if anyone would suppose that those countries feel we harbor toward them any militaristic or imperialistic design. As for smaller countries, we certainly do not want any of them. We are more anxious than they are to have their sovereignty respected. Our entire influence is in behalf of their independence. Cuba stands as a witness to our adherence to this principle. The position of this Government relative to the limitation of armaments, the results already secured, and the developments up to the present time are so well known to the Congress that they do not require any restatement. VETERANS The magnitude of our present system of veterans' relief is without precedent, and the results have been far-reaching. For years a service pension has been granted to the Grand Army and lately to the survivors of the Spanish-American War. At the time we entered the World War however, Congress departed from the usual pension system followed by our Gove2rnment. Eleven years have elapsed since our laws were first enacted, initiating a system of compensation, rehabilitation, hospitalization, and insurance for the disabled of the World War and their dependents. The administration 'of all the laws concerning relief has been a difficult task, but it can safely be stated that these measures have omitted nothing in their desire to deal generously and humanely. We should continue to foster this system and provide all the facilities necessary for adequate care. It is the conception of our Government that the pension roll is an honor roll. It should include all those who are justly entitled to its benefits, but exclude all others. Annual expenditures for all forms of veterans' relief now approximate $765,000,000, and are increasing from year to year. It is doubtful if the peak of expenditures will be reached even under present legislation for sonic time yet to come. Further amendments to the existing law will be suggested by the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, the Disabled American Veterans of the World War, and other like organizations, and it may be necessary for administrative purposes, or in order to remove some existing inequalities in the present law, to make further changes. I am sure that such recommendations its may be submitted to the Congress will receive your careful consideration. But because of the vast expenditure now being made, each year, with every assurance that it will increase, and because of the great liberality of the existing law, the proposal of any additional legislation dealing with this subject should receive most searching scrutiny from the Congress. You are familiar with the suggestion that the various public agencies now dealing with matters of veterans' relief be consolidated in one Government department. Some advantages to this plan seem apparent, especially in the simplification of administration find in the opportunity of bringing about a greater uniformity in the application of veterans' relief. I recommend that a survey be made by the proper committees of Congress dealing with this subject, in order to determine whether legislation to secure this consolidation is desirable. AGRICULTURE The past year has been marked by notable though not uniform improvement in agriculture. The general purchasing power of farmproducts and the volume of production have advanced. This means not only further progress, in overcoming the price disparity into which agriculture was plunged in 1920-21, but also increased efficiency on the part of farmers and a well-grounded confidence in the future of agriculture. The livestock industry has attained the best balance for many years and is prospering conspicuously. Dairymen, beef producers, an poultrymen are receiving substantially larger returns than last year. Cotton, although lower in price than at this time last year, was produced in greater volume and the prospect for cotton incomes is favorable. But progress is never uniform in a vast and highly diversified agriculture or industry. Cash grains, hay, tobacco, and potatoes will bring somewhat smaller returns this year than last. Present indications are, however, that the gross farm income will be somewhat larger than in the crop year 1927-28, when the total was $12,253,000,000. The corresponding figure for 1926-27 was $12,127,000,000, and in 1925-26, $12,670,000,000. Still better results would have been secured this year had there not been an undue increase in the production of certain crops. This is particularly true of potatoes, which have sold at an unremunerative price, or at a loss, as a direct result of overexpansion of acreage. The present status of agriculture, although greatly improved over that of a few years ago, bespeaks the need of further improvemen4 which calls for determined effort of farmers themselves, encouraged and assisted by wise public policy. The Government has been, and must continue to be, alive to the needs of agriculture. In the past eight years more constructive legislation of direct benefit to agriculture has been adopted than during any other period. The Department of Agriculture has been broadened and reorganized to insure greater efficiency. The department is laying greater stress on the economic and business phases of agriculture. It is lending every possible assistance to cooperative marketing associations. Regulatory and research work have been segregated in order that each field may be served more effectively. I can not too strongly commend, in the field of fact finding, the research work of the Department of Agriculture and the State experiment stations. The department now receives annually $4,000,000 more for research than in 1921. In addition, the funds paid to the States for experimentation purposes under the Purnell Act constitute an annual increase in Federal payments to State agricultural experiment stations of $2,400,000 over the amount appropriated in 1921. The program of support for research may wisely be continued and expanded. Since 1921 we have appropriated nearly an additional $2,000,000 for extension work, and this sum is to be increased next year under authorization by the Capper-Ketcham Act. THE SURPLUS PROBLEM While these developments in fundamental research, regulation, and dissemination of agricultural information are of distinct hell) to agriculture, additional effort is needed. The surplus problem demands attention. As emphasized in my last message, the Government should assume no responsibility in normal times for crop surplus clearly due to overextended acreage. The Government should,however, provide reliable information as a guide to private effort; and in this connection fundamental research on prospective supply and demand, as a guide to production and marketing, should be encouraged. Expenditure of public funds to bring in more new land should have most searching scrutiny, so long as our farmers face unsatisfactory prices for crops and livestock produced on land already under cultivation. Every proper effort should be made to put land to uses for which it is adapted. The reforestation of land best suited for timber production is progressing and should be encouraged, and to this end the forest taxation inquiry was instituted to afford a practical guide for public policy. Improvement bas been made in grazing regulation in the forest reserves, not only to protect the ranges, but to preserve the soil from erosion. Similar action is urgently needed to protect other public lands which are now overgrazed and rapidly eroding. Temporary expedients, though sometimes capable of appeasing the demands of the moment, can not permanently solve the surplus problem and might seriously aggravate it. Hence putting the Government directly into business, subsidies, and price fixing, and the alluring promises of political action as a substitute for private initiative, should be avoided. The Government should aid in promoting orderly marketing and in handling surpluses clearly due to weather and seasonal conditions. As a beginning there should be created a Federal farm board consisting of able and experienced men empowered to advise producers' associations in establishing central agencies or stabilization corporations to handle surpluses, to seek wore economical means of merchandising, and to aid the producer in securing returns according to the a14 of his product. A revolving loan fund should be provided for the necessary financing until these agencies shall have developed means of financing their operations through regularly constituted credit institutions. Such a bill should carry authority for raising the money, by loans or otherwise, necessary to meet the expense, as the Treasury has no surplus. Agriculture has lagged behind industry in achieving that unity of effort which modern economic life demands. The cooperative movement, which is gradually building the needed organization, is in harmony with public interest and therefore merits public encouragement. THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE STATES Important phases of public policy related to agriculture lie within the sphere of the States. While successive reductions in Federal taxes have relieved most farmers of direct taxes to the National Government, State and local levies have become a serious burden. This problem needs immediate and thorough study with a view to correction at the earliest possible moment. It will have to be made largely by the States themselves. COMMERCE It is desirable that the Government continue its helpful attitude toward American business. The activities of the Department of Commerce have contributed largely to the present satisfactory position in our international trade, which has reached about $9,000,000,000 annually. There should be no slackening of effort in that direction. it is also important that the department's assistance to domestic commerce be continued. There is probably no way in which the Government can aid sound economic progress more effectively than by cooperation with our business men to reduce wastes in distribution. COMMERCIAL AERONAUTICS Continued progress in civil aviation is most gratifying. Demands for airplanes and motors have taxed both the industry and the licensing and inspection service of the Department of Commerce to their capacity. While the compulsory licensing provisions of the air commerce act apply only to equipment and personnel engaged in interstate and foreign commerce, a Federal license may be procured by anyone possessing the necessary qualifications. State legislation, local airport regulations, and insurance requirements make such a license practically indispensable. This results in uniformity of regulation and increased safety in operation, which are essential to aeronautical development. Over 17,000 young men and women have now applied for Federal air pilot's licenses or permits. More than 80 per cent of them applied during the past year. Our national airway system exceeds 14,000 miles in length and has 7,500 miles lighted for night operations. Provision has been made for lighting 4,000 miles more during the current fiscal year and equipping an equal mileage with radio facilities. Three-quarters of our people are now served by these routes. With the rapid growth of air mail, express, and passenger service, this new transportation medium is daily becoming a more important factor in commerce. It is noteworthy that this development has taken place without governmental subsidies. Commercial passenger flights operating on schedule have reached 13,000 miles per day. During the next fortnight this Nation will entertain the nations of the world in a celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first successful airplane flight. The credit for this epoch-making achievement belongs to a citizen of our own country, Orville Wright. CUBAN PARCEL POST I desire to repeat my recommendation of an earlier message, that Congress enact the legislation necessary to make permanent the Parcel Post Convention with Cuba, both as a facility to American commerce and as a measure of equity to Cuba in the one class of goods which that country can send here by parcel post without detriment to our own trade."MAINE" BATTLESHIP MEMORIAL When I attended the Pan American Conference at Habana, the President of Cuba showed me a marble statue made from the original memorial that was overturned by a storm after it was erected on the Cuban shore to the memory of the men who perished in the destruction of the battleship Maine. As a testimony of friendship and appreciation of the Cuban Government and people lie most generously offered to present this to the. United States, and I assured him of my pleasure in accepting it. There is no location in the White House for placing so large and heavy a structure, and I therefore urge the Congress to provide by law for some locality where it can be set up. RAILROADS In previous annual messages I have suggested the enactment of laws to promote railroad consolidation with the view of increasing the efficiency of transportation and lessening its cost to the public. While, consolidations can and should be made under the present law until it is changed, vet the provisions of the act of 1920 have not been found fully adequate to meet the needs of other methods of consolidation. Amendments designed to remedy these defects have been considered at length by the respective committees of Congress and a bill was reported out late in the last session which I understand has the approval in principle of the Interstate Commerce Commission. It is to be hoped that this legislation may be enacted at an early date. Experience has shown that the interstate commerce law requires definition and clarification in several other respects, some of which have been pointed out by the Interstate Commerce Commission in its annual reports to the Congress. It will promote the public interest to have the Congress give early consideration to the recommendations there made. MERCHANT MARINE The cost of maintaining the United States Government merchant fleet has been steadily reduced. We have established American flag lines in foreign trade where they had never before existed as a means of promoting commerce and as a naval auxiliary. There have been sold to private American capital for operation within the past few years 14 of these lines, which, under the encouragement of the recent legislation passed by the Congress, give promise of continued successful operation. Additional legislation from time to time may be necessary to promote future advancement under private control. Through the cooperation of the Post Office Department and the Shipping Board long-term contracts are being made with American steamship lines for carrying mail, which already promise the construction of 15 to 20 new vessels and the gradual reestablishment of the American merchant marine as a private enterprise. No action of the National Government has been so beneficial to our shipping. The cost is being absorbed to a considerable extent by the disposal of unprofitable lines operated by the Shipping Board, for which the new law has made a market. Meanwhile it should be our policy to maintain necessary strategic lines under the Government operation until they can be transferred to private capital. INTER-AMERICAN HIGHWAY In my message last year I expressed the view that we should lend our encouragement for more good roads to all the principal points on this hemisphere South of the Rio Grande. My view has not changed. The Pan American Union has recently indorsed it. In some of the countries to the south a great deal of progress is being made in road building. In, Others engineering features are often exacting and financing difficult. As those countries enter upon programs for road building we should be ready to contribute from our abundant experience to make their task easier of accomplishment. I prefer not to go into civil life to accomplish this end. We already furnish military and naval advisors, and following this precedent we could draw competent men from these same sources and from the Department of Agriculture. We should provide our southern neighbors, if they request it, with such engineer advisors for the construction of roads and bridges. Private t1literests should look with favor upon all reasonable loans sought by these countries to open main lines of travel. Such assistance should be given especially to any project for a highway designed to connect all the countries on this hemisphere and thus facilitate, intercourse and closer relations among, them. AIR MAIL SERVICE The friendly relations and the extensive, commercial intercourse with the Western Hemisphere to the south of us are being further cemented by the establishment and extension of air-mail routes. We shall soon have one from Key West, Fla., over Cuba, Haiti, and Santo Domingo to San Juan, P. R., where it will connect with another route to Trinidad. There will be another route from Key West to the Canal Zone, where connection will be made with a route across the northern coast of South America to Paramaribo. This will give us a circle around the Caribbean under our own control.. Additional connections will be made at Colon with a route running down the west coast of South America as far as Conception, Chile, and with the French air mail at Paramaribo running down the eastern coast of South America. 'The air service already spans our continent, with laterals running to Mexico and Canada, and covering a daily flight of over 28,000 miles, with an average cargo of 15 000 pounds. WATERWAYS Our river and harbor improvements are proceeding with vigor. In the past few years Ave have increased the appropriation for this regular work $28,000,000, besides what. is to be expended on flood control. The total appropriation for this year was over $91,000,000. The Ohio River is almost ready for opening; work on the Missouri and other rivers is under way. In accordance with the Mississippi flood law Army engineers are making investigations and surveys on other streams throughout the country with a view to flood control, navigation, waterpower, and irrigation. Our bar(re lines are being operated under generous appropriations, and negotiations are developing relative to the St. Lawrence waterway. To Secure the largest benefits from all these waterways joint rates must be established with the railroads, preferably by agreement, but otherwise as a result of congressional action. We have recently passed several river and harbor bills. The work ordered by the Congress not, yet completed, will cost about $243,000,000, besides the hundreds of millions to be spent on the Mississippi flood way. Until we can see our way out of this expense no further river and harbor legislation should be passed, as expenditures to put it into effect would be four or five years away. IRRIGATION OF ARID LANDS For many years the Federal Government has been committed to the wise policy of reclamation and irrigation. While it has met with some failures due to unwise selection of projects and lack of thorough soil surveys, so that they could not be placed on a sound business basis, on the whole the service has been of such incalculable benefit in so many States that no one would advocate its abandonment. The program to which we are already committed, providing for the construction of new projects authorized by Congress and the completion of old projects, will tax the resources of the reclamation fund over a period of years. The high cost of improving and equipping farms adds to the difficulty of securing settlers for vacant farms on federal projects. Readjustments authorized by the reclamation relief act of May 25, 1926, have given more favorable terms of repayment to settlers. These new financial arrangements and the general prosperity on irrigation projects have resulted in increased collections by the Department of the Interior of charges due the reclamation fund. Nevertheless, the demand for still smaller yearly payments on some projects continues. These conditions should have consideration in connection with any proposed new projects. COLORADO RIVER For several years the Congress has considered the erection of a dam on the Colorado River for flood-control, irrigation, and domestic water purposes, all of which ma properly be considered as Government functions. There would be an incidental creation of water power which could be used for generating electricity. As private enterprise can very well fill this field, there is no need for the Government to go into it. It is unfortunate that the States interested in this water have been unable to agree among themselves. Nevertheless, any legislation should give every possible safeguard to the present and prospective rights of each of them. The Congress will have before it, the detailed report of a special board appointed to consider the engineering and economic feasibility of this project. From the short summary which I have seen of it, 11 judge they consider the engineering problems can be met at somewhat increased cost over previous estimates. They prefer the Black Canyon site. On the economic features they are not so clear and appear to base their conclusions on many conditions which can not be established with certainty. So far as I can judge, however, from the summary, their conclusions appear sufficiently favorable, so that I feel warranted in recommending a measure which will protect the rights of the States, discharge the necessary Government functions, and leave the electrical field to private. enterprise. MUSCLE SHOALS The development of other methods of producing nitrates will probably render this plant less important for that purpose than formerly. But we have it, and I am told it still provides a practical method of making nitrates for national defense and farm fertilizers. By dividing the property into its two component parts of power and nitrate plants it would be possible to dispose of the power, reserving the right to any concern that wished to make nitrates to use any power that might be needed for that purpose. Such a disposition of the power plant can be made that will return in rental about $2,000,000 per year. If the Congress would giant the Secretary of War authority to lease the nitrate plant on such terms as would insure the largest production of nitrates, the entire property could begin tofunction. Such a division, I am aware, has never seemed to appeal to the Congress. I should also gladly approve a bill granting authority to lease the entire property for the production of nitrates. I wish to avoid building another, (lam at public expense. Future operators should provide For that themselves. But if they were to be required to repay the cost of such dam with tile prevailing commercial rates for interest, this difficulty will be considerably lessened. Nor do I think this property should be made a vehicle for putting the United States Government indiscriminately into the private and retail field of power distribution and nitrate sales. CONSERVATION The practical application of economy to the resources of the country calls for conservation. This does not mean that every resource should not be developed to its full degree, but it means that none of them should be wasted. We have a conservation board working on our oil problem. This is of the utmost importance to the future well-being of our people in this age of oil-burning engines and tile general application of gasoline to transportation. The Secretary of the Interior should not be compelled to lease oil lands of the Osage Indians when the market is depressed and the future supply is in jeopardy. While the area of lands remaining in public ownership is small, compared with the vast area in private ownership, the natural resources of those in public ownership are of immense present and future value. This is particularly trite as to minerals and water power. The proper bureaus have been classifying these resources to the end that they may be conserved. Appropriate estimates are being submitted, in the Budget, for the further prosecution of this important work. IMMIGRATION The policy of restrictive immigration should be maintained. Authority should be granted the Secretary of Labor to give immediate preference to learned professions and experts essential to new industries. The reuniting of families should be expedited. Our immigration and naturalization laws might well be codified. WAGE EARNER In its economic life our country has rejected the long accepted law of a limitation of the wage fund, which led to pessimism and despair because it was the doctrine of perpetual poverty, and has substituted for it the American conception that the only limit to profits and wages is production, which is the doctrine of optimism and hope because it leads to prosperity. Here and there the councils of labor are still darkened by the theory that only by limiting individual production can there be any assurance of permanent employment for increasing numbers, but in general, management and wage earner alike have become emancipated from this doom and have entered a new era in industrial thought which has unleashed the productive capacity of the individual worker with an increasing scale of wages and profits, the end of which is not yet. The application of this theory accounts for our widening distribution of wealth. No discovery ever did more to increase the happiness and prosperity of the people. Since 1922 increasing production has increased wages in general 12.9 per cent, while in certain selected trades they have run as high as 34.9 per cent and 38 per cent. Even in the boot and shoe shops the increase is over 5 per cent and in woolen mills 8.4 per cent, although these industries have not prospered like others. As the rise in living costs in this period is negligible, these figures represent real wage increases. The cause of constructive economy requires that the Government should cooperate with private interests to eliminate the waste arising from industrial accidents. This item, with all that has been done to reduce it, still reaches enormous proportions with great suffering to the workman and great loss to the country. WOMEN AND CHILDREN The Federal Government should continue its solicitous care for the 8,500,000 women wage earners and its efforts in behalf of public health, which is reducing infant mortality and improving the 91odily and mental condition of our citizens. CIVIL SERVICE The most marked change made in the civil service of the Government in the past eight years relates to the increase in salaries. The Board of Actuaries on the retirement act shows by its report, that July 1, 1921 the average salary of the 330,047 employees subject to the act was J1,307, while on June 30, 1927, the average salary of the corresponding, 405,263 was $1,969. This was an increase in six years of nearly 53 per cent. On top of this was the generous increase made at the last session of the Congress generally applicable to Federal employees and another bill increasing the pay in certain branches of the Postal Service beyond the large increase which was made three years ago. This raised the average level from $1,969 to $2,092, making an increase in seven years of over 63 per cent. While it is well known that in the upper brackets the pay in the Federalservice is much smaller than in private employment, in the lower brackets, ranging well up over $3,000, it is much higher. It is higher not only in actual money paid, but in privileges granted, a vacation of 30 actual working days, or 5 weeks each year, with additional time running in some departments as high as 30 days for sick leave and the generous provisions of the retirement act. No other body of public servants ever occupied such a fortunate position. EDUCATION Through the Bureau of Education of the Department of the Interior the Federal Government, acting in an informative and advisory capacity, has rendered valuable service. While this province be7crigspeculiarly to the States, yet the promotion of education and efficiency in educational methods is a general responsibility of the Federal Government. A survey of negro colleges and universities in the United States has just been completed l7y the Bureau of Education through funds provided by the institutions themselves and through private sources. The present status of negro higher education was determined and recommendations were made for its advancement. This was one of the numerous cooperative undertakings of the bureau. Following the invitation of the Association of Land Grant Colleges and Universities, he Bureau of Education now has under way the survey of agricultural colleges, authorized by Congress. The purpose of the survey is to ascertain the accomplishments, the status, and the future objectives of this type of educational training. It is now proposed to undertake a survey of secondary schools, which educators insist is timely and essential. PUBLIC BUILDINGS We, have laid out a public building program for the District of Columbia and the country at large runni110' into hundreds of millions of dollars. Three important structures and one annex are already, under way and one addition has been completed in the City of Washington. in the country sites have been acquired, many buildings are in course of construction, and some are already completed. Plans for all this work are being prepared in order that it may be carried forward as rapidly as possible. This is the greatest building program ever assumed by this Nation. It contemplates structures of utility and of beauty. When it reaches completion the people will be well served and the Federal city will be supplied with the most beautiful and stately public buildings which adorn any capital in the world. THE AMERICAN INDIAN The administration of Indian affairs has been receiving intensive study for several years. The Department of the Interior has been able to provide better supervision of health, education, and industrial advancement of this native race through additional funds provided by the Congress. The present cooperative arrangement existing between the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Public Health Service should be extended. The Government's responsibility to the American Indian has been acknowledged by annual increases in appropria. ltions to fulfill its obligations to them and to hasten the time when Federal supervision of their affairs may be properly and safely terminated. The movement in Congress and in some of the State legislatures for extending responsibility in Indian affairs to States should be encouraged. A complete participation by the Indian in our economic life is the end to be desired. THE NEGRO For 65 years now our negro Population has been under the peculiar care and solicitude of the National Government. The progress which they have made in education and the professions, in wealth and in the arts of civilization, affords one of the most remarkable incidents in this period of world history. They have demonstrated their ability to partake of the advantages of our institutions and to benefit by a free and more and more independent existence. Whatever doubt there may have been of their capacity to assume, the status granted to them by the Constitution of this Union is being rapidly dissipated. Their cooperation in the life of the Nation is constantly enlarging. Exploiting the Negro problem for political ends is being abandoned and their protection is being increased by those States in which their percentage of population is largest. Every encouragement should be extended for t le development of the race. The colored people have been the victims of the crime of lynching, which has in late years somewhat decreased. Some parts of the South already have wholesome laws for its restraint and punishment. Their example might well be followed by other States, and by such immediate remedial legislation as the Federal Government can extend under the Constitution. PHILIPPINE ISLANDS Under the guidance of Governor General Stimson the economic and political conditions of the Philippine Islands have been raised to a standard never before surpassed. The cooperation between his administration and the people of the islands is complete and harmonious. It would be an advantage if relief from double taxation could be granted by the Congress to our citizens doing business in the islands. PORTO RICO Due to the terrific storm that swept Porto Rico last September, the people of that island suffered large losses. The Red Cross and the War Department went to their rescue. The property loss is being, retrieved. Sugar, tobacco, citrus fruit, and coffee, all suffered damage. The first three can largely look after themselves. The coffee growers will need some assistance, which should be *extended strictly on a business basis, and only after most careful investigation. The people of Porto Rico are not asking for charity. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE It is desirable that all the legal activities of the Government be consolidated under the supervision of the Attorney General. In1870 it was felt necessary to create the Department of Justice for this purpose. During the intervening period, either through legislation creating law officers or departmental action, additional legal positions not under the supervision of the Attorney General have been provided until there are now over 900. Such a condition is as harmful to the interest of the Government now as it was in 1870, and should be corrected by appropriate legislation. SPECIAL GOVERNMENT COUNSEL In order to prosecute the oil cases, I suggested and the Congress enacted a law providing for the appointment of two special counsel. They have pursued their work with signal ability, recovering all the leased lands besides nearly $30,000,000 in money, and nearly $17,000,000 in other property. They find themselves hampered by a statute, which the Attorney General construes as applying to them, prohibiting their appearing for private clients before any department. For this reason, one has been compelled to resign. No good result is secured by the application of this rule to these counsel, and as Mr. Roberts has consented to take reappointment if the rule is abrogated I recommend the passage of an amendment to the law creating their office exempting them from the general rule against taking other cases involving the Government. PROHIBITION The country has duly adopted the eighteenth amendment. Those who object to it have the right to advocate its modification or repeal. Meantime) it is binding upon the National and State Governments and all our inhabitants. The Federal enforcement bureau is making every effort to prevent violations, especially through smuggling, manufacture, and transportation, and to prosecute generally all violations for which it can secure evidence. It is bound to continue this policy. Under the terms of the Constitution, however, the obligation is equally on the States to exercise the power which they have through the executive, legislative. judicial, and police branches of their governments in behalf of enforcement. The Federal Government is doing and will continue to do all it can in this direction and is entitled to7the active cooperation of the States. CONCLUSION The country is in the midst of an era of prosperity more extensive and of peace more permanent than it has ever before experienced. But, having reached this position, we should not fail to comprehend that it can easily be lost. It needs more effort for its support than the less exalted places of the world. We shall not be permitted to take our case, but shall continue to be required to spend our days in unremitting toil. The actions of the Government must command the confidence of the country. Without this, our prosperity would be lost. We must extend to other countries the largest measure of generosity, moderation, and patience. In addition to dealing justly, we can well afford to walk humbly. The end of government is to keep open the opportunity for a moreabundant life. Peace and prosperity are not finalities; they are only methods. It is too easy under their influence for a nation to become selfish and degenerate. This test has come to the United States. Our country has been provided with the resources with which it can enlarge its intellectual, moral, and spiritual life. The issue is in the hands of the people. Our faith in man and God is the justification for the belief in our continuing success.
<title="Inaugural Address">
<date="March 4, 1929">
My Countrymen:
This occasion is not alone the administration of the most sacred oath which can be assumed by an American citizen. It is a dedication and consecration under God to the highest office in service of our people. I assume this trust in the humility of knowledge that only through the guidance of Almighty Providence can I hope to discharge its ever-increasing burdens.
It is in keeping with tradition throughout our history that I should express simply and directly the opinions which I hold concerning some of the matters of present importance.
<span style="font-size: 16px;">OUR PROGRESS</span>
If we survey the situation of our Nation both at home and abroad, we find many satisfactions; we find some causes for concern. We have emerged from the losses of the Great War and the reconstruction following it within creased virility and strength. From this strength we have contributed to the recovery and progress of the world. What America has done has given renewed hope and courage to all who have faith in government by the people. In the large view, we have reached a higher degree of comfort and security than ever existed before in the history of the world. Through liberation from widespread poverty we have reached a higher degree of individual freedom than ever before. The devotion to and concern for our institutions are deep and sincere. We are steadily building a new race--a new civilization great in its own attainments. The influence and high purposes of our Nation are respected among the peoples of the world. We aspire to distinction in the world, but to a distinction based upon confidence in our sense of justice as well as our accomplishments within our own borders and in our own lives. For wise guidance in this great period of recovery the Nation is deeply indebted to Calvin Coolidge.
But all this majestic advance should not obscure the constant dangers from which self-government must be safeguarded. The strong man must at all times be alert to the attack of insidious disease.
The most malign of all these dangers today is disregard and disobedience of law. Crime is increasing. Confidence in rigid and speedy justice is decreasing. I am not prepared to believe that this indicates any decay in the moral fiber of the American people. I am not prepared to believe that it indicates an impotence of the Federal Government to enforce its laws.
It is only in part due to the additional burdens imposed upon our judicial system by the eighteenth amendment. The problem is much wider than that. Many influences had increasingly complicated and weakened our law enforcement organization long before the adoption of the eighteenth amendment.
To reestablish the vigor and effectiveness of law enforcement we must critically consider the entire Federal machinery of justice, the redistribution of its functions, the simplification of its procedure, the provision of additional special tribunals, the better selection of juries, and the more effective organization of our agencies of investigation and prosecution that justice may be sure and that it may be swift. While the authority of the Federal Government extends to but part of our vast system of national, State, and local justice, yet the standards which the Federal Government establishes have the most profound influence upon the whole structure.
We are fortunate in the ability and integrity of our Federal judges and attorneys. But the system which these officers are called upon to administer is in many respects ill adapted to present-day conditions. Its intricate and involved rules of procedure have become the refuge of both big and little criminals. There is a belief abroad that by invoking technicalities, subterfuge, and delay, the ends of justice may be thwarted by those who can pay the cost.
Reform, reorganization, and strengthening of our whole judicial and enforcement system, both in civil and criminal sides, have been advocated for years by statesmen, judges, and bar associations. First steps toward that end should not longer be delayed. Rigid and expeditious justice is the first safeguard of freedom, the basis of all ordered liberty, the vital force of progress. It must not come to be in our Republic that it can be defeated by the indifference of the citizen, by exploitation of the delays and entanglements of the law, or by combinations of criminals. Justice must not fail because the agencies of enforcement are either delinquent or inefficiently organized. To consider these evils, to find their remedy, is the most sore necessity of our times.
Of the undoubted abuses which have grown up under the eighteenth amendment,part are due to the causes I have just mentioned; but part are due to the failure of some States to accept their share of responsibility for concurrent enforcement and to the failure of many State and local officials to accept the obligation under their oath of office zealously to enforce the laws. With the failures from these many causes has come a dangerous expansion in the criminal elements who have found enlarged opportunities in dealing in illegal liquor.
But a large responsibility rests directly upon our citizens. There would be little traffic in illegal liquor if only criminals patronized it. We must awake to the fact that this patronage from large numbers of law-abiding citizens is supplying the rewards and stimulating crime.
I have been selected by you to execute and enforce the laws of the country. I propose to do so to the extent of my own abilities, but the measure of success that the Government shall attain will depend upon the moral support which you, as citizens, extend. The duty of citizens to support the laws of the land is coequal with the duty of their Government to enforce the laws which exist. No greater national service can be given by men and women of good will--who, I know, are not unmindful of the responsibilities of citizenship--than that they should, by their example, assist in stamping out crime and outlawry by refusing participation in and condemning all transactions with illegal liquor. Our whole system of self-government will crumble either if officials elect what laws they will enforce or citizen select what laws they will support. The worst evil of disregard for some law is that it destroys respect for all law. For our citizens to patronize the violation of a particular law on the ground that they are opposed to it is destructive of the very basis of all that protection of life, of homes and property which they rightly claim under other laws. If citizens do not like a law, their duty as honest men and women is to discourage its violation; their right is openly to work for its repeal.
To those of criminal mind there can be no appeal but vigorous enforcement of the law. Fortunately they are but a small percentage of our people. Their activities must be stopped.
I propose to appoint a national commission for a searching investigation of the whole structure of our Federal system of jurisprudence, to include the method of enforcement of the eighteenth amendment and the causes of abuse under it. Its purpose will be to make such recommendations for reorganization of the administration of Federal laws and court procedure as may be found desirable. In the meantime it is essential that a large part of the enforcement activities be transferred from the Treasury Department to the Department of Justice as a beginning of more effective organization.
The election has again confirmed the determination of the American people that regulation of private enterprise and not Government ownership or operation is the course rightly to be pursued in our relation to business. In recent years we have established a differentiation in the whole method of business regulation between the industries which produce and distribute commodities on the one hand and public utilities on the other. In the former, our laws insist upon effective competition; in the latter, because we substantially confer a monopoly by limiting competition, we must regulate their services and rates. The rigid enforcement of the laws applicable to both groups is the very base of equal opportunity and freedom from domination for all our people, and it is just as essential for the stability and prosperity of business itself as for the protection of the public at large. Such regulation should be extended by the Federal Government within the limitations of the Constitution and only when the individual States are without power to protect their citizens through their own authority. On the other hand, we should be fearless when the authority rests only in the Federal Government.
The larger purpose of our economic thought should be to establish more firmly stability and security of business and employment and thereby remove poverty still further from our borders. Our people have in recent years developed a new-found capacity for cooperation among themselves to effect high purposes in public welfare. It is an advance toward the highest conception of self- government. Self-government does not and should not imply the use of political agencies alone. Progress is born of cooperation in the community -- not from governmental restraints. The Government should assist and encourage these movements of collective self- help by itself cooperating with them. Business has by cooperation made great progress in the advancement of service, in stability, in regularity of employment and in the correction of its own abuses. Such progress, however, can continue only so long as business manifests its respect for law.
There is an equally important field of cooperation by the Federal Government with the multitude of agencies, State, municipal and private, in the systematic development of those processes which directly affect public health, recreation,education, and the home. We have need further to perfect the means by which Government can be adapted to human service.
Although education is primarily a responsibility of the States and local communities, and rightly so, yet the Nation as a whole is vitally concerned in its development everywhere to the highest standards and to complete universality. Self-government can succeed only through an instructed electorate. Our objective is not simply to overcome illiteracy. The Nation has marched far beyond that. The more complex the problems of the Nation become, the greater is the need for more and more advanced instruction. Moreover, as our numbers increase and as our life expands with science and invention,we must discover more and more leaders for every walk of life. We can not hope to succeed in directing this increasingly complex civilization unless we can draw all the talent of leadership from the whole people. One civilization after another has been wrecked upon the attempt to secure sufficient leadership from a single group or class. If we would prevent the growth of class distinctions and would constantly refresh our leadership with the ideals of our people, we must draw constantly from the general mass. The full opportunity for every boy and girl to rise through the selective processes of education can alone secure to us this leadership.
In public health the discoveries of science have opened a new era. Many sections of our country and many groups of our citizens suffer from diseases the eradication of which are mere matters of administration and moderate expenditure. Public health service should be as fully organized and as universally incorporated into our governmental system as is public education. The returns are a thousand fold in economic benefits, and infinitely more in reduction of suffering and promotion of human happiness.
The United States fully accepts the profound truth that our own progress, prosperity, and peace are interlocked with the progress, prosperity, and peace of all humanity. The whole world is at peace. The dangers to a continuation of this peace today are largely the fear and suspicion which still haunt the world. No suspicion or fear can be rightly directed toward our country.
Those who have a true understanding of America know that we have no desire for territorial expansion, for economic or other domination of other peoples. Such purposes are repugnant to our ideals of human freedom. Our form of government is ill adapted to the responsibilities which inevitably follow permanent limitation of the independence of other peoples. Superficial observers seem to find no destiny for our abounding increase in population,in wealth and power except that of imperialism. They fail to see that the American people are engrossed in the building for themselves of a new economic system, a new social system, a new political system all of which are characterized by aspirations of freedom of opportunity and thereby are the negation of imperialism. They fail to realize that because of our abounding prosperity our youth are pressing more and more into our institutions of learning;that our people are seeking a larger vision through art, literature, science, and travel; that they are moving toward stronger moral and spiritual life--that from these things our sympathies are broadening beyond the bounds of our Nation and race toward their true expression in a real brotherhood of man. They fail to see that the idealism of America will lead it to no narrow or selfish channel, but inspire it to do its full share as a nation toward the advancement of civilization. It will do that not by mere declaration but by taking a practical part in supporting all useful international undertakings. We not only desire peace with the world, but to see peace maintained throughout the world. We wish to advance the reign of justice and reason toward the extinction of force.
The recent treaty for the renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy sets an advanced standard in our conception of the relations of nations. Its acceptance should pave the way to greater limitation of armament,the offer of which we sincerely extend to the world. But its full realization also implies a greater and greater perfection in the instrumentalities for pacific settlement of controversies between nations. In the creation and use of these instrumentalities we should support every sound method of conciliation, arbitration, and judicial settlement. American statesmen were among the first to propose and they have constantly urged upon the world, the establishment of a tribunal for the settlement of controversies of a justiciable character. The Permanent Court of International Justice in its major purpose is thus peculiarly identified with American ideals and with American statesmanship. No more potent instrumentality for this purpose has ever been conceived and no other is practicable of establishment. The reservations placed upon our adherence should not be misinterpreted. The United States seeks by these reservations no special privilege or advantage but only to clarify our relation to advisory opinions and other matters which are subsidiary to the major purpose of the court. The way should, and I believe will, be found by which we may take our proper place in a movement so fundamental to the progress of peace.
Our people have determined that we should make no political engagements such as membership in the League of Nations, which may commit us in advance as a nation to become involved in the settlements of controversies between other countries. They adhere to the belief that the independence of America from such obligations increases its ability and availability for service in all fields of human progress.
I have lately returned from a journey among our sister Republics of the Western Hemisphere. I have received unbounded hospitality and courtesy as their expression of friendliness to our country. We are held by particular bonds of sympathy and common interest with them. They are each of them building a racial character and a culture which is an impressive contribution to human progress. We wish only for the maintenance of their independence, the growth of their stability, and their prosperity. While we have had wars in the Western Hemisphere, yet on the whole the record is in encouraging contrast with that of other parts of the world. Fortunately the New World is largely free from the inheritances of fear and distrust which have so troubled the Old World. We should keep it so.
It is impossible, my countrymen, to speak of peace without profound emotion. In thousands of homes in America, in millions of homes around the world, there are vacant chairs. It would be a shameful confession of our unworthiness if it should develop that we have abandoned the hope for which all these men died. Surely civilization is old enough, surely mankind is mature enough so that we ought in our own lifetime to find a way to permanent peace. Abroad, to west and east, are nations whose sons mingled their blood with the blood of our sons on the battlefields. Most of these nations have contributed to our race, to our culture, our knowledge, and our progress. From one of them we derive our very language and from many of them much of the genius of our institutions. Their desire for peace is as deep and sincere as our own.
Peace can be contributed to by respect for our ability in defense. Peace can be promoted by the limitation of arms and by the creation of the instrumentalities for peaceful settlement of controversies. But it will become a reality only through self- restraint and active effort in friendliness and helpfulness. I covet for this administration a record of having further contributed to advance the cause of peace.
In our form of democracy the expression of the popular will can be effected only through the instrumentality of political parties. We maintain party government not to promote intolerant partisanship but because opportunity must be given for expression of the popular will, and organization provided for the execution of its mandates and for accountability of government to the people. It follows that the government both in the executive and the legislative branches must carry out in good faith the platforms upon which the party was entrusted with power. But the government is that of the whole people; the party is the instrument through which policies are determined and men chosen to bring them into being. The animosities of elections should have no place in our Government, for government must concern itself alone with the common weal.
Action upon some of the proposals upon which the Republican Party was returned to power, particularly further agricultural relief and limited changes in the tariff, cannot in justice to our farmers, our labor, and our manufacturers be postponed. I shall therefore request a special session of Congress for the consideration of these two questions. I shall deal with each of them upon the assembly of the Congress.
It appears to me that the more important further mandates from the recent election were the maintenance of the integrity of the Constitution; the vigorous enforcement of the laws; the continuance of economy in public expenditure; the continued regulation of business to prevent domination in the community; the denial of ownership or operation of business by the Government in competition with its citizens; the avoidance of policies which would involve us in the controversies of foreign nations; the more effective reorganization of the departments of the Federal Government; the expansion of public works; and the promotion of welfare activities affecting education and the home.
These were the more tangible determinations of the election, but beyond them was the confidence and belief of the people that we would not neglect the support of the embedded ideals and aspirations of America. These ideals and aspirations are the touchstones upon which the day-to-day administration and legislative acts of government must be tested. More than this, the Government must, so far as lies within its proper powers, give leadership to the realization of these ideals and to the fruition of these aspirations. No one can adequately reduce these things of the spirit to phrases or to a catalogue of definitions. We do know what the attainments of these ideals should be: The preservation of self-government and its full foundations in local government; the perfection of justice whether in economic or in social fields; the maintenance of ordered liberty; the denial of domination by any group or class; the building up and preservation of equality of opportunity; the stimulation of initiative and individuality; absolute integrity in public affairs; the choice of officials for fitness to office;the direction of economic progress toward prosperity for the further lessening of poverty; the freedom of public opinion; the sustaining of education and of the advancement of knowledge; the growth of religious spirit and the tolerance of all faiths; the strengthening of the home; the advancement of peace.
There is no short road to the realization of these aspirations. Ours is a progressive people, but with a determination that progress must be based upon the foundation of experience. Ill-considered remedies for our faults bring only penalties after them. But if we hold the faith of the men in our mighty past who created these ideals, we shall leave them heightened and strengthened for our children.
This is not the time and place for extended discussion. The questions before our country are problems of progress to higher standards; they are not the problems of degeneration. They demand thought and they serve to quicken the conscience and enlist our sense of responsibility for their settlement. And that responsibility rests upon you, my countrymen, as much as upon those of us who have been selected for office.
Ours is a land rich in resources; stimulating in its glorious beauty;filled with millions of happy homes; blessed with comfort and opportunity. In no nation are the institutions of progress more advanced. In no nation are the fruits of accomplishment more secure. In no nation is the government more worthy of respect. No country is more loved by its people. I have an abiding faith in their capacity, integrity, and high purpose. I have no fears for the future of our country. It is bright with hope.
In the presence of my countrymen, mindful of the solemnity of this occasion, knowing what the task means and the responsibility which it involves, I beg your tolerance, your aid, and your cooperation. I ask the help of Almighty God in this service to my country to which you have called me.
<title="Message Regarding Unemployment Relief">
<date="October 18, 1931">
My fellow citizens:
This broadcast tonight marks the beginning of the mobilization of the whole Nation for a great undertaking to provide security for those of our citizens and their families who, through no fault of their own, face unemployment and privation during the coming winter. Its success depends upon the sympathetic and generous action of every man and woman in our country. No one with a spark of human sympathy can contemplate unmoved the possibilities of suffering that can crush many of our unfortunate fellow Americans if we shall fail them.
The depression has been deepened by events from abroad which are beyond the control either of our citizens or our Government. Although it is but a passing incident in our national life, we must meet the consequences in unemployment which arise from it with that completeness of effort and that courage and spirit for which citizenship in this Nation always has and always must stand.
As an important part of our plans for national unity of action in this emergency I have created a great national organization under the leadership of Mr. Walter Gifford to cooperate with the Governors, the State and the local agencies, and with the many national organizations of business, of labor, and of welfare, with the churches and our fraternal and patriotic societies so that the countless streams of human helpfulness which have been the mainstay of our country in all emergencies may be directed wisely and effectively.
Over a thousand towns and cities have well-organized and experienced unemployment relief committees, community chests, or other agencies for the efficient administration of this relief. With this occasion begins the nationwide movement to aid each of these volunteer organizations in securing the funds to meet their task over the forthcoming winter.
This organized effort is our opportunity to express our sympathy, to lighten the burdens of the heavy laden, and to cast sunshine into the habitation of despair.
The amounts sought by the committee in your town or city are in part to provide work, for it is through work that we wish to give help in keeping with the dignity of American manhood and womanhood. But much of their funds are necessary to provide direct relief to those families where circumstances and ill fortune can only be met by direct assistance. Included in many community appeals are the sums necessary to the vital measures of health and character building, the maintenance of which were never more necessary than in these times.
The Federal Government is taking its part in aid to unemployment through the advancement and enlargement of public works in all parts of the Nation. Through these works, it is today providing a livelihood for nearly 700,000 families. All immigration has been stopped in order that our burdens should not be increased by unemployed immigrants from abroad. Measures have been adopted which will assure normal credits and thus stimulate employment in industry, in commerce, and in agriculture. The employers in national industries have spread work amongst their employees so that the maximum number may participate in the wages which are available. Our States, our counties, our municipalities, through the expansion of their public works and through tax-supported relief activities, are doing their full part. Yet, beyond all this, there is a margin of relief which must be provided by voluntary action. Through these agencies Americans must meet the demands of national conscience that there be no hunger or cold amongst our people.
Similar organization and generous support were provided during the past winter in localities where it was necessary. Under the leadership of Colonel Woods, we succeeded in the task of that time. We demonstrated that it could be done. But in many localities our need will be greater this winter than a year ago. While many are affected by the depression, the number who are threatened with privation is a minor percentage of our whole people.
This task is not beyond the ability of these thousands of community organizations to solve. Each local organization from its experience last winter and summer has formulated careful plans and made estimates completely to meet the need of that community. I am confident that the generosity of each community will fully support these estimates. The sum of these community efforts will meet the needs of the Nation as a whole.
To solve this problem in this way accords with the fundamental sense of responsibility, neighbor to neighbor, community to community, upon which our Nation is founded.
The possible misery of helpless people gives me more concern than any other trouble that this depression has brought upon us. It is with these convictions in mind that I have the responsibility of opening this nationwide appeal to citizens in each community that they provide the funds with which, community by community, this task shall be met.
The maintenance of a spirit of mutual self-help through voluntary giving, through the responsibility of local government, is of infinite importance to the future of America. Everyone who aids to the full extent of his ability is giving support to the very foundations of our democracy. Everyone who from a sympathetic heart gives to these services is giving hope and courage to some deserving family. Everyone who aids in this service will have lighted a beacon of help on the stormy coast of human adversity.
The success and the character of nations are to be judged by the ideals and the spirit of its people. Time and again the American people have demonstrated a spiritual quality, a capacity for unity of action, of generosity, a certainty of results in time of emergency that have made them great in the annals of the history of all nations. This is the time and this is the occasion when we must arouse that idealism, that spirit, that determination, that unity of action, from which there can be no failure in this primary obligation of every man to his neighbor and of a nation to its citizens, that none who deserve shall suffer.
I would that I possessed the art of words to fix the real issue with which the troubled world is faced in the mind and heart of every American man and woman. Our country and the world are today involved in more than a financial crisis. We are faced with the primary question of human relations, which reaches to the very depths of organized society and to the very depths of human conscience. This civilization and this great complex, which we call American life, is builded and can alone survive upon the translation into individual action of that fundamental philosophy announced by the Savior 19 centuries ago. Part of our national suffering today is from failure to observe these primary yet inexorable laws of human relationship. Modern society cannot survive with the defense of Cain, "Am I my brother's keeper ?"
No governmental action, no economic doctrine, no economic plan or project can replace that God-imposed responsibility of the individual man and woman to their neighbors. That is a vital part of the very soul of a people. If we shall gain in this spirit from this painful time, we shall have created a greater and more glorious America. The trial of it is here now. It is a trial of the heart and the conscience, of individual men and women.
In a little over a month we shall celebrate our time-honored festival of Thanksgiving. I appeal to the American people to make November 26 next the outstanding Thanksgiving Day in the history of the United States; that we may say on that day that America has again demonstrated her ideals; that we have each of us contributed our full part; that we in each of our communities have given full assurance against hunger and cold amongst our people; that upon this Thanksgiving Day we have removed the fear of the forthcoming winter from the hearts of all who are suffering and in distress--that we are our brother's keeper.
I am on my way to participate in the commemoration of the victory of Yorktown. It is a name which brings a glow of pride to every American. It recalls the final victory of our people after years of sacrifice and privation. This Nation passed through Valley Forge and came to Yorktown.
<title="Statement Regarding Business and Unemployment">
<date="March 7, 1930">
"The Departments of Commerce and Labor are engaged in the usual monthly survey of business and unemployment and especially of the results obtained from the measures which have been in progress since the last of November, to reduce unemployment and the hardship following the dislocation from the stock exchange crash. The survey is not as yet complete. There are, however, certain conclusions that are evident.
"1. Unemployment amounting to distress is in the main concentrated in 12 States. The authorities in the remaining 36 States indicate only normal seasonal unemployment or that the minor abnormal unemployment is being rapidly absorbed.
"2. The low point of business and employment was the latter part of December and early January. Since that time employment has been slowly increasing and the situation is much better today than at that time.
"3. Nationwide response to the request for increased construction and improvement work by public authorities, railroads, utilities, and industries is having a most material effect. Construction contracts in these categories in January and February were from 40 percent to 45 percent higher than ever known in those months. The total construction work for 1930 seems assured to be larger than even 1929.
"4. The undertakings to maintain wages have been held.
"5. The amount of unemployment is, in proportion to the number of workers, considerably less than one-half (probably only one-third) of that which resulted from the crashes of 1907-08, and 1920-22 at this period of the situation.
"6. Measures taken to ameliorate interest rates have resulted in continuous decrease since December, and money is available at lower rates for business and commercial purposes. One result is an increasing volume of bond issues have been placed for public improvements. Available money for mortgage purposes of home building and agriculture has lagged behind other forms of credit. But a decrease in demands of policyholders for loans on the insurance companies and the action recently taken by the Federal Reserve System should result in increased supplies of credit, especially for residential building, which in turn has lagged behind other construction.
"7. All the evidences indicate that the worst effects of the crash upon employment will have been passed during the next 60 days with the amelioration of seasonal unemployment, the gaining strength of other forces, and the continued cooperation of the many agencies actively cooperating with the Government to restore business and to relieve distress."
<title="Inaugural Address">
<date="March 4, 1905">
My fellow-citizens, no people on earth have more cause to be thankful than ours, and this is said reverently, in no spirit of boastfulness in our own strength, but with gratitude to the Giver of Good who has blessed us with the conditions which have enabled us to achieve so large a measure of well-being and of happiness. To us as a people it has been granted to lay the foundations of our national life in a new continent. We are the heirs of the ages, and yet we have had to pay few of the penalties which in old countries are exacted by the dead hand of a bygone civilization. We have not been obliged to fight for our existence against any alien race; and yet our life has called for the vigor and effort without which the manlier and hardier virtues wither away. Under such conditions it would be our own fault if we failed; and the success which we have had in the past, the success which we confidently believe the future will bring, should cause in us no feeling of vainglory, but rather a deep and abiding realization of all which life has offered us; a full acknowledgment of the responsibility which is ours; and a fixed determination to show that under a free government a mighty people can thrive best, alike as regards the things of the body and the things of the soul.
Much has been given us, and much will rightfully be expected from us. We have duties to others and duties to ourselves; and we can shirk neither. We have become a great nation, forced by the fact of its greatness into relations with the other nations of the earth, and we must behave as beseems a people with such responsibilities. Toward all other nations, large and small, our attitude must be one of cordial and sincere friendship. We must show not only in our words, but in our deeds, that we are earnestly desirous of securing their good will by acting toward them in a spirit of just and generous recognition of all their rights. But justice and generosity in a nation, as in an individual, count most when shown not by the weak but by the strong. While ever careful to refrain from wrongdoing others, we must be no less insistent that we are not wronged ourselves. We wish peace, but we wish the peace of justice, the peace of righteousness. We wish it because we think it is right and not because we are afraid. No weak nation that acts manfully and justly should ever have cause to fear us, and no strong power should ever be able to single us out as a subject for insolent aggression.
Our relations with the other powers of the world are important; but still more important are our relations among ourselves. Such growth in wealth, in population, and in power as this nation has seen during the century and a quarter of its national life is inevitably accompanied by a like growth in the problems which are ever before every nation that rises to greatness. Power invariably means both responsibility and danger. Our forefathers faced certain perils which we have outgrown. We now face other perils, the very existence of which it was impossible that they should foresee. Modern life is both complex and intense, and the tremendous changes wrought by the extraordinary industrial development of the last half century are felt in every fiber of our social and political being. Never before have men tried so vast and formidable an experiment as that of administering the affairs of a continent under the forms of a Democratic republic. The conditions which have told for our marvelous material well-being, which have developed to a very high degree our energy, self-reliance, and individual initiative, have also brought the care and anxiety inseparable from the accumulation of great wealth in industrial centers. Upon the success of our experiment much depends, not only as regards our own welfare, but as regards the welfare of mankind. If we fail, the cause of free self-government throughout the world will rock to its foundations, and therefore our responsibility is heavy, to ourselves, to the world as it is to-day, and to the generations yet unborn. There is no good reason why we should fear the future, but there is every reason why we should face it seriously, neither hiding from ourselves the gravity of the problems before us nor fearing to approach these problems with the unbending, unflinching purpose to solve them aright.
Yet, after all, though the problems are new, though the tasks set before us differ from the tasks set before our fathers who founded and preserved this Republic, the spirit in which these tasks must be undertaken and these problems faced, if our duty is to be well done, remains essentially unchanged. We know that self-government is difficult. We know that no people needs such high traits of character as that people which seeks to govern its affairs aright through the freely expressed will of the freemen who compose it. But we have faith that we shall not prove false to the memories of the men of the mighty past. They did their work, they left us the splendid heritage we now enjoy. We in our turn have an assured confidence that we shall be able to leave this heritage unwasted and enlarged to our children and our children's children. To do so we must show, not merely in great crises, but in the everyday affairs of life, the qualities of practical intelligence, of courage, of hardihood, and endurance, and above all the power of devotion to a lofty ideal, which made great the men who founded this Republic in the days of Washington, which made great the men who preserved this Republic in the days of Abraham Lincoln.
<title="Message on Federal Employee Political Involvement">
<date="July 14, 1886">
To the Heads of Departments in the Service of the General Government:
I deem this a proper time to especially warn all subordinates in the several Departments and all officeholders under the General Government against the use of their official positions in attempts to control political movements in their localities.
Officeholders are the agents of the people, not their masters. Not only is their time and labor due to the Government, but they should scrupulously avoid in their political action, as well as in the discharge of their official duty, offending by a display of obtrusive partisanship their neighbors who have relations with them as public officials.
They should also constantly remember that their party friends from whom they have received preferment have not invested them with the power of arbitrarily managing their political affairs. They have no right as officeholders to dictate the political action of their party associates or to throttle freedom of action within party lines by methods and practices which pervert every useful and justifiable purpose of party organization.
The influence of Federal officeholders should not be felt in the manipulation of political primary meetings and nominating conventions. The use by these officials of their positions to compass their selection as delegates to political conventions is indecent and unfair; and proper regard for the proprieties and requirements of official place will also prevent their assuming the active conduct of political campaigns.
Individual interest and activity in political affairs are by no means condemned. Officeholders are neither disfranchised nor forbidden the exercise of political privileges, but their privileges are not enlarged nor is their duty to party increased to pernicious activity by office holding.
A just discrimination in this regard between the things a citizen may properly do and the purposes for which a public office should not be used is easy in the light of a correct appreciation of the relation between the people and those intrusted with official place and a consideration of the necessity under our form of government of political action free from official coercion.
You are requested to communicate the substance of these views to those for whose guidance they are intended.
<title="Message Regarding Venezuelan-British Dispute">
<date="December 17, 1895">
To the Congress:
In my annual message addressed to the Congress on the 3d instant I called attention to the pending boundary controversy between Great Britain and the Republic of Venezuela and recited the substance of a representation made by this Government to Her Britannic Majesty' s Government suggesting reasons why such dispute should be submitted to arbitration for settlement and inquiring whether it would be so submitted.
The answer of the British Government, which was then awaited, has since been received, and, together with the dispatch to which it is a reply, is hereto appended.
Such reply is embodied in two communications addressed by the British prime minister to Sir Julian Pauncefote, the British ambassador at this capital. It will be seen that one of these communications is devoted exclusively to observations upon the Monroe doctrine, and claims that in the present instance a new and strange extension and development of this doctrine is insisted on by the United States; that the reasons justifying an appeal to the doctrine enunciated by President Monroe are generally inapplicable "to the state of things in which we live at the present day," and especially inapplicable to a controversy involving the boundary line between Great Britain and Venezuela.
Without attempting extended argument in reply to these positions, it may not be amiss to suggest that the doctrine upon which we stand is strong and sound, because its enforcement is important to our peace and safety as a nation and is essential to the integrity of our free institutions and the tranquil maintenance of our distinctive form of government. It was intended to apply to every stage of our national life and can not become obsolete while our Republic endures. If the balance of power is justly a cause for jealous anxiety among the Governments of the Old World and a subject for our absolute noninterference, none the less is an observance of the Monroe doctrine of vital concern to our people and their Government.
Assuming, therefore, that we may properly insist upon this doctrine without regard to "the state of things in which we live" or any changed conditions here or elsewhere, it is not apparent why its application may not be invoked in the present controversy.
If a European power by an extension of its boundaries takes possession of the territory of one of our neighboring Republics against its will and in derogation of its rights, it is difficult to see why to that extent such European power does not thereby attempt to extend its system of government to that portion of this continent which is thus taken. This is the precise action which President Monroe declared to be "dangerous to our peace and safety," and it can make no difference whether the European system is extended by an advance of frontier or otherwise.
It is also suggested in the British reply that we should not seek to apply the Monroe doctrine to the pending dispute because it does not embody any principle of international law which "is rounded on the general consent of nations," and that "no statesman, however eminent, and no nation, however powerful, are competent to insert into the code of international law a novel principle which was never recognized before and which has not since been accepted by the government of any other country."
Practically the principle for which we contend has peculiar, if not exclusive, relation to the United States. It may not have been admitted in so many words to the code of international law, but since in international councils every nation is entitled to the rights belonging to it, if the enforcement of the Monroe doctrine is something we may justly claim it has its place in the code of international law as certainly and as securely as if it were specifically mentioned; and when the United States is a suitor before the high tribunal that administers international law the question to be determined is whether or not we present claims which the justice of that code of law can find to be right and valid.
The Monroe doctrine finds its recognition in those principles of international law which are based upon the theory that every nation shall have its rights protected and its just claims enforced.
Of course this Government is entirely confident that under the sanction of this doctrine we have clear rights and undoubted claims. Nor is this ignored in the British reply. The prime minister, while not admitting that the Monroe doctrine is applicable to present conditions, states:
In declaring that the United States would resist any such enterprise if it was contemplated, President Monroe adopted a policy which received the entire sympathy of the English Government of that date.
He further declares:
Though the language of President Monroe is directed to the attainment of objects which most Englishmen would agree to be salutary, it is impossible to admit that they have been inscribed By any adequate authority in the code of international law.
Again he says:
They (Her Majesty's Government) fully concur with the view which president Monroe apparently entertained, that any disturbance of the existing territorial distribution in that hemisphere by any fresh acquisitions on the part of any European State would be a highly inexpedient change.
In the belief that the doctrine for which we contend was clear and definite, that it was rounded upon substantial considerations and involved our safety and welfare, that it was fully applicable to our present conditions and to the state of the world's progress, and that it was directly related to the pending controversy, and without any conviction as to the final merits of the dispute, but anxious to learn in a satisfactory and conclusive manner whether Great Britain sought under a claim of boundary to extend her possessions on this continent without right, or whether she merely sought possession of territory fairly included within her lines of ownership, this Government proposed to the Government of Great Britain a resort to arbitration as the proper means of settling the question, to the end that a vexatious boundary dispute between the two contestants might be determined and our exact standing and relation in respect to the controversy might be made clear.
It will be seen from the correspondence herewith submitted that this proposition has been declined by the British Government upon grounds which in the circumstances seem to me to be far from satisfactory. It is deeply disappointing that such an appeal, actuated by the most friendly feelings toward both nations directly concerned, addressed to the sense of justice and to the magnanimity of one of the great powers of the world, and touching its relations to one comparatively weak and small, should have produced no better results.
The course to be pursued by this Government in view of the present condition does not appear to admit of serious doubt. Having labored faithfully for many years to induce Great Britain to submit this dispute to impartial arbitration, and having been now finally apprised of her refusal to do so, nothing remains but to accept the situation, to recognize its plain requirements, and deal with it accordingly. Great Britain's present proposition has never thus far been regarded as admissible by Venezuela, though any adjustment of the boundary which that country may deem for her advantage and may enter into of her own free will can not of course be objected to by the United States.
Assuming, however, that the attitude of Venezuela will remain unchanged, the dispute has reached such a stage as to make it now incumbent upon the United States to take measures to determine with sufficient certainty for its justification what is the true divisional line between the Republic of Venezuela and British Guiana. The inquiry to that end should of course be conducted carefully and judicially, and due weight should be given to all available evidence, records, and facts in support of the claims of both parties.
In order that such an examination should be prosecuted in a thorough and satisfactory manner, I suggest that the Congress make an adequate appropriation for the expenses of a commission, to be appointed by the Executive, who shall make the necessary investigation and report upon the matter with the least possible delay. When such report is made and accepted it will, in my opinion, be the duty of the United States to resist by every means in its power, as a willful aggression upon its rights and interests, the appropriation by Great Britain of any lands or the exercise of governmental jurisdiction over any territory which after investigation we have determined of right belongs to Venezuela.
In making these recommendations I am fully alive to the responsibility incurred and keenly realize all the consequences that may follow.
I am, nevertheless, firm in my conviction that while it is a grievous thing to contemplate the two great English-speaking peoples of the world as being otherwise than friendly competitors in the onward march of civilization and strenuous and worthy rivals in all the arts of peace, there is no calamity which a great nation can invite which equals that which follows a supine submission to wrong and injustice and the consequent loss of national self-respect and honor, beneath which are shielded and defended a people's safety and greatness.
<title="Message Regarding Civil Service Reform">
<date="February 2, 1888">
EXECUTIVE MANSION, February 2, 1888.
In the exercise of power vested in him by the Constitution and of authority given to him by the seventeen hundred and fifty-third section of the Revised Statutes and by an act to regulate and improve the civil service of the United States, approved January 16, 1883, the President hereby makes and promulgates the following rules and revokes the rules known as "Amended Civil-Service Rules" and "Special Rule No. 1," heretofore promulgated under the power and authority referred to herein: Provided, That this revocation shall not be construed as an exclusion from the classified civil service of any now classified customs district or classified post-office.
Any officer in the executive civil service who shall use his official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with an election or controlling the result thereof; or who shall dismiss, or cause to be dismissed, or use influence of any kind to procure the dismissal of any person from any place in the said service because such person has refused to be coerced in his political action or has refused to contribute money for political purposes, or has refused to render political service; and any officer, clerk, or other employee in the executive civil service who shall willfully violate any of these rules, or any of the provisions of sections 11, 12, 13, and 14 of the act entitled "An act to regulate and improve the civil service of the United States," approved January 16, 1883, shall be dismissed from office.
There shall be three branches of the classified civil service, as follows:
1. The classified departmental service:
2. The classified customs service.
3. The classified postal service.
I. No person shall be appointed or employed to enter the civil service, classified in accordance with section 163 of the Revised Statutes and under the "Act to regulate and improve the civil service of the United States," approved January 16, 1883, until he shall have passed an examination or shall have been shown to be specially exempted therefrom by said act or by an exception to this rule set forth in connection with the rules regulating admission to the branch of the service he seeks to enter.
2. No noncompetitive examination shall be held except under the following conditions:
(a) The failure of competent persons to be, after due notice, competitively examined, thus making it impracticable to supply to the appointing officer in due time the names of persons who have passed a competitive examination.
(b) That a person has been during one year or longer in a place excepted from examination, and the appointing or nominating officer desires the appointment of such person to a place not excepted.
(c) That a person has served two years continuously since July 16, 1883, in a place in the departmental service below or outside the classified service, and the appointing officer desires, with the approval of the President, upon the recommendation of the Commission, to promote such person into the classified service because of his faithfulness and efficiency in the position occupied by him, and because of his qualifications for the place to which the appointing officer desires his promotion.
(d) That an appointing or nominating officer desires the examination of a person to test his fitness for a classified place which might be filled under exceptions to examination declared in connection with the rules regulating admission to the classified service.
(e) That the Commission, with the approval of the President, has decided that such an examination should be held to test fitness for any particular place requiring technical, professional, or scientific knowledge, special skill, or peculiar ability, to test fitness for which place a competitive examination can not, in the opinion of the Commission, be properly provided.
(f) That a person who has been appointed from the copyist register wishes to take the clerk examination for promotion to a place the salary of which is not less than $1,000 per annum.
(g) To test the fitness of a person for a place to which his transfer has been requested.
(h) When the exigencies of the service require such examination for promotion as provided by clause 6 of this rule.
3. All applications for examination must be made in form and manner prescribed by the Commission.
4. No person serving in the Army or Navy shall be examined for admission to the classified service until the written consent of the head of the Department under which he is enlisted shall have been communicated to the Commission.
No person who is an applicant for examination or who is an eligible in one branch of the classified service shall at the same time be an applicant for examination in any other branch of said service.
5. The Commission may refuse to examine an applicant who would be physically unable to perform the duties of the place to which he desires appointment. The reason for any such action must be entered on the minutes of the Commission.
6. For the purpose of establishing in the classified civil service the principle of compulsory competitive examination for promotion, there shall be, so far as practicable and useful, compulsory competitive examinations of a suitable character to test fitness for promotion; but persons in the classified service who were honorably discharged from the military or naval service of the United States, and the widows and orphans of deceased soldiers and sailors, shall be exempt from such examinations.
The Commission may make regulations, applying them to any part of the classified service, under which regulations all examinations for promotion therein shall be conducted and all promotions be made; but until regulations in accordance herewith have been applied to any part of the classified service promotions therein shall be made in the manner provided by the rules applicable thereto. And in any part of the classified service in which promotions are made under examination as herein provided the Commission may in special cases, if the exigencies of the service require such action, provide noncompetitive examinations for promotion.
Persons who were in the classified civil service on July 16, 1883, and persons who have been since that date or may be hereafter put into that service by the inclusion of subordinate places, clerks, and officers, under the provisions of section 6 of the act to regulate and improve the civil service of the United States, approved January 16, 1883, shall be entitled to all rights of promotion possessed by persons of the same class or grade appointed after examination under the act referred to above.
7. No question in any examination shall be so framed as to elicit information concerning the political or religious opinions or affiliations of competitors, and no discrimination in examination, certification, or appointment shall be made by the Commission, the examiners, or the appointing or nominating officer in favor of or against any applicant, competitor, or eligible because of his political or religious opinions or affiliations. The Commission, the examiners, and the appointing or nominating officer shall discountenance all disclosures of such opinions or affiliations by or concerning any applicant, competitor, or eligible; and any appointing or nominating officer who shall make inquiries concerning or in any other way attempt to ascertain the political or religious opinions or affiliations of any eligible, or who shall discriminate in favor of or against any eligible because of the eligible's political or religious opinions or affiliations, shall be dismissed from office.
8. Every applicant must state under oath--
(a) His full name.
(b) That he is a citizen of the United States.
(c) Year and place of his birth.
(d) The State, Territory, or District of which he is a bona fide resident, and the length of time he has been a resident thereof.
(e) His post-office address.
(f) His business or employment during the three years immediately preceding the date of his application, and where he has resided each of those years.
(g) Condition of his health, and his physical capacity for the public service.
(h) His previous employment in the public service.
(i) Any right of preference in civil appointments he may claim under section 1754 of the Revised Statutes.
(j) The kind of school in which he received his education.
(k) That he does not habitually use intoxicating beverages to excess.
(l) That he has not within the one year next preceding the date of his application been dismissed from the public service for delinquency or misconduct.
(m) Such other facts as the Commission may require.
9. Every applicant for examination for the classified departmental service must support the statements of his application paper by certificates of persons acquainted with him, residents of the State, Territory, or District in which he claims bona fide residence; and the Commission shall prescribe the form and number of such certificates.
10. A false statement made by an applicant, or connivance by him with any person to make on his behalf a false statement in any certificate required by the Commission, and deception or fraud practiced by an applicant, or by any person on his behalf with his consent, to influence an examination, shall be good cause for refusal to examine such applicant or for refusing to mark his papers after examination.
11. All examinations shall be prepared and conducted under the supervision of the Commission; and examination papers shall be marked under rules made by the Commission, which shall take care that the marking examiners do not know the name of any competitor in an examination for admission whose papers are intrusted to them.
12. For the purpose of marking examination papers boards of examiners shall be appointed by the Commission, one to be known as the central board, which shall be composed of persons in the classified service, who shall be detailed for constant duty at the office of the Commission. Under supervision of the Commission the central board shall mark the papers of the copyist and of the clerk examinations, and such of the papers of the supplementary, special, and promotion examinations for the departmental service and of examinations for admission to or promotion in the other branches of the classified services as shall be submitted to it by the Commission.
13. No person shall be appointed to membership on any board of examiners until after the Commission shall have consulted with the head of the Department or of the office under whom such person is serving.
14. An examiner shall be allowed time during office hours to perform his duties as examiner, which duties shall be considered part of his official duties.
15. The Commission may change the membership of boards of examiners and--
(a) Prescribe the manner of organizing such boards.
(b) More particularly define their powers.
(c) Specifically determine their duties and the duties of the members thereof.
16. Each board shall keep such records and make such reports as the Commission may require, and such records shall be open to the inspection of any member of this Commission or other person acting under authority of the Commission, which may, for the purposes of investigation, take possession of such records.
1. The names of all competitors who shall successfully pass an examination shall be entered upon a register, and the competitors whose names have been thus registered shall be eligible to any office or place to test fitness for which the examination was held.
2. The Commission may refuse to certify--
(a) An eligible who is so defective in sight, speech, or hearing, or who is otherwise so defective physically as to be apparently unfit to perform the duties of the position to which he is seeking appointment.
(b) An eligible who has made a false statement in his application, or been guilty of fraud or deceit in any matter connected with his application or examination, or who has been guilty of a crime or of infamous or notoriously disgraceful conduct.
3. If an appointing or nominating officer to whom certification has been made shall object in writing to any eligible named in the certificate, stating that because of physical incapacity or for other good cause particularly specified such eligible is not capable of properly performing the duties of the vacant place, the Commission may, upon investigation and ascertainment of the fact that the objection made is good and well rounded, direct the certification of another eligible in place of the one to whom objection has been made.
Executive officers shall in all proper ways facilitate civil-service examinations; and customs officers, postmasters, and custodians of public buildings at places where such examinations are to be held shall for the purposes of such examinations permit and arrange for the use of suitable rooms under their charge, and for heating, lighting, and furnishing the same.
No person dismissed for misconduct, and no probationer who has failed to receive absolute appointment or employment, shall be admitted to any examination within one year after having been thus discharged from the service.
I. Persons who have a prima facie claim of preference for appointments to civil offices under section 1754, Revised Statutes, shall be preferred in certifications made under the authority of the Commission to any appointing or nominating officer.
2. In making any reduction of force in any branch of the classified civil service those persons shall be retained who, being equally qualified, have been honorably discharged from the military or naval service of the United States, and also the widows and orphans of deceased soldiers and sailors.
The Commission shall have authority to prescribe regulations under and in accordance with these general rules and the rules relating specially to each of the several branches of the classified service.
1. The classified departmental service shall include the several officers, clerks, and other persons in any Department, commission, or bureau at Washington classified under section 163 of the Revised Statutes, or by direction of the President for the purposes of the examinations prescribed by the civil-service act of 1883, or for facilitating the inquiries as to fitness of candidates for admission to the departmental service in respect to age, health, character, knowledge, and ability, as provided for in section 1753 of the Revised Statutes.
2. The word "department," when used in the general or departmental rules, shall be construed to mean any such Department, commission, or bureau classified as above prescribed.
1. To test the fitness of applicants for admission to the classified departmental service there shall be examinations as follows:
Copyist examination. --For places of $900 per annum and under. This examination shall not include more than the following subjects:
(a) Orthography.
(b) Copying.
(c) Penmanship.
(d) Arithmetic--fundamental rules, fractions, and percentage.
Clerk examination. --For places of $1,000 per annum and upward. This examination shall not include more than the following subjects:
(a) Orthography.
(b) Copying.
(c) Penmanship.
(d) Arithmetic--fundamental rules, fractions, percentage, interest, and discount.
(e) Elements of bookkeeping and of accounts.
(f) Elements of the English language.
(g) Letter writing.
(h) Elements of the geography, history, and government of the United States.
Supplementary examinations. --For places which, in the opinion of the Commission, require, in addition to the knowledge required to pass the copyist or the clerk examination, certain technical, professional, or scientific knowledge, or knowledge of a language other than the English language, or peculiar or special skill.
Special examinations.--For places which, in the opinion of the Commission, require certain technical, professional, or scientific knowledge or skill. Each special examination shall embrace, in addition to the special subject upon which the applicant is to be tested, as many of the subjects of the clerk examination as the Commission may decide to be necessary to test fitness for the place to be filled.
Noncompetitive examinations. --For any place in the departmental service for which the Commission may from time to time (subject to the conditions prescribed by General Rule III, clause 2) determine that such examinations ought to be held.
2. An applicant may take the copyist or the clerk examination and any or all of the supplementary and special examinations provided for the departmental service, subject to such limitations as the Commission may by regulation prescribe; but no person whose name is on a departmental register of eligibles shall during the period of his eligibility be allowed reexamination unless he shall satisfy the Commission that at the time of his examination he was unable, because of illness or other good cause, to do himself justice in said examination; and the rating upon such reexamination shall cancel and be a substitute for the rating of such person upon the previous examination.
3. Exceptions from examination in the classified departmental service are hereby made as follows:
(a) One private secretary or one confidential clerk of the head of each classified Department and of each assistant secretary thereof, and also of each head of bureau appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.
(b) Direct custodians of money for whose fidelity another officer is under official bond; but this exception shall not include any officer below the grade of assistant cashier or assistant teller.
(c) Disbursing officers who give bonds.
(d) Persons employed exclusively in the secret service of the Government.
(e) Chief clerks.
(f) Chiefs of divisions.
4. No person appointed to a place under the exceptions to examination hereby made shall within one year after appointment be transferred from such place to a place not also excepted from examination, but after service of not less than one year in an examination-excepted place he may be transferred in the bureau in which he is serving to a place not excepted from examination: Provided, That before any such transfer may be made the Commission must certify that the person whom it is proposed to so transfer has passed an examination to test fitness for the place proposed to be filled by such transfer.
In compliance with the provisions of section 3 of the civil-service act the Commission shall provide examinations for the classified departmental service at least twice in each year in every State or Territory in which there are a sufficient number of applicants for such examinations; and the places and times of examinations shall, when practicable, be so fixed that each applicant may know at the time of making his application when and where he may be examined; but applicants may be notified to appear at any place at which the Commission may order an examination.
I. Any person not under 20 years of age may make application for admission to the classified departmental service, blank forms for which purpose shall be furnished by the Commission.
2. Every application for admission to the classified departmental service should be addressed as follows: "United States Civil Service Commission, Washington, D. C."
3. The date of reception and also of approval by the Commission of each application shall be noted on the application paper.
1. The papers of all examinations for admission to or promotion in the classified departmental service shall be marked as directed by the Commission.
2. The Commission shall have authority to appoint the following-named boards of examiners, which shall conduct examinations and mark examination papers as follows:
Central board. --As provided for by General Rule III, clause 12.
Special boards. --These boards shall mark such papers of special examinations for the classified departmental service as the Commission may direct, and shall be composed of persons in the public service.
Supplementary boards .--These boards shall mark the papers of such supplementary examinations for the classified departmental service as the Commission may direct, and shall be composed of persons in the public service.
Promotion boards.--One for each Department, of three members, and one auxillary member for each bureau of the Department for which the board is to act. Unless the Commission shall otherwise direct, these boards shall mark the papers of promotion examinations.
Local boards.- -These boards shall be organized at one or more places in each State and Territory where examinations for the classified departmental service are to be held, and shall conduct such examinations; and each shall be composed of persons in the public service residing in the State or Territory in which the board is to act.
Customs and postal boards . These boards shall conduct such examinations for the classified departmental service as the Commission shall direct.
1. The papers of the copyist and of the clerk examinations shall be marked by the central board; the papers of special and supplementary examinations shall be marked as directed by the Commission. Each competitor in any of the examinations mentioned or referred to above shall be graded on a scale of 100, according to the general average determined by the marks made by the examiners on his papers.
2. The papers of an examination having been marked, the Commission shall ascertain--
(a) The name of every competitor who has, under section 1754 of the Revised Statutes, claim of preference in civil appointments, and who has attained a general average of not less than 65 per cent; and all such competitors are hereby declared eligible to the class or place to test fitness for which the examination was held.
(b) The name of every other competitor who has attained a general average of not less than 70 per cent; and all such competitors are hereby declared eligible to the class or place to test fitness for which the examination was held.
3. The names of all preference-claiming competitors whose general average is not less than 65 per cent, together with the names of all other competitors whose general average is not less than 70 per cent, shall be entered upon the register of persons eligible to the class or place to test fitness for which the examination was held.
4. To facilitate the maintenance of the apportionment of appointments among the several States and Territories and the District of Columbia, required by section 2 of the act to regulate and improve the civil service of the United States, approved January 16, 1883, there shall be lists of eligibles for each State and Territory and for the District of Columbia, upon which shall be entered the names of the competitors from that State or Territory or the District of Columbia who have passed the copyist and the clerk examinations, the names of those who have passed the copyist examination and of those who have passed the clerk examination being listed separately; the names of male and of female eligibles in such examinations being also listed separately.
5. But the names of all competitors who have passed a supplementary or a special examination shall be entered, without regard to State residence upon the register of persons eligible to the class or place to test fitness for which supplementary or special examination was held.
6. The grade of each competitor shall be expressed by the whole number nearest the general average attained by him, and the grade of each eligible shall be noted upon the register of eligibles in connection with his name. When two or more eligibles are of the same grade, preference in certification shall be determined by the order in which their application papers were filed.
7. Immediately after the general averages in an examination shall have been ascertained each competitor shall be notified that he has passed or has failed to pass.
8. If a competitor fail to pass, he may, with the consent of the Commission, be allowed reexamination at any time within six months from the date of failure without filing a new application; but a competitor failing to pass, desiring to take again the same examination, must, if not allowed reexamination within six months from the date of failure, make in due form a new application therefor.
9. No person who has passed an examination shall, while eligible on the register supplied by such examination, be reexamined, unless he shall furnish evidence satisfactory to the Commission that at the time of his examination he was, because of illness or other good cause, incapable of doing himself justice in said examination.
10. The term of eligibility to appointment under the copyist and the clerk examinations shall be one year from the day on which the name of the eligible is entered on the register. The term of eligibility under a supplementary or a special examination shall be determined by the Commission, but shall not be less than one year.
1. Vacancies in the classified departmental service, unless among the places excepted from examination, if not filled by either promotion or transfer, shall be filled in the following manner:
(a) The appointing officer shall, in form and manner to be prescribed by the Commission, request the certification to him of the names of either males or females eligible to a certain place then vacant.
(b) If fitness for the place to be filled is tested by competitive examination, the Commission shall certify the names of three males or three females, these names to be those of the eligibles who, standing higher in grade than any other three eligibles of the same sex on the list of eligibles from which certification is to be made, have not been certified three times to the officer making the requisition: Provided , That if upon any register from which certification is to be made there are the names of eligibles who have, under section 1754 of the Revised Statutes, claim of preference in civil appointments, the names of such eligibles shall be certified before the names of other eligibles higher in grade. The Commission shall make regulations that will secure to each of such preference-claiming eligibles, in the order of his grade among other preference claimants, an opportunity to have his claim of preference considered and determined by the appointing officer.
2. Certifications hereunder shall be made in such manner as to maintain as nearly as possible the apportionment of appointments among the several States and the Territories and the District of Columbia, as required by law.
3. If the three names certified are those of persons eligible on the copyist or the clerk register, the appointing officer shall select one, and one only, and shall notify the person whose name has been selected that he has been designated for appointment: Provided, That, for the purpose of maintaining the apportionment of appointments referred to in clause 2 of this rule, the Commission may authorize the appointing officer to select more than one of the three names certified.
When certification is made from a supplementary or a special register, and there are more vacancies than one to be filled, the appointing officer may select from the three names certified more than one.
4. The Commission may certify from the clerk register for appointment to a place the salary of which is less than $1,000 per annum any eligible on said register who has given written notice that he will accept such a place.
5. When a person designated for appointment shall have reported in person to the appointing officer, he shall be appointed for a probational period of six months, at the end of which period, if his conduct and capacity be satisfactory to the appointing officer, he shall receive absolute appointment; but if his conduct and capacity be not satisfactory to said officer he shall be notified that he will not receive absolute appointment, and this notification shall discharge him from the service. The appointing officer shall require the heads of bureaus or divisions under whom probationers are serving to keep a record and to make report of the punctuality, industry, habits, ability, and aptitude of each probationer.
6. All persons appointed to or promoted in the classified departmental service shall be assigned to the duties of the class or place to which they have been appointed or promoted, unless the interests of the service require their assignment to other duties; and when such assignment is made the fact shall be reported to the head of the Department.
1. Transfers will be made as follows:
(a) From one Department to another, upon requisition by the head of the Department to which the transfer is to be made.
(b) From a bureau of the Treasury Department in which business relating to the customs is transacted to a classified customs district, and from such a district to such a bureau of the Treasury Department, upon requisition by the Secretary of the Treasury.
(c) From the Post-Office Department to a classified post-office, and from such an office to the Post-Office Department, upon requisition by the Postmaster-General.
2. No person may be transferred as herein authorized until the Commission shall have certified to the officer making the transfer requisition that the person whom it is proposed to transfer has passed an examination to test fitness for the place to which he is to be transferred, and that such person has during at least six months preceding the date of the certificate been in the classified service of the Department, customs district, or post-office from which the transfer is to be made: Provided , That no person who has been appointed from the copyist register shall be transferred to a place the salary of which is more than $900 per annum until one year after appointment.
I. A person appointed from the copyist register may, upon any test of fitness determined upon by the promoting officer, be promoted as follows:
(a) At any time after probational appointment, to any place the salary of which is not more than $900 per annum.
(b) At any time after one year from the date of probational appointment, upon certification by the Commission that he has passed the clerk examination or its equivalent, to any place the salary of which is $1,000 per annum or more.
(c) At any time after two years from the date of probational appointment, to any place the salary of which is $1,000 per annum or more.
2. A person appointed front the clerk register or from any supplementary or special register to a place the salary of which is $1,000 per annum or more may, upon any test of fitness determined upon by the promoting officer, be promoted at any time after absolute appointment.
3. A person appointed from the clerk register or from any supplementary or special register to a place the salary of which is $900 or less may, upon any test of fitness determined upon by the promoting officer, be promoted at any time after probational appointment to any place the salary of which is $1,000 per annum.
4. Other promotions may be made upon any tests of fitness determined upon by the promoting officer.
5. The provisions of clauses 1, 2, 3, and 4 of this rule shall become null and void in any part of the classified departmental service is soon as promotion regulations shall have been applied thereto under General Rule III, clause 6.
Upon requisition of the head of a Department the Commission shall certify for reinstatement in said Department, in a grade requiring no higher examination than the one in which he was formerly employed, any person who within one year next preceding the date of the requisition has, through no delinquency or misconduct, been separated from the classified service of that Department.
Each appointing officer in the classified departmental service shall report to the Commission--
(a) Every probational and every absolute appointment made by him, and every appointment made by him under any exception to examination authorized by Departmental Rule II, clause 3.
(b) Every refusal by him to make an absolute appointment and every refusal or neglect to accept an appointment in the classified service under him.
(c) Every transfer within and into the classified service under him.
(d) Every assignment of a person to the performance of the duties of a class or place to which such person was not appointed.
(e) Every separation from the classified service under him, and whether the separation was caused by dismissal, resignation, or death. Places excepted from examination are within the classified service.
(f) Every restoration to the classified service under him of any person who may have been separated therefrom by dismissal or resignation.
1. The classified customs service shall include the officers, clerks, and other persons in the several customs districts classified under the provisions of section 6 of the act to regulate and improve the civil service of the United States, approved January 16, 1883.
2. Whenever the officers, clerks, and other persons in any customs district number as many as fifty, any existing classification of the customs service made by the Secretary of the Treasury under section 6 of the act of January 16, 1883, shall apply thereto, and thereafter the Commission shall provide examinations to test the fitness of persons to fill vacancies in said customs district and these rules shall be in force therein. Every revision of the classification of any customs office under section 6 of the act above mentioned, and every inclusion within the classified customs service of a customs district, shall be reported to the President.
1. To test fitness for admission to the classified customs service, examinations shall be provided as follows:
Clerk examination. *--This examination shall not include more than the following subjects:
*Storekeepers shall be classed as clerks, and vacancies in that class shall be filled by assignment.
(a) Orthography.
(b) Copying.
(c) Penmanship.
(d) Arithmetic--fundamental rules, fractions, percentage, interest, and discount.
(e) Elements of bookkeeping and of accounts.
(f) Elements of the English language.
(g) Letter writing.
(h) Elements of the geography, history, and government of the United States.
Law-clerk examination.--This examination shall not include more than the following subjects:
(a) Orthography.
(b) Copying.
(c) Penmanship.
(d) Arithmetic--fundamental rules, fractions, percentage, interest, and discount.
(e) Elements of the English language.
(f) Letter writing.
(g) Law questions.
Day-inspector examination. --This examination shall not include more than the following subjects:
(a) Orthography.
(b) Copying.
(c) Penmanship.
(d) Arithmetic--fundamental rules, fractions, and percentage.
(e) Elements of the English language.
(f) Geography of America and Europe.
Inspectress examination.--This examination shall not include more than the following subjects:
(a) Orthography.
(b) Copying.
(c) Penmanship.
(d) Arithmetic--fundamental rules.
(e) Geography of America and Europe.
Night-inspector, messenger, assistant weigher, and opener and packer examination.--This examination shall not include more than the following subjects:
(a) Orthography.
(b) Copying.
(c) Penmanship.
(d) Arithmetic--fundamental rules.
Gauger examination. --This examination shall not include more than the following subjects:
(a) Orthography.
(b) Copying.
(c) Penmanship.
(d) Arithmetic--practical questions.
(e) Theoretical questions.
(f) Practical tests.
Examiner examination. --This examination shall not include more than the following subjects:
(a) Orthography.
(b) Copying.
(c) Penmanship.
(d) Arithmetic--fundamental rules, fractions, percentage, and discount.
(e) Elements of the English language.
(f) practical questions.
(g) practical tests.
Sampler examination .--This examination shall not include more than the following subjects:
(a) Orthography
(b) Copying.
(c) penmanship.
(d) Arithmetic--fundamental rules.
(e) practical questions.
(f) practical tests.
Other competitive examinations.--Such other competitive examinations as the Commission may from time to time determine to be necessary in testing fitness for other places in the classified customs service.
Noncompetitive examinations.--Such examinations may, with the approval of the Commission, be held under conditions stated in General Rule III, clause 2.
2. Any person not under 21 years of age may be examined for any place in the customs service to test fitness for which an examination is prescribed, and any person not under 20 years of age may be examined for clerk or messenger.
3. A person desiring examination for admission to the classified customs service must make request, in his own handwriting, for a blank form of application, which request and also his application shall be addressed as directed by the Commission.
4. The date of reception and also of approval by the board of each of such applications shall be noted on the application paper.
5. Exceptions from examination in the classified customs service are hereby made as follows:
(a) Deputy collectors, who do not also act as inspectors, examiners, or clerks.
(b) Cashier of the collector.
(c) Assistant cashier of the collector.
(d) Auditor of the collector.
(e) Chief acting disbursing officer.
(f) Deputy naval officers.
(g) Deputy surveyors.
(h) One private secretary or one confidential clerk of each nominating officer.
6. No person appointed to a place under any exception to examination hereby made shall within one year after appointment be transferred from such place to another place not also excepted from examination, but a person who has served not less than one year in an examination-excepted place may be transferred in the customs office in which he is serving to a place not excepted from examination: Provided , That before any such transfer may be made the Commission must certify that the person whom it is proposed to so transfer has passed an examination to test fitness for the place proposed to be filled by such transfer.
1. The papers of every examination shall be marked under direction of the Commission, and each competitor shall be graded on a scale of 100, according to the general average determined by the marks made by the examiners on his papers.
2. The Commission shall appoint in each classified customs district a board of examiners, which shall--
(a) Conduct all examinations held to test fitness for admission to or promotion in the classified service of the customs district in which the board is located.
(b) Mark the papers of such examinations, unless otherwise directed, as provided for by General Rule III, clause 12.
(c) Conduct such examinations for the classified departmental service as the Commission may direct.
3. The papers of an examination having been marked, the board of examiners shall ascertain--
(a) The name of every competitor who has, under section 1754 of the Revised Statutes, claim of preference in civil appointments, and who has attained a general average of not less than 65 per cent; and all such competitors are hereby declared eligible to the class or place to test fitness for which the examination was held.
(b) The name of every other competitor who has attained a general average of not less than 70 per cent; and all such applicants are hereby declared eligible to the class or place to test fitness for which the examination was held.
4. The names of all preference-claiming competitors whose general average is not less than 65 per cent, together with the names of all other competitors whose general average is not less than 70 per cent, shall be entered upon the register of persons eligible to the class or place to test fitness for which the examination was held. The names of male and of female eligibles shall be listed separately.
5. The grade of each competitor shall be expressed by the whole number nearest the general average attained by him, and the grade of each eligible shall be noted upon the register of eligibles in connection with his name. When two or more eligibles are of the same grade, preference in certification shall be determined by the order in which their application papers were filed.
6. Immediately after the general averages in an examination shall have been ascertained each competitor shall be notified that he has passed or has failed to pass.
7. If a competitor fail to pass, he may, with the consent of the board, approved by the Commission, be allowed reexamination at any time within six months from the date of failure without filing a new application; but a competitor failing to pass, desiring to take again the same examination, must, if not allowed reexamination within six months from the date of failure, make in due form a new application therefor.
8. No person who has passed an examination shall while eligible on the register supplied by such examination be reexamined, unless he shall furnish evidence satisfactory to the Commission that at the time of his examination he was, because of illness or for other good cause, incapable of doing himself justice in said examination.
9. The term of eligibility to appointment in the classified customs service shall be one year from the day on which the name of the eligible is entered on the register.
1. Vacancies in the lowest class or grade of the classified service of a customs district shall be filled in the following manner:
(a) The nominating officer in any office in which a vacancy may exist shall, in form and manner to be prescribed by the Commission, request the board of examiners to certify to him the names of either males or females eligible to the vacant place.
(b) If fitness for the place to be filled is tested by competitive examination, the board of examiners shall certify the names of three males or three females, these names to be those of the eligibles who, standing higher in grade than any other three eligibles of the same sex on the register from which certification is to be made, have not been certified three times from said register: Provided, That if upon said register there are the names of eligibles who, under section 1754 of the Revised Statutes, have claim of preference in civil appointments, the names of such eligibles shall be certified before the names of other eligibles higher in grade. The Commission shall make regulations that will secure to each of such preference-claiming eligibles, in the order of his grade among other preference claimants, an opportunity to have his claim of preference considered and determined by the appointing officer.
(c) Each name on a register of eligibles may be certified only three times: Provided, That when a name has been three times certified, if there are not three names on the register of higher grade, it may, upon the written request of a nominating officer to whom it has not been certified, be included in any certification made to said officer.
2. Of the three names certified the nominating officer must select one; and if at the time of making this selection there are more vacancies than one, he may select more than one name. Each person thus designated for appointment shall be notified, and upon reporting in person to the proper officer shall be appointed for a probational period of six months, at the end of which period, if his conduct and capacity be satisfactory to the nominating officer, he shall receive absolute appointment; but if his conduct and capacity be not satisfactory to said officer, he shall be notified that he will not receive absolute appointment, and this notification shall discharge him from the service.
3. Every nominating officer in the classified customs service shall require the officer under whom a probationer may be serving to carefully observe and report in writing the services rendered by and the character and qualifications of such probationer. These reports shall be preserved on file, and the Commission may prescribe the form and manner in which they shall be made.
4. All other vacancies, unless among the places excepted from examination, shall be filled by transfer or promotion.
1. Until promotion regulations have been applied to a classified customs district, the following promotions may be made therein at any time after absolute appointment:
(a) A clerk, upon any test of fitness determined upon by the nominating officer, to any vacant place in the class next above the one in which he may be serving.
(b) A day inspector, upon any test of fitness determined upon by the nominating officer, to class 2 in the grade of clerk.
(c) A clerk, day inspector, opener and packer, or sampler, after passing the examiner examination, to the grade of examiner.
(d) A messenger, after passing the clerk examination, to the lowest class in the grade of clerk.
(e) A night inspector, after passing the day-inspector examination, to the grade of day inspector.
2. Other promotions may be made, in the discretion of the promoting officer, upon any test of fitness determined upon by him.
1. Transfers may be made as follows:
(a) From one office of a classified district to another office in the same district, subject to the provisions of Customs Rule V.
(b) From one classified district to another, upon requisition by the Secretary of the Treasury.
(c) From any bureau of the Treasury Department in which business relating to customs is transacted to any classified customs district, and from any such district to any such bureau, upon requisition by the Secretary of the Treasury.
2. No person may be transferred as herein authorized until the board of examiners, acting under (a) of clause I, or until the Commission, acting under (b) or (c) of clause 1 of this rule, shall have certified to the officer making the transfer requisition that the person whom it is proposed to transfer has passed an examination to test fitness for the place to which he is to be transferred, and that such person has been at least six months preceding the date of the certificate in the classified service of the Department or customs district from which the transfer is to be made.
Upon requisition of a nominating officer in any customs district the board of examiners thereof shall certify for reinstatement in any office under his jurisdiction, in a grade requiring no higher examination than the one in which he was formerly employed, any person who within one year next preceding the date of the requisition has, through no delinquency or misconduct, been separated from the classified service of said office.
Each nominating officer of a classified customs district shall report to the board of examiners--
(a) Every probational and absolute appointment, and every appointment under any exception to examination authorized by Customs Rule II, clause 5, made within his jurisdiction.
(b) Every refusal by him to nominate a probationer for absolute appointment and every refusal or neglect to accept an appointment in the classified service under him.
(c) Every transfer into the classified service under him.
(d) Every separation from the classified service under him, and whether the separation was caused by dismissal, resignation, or death. Places excepted from examination are within the classified service.
(e) Every restoration to the classified service under him of any person who may have been separated therefrom by dismissal or resignation.
1. The classified postal service shall include the officers, clerks, and other persons in the several post-offices classified under the provisions of section 6 of the act to regulate and improve the civil service of the United States, approved January 16, 1883.
2. Whenever the officers, clerks, and other persons in any post-office number as many as fifty, any existing classification of the postal service made by the Postmaster-General under section 6 of the act of January 16, 1883, shall apply thereto, and thereafter the Commission shall provide examinations to test the fitness of persons to fill vacancies in said post-office and these rules shall be in force therein. Every revision of the classification of any post-office under section 6 of the act above mentioned, and every inclusion of a post-office within the classified postal service, shall be reported to the President.
1. To test fitness for admission to the classified postal service examinations shall be provided as follows:
Clerk examination. --This examination shall not include more than the following subjects:
(a) Orthography.
(b) Copying.
(c) Penmanship.
(d) Arithmetic--fundamental rules, fractions, and percentage.
(e) Elements of the English language.
(f) Letter writing.
(g) Elements of the geography, history, and government of the United States.
Carrier examination. --This examination shall not include more than the following subjects:
(a) Orthography.
(b) Copying.
(c) Penmanship.
(d) Arithmetic--fundamental rules.
(e) Elements of the geography of the United States.
(f) Knowledge of the locality of the post-office delivery.
(g) Physical tests.
Messenger examination.--This examination shall not include more than the following subjects:
(a) Orthography.
(b) Copying.
(c) Penmanship.
(d) Arithmetic--fundamental rules.
(e) Physical tests.
This examination shall also be used to test fitness for the position of piler, stamper, junior clerk, or other places the duties of which are chiefly manual.
Special examinations.--These examinations shall test fitness for positions requiring knowledge of a language other than the English language, or special or technical knowledge or skill. Each special examination shall include, in addition to the special subject upon which the applicant is to be tested, so many of the subjects of the clerk examination as the Commission may determine.
Noncompetitive examinations.--Such examinations may, with the approval of the Commission, be held under conditions stated in General Rule III, clause 2.
2. No person shall be examined for the position of clerk if under 18 years of age; and no person shall be examined for the position of messenger, stamper, or junior clerk if under 16 or over 45 years of age; and no person shall be examined for the position of carrier if under 21 or over 40 years of age. No person shall be examined for any other position in the classified postal service if under 18 or over 45 years of age.
3. Any person desiring examination for admission to the classified postal service must make request, in his own handwriting, for a blank form of application, which request, and also his application, shall be addressed as directed by the Commission.
4. The date of reception and also of approval by the board of each of such applications shall be noted on the application paper.
5. Exceptions from examinations in the classified postal service are hereby made as follows:
(a) Assistant postmaster.
(b) One private secretary or one confidential clerk of the postmaster.
(c) Cashier.
(d) Assistant cashier.
(e) Superintendents designated by the Post-Office Department and reported as such to the Commission.
(f) Custodians of money, stamps, stamped envelopes, or postal cards, designated as such by the Post-Office Department and so reported to the Commission, for whose fidelity the postmaster is under official bond.
6. No person appointed to a place under any exception to examination hereby made shall within one year after appointment be transferred to another place not also excepted from examination; but a person who has served not less than one year in an examination-excepted place may be transferred in the post-office in which he is serving to a place not excepted from examination: Provided, That before any such transfer may be made the Commission must certify that the person whom it is proposed to so transfer has passed an examination to test fitness for the place proposed to be filled by such transfer.
1. The papers of every examination shall be marked under the direction of the Commission, and each competitor shall be graded on a scale of 100, according to the general average determined by the marks made by the examiners on his papers.
2. The Commission shall appoint in each classified post-office a board of examiners, which shall--
(a) Conduct all examinations held to test fitness for entrance to or promotion in the classified service of the post-office in which the board is located.
(b) Mark the papers of such examinations, unless otherwise directed, as provided for by General Rule III, clause 12.
(c) Conduct such examinations for the classified departmental service as the Commission may direct.
3. The papers of an examination having been marked, the board of examiners shall ascertain--
(a) The name of every competitor who has, under section 1754 of the Revised Statutes, claim of preference in civil appointments, and who has attained a general average of not less than 65 per cent; and all such competitors are hereby declared eligible to the class or place to test fitness for which the examination was held.
(b) The name of every other competitor who has attained a general average of not less than 70 per cent; and all such applicants are hereby declared eligible to the class or place to test fitness for which the examination was held.
4. The names of all preference-claiming competitors whose general average is not less than 65 per cent, together with the names of all other competitors whose general average is not less than 70 per cent, shall be entered upon the register of persons eligible to the class or place to test fitness for which the examination was held. The names of male and of female eligibles shall be listed separately.
5. The grade of each competitor shall be expressed by the whole number nearest the general average attained by him, and the grade of each eligible shall be noted upon the register of eligibles in connection with his name. When two or more eligibles are of the same grade, preference in certification shall be determined by the order in which their application papers were filed.
6. Immediately after the general averages shall have been ascertained each competitor shall be notified that he has passed or has failed to pass.
7. If a competitor fail to pass, he may, with the consent of the board, approved by the Commission, be allowed reexamination at any time within six months from the date of failure without filing a new application; but a competitor failing to pass, desiring to take again the same examination, must, if not allowed reexamination within six months front the date of failure, make in due form a new application therefor.
8. No person who has passed an examination shall while eligible on the register supplied by such examination be reexamined, unless he shall furnish evidence satisfactory to the Commission that at the time of his examination he was, because of illness or for other good cause, incapable of doing himself justice in said examination.
9. The term of eligibility to appointment in the classified postal service shall be one year from the day on which the name of the eligible is entered on the register.
1. Vacancies in the classified service of a post-office, unless among the places excepted from examination, if not filled by either transfer or promotion, shall be filled in the following manner:
(a) The postmaster at a post-office in which a vacancy may exist shall, in form and manner to be prescribed by the Commission, request the board of examiners to certify to him the names of either males or females eligible to the vacant place.
(b) If fitness for the place to be filled is tested by competitive examination, the board of examiners shall certify the names of three males or three females, these names to be those of the eligibles who, standing higher in grade than any other three eligibles of the same sex on the register from which certification is to be made, have not been certified three times from said register: Provided , That if upon said register there are the names of eligibles who, under section 1754 of the Revised Statutes, have claim of preference in civil appointments, the names of such eligibles shall be certified before the names of other eligibles higher in grade. The Commission shall make regulations that will secure to each of such preference-claiming eligibles, in the order of his grade among other preference claimants, opportunity to have his claim of preference considered and determined by the appointing officer. (c) Each name on any register of eligibles may be certified only three times.
2. Of the three names certified to him the postmaster must select one; and if at the time of making this selection there are more vacancies than one, he may select more than one name. Each person thus designated for appointment shall be notified, and upon reporting in person to the postmaster shall be appointed for a probational period of six months, at the end of which period, if his conduct and capacity be satisfactory to the postmaster, he shall receive absolute appointment; but if his conduct and capacity be not satisfactory to said officer, he shall be notified that he will not receive absolute appointment, and this notification shall discharge him from the service.
3. The postmaster of each classified post-office shall require the superintendent of each division of his office to carefully observe and report in writing the services rendered by and the character and qualifications of each probationer serving under him. These reports shall be preserved on file, and the Commission may prescribe the form and manner in which they shall be made.
Until promotion regulations shall have been applied to a classified post-office promotions therein may be made upon any test of fitness determined upon by the postmaster, if not disapproved by the Commission: Provided, That no employee shall be promoted to any grade he could not enter by appointment under the minimum age limitation applied thereto by Postal Rule II, clause 2.
1. Transfers may be made as follows:
(a) From one classified post-office to another, upon requisition of the Postmaster-General.
(b) From any classified post-office to the Post-Office Department, and from the Post-Office Department to any classified post-office, upon requisition of the Postmaster-General.
2. No person may be transferred as herein authorized until the Commission shall have certified to the officer making the transfer requisition that the person whom it is proposed to transfer has passed an examination to test fitness for the place to which he is to be transferred, and that such person has been at least six months next preceding the date of the certificate in the classified service of the Department or post-office from which the transfer is to be made.
Upon the requisition of a postmaster the board of examiners for his office shall certify for reinstatement, in a grade requiring no higher examination than the one in which he was formerly employed, any person who within one year next preceding the date of the requisition has through no delinquency or misconduct been separated from the classified service in said office.
Each postmaster in the classified postal service shall report to the board of examiners--
(a) Every probational and every absolute appointment, and every appointment under any exception to examination authorized by Postal Rule II, clause 5, made in his office.
(b) Every refusal to make an absolute appointment in his office and every refusal or neglect to accept an appointment in the classified service under him.
(c) Every transfer into the classified service under him.
(d) Every separation from the classified service under him, and whether the separation was caused by dismissal, resignation, or death. Places excepted from examination are within the classified service.
(e) Every restoration to the classified service under him of any person who may have been separated therefrom by dismissal or resignation.
These rules shall take effect March 1, 1888.
<title="Veto Message of Monetary Legislation">
<date="March 29, 1894">
House of Representatives:
I return without my approval House bill No. 4956, entitled "An act directing the coinage of the silver bullion held in the Treasury, and for other purposes.''
My strong desire to avoid disagreement with those in both Houses of Congress who have supported this bill would lead me to approve it if I could believe that the public good would not be thereby endangered and that such action on my part would be a proper discharge of official duty. Inasmuch, however, as I am unable to satisfy myself that the proposed legislation is either wise or opportune, my conception of the obligations and responsibilities attached to the great office I hold forbids the indulgence of my personal desire and inexorably confines me to that course which is dictated by my reason and judgment and pointed out by a sincere purpose to protect and promote the general interests of our people.
The financial disturbance which swept over the country during the last year was unparalleled in its severity and disastrous consequences. There seemed to be almost an entire displacement of faith in our financial ability and a loss of confidence in our fiscal policy. Among those who attempted to assign causes for our distress it was very generally conceded that the operation of a provision of law then in force which required the Government to purchase monthly a large amount of silver bullion and issue its notes in payment therefor was either entirely or to a large extent responsible for our condition. This led to the repeal on the 1st day of November, 1893, of this statutory provision.
We had, however, fallen so low in the depths of depression and timidity and apprehension had so completely gained control in financial circles that our rapid recuperation could not be reasonably expected. Our recovery has, nevertheless, steadily progressed, and though less than five months have elapsed since the repeal of the mischievous silver-purchase requirement a wholesome improvement is unmistakably apparent. Confidence in our absolute solvency is to such an extent reinstated and faith in our disposition to adhere to sound financial methods is so far restored as to produce the most encouraging results both at home and abroad. The wheels of domestic industry have been slowly set in motion and the tide of foreign investment has again started in our direction.
Our recovery being so well under way, nothing should be done to check our convalescence; nor should we forget that a relapse at this time would almost surely reduce us to a lower stage of financial distress than that from which we are just emerging.
I believe that if the bill under consideration should become a law it would be regarded as a retrogression from the financial intentions indicated by our recent repeal of the provision forcing silver-bullion purchases; that it would weaken, if it did not destroy, returning faith and confidence in our sound financial tendencies, and that as a consequence our progress to renewed business health would be unfortunately checked and a return to our recent distressing plight seriously threatened.
This proposed legislation is so related to the currency conditions growing out of the law compelling the purchase of silver by the Government that a glance at such conditions and a partial review of the law referred to may not be unprofitable.
Between the 14th day of August, 1890, when the law became operative, and the 1st day of November, 1893, when the clause it contained directing the purchase of silver was repealed, there were purchased by the Secretary of the Treasury more than 168,000,000 ounces of silver bullion. In payment for this bullion the Government issued its Treasury notes, of various denominations, amounting to nearly $156,000,000, which notes were immediately added to the currency in circulation among our people. Such notes were by the law made legal tender in payment of all debts, public and private, except when otherwise expressly stipulated, and were made receivable for customs, taxes, and all public dues, and when so received might be reissued. They were also permitted to be held by banking associations as a part of their lawful reserves.
On the demand of the holders these Treasury notes were to be redeemed in gold or silver coin, in the discretion of the Secretary of the Treasury; but it was declared as a part of this redemption provision that it was "the established policy of the United States to maintain the two metals on a parity with each other upon the present legal ratio or such ratio as may be provided by law." The money coined from such bullion was to be standard silver dollars, and after directing the immediate coinage of a little less than 28,000,000 ounces the law provided that as much of the remaining bullion should be thereafter coined as might be necessary to provide for the redemption of the Treasury notes issued on its purchase, and that "any gain or seigniorage arising from such coinage shall be accounted for and paid into the Treasury."
This gain or seigniorage evidently indicates so much of the bullion owned by the Government as should remain after using a sufficient amount to coin as many standard silver dollars as should equal in number the dollars represented by the Treasury notes issued in payment of the entire quantity of bullion. These Treasury notes now outstanding and in circulation amount to $152,951,280, and although there has been thus far but a comparatively small amount of this bullion coined, yet the so-called gain or seigniorage, as above defined, which would arise from the coinage of the entire mass has been easily ascertained to be a quantity of bullion sufficient to make when coined 55,156,681 standard silver dollars.
Considering the present intrinsic relation between gold and silver, the maintenance of the parity between the two metals, as mentioned in this law, can mean nothing less than the maintenance of such a parity in the estimation and confidence of the people who use our money in their daily transactions. Manifestly the maintenance of this parity can only be accomplished, so far as it is affected by these Treasury notes and in the estimation of the holders of the same, by giving to such holders on their redemption the coin, whether it is gold or silver, which they prefer. It follows that while in terms the law leaves the choice of coin to be paid on such redemption to the discretion of the Secretary of the Treasury, the exercise of this discretion, if opposed to the demands of the holder, is entirely inconsistent with the effective and beneficial maintenance of the parity between the two metals.
If both gold and silver are to serve us as money and if they together are to supply to our people a safe and stable currency, the necessity of preserving this parity is obvious. Such necessity has been repeatedly conceded in the platforms of both political parties and in our Federal statutes. It is nowhere more emphatically recognized than in the recent law which repealed the provision under which the bullion now on hand was purchased. This law insists upon the "maintenance of the parity in value of the coins of the two metals and the equal power of every dollar at all times in the markets and in the payment of debts."
The Secretary of the Treasury has therefore, for the best of reasons, not only promptly complied with every demand for the redemption of these Treasury notes in gold, but the present situation as well as the letter and spirit of the law appear plainly to justify, if they do not enjoin upon him, a continuation of such redemption.
The conditions I have endeavored to present may be thus summarized: First. The Government has purchased and now has on hand sufficient silver bullion to permit the coinage of all the silver dollars necessary to redeem in such dollars the Treasury notes issued for the purchase of said silver bullion, and enough besides to coin, as gain or seigniorage, 55,156,681 additional standard silver dollars.
Second. There are outstanding and now in circulation Treasury notes issued in payment of the bullion purchased amounting to $152,951,280. These notes are legal tender in payment of all debts, public and private, except when otherwise expressly stipulated; they are receivable for customs, taxes, and all public dues; when held by banking associations they may be counted as part of their lawful reserves, and they are redeemed by the Government in gold at the option of the holders. These advantageous attributes were deliberately attached to these notes at the time of their issue. They are fully understood by our people to whom such notes have been distributed as currency, and have inspired confidence in their safety and value, and have undoubtedly thus induced their continued and contented use as money, instead of anxiety for their redemption.
Having referred to some incidents which I deem relevant to the subject, it remains for me to submit a specific statement of my objections to the bill now under consideration.
This bill consists of two sections, excluding one which merely appropriates a sum sufficient to carry the act into effect. The first section provides for the immediate coinage of the silver bullion in the Treasury which represents the so-called gain or seigniorage, or which would arise from the coinage of all the bullion on hand, which gain or seigniorage this section declares to be $55,156,681. It directs that the money so coined or the certificates issued thereon shall be used in the payment of public expenditures, and provides that if the needs of the Treasury demand it the Secretary of the Treasury may, in his discretion, issue silver certificates in excess of such coinage, not exceeding the amount of seigniorage in said section authorized to be coined.
The second section directs that as soon as possible after the coinage of this seigniorage the remainder of the bullion held by the Government shall be coined into legal-tender standard silver dollars, and that they shall be held in the Treasury for the redemption of the Treasury notes issued in the purchase of said bullion. It provides that as fast as the bullion shall be coined for the redemption of said notes they shall not be reissued, but shall be canceled and destroyed in amounts equal to the coin held at any time in the Treasury derived from the coinage provided for, and that silver certificates shall be issued on such coin in the manner now provided by law. It is, however, especially declared in said section that the act shall not be construed to change existing laws relating to the legal-tender character or mode of redemption of the Treasury notes issued for the purchase of the silver bullion to be coined.
The entire bill is most unfortunately constructed. Nearly every sentence presents uncertainty and invites controversy as to its meaning and intent. The first section is especially faulty in this respect, and it is extremely doubtful whether its language will permit the consummation of its supposed purposes. I am led to believe that the promoters of the bill intended in this section to provide for the coinage of the bullion constituting the gain or seigniorage, as it is called, into standard silver dollars, and yet there is positively nothing in the section to prevent its coinage into any description of silver coins now authorized under any existing law.
I suppose this section was also intended, in case the needs of the Treasury called for money faster than the seigniorage bullion could actually be coined, to permit the issue of silver certificates in advance of such coinage; but its language would seem to permit the issuance of such certificates to double the amount of seigniorage as stated, one-half of which would not represent an ounce of silver in the Treasury. The debate upon this section in the Congress developed an earnest and positive difference of opinion as to its object and meaning. In any event, I am clear that the present perplexities and embarrassments of the Secretary of the Treasury ought not to be augmented by devolving upon him the execution of a law so uncertain and confused.
I am not willing, however, to rest my objection to this section solely on these grounds. In my judgment sound finance does not commend a further infusion of silver into our currency at this time unaccompanied by further adequate provision for the maintenance in our Treasury of a safe gold reserve.
Doubts also arise as to the meaning and construction of the second section of the bill. If the silver dollars therein directed to be coined are, as the section provides, to be held in the Treasury for the redemption of Treasury notes, it is suggested that, strictly speaking, certificates can not be issued on such coin "in the manner now provided by law," because these dollars are money held in the Treasury for the express purpose of redeeming Treasury notes on demand, which would ordinarily mean that they were set apart for the purpose of substituting them for these Treasury notes. They are not, therefore, held in such a way as to furnish a basis for certificates according to any provision of existing law.
If however, silver certificates can properly be issued upon these dollars, there is nothing in the section to indicate the characteristics and functions of these certificates. If they were to be of the same character as silver certificates in circulation under existing laws, they would at best be receivable only for customs, taxes, and all public dues; and under the language of this section it is, to say the least, extremely doubtful whether the certificates it contemplates would be lawfully received even for such purposes.
Whatever else may be said of the uncertainties of expression in this bill, they certainly ought not to be found in legislation affecting subjects so important and far-reaching as our finances and currency. In stating other and more important reasons for my disapproval of this section I shall, however, assume that under its provisions the Treasury notes issued in payment for silver bullion will continue to be redeemed as heretofore, in silver or gold, at the option of the holders, and that if when they are presented for redemption or reach the Treasury in any other manner there are in the Treasury coined silver dollars equal in nominal value to such Treasury notes, then and in that case the notes will be destroyed and silver certificates to an equal amount be substituted.
I am convinced that this scheme is ill advised and dangerous. As an ultimate result of its operation Treasury notes, which are legal tender for all debts, public and private, and which are redeemable in gold or silver at the option of the holder, will be replaced by silver certificates, which, whatever may be their character and description, will have none of these qualities. In anticipation of this result and as an immediate effect the Treasury notes will naturally appreciate in value and desirability. The fact that gold can be realized upon them and the further fact that their destruction has been decreed when they reach the Treasury must tend to their withdrawal from general circulation to be immediately presented for gold redemption or to be hoarded for presentation at a more convenient season. The sequel of both operations will be a large addition to the silver currency in our circulation and a corresponding reduction of gold in the Treasury. The argument has been made that these things will not occur at once, because a long time must elapse before the coinage of anything but the seigniorage can be entered upon. If the physical effects of the execution of the second section of this bill are not to be realized until far in the future, this may furnish a strong reason why it should not be passed so much in advance; but the postponement of its actual operation can not prevent the fear and loss of confidence and nervous precaution which would immediately follow its passage and bring about its worst consequences. I regard this section of the bill as embodying a plan by which the Government will be obliged to pay out its scanty store of gold for no other purpose than to force an unnatural addition of silver money into the hands of our people. This is an exact reversal of the policy which safe finance dictates if we are to preserve parity between gold and silver and maintain sensible bimetallism.
We have now outstanding more than $338,000,000 in silver certificates issued under existing laws. They are serving the purpose of money usefully and without question. Our gold reserve, amounting to only a little more than $100,000,000, is directly charged with the redemption of $346,000,000 of United States notes. When it is proposed to inflate our silver currency it is a time for strengthening our gold reserve instead of depleting it. I can not conceive of a longer step toward silver monometallism than we take when we spend our gold to buy silver certificates for circulation, especially in view of the practical difficulties surrounding the replenishment of our gold.
This leads me to earnestly present the desirability of granting to the Secretary of the Treasury a better power than now exists to issue bonds to protect our gold reserve when for any reason it should be necessary. Our currency is in such a confused condition and our financial affairs are apt to assume at any time so critical a position that it seems to me such a course is dictated by ordinary prudence.
I am not insensible to the arguments in favor of coining the bullion seigniorage now in the Treasury, and I believe it could be done safely and with advantage if the Secretary of the Treasury had the power to issue bonds at a low rate of interest under authority in substitution of that now existing and better suited to the protection of the Treasury.
I hope a way will present itself in the near future for the adjustment of our monetary affairs in such a comprehensive and conservative manner as will accord to silver its proper place in our currency; but in the meantime I am extremely solicitous that whatever action we take on this subject may be such as to prevent loss and discouragement to our people at home and the destruction of confidence in our financial management abroad.
<title="Announcing the Continuation of US Neutrality">
<date="July 27, 1896">
By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation
Whereas by a proclamation dated the 12th day of June, A. D. 1895, attention was called to the serious civil disturbances, accompanied by armed resistance to the established Government of Spain, then prevailing in the island of Cuba, and citizens of the United States and all other persons were admonished to abstain from taking part in such disturbances in contravention of the neutrality laws of the United States; and
Whereas said civil disturbances and armed resistance to the authority of Spain, a power with which the United States are on terms of peace and amity, continue to prevail in said island of Cuba; and
Whereas since the date of said proclamation said neutrality laws of the United States have been the subject of authoritative exposition by the judicial tribunal of last resort, and it has thus been declared that any combination of persons organized in the United States for the purpose of proceeding to and making war upon a foreign country with which the United States are at peace, and provided with arms to be used for such purpose, constitutes a "military expedition or enterprise" within the meaning of said neutrality laws, and that the providing or preparing of the means for such "military expedition or enterprise," which is expressly prohibited by said laws, includes furnishing or aiding in transportation for such "military expedition or enterprise;" and
Whereas, by express enactment, if two or more persons conspire to commit an offense against the United States any act of one conspirator to effect the object of such conspiracy renders all the conspirators liable to fine and imprisonment; and
Whereas there is reason to believe that citizens of the United States and others within their jurisdiction fail to apprehend the meaning and operation of the neutrality laws of the United States as authoritatively interpreted as aforesaid, and may be misled into participation in transactions which are violations of said laws and will render them liable to the severe penalties provided for such violations:
Now, therefore, that the laws above referred to, as judicially construed, may be duly executed, that the international obligations of the United States may be fully satisfied, and that their citizens and all others within their jurisdiction, being seasonably apprised of their legal duty in the premises, may abstain from disobedience to the laws of the United States and thereby escape the forfeitures and penalties legally consequent thereon, I, Grover Cleveland, President of the United States, do hereby solemnly warn all citizens of the United States and all others within their jurisdiction against violations of the said laws, interpreted as hereinbefore explained, and give notice that all such violations will be vigorously prosecuted; and I do hereby invoke the cooperation of all good citizens in the enforcement of said laws and in the detection and apprehension of any offenders against the same, and do hereby enjoin upon all the executive officers of the United States the utmost diligence in preventing, prosecuting, and punishing any infractions thereof.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this 27th day of July, A. D. 1896, and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and twenty-first.
By the President:
Secretary of State.
<title="Speech on Economic Mobility">
<date="December 4, 2013">
Thank you. <Applause.> Thank you, everybody. Thank you so much. Please, please have a seat. Thank you so much. Well, thank you, Neera, for the wonderful introduction and sharing a story that resonated with me. There were a lot of parallels in my life and probably resonated with some of you.
Over the past 10 years, the Center for American Progress has done incredible work to shape the debate over expanding opportunity for all Americans. And I could not be more grateful to CAP not only for giving me a lot of good policy ideas, but also giving me a lot of staff. <Laughter.> My friend, John Podesta, ran my transition; my Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, did a stint at CAP. So you guys are obviously doing a good job training folks.
I also want to thank all the members of Congress and my administration who are here today for the wonderful work that they do. I want to thank Mayor Gray and everyone here at THEARC for having me. This center, which I've been to quite a bit, have had a chance to see some of the great work that's done here. And all the nonprofits that call THEARC home offer access to everything from education, to health care, to a safe shelter from the streets, which means that you're harnessing the power of community to expand opportunity for folks here in D. C. And your work reflects a tradition that runs through our history -- a belief that we're greater together than we are on our own. And that's what I've come here to talk about today.
Over the last two months, Washington has been dominated by some pretty contentious debates -- I think that's fair to say. And between a reckless shutdown by congressional Republicans in an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and admittedly poor execution on my administration's part in implementing the latest stage of the new law, nobody has acquitted themselves very well these past few months. So it's not surprising that the American people's frustrations with Washington are at an all-time high.
But we know that people's frustrations run deeper than these most recent political battles. Their frustration is rooted in their own daily battles -- to make ends meet, to pay for college, buy a home, save for retirement. It's rooted in the nagging sense that no matter how hard they work, the deck is stacked against them. And it's rooted in the fear that their kids won't be better off than they were. They may not follow the constant back-and-forth in Washington or all the policy details, but they experience in a very personal way the relentless, decades-long trend that I want to spend some time talking about today. And that is a dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility that has jeopardized middle-class America's basic bargain -- that if you work hard, you have a chance to get ahead.
I believe this is the defining challenge of our time: Making sure our economy works for every working American. It's why I ran for President. It was at the center of last year's campaign. It drives everything I do in this office. And I know I've raised this issue before, and some will ask why I raise the issue again right now. I do it because the outcomes of the debates we're having right now -- whether it's health care, or the budget, or reforming our housing and financial systems -- all these things will have real, practical implications for every American. And I am convinced that the decisions we make on these issues over the next few years will determine whether or not our children will grow up in an America where opportunity is real.
Now, the premise that we're all created equal is the opening line in the American story. And while we don't promise equal outcomes, we have strived to deliver equal opportunity -- the idea that success doesn't depend on being born into wealth or privilege, it depends on effort and merit. And with every chapter we've added to that story, we've worked hard to put those words into practice.
It was Abraham Lincoln, a self-described "poor man's son," who started a system of land grant colleges all over this country so that any poor man's son could go learn something new.
When farms gave way to factories, a rich man's son named Teddy Roosevelt fought for an eight-hour workday, protections for workers, and busted monopolies that kept prices high and wages low.
When millions lived in poverty, FDR fought for Social Security, and insurance for the unemployed, and a minimum wage.
When millions died without health insurance, LBJ fought for Medicare and Medicaid.
Together, we forged a New Deal, declared a War on Poverty in a great society. We built a ladder of opportunity to climb, and stretched out a safety net beneath so that if we fell, it wouldn't be too far, and we could bounce back. And as a result, America built the largest middle class the world has ever known. And for the three decades after World War II, it was the engine of our prosperity.
Now, we can't look at the past through rose-colored glasses. The economy didn't always work for everyone. Racial discrimination locked millions out of poverty -- or out of opportunity. Women were too often confined to a handful of often poorly paid professions. And it was only through painstaking struggle that more women, and minorities, and Americans with disabilities began to win the right to more fairly and fully participate in the economy.
Nevertheless, during the post-World War II years, the economic ground felt stable and secure for most Americans, and the future looked brighter than the past. And for some, that meant following in your old man's footsteps at the local plant, and you knew that a blue-collar job would let you buy a home, and a car, maybe a vacation once in a while, health care, a reliable pension. For others, it meant going to college -- in some cases, maybe the first in your family to go to college. And it meant graduating without taking on loads of debt, and being able to count on advancement through a vibrant job market.
Now, it's true that those at the top, even in those years, claimed a much larger share of income than the rest: The top 10 percent consistently took home about one-third of our national income. But that kind of inequality took place in a dynamic market economy where everyone's wages and incomes were growing. And because of upward mobility, the guy on the factory floor could picture his kid running the company some day.
But starting in the late '70s, this social compact began to unravel. Technology made it easier for companies to do more with less, eliminating certain job occupations. A more competitive world lets companies ship jobs anywhere. And as good manufacturing jobs automated or headed offshore, workers lost their leverage, jobs paid less and offered fewer benefits.
As values of community broke down, and competitive pressure increased, businesses lobbied Washington to weaken unions and the value of the minimum wage. As a trickle-down ideology became more prominent, taxes were slashed for the wealthiest, while investments in things that make us all richer, like schools and infrastructure, were allowed to wither. And for a certain period of time, we could ignore this weakening economic foundation, in part because more families were relying on two earners as women entered the workforce. We took on more debt financed by a juiced-up housing market. But when the music stopped, and the crisis hit, millions of families were stripped of whatever cushion they had left.
And the result is an economy that's become profoundly unequal, and families that are more insecure. I'll just give you a few statistics. Since 1979, when I graduated from high school, our productivity is up by more than 90 percent, but the income of the typical family has increased by less than eight percent. Since 1979, our economy has more than doubled in size, but most of that growth has flowed to a fortunate few.
The top 10 percent no longer takes in one-third of our income -- it now takes half. Whereas in the past, the average CEO made about 20 to 30 times the income of the average worker, today's CEO now makes 273 times more. And meanwhile, a family in the top 1 percent has a net worth 288 times higher than the typical family, which is a record for this country.
So the basic bargain at the heart of our economy has frayed. In fact, this trend towards growing inequality is not unique to America's market economy. Across the developed world, inequality has increased. Some of you may have seen just last week, the Pope himself spoke about this at eloquent length. "How can it be," he wrote, "that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?"
But this increasing inequality is most pronounced in our country, and it challenges the very essence of who we are as a people. Understand we've never begrudged success in America. We aspire to it. We admire folks who start new businesses, create jobs, and invent the products that enrich our lives. And we expect them to be rewarded handsomely for it. In fact, we've often accepted more income inequality than many other nations for one big reason -- because we were convinced that America is a place where even if you're born with nothing, with a little hard work you can improve your own situation over time and build something better to leave your kids. As Lincoln once said, "While we do not propose any war upon capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else."
The problem is that alongside increased inequality, we've seen diminished levels of upward mobility in recent years. A child born in the top 20 percent has about a 2-in-3 chance of staying at or near the top. A child born into the bottom 20 percent has a less than 1-in-20 shot at making it to the top. He's 10 times likelier to stay where he is. In fact, statistics show not only that our levels of income inequality rank near countries like Jamaica and Argentina, but that it is harder today for a child born here in America to improve her station in life than it is for children in most of our wealthy allies -- countries like Canada or Germany or France. They have greater mobility than we do, not less.
The idea that so many children are born into poverty in the wealthiest nation on Earth is heartbreaking enough. But the idea that a child may never be able to escape that poverty because she lacks a decent education or health care, or a community that views her future as their own, that should offend all of us and it should compel us to action. We are a better country than this.
So let me repeat: The combined trends of increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American Dream, our way of life, and what we stand for around the globe. And it is not simply a moral claim that I'm making here. There are practical consequences to rising inequality and reduced mobility.
For one thing, these trends are bad for our economy. One study finds that growth is more fragile and recessions are more frequent in countries with greater inequality. And that makes sense. When families have less to spend, that means businesses have fewer customers, and households rack up greater mortgage and credit card debt; meanwhile, concentrated wealth at the top is less likely to result in the kind of broadly based consumer spending that drives our economy, and together with lax regulation, may contribute to risky speculative bubbles.
And rising inequality and declining mobility are also bad for our families and social cohesion -- not just because we tend to trust our institutions less, but studies show we actually tend to trust each other less when there's greater inequality. And greater inequality is associated with less mobility between generations. That means it's not just temporary; the effects last. It creates a vicious cycle. For example, by the time she turns three years old, a child born into a low-income home hears 30 million fewer words than a child from a well-off family, which means by the time she starts school she's already behind, and that deficit can compound itself over time.
And finally, rising inequality and declining mobility are bad for our democracy. Ordinary folks can't write massive campaign checks or hire high-priced lobbyists and lawyers to secure policies that tilt the playing field in their favor at everyone else's expense. And so people get the bad taste that the system is rigged, and that increases cynicism and polarization, and it decreases the political participation that is a requisite part of our system of self-government.
So this is an issue that we have to tackle head on. And if, in fact, the majority of Americans agree that our number-one priority is to restore opportunity and broad-based growth for all Americans, the question is why has Washington consistently failed to act? And I think a big reason is the myths that have developed around the issue of inequality.
First, there is the myth that this is a problem restricted to a small share of predominantly minority poor -- that this isn't a broad-based problem, this is a black problem or a Hispanic problem or a Native American problem. Now, it's true that the painful legacy of discrimination means that African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans are far more likely to suffer from a lack of opportunity -- higher unemployment, higher poverty rates. It's also true that women still make 77 cents on the dollar compared to men. So we're going to need strong application of antidiscrimination laws. We're going to need immigration reform that grows the economy and takes people out of the shadows. We're going to need targeted initiatives to close those gaps. <Applause.>
But here's an important point. The decades-long shifts in the economy have hurt all groups: poor and middle class; inner city and rural folks; men and women; and Americans of all races. And as a consequence, some of the social patterns that contribute to declining mobility that were once attributed to the urban poor -- that's a particular problem for the inner city: single-parent households or drug abuse -- it turns out now we're seeing that pop up everywhere.
A new study shows that disparities in education, mental health, obesity, absent fathers, isolation from church, isolation from community groups -- these gaps are now as much about growing up rich or poor as they are about anything else. The gap in test scores between poor kids and wealthy kids is now nearly twice what it is between white kids and black kids. Kids with working-class parents are 10 times likelier than kids with middle- or upper-class parents to go through a time when their parents have no income. So the fact is this: The opportunity gap in America is now as much about class as it is about race, and that gap is growing.
So if we're going to take on growing inequality and try to improve upward mobility for all people, we've got to move beyond the false notion that this is an issue exclusively of minority concern. And we have to reject a politics that suggests any effort to address it in a meaningful way somehow pits the interests of a deserving middle class against those of an undeserving poor in search of handouts. <Applause.>
Second, we need to dispel the myth that the goals of growing the economy and reducing inequality are necessarily in conflict, when they should actually work in concert. We know from our history that our economy grows best from the middle out, when growth is more widely shared. And we know that beyond a certain level of inequality, growth actually slows altogether.
Third, we need to set aside the belief that government cannot do anything about reducing inequality. It's true that government cannot prevent all the downsides of the technological change and global competition that are out there right now, and some of those forces are also some of the things that are helping us grow. And it's also true that some programs in the past, like welfare before it was reformed, were sometimes poorly designed, created disincentives to work.
But we've also seen how government action time and again can make an enormous difference in increasing opportunity and bolstering ladders into the middle class. Investments in education, laws establishing collective bargaining, and a minimum wage -- these all contributed to rising standards of living for massive numbers of Americans. <Applause.> Likewise, when previous generations declared that every citizen of this country deserved a basic measure of security -- a floor through which they could not fall -- we helped millions of Americans live in dignity, and gave millions more the confidence to aspire to something better, by taking a risk on a great idea.
Without Social Security, nearly half of seniors would be living in poverty -- half. Today, fewer than 1 in 10 do. Before Medicare, only half of all seniors had some form of health insurance. Today, virtually all do. And because we've strengthened that safety net, and expanded pro-work and pro-family tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit, a recent study found that the poverty rate has fallen by 40 percent since the 1960s. And these endeavors didn't just make us a better country; they reaffirmed that we are a great country.
So we can make a difference on this. In fact, that's our generation's task -- to rebuild America's economic and civic foundation to continue the expansion of opportunity for this generation and the next generation. <Applause.> And like Neera, I take this personally. I'm only here because this country educated my grandfather on the GI Bill. When my father left and my mom hit hard times trying to raise my sister and me while she was going to school, this country helped make sure we didn't go hungry. When Michelle, the daughter of a shift worker at a water plant and a secretary, wanted to go to college, just like me, this country helped us afford it until we could pay it back.
So what drives me as a grandson, a son, a father -- as an American -- is to make sure that every striving, hardworking, optimistic kid in America has the same incredible chance that this country gave me. <Applause.> It has been the driving force between everything we've done these past five years. And over the course of the next year, and for the rest of my presidency, that's where you should expect my administration to focus all our efforts. <Applause.>
Now, you'll be pleased to know this is not a State of the Union Address. <Laughter.> And many of the ideas that can make the biggest difference in expanding opportunity I've presented before. But let me offer a few key principles, just a roadmap that I believe should guide us in both our legislative agenda and our administrative efforts.
To begin with, we have to continue to relentlessly push a growth agenda. It may be true that in today's economy, growth alone does not guarantee higher wages and incomes. We've seen that. But what's also true is we can't tackle inequality if the economic pie is shrinking or stagnant. The fact is if you're a progressive and you want to help the middle class and the working poor, you've still got to be concerned about competitiveness and productivity and business confidence that spurs private sector investment.
And that's why from day one we've worked to get the economy growing and help our businesses hire. And thanks to their resilience and innovation, they've created nearly 8 million new jobs over the past 44 months. And now we've got to grow the economy even faster. And we've got to keep working to make America a magnet for good, middle-class jobs to replace the ones that we've lost in recent decades -- jobs in manufacturing and energy and infrastructure and technology.
And that means simplifying our corporate tax code in a way that closes wasteful loopholes and ends incentives to ship jobs overseas. <Applause.> And by broadening the base, we can actually lower rates to encourage more companies to hire here and use some of the money we save to create good jobs rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our airports, and all the infrastructure our businesses need.
It means a trade agenda that grows exports and works for the middle class. It means streamlining regulations that are outdated or unnecessary or too costly. And it means coming together around a responsible budget -- one that grows our economy faster right now and shrinks our long-term deficits, one that unwinds the harmful sequester cuts that haven't made a lot of sense -- <applause> -- and then frees up resources to invest in things like the scientific research that's always unleashed new innovation and new industries.
When it comes to our budget, we should not be stuck in a stale debate from two years ago or three years ago. A relentlessly growing deficit of opportunity is a bigger threat to our future than our rapidly shrinking fiscal deficit. <Applause.>
So that's step one towards restoring mobility: making sure our economy is growing faster. Step two is making sure we empower more Americans with the skills and education they need to compete in a highly competitive global economy.
We know that education is the most important predictor of income today, so we launched a Race to the Top in our schools. We're supporting states that have raised standards for teaching and learning. We're pushing for redesigned high schools that graduate more kids with the technical training and apprenticeships, and in-demand, high-tech skills that can lead directly to a good job and a middle-class life.
We know it's harder to find a job today without some higher education, so we've helped more students go to college with grants and loans that go farther than before. We've made it more practical to repay those loans. And today, more students are graduating from college than ever before. We're also pursuing an aggressive strategy to promote innovation that reins in tuition costs. We've got lower costs so that young people are not burdened by enormous debt when they make the right decision to get higher education. And next week, Michelle and I will bring together college presidents and non-profits to lead a campaign to help more low-income students attend and succeed in college. <Applause.>
But while higher education may be the surest path to the middle class, it's not the only one. So we should offer our people the best technical education in the world. That's why we've worked to connect local businesses with community colleges, so that workers young and old can earn the new skills that earn them more money.
And I've also embraced an idea that I know all of you at the Center for American Progress have championed -- and, by the way, Republican governors in a couple of states have championed -- and that's making high-quality preschool available to every child in America. <Applause.> We know that kids in these programs grow up likelier to get more education, earn higher wages, form more stable families of their own. It starts a virtuous cycle, not a vicious one. And we should invest in that. We should give all of our children that chance.
And as we empower our young people for future success, the third part of this middle-class economics is empowering our workers. It's time to ensure our collective bargaining laws function as they're supposed to -- <applause> -- so unions have a level playing field to organize for a better deal for workers and better wages for the middle class. It's time to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act so that women will have more tools to fight pay discrimination. <Applause.> It's time to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act so workers can't be fired for who they are or who they love. <Applause.>
And even though we're bringing manufacturing jobs back to America, we're creating more good-paying jobs in education and health care and business services; we know that we're going to have a greater and greater portion of our people in the service sector. And we know that there are airport workers, and fast-food workers, and nurse assistants, and retail salespeople who work their tails off and are still living at or barely above poverty. <Applause.> And that's why it's well past the time to raise a minimum wage that in real terms right now is below where it was when Harry Truman was in office. <Applause.>
This shouldn't be an ideological question. It was Adam Smith, the father of free-market economics, who once said, "They who feed, clothe, and lodge the whole body of the people should have such a share of the produce of their own labor as to be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed, and lodged." And for those of you who don't speak old-English -- <laughter> -- let me translate. It means if you work hard, you should make a decent living. <Applause.> If you work hard, you should be able to support a family.
Now, we all know the arguments that have been used against a higher minimum wage. Some say it actually hurts low-wage workers -- businesses will be less likely to hire them. But there's no solid evidence that a higher minimum wage costs jobs, and research shows it raises incomes for low-wage workers and boosts short-term economic growth. <Applause.>
Others argue that if we raise the minimum wage, companies will just pass those costs on to consumers. But a growing chorus of businesses, small and large, argue differently. And already, there are extraordinary companies in America that provide decent wages, salaries, and benefits, and training for their workers, and deliver a great product to consumers.
SAS in North Carolina offers childcare and sick leave. REI, a company my Secretary of the Interior used to run, offers retirement plans and strives to cultivate a good work balance. There are companies out there that do right by their workers. They recognize that paying a decent wage actually helps their bottom line, reduces turnover. It means workers have more money to spend, to save, maybe eventually start a business of their own.
A broad majority of Americans agree we should raise the minimum wage. That's why, last month, voters in New Jersey decided to become the 20th state to raise theirs even higher. That's why, yesterday, the D. C. Council voted to do it, too. I agree with those voters. <Applause.> I agree with those voters, and I'm going to keep pushing until we get a higher minimum wage for hard-working Americans across the entire country. It will be good for our economy. It will be good for our families. <Applause.>
Number four, as I alluded to earlier, we still need targeted programs for the communities and workers that have been hit hardest by economic change and the Great Recession. These communities are no longer limited to the inner city. They're found in neighborhoods hammered by the housing crisis, manufacturing towns hit hard by years of plants packing up, landlocked rural areas where young folks oftentimes feel like they've got to leave just to find a job. There are communities that just aren't generating enough jobs anymore.
So we've put forward new plans to help these communities and their residents, because we've watched cities like Pittsburgh or my hometown of Chicago revamp themselves. And if we give more cities the tools to do it -- not handouts, but a hand up -- cities like Detroit can do it, too. So in a few weeks, we'll announce the first of these Promise Zones, urban and rural communities where we're going to support local efforts focused on a national goal -- and that is a child's course in life should not be determined by the zip code he's born in, but by the strength of his work ethic and the scope of his dreams. <Applause.>
And we're also going to have to do more for the long-term unemployed. For people who have been out of work for more than six months, often through no fault of their own, life is a catch-22. Companies won't give their r&eacute;sum&eacute; an honest look because they've been laid off so long -- but they've been laid off so long because companies won't give their r&eacute;sum&eacute; an honest look. <Laughter.> And that's why earlier this year, I challenged CEOs from some of America's best companies to give these Americans a fair shot. And next month, many of them will join us at the White House for an announcement about this.
Fifth, we've got to revamp retirement to protect Americans in their golden years, to make sure another housing collapse doesn't steal the savings in their homes. We've also got to strengthen our safety net for a new age, so it doesn't just protect people who hit a run of bad luck from falling into poverty, but also propels them back out of poverty.
Today, nearly half of full-time workers and 80 percent of part-time workers don't have a pension or retirement account at their job. About half of all households don't have any retirement savings. So we're going to have to do more to encourage private savings and shore up the promise of Social Security for future generations. And remember, these are promises we make to one another. We don't do it to replace the free market, but we do it to reduce risk in our society by giving people the ability to take a chance and catch them if they fall. One study shows that more than half of Americans will experience poverty at some point during their adult lives. Think about that. This is not an isolated situation. More than half of Americans at some point in their lives will experience poverty.
That's why we have nutrition assistance or the program known as SNAP, because it makes a difference for a mother who's working, but is just having a hard time putting food on the table for her kids. That's why we have unemployment insurance, because it makes a difference for a father who lost his job and is out there looking for a new one that he can keep a roof over his kids' heads. By the way, Christmastime is no time for Congress to tell more than 1 million of these Americans that they have lost their unemployment insurance, which is what will happen if Congress does not act before they leave on their holiday vacation. <Applause.>
The point is these programs are not typically hammocks for people to just lie back and relax. These programs are almost always temporary means for hardworking people to stay afloat while they try to find a new job or go into school to retrain themselves for the jobs that are out there, or sometimes just to cope with a bout of bad luck. Progressives should be open to reforms that actually strengthen these programs and make them more responsive to a 21st century economy. For example, we should be willing to look at fresh ideas to revamp unemployment and disability programs to encourage faster and higher rates of re-employment without cutting benefits. We shouldn't weaken fundamental protections built over generations, because given the constant churn in today's economy and the disabilities that many of our friends and neighbors live with, they're needed more than ever. We should strengthen them and adapt them to new circumstances so they work even better.
But understand that these programs of social insurance benefit all of us, because we don't know when we might have a run of bad luck. <Applause.> We don't know when we might lose a job. Of course, for decades, there was one yawning gap in the safety net that did more than anything else to expose working families to the insecurities of today's economy -- namely, our broken health care system.
That's why we fought for the Affordable Care Act -- <applause> -- because 14,000 Americans lost their health insurance every single day, and even more died each year because they didn't have health insurance at all. We did it because millions of families who thought they had coverage were driven into bankruptcy by out-of-pocket costs that they didn't realize would be there. Tens of millions of our fellow citizens couldn't get any coverage at all. And Dr. King once said, "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane."
Well, not anymore. <Applause.> Because in the three years since we passed this law, the share of Americans with insurance is up, the growth of health care costs are down to their slowest rate in 50 years. More people have insurance, and more have new benefits and protections -- 100 million Americans who have gained the right for free preventive care like mammograms and contraception; the more than 7 million Americans who have saved an average of $1,200 on their prescription medicine; every American who won't go broke when they get sick because their insurance can't limit their care anymore.
More people without insurance have gained insurance -- more than 3 million young Americans who have been able to stay on their parents' plan, the more than half a million Americans and counting who are poised to get covered starting on January 1st, some for the very first time.
And it is these numbers -- not the ones in any poll -- that will ultimately determine the fate of this law. <Applause.> It's the measurable outcomes in reduced bankruptcies and reduced hours that have been lost because somebody couldn't make it to work, and healthier kids with better performance in schools, and young entrepreneurs who have the freedom to go out there and try a new idea -- those are the things that will ultimately reduce a major source of inequality and help ensure more Americans get the start that they need to succeed in the future.
I have acknowledged more than once that we didn't roll out parts of this law as well as we should have. But the law is already working in major ways that benefit millions of Americans right now, even as we've begun to slow the rise in health care costs, which is good for family budgets, good for federal and state budgets, and good for the budgets of businesses small and large. So this law is going to work. And for the sake of our economic security, it needs to work. <Applause.>
And as people in states as different as California and Kentucky sign up every single day for health insurance, signing up in droves, they're proving they want that economic security. If the Senate Republican leader still thinks he is going to be able to repeal this someday, he might want to check with the more than 60,000 people in his home state who are already set to finally have coverage that frees them from the fear of financial ruin, and lets them afford to take their kids to see a doctor. <Applause.>
So let me end by addressing the elephant in the room here, which is the seeming inability to get anything done in Washington these days. I realize we are not going to resolve all of our political debates over the best ways to reduce inequality and increase upward mobility this year, or next year, or in the next five years. But it is important that we have a serious debate about these issues. For the longer that current trends are allowed to continue, the more it will feed the cynicism and fear that many Americans are feeling right now -- that they'll never be able to repay the debt they took on to go to college, they'll never be able to save enough to retire, they'll never see their own children land a good job that supports a family.
And that's why, even as I will keep on offering my own ideas for expanding opportunity, I'll also keep challenging and welcoming those who oppose my ideas to offer their own. If Republicans have concrete plans that will actually reduce inequality, build the middle class, provide more ladders of opportunity to the poor, let's hear them. I want to know what they are. If you don't think we should raise the minimum wage, let's hear your idea to increase people's earnings. If you don't think every child should have access to preschool, tell us what you'd do differently to give them a better shot.
If you still don't like Obamacare -- and I know you don't -- <laughter> -- even though it's built on market-based ideas of choice and competition in the private sector, then you should explain how, exactly, you'd cut costs, and cover more people, and make insurance more secure. You owe it to the American people to tell us what you are for, not just what you're against. <Applause.> That way we can have a vigorous and meaningful debate. That's what the American people deserve. That's what the times demand. It's not enough anymore to just say we should just get our government out of the way and let the unfettered market take care of it -- for our experience tells us that's just not true. <Applause.>
Look, I've never believed that government can solve every problem or should -- and neither do you. We know that ultimately our strength is grounded in our people -- individuals out there, striving, working, making things happen. It depends on community, a rich and generous sense of community -- that's at the core of what happens at THEARC here every day. You understand that turning back rising inequality and expanding opportunity requires parents taking responsibility for their kids, kids taking responsibility to work hard. It requires religious leaders who mobilize their congregations to rebuild neighborhoods block by block, requires civic organizations that can help train the unemployed, link them with businesses for the jobs of the future. It requires companies and CEOs to set an example by providing decent wages, and salaries, and benefits for their workers, and a shot for somebody who is down on his or her luck. We know that's our strength -- our people, our communities, our businesses.
But government can't stand on the sidelines in our efforts. Because government is us. It can and should reflect our deepest values and commitments. And if we refocus our energies on building an economy that grows for everybody, and gives every child in this country a fair chance at success, then I remain confident that the future still looks brighter than the past, and that the best days for this country we love are still ahead. <Applause.>
Thank you, everybody. God bless you. God bless America. <Applause.>
<title="Address to the Nation on Immigration">
<date="November 20, 2014">
My fellow Americans, tonight, I'd like to talk with you about immigration.
For more than 200 years, our tradition of welcoming immigrants from around the world has given us a tremendous advantage over other nations. It's kept us youthful, dynamic, and entrepreneurial. It has shaped our character as a people with limitless possibilities -- - people not trapped by our past, but able to remake ourselves as we choose.
But today, our immigration system is broken -- and everybody knows it.
Families who enter our country the right way and play by the rules watch others flout the rules. Business owners who offer their workers good wages and benefits see the competition exploit undocumented immigrants by paying them far less. All of us take offense to anyone who reaps the rewards of living in America without taking on the responsibilities of living in America. And undocumented immigrants who desperately want to embrace those responsibilities see little option but to remain in the shadows, or risk their families being torn apart.
It's been this way for decades. And for decades, we haven't done much about it.
When I took office, I committed to fixing this broken immigration system. And I began by doing what I could to secure our borders. Today, we have more agents and technology deployed to secure our southern border than at any time in our history. And over the past six years, illegal border crossings have been cut by more than half. Although this summer, there was a brief spike in unaccompanied children being apprehended at our border, the number of such children is now actually lower than it's been in nearly two years. Overall, the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s. Those are the facts.
Meanwhile, I worked with Congress on a comprehensive fix, and last year, 68 Democrats, Republicans, and independents came together to pass a bipartisan bill in the Senate. It wasn't perfect. It was a compromise. But it reflected common sense. It would have doubled the number of border patrol agents while giving undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship if they paid a fine, started paying their taxes, and went to the back of the line. And independent experts said that it would help grow our economy and shrink our deficits.
Had the House of Representatives allowed that kind of bill a simple yes-or-no vote, it would have passed with support from both parties, and today it would be the law. But for a year and a half now, Republican leaders in the House have refused to allow that simple vote.
Now, I continue to believe that the best way to solve this problem is by working together to pass that kind of common sense law. But until that happens, there are actions I have the legal authority to take as President -- - the same kinds of actions taken by Democratic and Republican presidents before me - -- that will help make our immigration system more fair and more just.
Tonight, I am announcing those actions.
First, we'll build on our progress at the border with additional resources for our law enforcement personnel so that they can stem the flow of illegal crossings, and speed the return of those who do cross over.
Second, I'll make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy, as so many business leaders have proposed.
Third, we'll take steps to deal responsibly with the millions of undocumented immigrants who already live in our country.
I want to say more about this third issue, because it generates the most passion and controversy. Even as we are a nation of immigrants, we're also a nation of laws. Undocumented workers broke our immigration laws, and I believe that they must be held accountable - -- especially those who may be dangerous. That's why, over the past six years, deportations of criminals are up 80 percent. And that's why we're going to keep focusing enforcement resources on actual threats to our security. Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who's working hard to provide for her kids. We'll prioritize, just like law enforcement does every day.
But even as we focus on deporting criminals, the fact is, millions of immigrants in every state, of every race and nationality still live here illegally. And let's be honest - -- tracking down, rounding up, and deporting millions of people isn't realistic. Anyone who suggests otherwise isn't being straight with you. It's also not who we are as Americans. After all, most of these immigrants have been here a long time. They work hard, often in tough, low-paying jobs. They support their families. They worship at our churches. Many of their kids are American-born or spent most of their lives here, and their hopes, dreams, and patriotism are just like ours. As my predecessor, President Bush, once put it: "They are a part of American life."
Now here's the thing: We expect people who live in this country to play by the rules. We expect that those who cut the line will not be unfairly rewarded. So we're going to offer the following deal: If you've been in America for more than five years; if you have children who are American citizens or legal residents; if you register, pass a criminal background check, and you're willing to pay your fair share of taxes -- you'll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. That's what this deal is.
Now, let's be clear about what it isn't. This deal does not apply to anyone who has come to this country recently. It does not apply to anyone who might come to America illegally in the future. It does not grant citizenship, or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive - -- only Congress can do that. All we're saying is we're not going to deport you.
I know some of the critics of this action call it amnesty. Well, it's not. Amnesty is the immigration system we have today - -- millions of people who live here without paying their taxes or playing by the rules while politicians use the issue to scare people and whip up votes at election time.
That's the real amnesty -- - leaving this broken system the way it is. Mass amnesty would be unfair. Mass deportation would be both impossible and contrary to our character. What I'm describing is accountability -- - a common-sense, middle-ground approach: If you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. If you're a criminal, you'll be deported. If you plan to enter the U. S. illegally, your chances of getting caught and sent back just went up.
The actions I'm taking are not only lawful, they're the kinds of actions taken by every single Republican President and every single Democratic President for the past half century. And to those members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better, or question the wisdom of me acting where Congress has failed, I have one answer: Pass a bill.
I want to work with both parties to pass a more permanent legislative solution. And the day I sign that bill into law, the actions I take will no longer be necessary. Meanwhile, don't let a disagreement over a single issue be a dealbreaker on every issue. That's not how our democracy works, and Congress certainly shouldn't shut down our government again just because we disagree on this. Americans are tired of gridlock. What our country needs from us right now is a common purpose -- - a higher purpose.
Most Americans support the types of reforms I've talked about tonight. But I understand the disagreements held by many of you at home. Millions of us, myself included, go back generations in this country, with ancestors who put in the painstaking work to become citizens. So we don't like the notion that anyone might get a free pass to American citizenship.
I know some worry immigration will change the very fabric of who we are, or take our jobs, or stick it to middle-class families at a time when they already feel like they've gotten the raw deal for over a decade. I hear these concerns. But that's not what these steps would do. Our history and the facts show that immigrants are a net plus for our economy and our society. And I believe it's important that all of us have this debate without impugning each other's character.
Because for all the back and forth of Washington, we have to remember that this debate is about something bigger. It's about who we are as a country, and who we want to be for future generations.
Are we a nation that tolerates the hypocrisy of a system where workers who pick our fruit and make our beds never have a chance to get right with the law? Or are we a nation that gives them a chance to make amends, take responsibility, and give their kids a better future?
Are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents' arms? Or are we a nation that values families, and works together to keep them together?
Are we a nation that educates the world's best and brightest in our universities, only to send them home to create businesses in countries that compete against us? Or are we a nation that encourages them to stay and create jobs here, create businesses here, create industries right here in America?
That's what this debate is all about. We need more than politics as usual when it comes to immigration. We need reasoned, thoughtful, compassionate debate that focuses on our hopes, not our fears. I know the politics of this issue are tough. But let me tell you why I have come to feel so strongly about it.
Over the past few years, I have seen the determination of immigrant fathers who worked two or three jobs without taking a dime from the government, and at risk any moment of losing it all, just to build a better life for their kids. I've seen the heartbreak and anxiety of children whose mothers might be taken away from them just because they didn't have the right papers. I've seen the courage of students who, except for the circumstances of their birth, are as American as Malia or Sasha; students who bravely come out as undocumented in hopes they could make a difference in the country they love.
These people -- - our neighbors, our classmates, our friends -- - they did not come here in search of a free ride or an easy life. They came to work, and study, and serve in our military, and above all, contribute to America's success.
Tomorrow, I'll travel to Las Vegas and meet with some of these students, including a young woman named Astrid Silva. Astrid was brought to America when she was four years old. Her only possessions were a cross, her doll, and the frilly dress she had on. When she started school, she didn't speak any English. She caught up to other kids by reading newspapers and watching PBS, and she became a good student. Her father worked in landscaping. Her mom cleaned other people's homes. They wouldn't let Astrid apply to a technology magnet school, not because they didn't love her, but because they were afraid the paperwork would out her as an undocumented immigrant -- - so she applied behind their back and got in. Still, she mostly lived in the shadows -- - until her grandmother, who visited every year from Mexico, passed away, and she couldn't travel to the funeral without risk of being found out and deported. It was around that time she decided to begin advocating for herself and others like her, and today, Astrid Silva is a college student working on her third degree.
Are we a nation that kicks out a striving, hopeful immigrant like Astrid, or are we a nation that finds a way to welcome her in? Scripture tells us that we shall not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger -- - we were strangers once, too.
My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. And whether our forebears were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in, and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like, or what our last names are, or how we worship. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal - -- that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will.
That's the country our parents and grandparents and generations before them built for us. That's the tradition we must uphold. That's the legacy we must leave for those who are yet to come.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless this country we love.
<title="Address to the Nation on Syria">
<date="September 10, 2013">
My fellow Americans, tonight I want to talk to you about Syria -- why it matters, and where we go from here.
Over the past two years, what began as a series of peaceful protests against the repressive regime of Bashar al-Assad has turned into a brutal civil war. Over 100,000 people have been killed. Millions have fled the country. In that time, America has worked with allies to provide humanitarian support, to help the moderate opposition, and to shape a political settlement. But I have resisted calls for military action, because we cannot resolve someone else's civil war through force, particularly after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The situation profoundly changed, though, on August 21st, when Assad's government gassed to death over a thousand people, including hundreds of children. The images from this massacre are sickening: Men, women, children lying in rows, killed by poison gas. Others foaming at the mouth, gasping for breath. A father clutching his dead children, imploring them to get up and walk. On that terrible night, the world saw in gruesome detail the terrible nature of chemical weapons, and why the overwhelming majority of humanity has declared them off-limits -- a crime against humanity, and a violation of the laws of war.
This was not always the case. In World War I, American GIs were among the many thousands killed by deadly gas in the trenches of Europe. In World War II, the Nazis used gas to inflict the horror of the Holocaust. Because these weapons can kill on a mass scale, with no distinction between soldier and infant, the civilized world has spent a century working to ban them. And in 1997, the United States Senate overwhelmingly approved an international agreement prohibiting the use of chemical weapons, now joined by 189 governments that represent 98 percent of humanity.
On August 21st, these basic rules were violated, along with our sense of common humanity. No one disputes that chemical weapons were used in Syria. The world saw thousands of videos, cell phone pictures, and social media accounts from the attack, and humanitarian organizations told stories of hospitals packed with people who had symptoms of poison gas.
Moreover, we know the Assad regime was responsible. In the days leading up to August 21st, we know that Assad's chemical weapons personnel prepared for an attack near an area where they mix sarin gas. They distributed gasmasks to their troops. Then they fired rockets from a regime-controlled area into 11 neighborhoods that the regime has been trying to wipe clear of opposition forces. Shortly after those rockets landed, the gas spread, and hospitals filled with the dying and the wounded. We know senior figures in Assad's military machine reviewed the results of the attack, and the regime increased their shelling of the same neighborhoods in the days that followed. We've also studied samples of blood and hair from people at the site that tested positive for sarin.
When dictators commit atrocities, they depend upon the world to look the other way until those horrifying pictures fade from memory. But these things happened. The facts cannot be denied. The question now is what the United States of America, and the international community, is prepared to do about it. Because what happened to those people -- to those children -- is not only a violation of international law, it's also a danger to our security.
Let me explain why. If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons. As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas, and using them. Over time, our troops would again face the prospect of chemical warfare on the battlefield. And it could be easier for terrorist organizations to obtain these weapons, and to use them to attack civilians.
If fighting spills beyond Syria's borders, these weapons could threaten allies like Turkey, Jordan, and Israel. And a failure to stand against the use of chemical weapons would weaken prohibitions against other weapons of mass destruction, and embolden Assad's ally, Iran -- which must decide whether to ignore international law by building a nuclear weapon, or to take a more peaceful path.
This is not a world we should accept. This is what's at stake. And that is why, after careful deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike. The purpose of this strike would be to deter Assad from using chemical weapons, to degrade his regime's ability to use them, and to make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use.
That's my judgment as Commander-in-Chief. But I'm also the President of the world's oldest constitutional democracy. So even though I possess the authority to order military strikes, I believed it was right, in the absence of a direct or imminent threat to our security, to take this debate to Congress. I believe our democracy is stronger when the President acts with the support of Congress. And I believe that America acts more effectively abroad when we stand together.
This is especially true after a decade that put more and more war-making power in the hands of the President, and more and more burdens on the shoulders of our troops, while sidelining the people's representatives from the critical decisions about when we use force.
Now, I know that after the terrible toll of Iraq and Afghanistan, the idea of any military action, no matter how limited, is not going to be popular. After all, I've spent four and a half years working to end wars, not to start them. Our troops are out of Iraq. Our troops are coming home from Afghanistan. And I know Americans want all of us in Washington
-- especially me -- to concentrate on the task of building our nation here at home: putting people back to work, educating our kids, growing our middle class.
It's no wonder, then, that you're asking hard questions. So let me answer some of the most important questions that I've heard from members of Congress, and that I've read in letters that you've sent to me.
First, many of you have asked, won't this put us on a slippery slope to another war? One man wrote to me that we are "still recovering from our involvement in Iraq." A veteran put it more bluntly: "This nation is sick and tired of war."
My answer is simple: I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria. I will not pursue an open-ended action like Iraq or Afghanistan. I will not pursue a prolonged air campaign like Libya or Kosovo. This would be a targeted strike to achieve a clear objective: deterring the use of chemical weapons, and degrading Assad's capabilities.
Others have asked whether it's worth acting if we don't take out Assad. As some members of Congress have said, there's no point in simply doing a "pinprick" strike in Syria.
Let me make something clear: The United States military doesn't do pinpricks. Even a limited strike will send a message to Assad that no other nation can deliver. I don't think we should remove another dictator with force -- we learned from Iraq that doing so makes us responsible for all that comes next. But a targeted strike can make Assad, or any other dictator, think twice before using chemical weapons.
Other questions involve the dangers of retaliation. We don't dismiss any threats, but the Assad regime does not have the ability to seriously threaten our military. Any other retaliation they might seek is in line with threats that we face every day. Neither Assad nor his allies have any interest in escalation that would lead to his demise. And our ally, Israel, can defend itself with overwhelming force, as well as the unshakeable support of the United States of America.
Many of you have asked a broader question: Why should we get involved at all in a place that's so complicated, and where -- as one person wrote to me -- "those who come after Assad may be enemies of human rights?"
It's true that some of Assad's opponents are extremists. But al Qaeda will only draw strength in a more chaotic Syria if people there see the world doing nothing to prevent innocent civilians from being gassed to death. The majority of the Syrian people -- and the Syrian opposition we work with -- just want to live in peace, with dignity and freedom. And the day after any military action, we would redouble our efforts to achieve a political solution that strengthens those who reject the forces of tyranny and extremism.
Finally, many of you have asked: Why not leave this to other countries, or seek solutions short of force? As several people wrote to me, "We should not be the world's policeman."
I agree, and I have a deeply held preference for peaceful solutions. Over the last two years, my administration has tried diplomacy and sanctions, warning and negotiations -- but chemical weapons were still used by the Assad regime.
However, over the last few days, we've seen some encouraging signs. In part because of the credible threat of U. S. military action, as well as constructive talks that I had with President Putin, the Russian government has indicated a willingness to join with the international community in pushing Assad to give up his chemical weapons. The Assad regime has now admitted that it has these weapons, and even said they'd join the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits their use.
It's too early to tell whether this offer will succeed, and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments. But this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force, particularly because Russia is one of Assad's strongest allies.
I have, therefore, asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force while we pursue this diplomatic path. I'm sending Secretary of State John Kerry to meet his Russian counterpart on Thursday, and I will continue my own discussions with President Putin. I've spoken to the leaders of two of our closest allies, France and the United Kingdom, and we will work together in consultation with Russia and China to put forward a resolution at the U. N. Security Council requiring Assad to give up his chemical weapons, and to ultimately destroy them under international control. We'll also give U. N. inspectors the opportunity to report their findings about what happened on August 21st. And we will continue to rally support from allies from Europe to the Americas -- from Asia to the Middle East -- who agree on the need for action.
Meanwhile, I've ordered our military to maintain their current posture to keep the pressure on Assad, and to be in a position to respond if diplomacy fails. And tonight, I give thanks again to our military and their families for their incredible strength and sacrifices.
My fellow Americans, for nearly seven decades, the United States has been the anchor of global security. This has meant doing more than forging international agreements -- it has meant enforcing them. The burdens of leadership are often heavy, but the world is a better place because we have borne them.
And so, to my friends on the right, I ask you to reconcile your commitment to America's military might with a failure to act when a cause is so plainly just. To my friends on the left, I ask you to reconcile your belief in freedom and dignity for all people with those images of children writhing in pain, and going still on a cold hospital floor. For sometimes resolutions and statements of condemnation are simply not enough.
Indeed, I'd ask every member of Congress, and those of you watching at home tonight, to view those videos of the attack, and then ask: What kind of world will we live in if the United States of America sees a dictator brazenly violate international law with poison gas, and we choose to look the other way?
Franklin Roosevelt once said, "Our national determination to keep free of foreign wars and foreign entanglements cannot prevent us from feeling deep concern when ideals and principles that we have cherished are challenged." Our ideals and principles, as well as our national security, are at stake in Syria, along with our leadership of a world where we seek to ensure that the worst weapons will never be used.
America is not the world's policeman. Terrible things happen across the globe, and it is beyond our means to right every wrong. But when, with modest effort and risk, we can stop children from being gassed to death, and thereby make our own children safer over the long run, I believe we should act. That's what makes America different. That's what makes us exceptional. With humility, but with resolve, let us never lose sight of that essential truth.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.
<title="Remarks to the People of Cuba">
<date="March 22, 2016">
Thank you. <Applause.> Muchas gracias. Thank you so much. Thank you very much.
President Castro, the people of Cuba, thank you so much for the warm welcome that I have received, that my family have received, and that our delegation has received. It is an extraordinary honor to be here today.
Before I begin, please indulge me. I want to comment on the terrorist attacks that have taken place in Brussels. The thoughts and the prayers of the American people are with the people of Belgium. We stand in solidarity with them in condemning these outrageous attacks against innocent people. We will do whatever is necessary to support our friend and ally, Belgium, in bringing to justice those who are responsible. And this is yet another reminder that the world must unite, we must be together, regardless of nationality, or race, or faith, in fighting against the scourge of terrorism. We can -- and will -- defeat those who threaten the safety and security of people all around the world.
To the government and the people of Cuba, I want to thank you for the kindness that you've shown to me and Michelle, Malia, Sasha, my mother-in-law, Marian.
"Cultivo una rosa blanca." <Applause.> In his most famous poem, Jose Marti made this offering of friendship and peace to both his friend and his enemy. Today, as the President of the United States of America, I offer the Cuban people el saludo de paz. <Applause.>
Havana is only 90 miles from Florida, but to get here we had to travel a great distance -- over barriers of history and ideology; barriers of pain and separation. The blue waters beneath Air Force One once carried American battleships to this island -- to liberate, but also to exert control over Cuba. Those waters also carried generations of Cuban revolutionaries to the United States, where they built support for their cause. And that short distance has been crossed by hundreds of thousands of Cuban exiles -- on planes and makeshift rafts -- who came to America in pursuit of freedom and opportunity, sometimes leaving behind everything they owned and every person that they loved.
Like so many people in both of our countries, my lifetime has spanned a time of isolation between us. The Cuban Revolution took place the same year that my father came to the United States from Kenya. The Bay of Pigs took place the year that I was born. The next year, the entire world held its breath, watching our two countries, as humanity came as close as we ever have to the horror of nuclear war. As the decades rolled by, our governments settled into a seemingly endless confrontation, fighting battles through proxies. In a world that remade itself time and again, one constant was the conflict between the United States and Cuba.
I have come here to bury the last remnant of the Cold War in the Americas. <Applause.> I have come here to extend the hand of friendship to the Cuban people. <Applause.>
I want to be clear: The differences between our governments over these many years are real and they are important. I'm sure President Castro would say the same thing -- I know, because I've heard him address those differences at length. But before I discuss those issues, we also need to recognize how much we share. Because in many ways, the United States and Cuba are like two brothers who've been estranged for many years, even as we share the same blood.
We both live in a new world, colonized by Europeans. Cuba, like the United States, was built in part by slaves brought here from Africa. Like the United States, the Cuban people can trace their heritage to both slaves and slave-owners. We've welcomed both immigrants who came a great distance to start new lives in the Americas.
Over the years, our cultures have blended together. Dr. Carlos Finlay's work in Cuba paved the way for generations of doctors, including Walter Reed, who drew on Dr. Finlay's work to help combat Yellow Fever. Just as Marti wrote some of his most famous words in New York, Ernest Hemingway made a home in Cuba, and found inspiration in the waters of these shores. We share a national past-time -- La Pelota -- and later today our players will compete on the same Havana field that Jackie Robinson played on before he made his Major League debut. <Applause.> And it's said that our greatest boxer, Muhammad Ali, once paid tribute to a Cuban that he could never fight -- saying that he would only be able to reach a draw with the great Cuban, Teofilo Stevenson. <Applause.>
So even as our governments became adversaries, our people continued to share these common passions, particularly as so many Cubans came to America. In Miami or Havana, you can find places to dance the Cha-Cha-Cha or the Salsa, and eat ropa vieja. People in both of our countries have sung along with Celia Cruz or Gloria Estefan, and now listen to reggaeton or Pitbull. <Laughter.> Millions of our people share a common religion -- a faith that I paid tribute to at the Shrine of our Lady of Charity in Miami, a peace that Cubans find in La Cachita.
For all of our differences, the Cuban and American people share common values in their own lives. A sense of patriotism and a sense of pride -- a lot of pride. A profound love of family. A passion for our children, a commitment to their education. And that's why I believe our grandchildren will look back on this period of isolation as an aberration, as just one chapter in a longer story of family and of friendship.
But we cannot, and should not, ignore the very real differences that we have -- about how we organize our governments, our economies, and our societies. Cuba has a one-party system; the United States is a multi-party democracy. Cuba has a socialist economic model; the United States is an open market. Cuba has emphasized the role and rights of the state; the United States is founded upon the rights of the individual.
Despite these differences, on December 17th 2014, President Castro and I announced that the United States and Cuba would begin a process to normalize relations between our countries. <Applause.> Since then, we have established diplomatic relations and opened embassies. We've begun initiatives to cooperate on health and agriculture, education and law enforcement. We've reached agreements to restore direct flights and mail service. We've expanded commercial ties, and increased the capacity of Americans to travel and do business in Cuba.
And these changes have been welcomed, even though there are still opponents to these policies. But still, many people on both sides of this debate have asked: Why now? Why now?
There is one simple answer: What the United States was doing was not working. We have to have the courage to acknowledge that truth. A policy of isolation designed for the Cold War made little sense in the 21st century. The embargo was only hurting the Cuban people instead of helping them. And I've always believed in what Martin Luther King, Jr. called "the fierce urgency of now" -- we should not fear change, we should embrace it. <Applause.>
That leads me to a bigger and more important reason for these changes: Creo en el pueblo Cubano. I believe in the Cuban people. <Applause.> This is not just a policy of normalizing relations with the Cuban government. The United States of America is normalizing relations with the Cuban people. <Applause.>
And today, I want to share with you my vision of what our future can be. I want the Cuban people -- especially the young people -- to understand why I believe that you should look to the future with hope; not the false promise which insists that things are better than they really are, or the blind optimism that says all your problems can go away tomorrow. Hope that is rooted in the future that you can choose and that you can shape, and that you can build for your country.
I'm hopeful because I believe that the Cuban people are as innovative as any people in the world.
In a global economy, powered by ideas and information, a country's greatest asset is its people. In the United States, we have a clear monument to what the Cuban people can build: it's called Miami. Here in Havana, we see that same talent in cuentapropistas, cooperatives and old cars that still run. El Cubano inventa del aire. <Applause.>
Cuba has an extraordinary resource -- a system of education which values every boy and every girl. <Applause.> And in recent years, the Cuban government has begun to open up to the world, and to open up more space for that talent to thrive. In just a few years, we've seen how cuentapropistas can succeed while sustaining a distinctly Cuban spirit. Being self-employed is not about becoming more like America, it's about being yourself.
Look at Sandra Lidice Aldama, who chose to start a small business. Cubans, she said, can "innovate and adapt without losing our identity&hellip;our secret is in not copying or imitating but simply being ourselves."
Look at Papito Valladeres, a barber, whose success allowed him to improve conditions in his neighborhood. "I realize I'm not going to solve all of the world's problems," he said. "But if I can solve problems in the little piece of the world where I live, it can ripple across Havana."
That's where hope begins -- with the ability to earn your own living, and to build something you can be proud of. That's why our policies focus on supporting Cubans, instead of hurting them. That's why we got rid of limits on remittances -- so ordinary Cubans have more resources. That's why we're encouraging travel -- which will build bridges between our people, and bring more revenue to those Cuban small businesses. That's why we've opened up space for commerce and exchanges -- so that Americans and Cubans can work together to find cures for diseases, and create jobs, and open the door to more opportunity for the Cuban people.
As President of the United States, I've called on our Congress to lift the embargo. <Applause.> It is an outdated burden on the Cuban people. It's a burden on the Americans who want to work and do business or invest here in Cuba. It's time to lift the embargo. But even if we lifted the embargo tomorrow, Cubans would not realize their potential without continued change here in Cuba. <Applause.> It should be easier to open a business here in Cuba. A worker should be able to get a job directly with companies who invest here in Cuba. Two currencies shouldn't separate the type of salaries that Cubans can earn. The Internet should be available across the island, so that Cubans can connect to the wider world -- <applause> -- and to one of the greatest engines of growth in human history.
There's no limitation from the United States on the ability of Cuba to take these steps. It's up to you. And I can tell you as a friend that sustainable prosperity in the 21st century depends upon education, health care, and environmental protection. But it also depends on the free and open exchange of ideas. If you can't access information online, if you cannot be exposed to different points of view, you will not reach your full potential. And over time, the youth will lose hope.
I know these issues are sensitive, especially coming from an American President. Before 1959, some Americans saw Cuba as something to exploit, ignored poverty, enabled corruption. And since 1959, we've been shadow-boxers in this battle of geopolitics and personalities. I know the history, but I refuse to be trapped by it. <Applause.>
I've made it clear that the United States has neither the capacity, nor the intention to impose change on Cuba. What changes come will depend upon the Cuban people. We will not impose our political or economic system on you. We recognize that every country, every people, must chart its own course and shape its own model. But having removed the shadow of history from our relationship, I must speak honestly about the things that I believe -- the things that we, as Americans, believe. As Marti said, "Liberty is the right of every man to be honest, to think and to speak without hypocrisy."
So let me tell you what I believe. I can't force you to agree, but you should know what I think. I believe that every person should be equal under the law. <Applause.> Every child deserves the dignity that comes with education, and health care and food on the table and a roof over their heads. <Applause.> I believe citizens should be free to speak their mind without fear -- <applause> -- to organize, and to criticize their government, and to protest peacefully, and that the rule of law should not include arbitrary detentions of people who exercise those rights. <Applause.> I believe that every person should have the freedom to practice their faith peacefully and publicly. <Applause.> And, yes, I believe voters should be able to choose their governments in free and democratic elections. <Applause.>
Not everybody agrees with me on this. Not everybody agrees with the American people on this. But I believe those human rights are universal. <Applause.> I believe they are the rights of the American people, the Cuban people, and people around the world.
Now, there's no secret that our governments disagree on many of these issues. I've had frank conversations with President Castro. For many years, he has pointed out the flaws in the American system -- economic inequality; the death penalty; racial discrimination; wars abroad. That's just a sample. He has a much longer list. <Laughter.> But here's what the Cuban people need to understand: I welcome this open debate and dialogue. It's good. It's healthy. I'm not afraid of it.
We do have too much money in American politics. But, in America, it's still possible for somebody like me -- a child who was raised by a single mom, a child of mixed race who did not have a lot of money -- to pursue and achieve the highest office in the land. That's what's possible in America. <Applause.>
We do have challenges with racial bias -- in our communities, in our criminal justice system, in our society -- the legacy of slavery and segregation. But the fact that we have open debates within America's own democracy is what allows us to get better. In 1959, the year that my father moved to America, it was illegal for him to marry my mother, who was white, in many American states. When I first started school, we were still struggling to desegregate schools across the American South. But people organized; they protested; they debated these issues; they challenged government officials. And because of those protests, and because of those debates, and because of popular mobilization, I'm able to stand here today as an African-American and as President of the United States. That was because of the freedoms that were afforded in the United States that we were able to bring about change.
I'm not saying this is easy. There's still enormous problems in our society. But democracy is the way that we solve them. That's how we got health care for more of our people. That's how we made enormous gains in women's rights and gay rights. That's how we address the inequality that concentrates so much wealth at the top of our society. Because workers can organize and ordinary people have a voice, American democracy has given our people the opportunity to pursue their dreams and enjoy a high standard of living. <Applause.>
Now, there are still some tough fights. It isn't always pretty, the process of democracy. It's often frustrating. You can see that in the election going on back home. But just stop and consider this fact about the American campaign that's taking place right now. You had two Cuban Americans in the Republican Party, running against the legacy of a black man who is President, while arguing that they're the best person to beat the Democratic nominee who will either be a woman or a Democratic Socialist. <Laughter and applause.> Who would have believed that back in 1959? That's a measure of our progress as a democracy. <Applause.>
So here's my message to the Cuban government and the Cuban people: The ideals that are the starting point for every revolution -- America's revolution, Cuba's revolution, the liberation movements around the world -- those ideals find their truest expression, I believe, in democracy. Not because American democracy is perfect, but precisely because we're not. And we -- like every country -- need the space that democracy gives us to change. It gives individuals the capacity to be catalysts to think in new ways, and to reimagine how our society should be, and to make them better.
There's already an evolution taking place inside of Cuba, a generational change. Many suggested that I come here and ask the people of Cuba to tear something down -- but I'm appealing to the young people of Cuba who will lift something up, build something new. <Applause.> El futurode Cuba tiene que estar en las manos del pueblo Cubano. <Applause.>
And to President Castro -- who I appreciate being here today -- I want you to know, I believe my visit here demonstrates you do not need to fear a threat from the United States. And given your commitment to Cuba's sovereignty and self-determination, I am also confident that you need not fear the different voices of the Cuban people -- and their capacity to speak, and assemble, and vote for their leaders. In fact, I'm hopeful for the future because I trust that the Cuban people will make the right decisions.
And as you do, I'm also confident that Cuba can continue to play an important role in the hemisphere and around the globe -- and my hope is, is that you can do so as a partner with the United States.
We've played very different roles in the world. But no one should deny the service that thousands of Cuban doctors have delivered for the poor and suffering. <Applause.> Last year, American health care workers -- and the U. S. military -- worked side-by-side with Cubans to save lives and stamp out Ebola in West Africa. I believe that we should continue that kind of cooperation in other countries.
We've been on the different side of so many conflicts in the Americas. But today, Americans and Cubans are sitting together at the negotiating table, and we are helping the Colombian people resolve a civil war that's dragged on for decades. <Applause.> That kind of cooperation is good for everybody. It gives everyone in this hemisphere hope.
We took different journeys to our support for the people of South Africa in ending apartheid. But President Castro and I could both be there in Johannesburg to pay tribute to the legacy of the great Nelson Mandela. <Applause.> And in examining his life and his words, I'm sure we both realize we have more work to do to promote equality in our own countries -- to reduce discrimination based on race in our own countries. And in Cuba, we want our engagement to help lift up the Cubans who are of African descent -- <applause> -- who've proven that there's nothing they cannot achieve when given the chance.
We've been a part of different blocs of nations in the hemisphere, and we will continue to have profound differences about how to promote peace, security, opportunity, and human rights. But as we normalize our relations, I believe it can help foster a greater sense of unity in the Americas -- todos somos Americanos. <Applause.>
From the beginning of my time in office, I've urged the people of the Americas to leave behind the ideological battles of the past. We are in a new era. I know that many of the issues that I've talked about lack the drama of the past. And I know that part of Cuba's identity is its pride in being a small island nation that could stand up for its rights, and shake the world. But I also know that Cuba will always stand out because of the talent, hard work, and pride of the Cuban people. That's your strength. <Applause.> Cuba doesn't have to be defined by being against the United States, any more than the United States should be defined by being against Cuba. I'm hopeful for the future because of the reconciliation that's taking place among the Cuban people.
I know that for some Cubans on the island, there may be a sense that those who left somehow supported the old order in Cuba. I'm sure there's a narrative that lingers here which suggests that Cuban exiles ignored the problems of pre-Revolutionary Cuba, and rejected the struggle to build a new future. But I can tell you today that so many Cuban exiles carry a memory of painful -- and sometimes violent -- separation. They love Cuba. A part of them still considers this their true home. That's why their passion is so strong. That's why their heartache is so great. And for the Cuban American community that I've come to know and respect, this is not just about politics. This is about family -- the memory of a home that was lost; the desire to rebuild a broken bond; the hope for a better future the hope for return and reconciliation.
For all of the politics, people are people, and Cubans are Cubans. And I've come here -- I've traveled this distance -- on a bridge that was built by Cubans on both sides of the Florida Straits. I first got to know the talent and passion of the Cuban people in America. And I know how they have suffered more than the pain of exile -- they also know what it's like to be an outsider, and to struggle, and to work harder to make sure their children can reach higher in America.
So the reconciliation of the Cuban people -- the children and grandchildren of revolution, and the children and grandchildren of exile -- that is fundamental to Cuba's future. <Applause.>
You see it in Gloria Gonzalez, who traveled here in 2013 for the first time after 61 years of separation, and was met by her sister, Llorca. "You recognized me, but I didn't recognize you," Gloria said after she embraced her sibling. Imagine that, after 61 years.
You see it in Melinda Lopez, who came to her family's old home. And as she was walking the streets, an elderly woman recognized her as her mother's daughter, and began to cry. She took her into her home and showed her a pile of photos that included Melinda's baby picture, which her mother had sent 50 years ago. Melinda later said, "So many of us are now getting so much back."
You see it in Cristian Miguel Soler, a young man who became the first of his family to travel here after 50 years. And meeting relatives for the first time, he said, "I realized that family is family no matter the distance between us."
Sometimes the most important changes start in small places. The tides of history can leave people in conflict and exile and poverty. It takes time for those circumstances to change. But the recognition of a common humanity, the reconciliation of people bound by blood and a belief in one another -- that's where progress begins. Understanding, and listening, and forgiveness. And if the Cuban people face the future together, it will be more likely that the young people of today will be able to live with dignity and achieve their dreams right here in Cuba.
The history of the United States and Cuba encompass revolution and conflict; struggle and sacrifice; retribution and, now, reconciliation. It is time, now, for us to leave the past behind. It is time for us to look forward to the future together -- un future de esperanza. And it won't be easy, and there will be setbacks. It will take time. But my time here in Cuba renews my hope and my confidence in what the Cuban people will do. We can make this journey as friends, and as neighbors, and as family -- together. Si se puede. Muchas gracias. <Applause.>
<title="2010 State of the Union Address">
<date="January 27, 2010">
Madam Speaker, Vice President Biden, Members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:
Our Constitution declares that from time to time, the President shall give to Congress information about the state of our Union. For 220 years, our leaders have fulfilled this duty. They've done so during periods of prosperity and tranquility, and they've done so in the midst of war and depression, at moments of great strife and great struggle.
It's tempting to look back on these moments and assume that our progress was inevitable, that America was always destined to succeed. But when the Union was turned back at Bull Run and the Allies first landed at Omaha Beach, victory was very much in doubt. When the market crashed on Black Tuesday and civil rights marchers were beaten on Bloody Sunday, the future was anything but certain. These were the times that tested the courage of our convictions and the strength of our Union. And despite all our divisions and disagreements, our hesitations and our fears, America prevailed because we chose to move forward as one Nation, as one people. Again, we are tested. And again, we must answer history's call.
One year ago, I took office amid two wars, an economy rocked by a severe recession, a financial system on the verge of collapse, and a Government deeply in debt. Experts from across the political spectrum warned that if we did not act, we might face a second depression. So we acted, immediately and aggressively. And 1 year later, the worst of the storm has passed.
But the devastation remains. One in 10 Americans still cannot find work. Many businesses have shuttered. Home values have declined. Small towns and rural communities have been hit especially hard. And for those who'd already known poverty, life's become that much harder.
This recession has also compounded the burdens that America's families have been dealing with for decades: the burden of working harder and longer for less, of being unable to save enough to retire or help kids with college.
So I know the anxieties that are out there right now. They're not new. These struggles are the reason I ran for President. These struggles are what I've witnessed for years, in places like Elkhart, Indiana; Galesburg, Illinois. I hear about them in the letters that I read each night. The toughest to read are those written by children asking why they have to move from their home, asking when their mom or dad will be able to go back to work.
For these Americans and so many others, change has not come fast enough. Some are frustrated, some are angry. They don't understand why it seems like bad behavior on Wall Street is rewarded, but hard work on Main Street isn't, or why Washington has been unable or unwilling to solve any of our problems. They're tired of the partisanship and the shouting and the pettiness. They know we can't afford it. Not now.
So we face big and difficult challenges. And what the American people hope, what they deserve, is for all of us, Democrats and Republicans, to work through our differences, to overcome the numbing weight of our politics. For while the people who sent us here have different backgrounds, different stories, different beliefs, the anxieties they face are the same. The aspirations they hold are shared: a job that pays the bills; a chance to get ahead; most of all, the ability to give their children a better life.
And you know what else they share? They share a stubborn resilience in the face of adversity. After one of the most difficult years in our history, they remain busy building cars and teaching kids, starting businesses and going back to school. They're coaching Little League and helping their neighbors. One woman wrote to me and said, "We are strained but hopeful, struggling but encouraged."
It's because of this spirit, this great decency and great strength, that I have never been more hopeful about America's future than I am tonight. Despite our hardships, our Union is strong. We do not give up. We do not quit. We do not allow fear or division to break our spirit. In this new decade, it's time the American people get a Government that matches their decency, that embodies their strength. And tonight I'd like to talk about how together we can deliver on that promise.
It begins with our economy. Our most urgent task upon taking office was to shore up the same banks that helped cause this crisis. It was not easy to do. And if there's one thing that has unified Democrats and Republicans and everybody in between, it's that we all hated the bank bailout. I hated it. I hated it; you hated it. It was about as popular as a root canal.
But when I ran for President, I promised I wouldn't just do what was popular; I would do what was necessary. And if we had allowed the meltdown of the financial system, unemployment might be double what it is today. More businesses would certainly have closed. More homes would have surely been lost.
So I supported the last administration's efforts to create the financial rescue program. And when we took that program over, we made it more transparent and more accountable. And as a result, the markets are now stabilized, and we've recovered most of the money we spent on the banks -- most but not all.
To recover the rest, I've proposed a fee on the biggest banks. Now, I know Wall Street isn't keen on this idea. But if these firms can afford to hand out big bonuses again, they can afford a modest fee to pay back the taxpayers who rescued them in their time of need.
Now, as we stabilized the financial system, we also took steps to get our economy growing again, save as many jobs as possible, and help Americans who had become unemployed. That's why we extended or increased unemployment benefits for more than 18 million Americans, made health insurance 65 percent cheaper for families who get their coverage through COBRA, and passed 25 different tax cuts.
Now, let me repeat: We cut taxes. We cut taxes for 95 percent of working families. We cut taxes for small businesses. We cut taxes for first-time home buyers. We cut taxes for parents trying to care for their children. We cut taxes for 8 million Americans paying for college. I thought I'd get some applause on that one.
As a result, millions of Americans had more to spend on gas and food and other necessities, all of which helped businesses keep more workers. And we haven't raised income taxes by a single dime on a single person -- not a single dime.
Now, because of the steps we took, there are about 2 million Americans working right now who would otherwise be unemployed. Two hundred thousand work in construction and clean energy. Three hundred thousand are teachers and other education workers. Tens of thousands are cops, firefighters, correctional officers, first-responders. And we're on track to add another 1&frac12; million jobs to this total by the end of the year.
The plan that has made all of this possible, from the tax cuts to the jobs, is the Recovery Act. That's right, the Recovery Act, also known as the stimulus bill. Economists on the left and the right say this bill has helped save jobs and avert disaster. But you don't have to take their word for it. Talk to the small business in Phoenix that will triple its workforce because of the Recovery Act. Talk to the window manufacturer in Philadelphia who said he used to be skeptical about the Recovery Act, until he had to add two more work shifts just because of the business it created. Talk to the single teacher raising two kids who was told by her principal in the last week of school that because of the Recovery Act, she wouldn't be laid off after all.
There are stories like this all across America. And after 2 years of recession, the economy is growing again. Retirement funds have started to gain back some of their value. Businesses are beginning to invest again, and slowly some are starting to hire again.
But I realize that for every success story, there are other stories, of men and women who wake up with the anguish of not knowing where their next paycheck will come from, who send out resumes week after week and hear nothing in response. That is why jobs must be our number-one focus in 2010, and that's why I'm calling for a new jobs bill tonight.
Now, the true engine of job creation in this country will always be America's businesses. I agree, absolutely. But Government can create the conditions necessary for businesses to expand and hire more workers. We should start where most new jobs do, in small businesses, companies that begin when an entrepreneur takes a chance on a dream or a worker decides it's time she became her own boss. Through sheer grit and determination, these companies have weathered the recession, and they're ready to grow. But when you talk to small-business owners in places like Allentown, Pennsylvania, or Elyria, Ohio, you find out that even though banks on Wall Street are lending again, they're mostly lending to bigger companies. Financing remains difficult for small-business owners across the country, even those that are making a profit.
So tonight I'm proposing that we take $30 billion of the money Wall Street banks have repaid and use it to help community banks give small businesses the credit they need to stay afloat. I'm also proposing a new small business tax credit, one that will go to over 1 million small businesses who hire new workers or raise wages. While we're at it, let's also eliminate all capital gains taxes on small-business investment and provide a tax incentive for all large businesses and all small businesses to invest in new plants and equipment.
Next, we can put Americans to work today building the infrastructure of tomorrow. From the first railroads to the Interstate Highway System, our Nation has always been built to compete. There's no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains or the new factories that manufacture clean energy products. Tomorrow I'll visit Tampa, Florida, where workers will soon break ground on a new high-speed railroad funded by the Recovery Act. There are projects like that all across this country that will create jobs and help move our Nation's goods, services, and information.
We should put more Americans to work building clean energy facilities and give rebates to Americans who make their homes more energy efficient, which supports clean energy jobs. And to encourage these and other businesses to stay within our borders, it is time to finally slash the tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas and give those tax breaks to companies that create jobs right here in the United States of America.
Now, the House has passed a jobs bill that includes some of these steps. As the first order of business this year, I urge the Senate to do the same, and I know they will. They will. People are out of work. They're hurting. They need our help. And I want a jobs bill on my desk without delay.
But the truth is, these steps won't make up for the 7 million jobs that we've lost over the last 2 years. The only way to move to full employment is to lay a new foundation for long-term economic growth and finally address the problems that America's families have confronted for years.
We can't afford another so-called economic "expansion" like the one from the last decade, what some call the "lost decade," where jobs grew more slowly than during any prior expansion, where the income of the average American household declined while the cost of health care and tuition reached record highs, where prosperity was built on a housing bubble and financial speculation.
From the day I took office, I've been told that addressing our larger challenges is too ambitious; such an effort would be too contentious. I've been told that our political system is too gridlocked and that we should just put things on hold for a while. For those who make these claims, I have one simple question: How long should we wait? How long should America put its future on hold?
You see, Washington has been telling us to wait for decades, even as the problems have grown worse. Meanwhile, China's not waiting to revamp its economy. Germany's not waiting. India's not waiting. These nations are -- they're not standing still. These nations aren't playing for second place. They're putting more emphasis on math and science. They're rebuilding their infrastructure. They're making serious investments in clean energy because they want those jobs. Well, I do not accept second place for the United States of America. As hard as it may be, as uncomfortable and contentious as the debates may become, it's time to get serious about fixing the problems that are hampering our growth.
Now, one place to start is serious financial reform. Look, I am not interested in punishing banks. I'm interested in protecting our economy. A strong, healthy financial market makes it possible for businesses to access credit and create new jobs. It channels the savings of families into investments that raise incomes. But that can only happen if we guard against the same recklessness that nearly brought down our entire economy.
We need to make sure consumers and middle class families have the information they need to make financial decisions. We can't allow financial institutions, including those that take your deposits, to take risks that threaten the whole economy.
Now, the House has already passed financial reform with many of these changes, and the lobbyists are trying to kill it. But we cannot let them win this fight. And if the bill that ends up on my desk does not meet the test of real reform, I will send it back until we get it right. We've got to get it right.
Next, we need to encourage American innovation. Last year, we made the largest investment in basic research funding in history, an investment that could lead to the world's cheapest solar cells or treatment that kills cancer cells but leaves healthy ones untouched. And no area is more ripe for such innovation than energy. You can see the results of last year's investments in clean energy in the North Carolina company that will create 1,200 jobs nationwide helping to make advanced batteries or in the California business that will put a thousand people to work making solar panels.
But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. And that means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear powerplants in this country. It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development. It means continued investment in advanced biofuels and clean coal technologies. And, yes, it means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America. Now, I am grateful to the House for passing such a bill last year. And this year, I'm eager to help advance the bipartisan effort in the Senate.
I know there have been questions about whether we can afford such changes in a tough economy. I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change. But here's the thing: Even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future, because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation.
Third, we need to export more of our goods, because the more products we make and sell to other countries, the more jobs we support right here in America. So tonight we set a new goal: We will double our exports over the next 5 years, an increase that will support 2 million jobs in America. To help meet this goal, we're launching a National Export Initiative that will help farmers and small businesses increase their exports and reform export controls consistent with national security.
We have to seek new markets aggressively, just as our competitors are. If America sits on the sidelines while other nations sign trade deals, we will lose the chance to create jobs on our shores. But realizing those benefits also means enforcing those agreements so our trading partners play by the rules. And that's why we'll continue to shape a Doha trade agreement that opens global markets and why we will strengthen our trade relations in Asia and with key partners like South Korea and Panama and Colombia.
Fourth, we need to invest in the skills and education of our people. Now, this year, we've broken through the stalemate between left and right by launching a national competition to improve our schools. And the idea here is simple: Instead of rewarding failure, we only reward success. Instead of funding the status quo, we only invest in reform, reform that raises student achievement, inspires students to excel in math and science, and turns around failing schools that steal the future of too many young Americans, from rural communities to the inner city. In the 21st century, the best antipoverty program around is a world-class education. And in this country, the success of our children cannot depend more on where they live than on their potential. When we renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, we will work with Congress to expand these reforms to all 50 States.
Still, in this economy, a high school diploma no longer guarantees a good job. That's why I urge the Senate to follow the House and pass a bill that will revitalize our community colleges, which are a career pathway to the children of so many working families.
To make college more affordable, this bill will finally end the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that go to banks for student loans. Instead, let's take that money and give families a $10,000 tax credit for 4 years of college and increase Pell grants. And let's tell another 1 million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only 10 percent of their income on student loans and all of their debt will be forgiven after 20 years -- and forgiven after 10 years if they choose a career in public service, because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college. And by the way, it's time for colleges and universities to get serious about cutting their own costs, because they too have a responsibility to help solve this problem.
Now, the price of college tuition is just one of the burdens facing the middle class. That's why last year, I asked Vice President Biden to chair a task force on middle class families. That's why we're nearly doubling the child care tax credit and making it easier to save for retirement by giving access to every worker a retirement account and expanding the tax credit for those who start a nest egg. That's why we're working to lift the value of a family's single largest investment, their home. The steps we took last year to shore up the housing market have allowed millions of Americans to take out new loans and save an average of $1,500 on mortgage payments. This year, we will step up refinancing so that homeowners can move into more affordable mortgages.
And it is precisely to relieve the burden on middle class families that we still need health insurance reform. Yes, we do.
Now, let's clear a few things up. I didn't choose to tackle this issue to get some legislative victory under my belt. And by now it should be fairly obvious that I didn't take on health care because it was good politics. I took on health care because of the stories I've heard from Americans with preexisting conditions whose lives depend on getting coverage, patients who've been denied coverage, families, even those with insurance, who are just one illness away from financial ruin.
After nearly a century of trying -- Democratic administrations, Republican administrations -- we are closer than ever to bringing more security to the lives of so many Americans. The approach we've taken would protect every American from the worst practices of the insurance industry. It would give small businesses and uninsured Americans a chance to choose an affordable health care plan in a competitive market. It would require every insurance plan to cover preventive care.
And by the way, I want to acknowledge our First Lady, Michelle Obama, who this year is creating a national movement to tackle the epidemic of childhood obesity and make kids healthier. Thank you, honey. She gets embarrassed.
Our approach would preserve the right of Americans who have insurance to keep their doctor and their plan. It would reduce costs and premiums for millions of families and businesses. And according to the Congressional Budget Office, the independent organization that both parties have cited as the official scorekeeper for Congress, our approach would bring down the deficit by as much as $1 trillion over the next two decades.
Still, this is a complex issue, and the longer it was debated, the more skeptical people became. I take my share of the blame for not explaining it more clearly to the American people. And I know that with all the lobbying and horse-trading, the process left most Americans wondering, "What's in it for me?"
But I also know this problem is not going away. By the time I'm finished speaking tonight, more Americans will have lost their health insurance. Millions will lose it this year. Our deficit will grow. Premiums will go up. Patients will be denied the care they need. Small-business owners will continue to drop coverage altogether. I will not walk away from these Americans, and neither should the people in this Chamber.
So, as temperatures cool, I want everyone to take another look at the plan we've proposed. There's a reason why many doctors, nurses, and health care experts who know our system best consider this approach a vast improvement over the status quo. But if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know. Let me know. Let me know. I'm eager to see it.
Here's what I ask Congress, though: Don't walk away from reform. Not now. Not when we are so close. Let us find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people. Let's get it done. Let's get it done.
Now, even as health care reform would reduce our deficit, it's not enough to dig us out of a massive fiscal hole in which we find ourselves. It's a challenge that makes all others that much harder to solve and one that's been subject to a lot of political posturing. So let me start the discussion of Government spending by setting the record straight.
At the beginning of the last decade, the year 2000, America had a budget surplus of over $200 billion. By the time I took office, we had a 1-year deficit of over $1 trillion and projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade. Most of this was the result of not paying for two wars, two tax cuts, and an expensive prescription drug program. On top of that, the effects of the recession put a $3 trillion hole in our budget. All this was before I walked in the door.
Now -- just stating the facts. Now, if we had taken office in ordinary times, I would have liked nothing more than to start bringing down the deficit. But we took office amid a crisis. And our efforts to prevent a second depression have added another $1 trillion to our national debt. That too is a fact.
I'm absolutely convinced that was the right thing to do. But families across the country are tightening their belts and making tough decisions. The Federal Government should do the same. So tonight I'm proposing specific steps to pay for the trillion dollars that it took to rescue the economy last year.
Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze Government spending for 3 years. Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary Government programs will. Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don't. And if I have to enforce this discipline by veto, I will.
We will continue to go through the budget, line by line, page by page, to eliminate programs that we can't afford and don't work. We've already identified $20 billion in savings for next year. To help working families, we'll extend our middle class tax cuts. But at a time of record deficits, we will not continue tax cuts for oil companies, for investment fund managers, and for those making over $250,000 a year. We just can't afford it.
Now, even after paying for what we spent on my watch, we'll still face the massive deficit we had when I took office. More importantly, the cost of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will continue to skyrocket. That's why I've called for a bipartisan fiscal commission, modeled on a proposal by Republican Judd Gregg and Democrat Kent Conrad. This can't be one of those Washington gimmicks that lets us pretend we solve a problem. The commission will have to provide a specific set of solutions by a certain deadline.
Now, yesterday the Senate blocked a bill that would have created this commission, so I'll issue an Executive order that will allow us to go forward, because I refuse to pass this problem on to another generation of Americans. And when the vote comes tomorrow, the Senate should restore the pay-as-you-go law that was a big reason for why we had record surpluses in the 1990s.
Now, I know that some in my own party will argue that we can't address the deficit or freeze Government spending when so many are still hurting. And I agree, which is why this freeze won't take effect until next year, when the economy is stronger. That's how budgeting works. But understand, if we don't take meaningful steps to rein in our debt, it could damage our markets, increase the cost of borrowing, and jeopardize our recovery, all of which would have an even worse effect on our job growth and family incomes.
From some on the right, I expect we'll hear a different argument, that if we just make fewer investments in our people, extend tax cuts, including those for the wealthier Americans, eliminate more regulations, maintain the status quo on health care, our deficits will go away. The problem is, that's what we did for 8 years. That's what helped us into this crisis. It's what helped lead to these deficits. We can't do it again.
Rather than fight the same tired battles that have dominated Washington for decades, it's time to try something new. Let's invest in our people without leaving them a mountain of debt. Let's meet our responsibility to the citizens who sent us here. Let's try common sense -- a novel concept.
Now, to do that, we have to recognize that we face more than a deficit of dollars right now. We face a deficit of trust, deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works that have been growing for years. To close that credibility gap, we have to take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue to end the outsized influence of lobbyists, to do our work openly, to give our people the Government they deserve.
Now, that's what I came to Washington to do. That's why, for the first time in history, my administration posts on -- our White House visitors online. That's why we've excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs or seats on Federal boards and commissions. But we can't stop there. It's time to require lobbyists to disclose each contact they make on behalf of a client, with my administration or with Congress. It's time to put strict limits on the contributions that lobbyists give to candidates for Federal office.
With all due deference to separation of powers, last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests, including foreign corporations, to spend without limit in our elections. I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people. And I'd urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps correct some of these problems.
I'm also calling on Congress to continue down the path of earmark reform, Democrats and Republicans -- Democrats and Republicans. Look, you've trimmed some of this spending, you've embraced some meaningful change, but restoring the public trust demands more. For example, some Members of Congress post some earmark requests online. Tonight I'm calling on Congress to publish all earmark requests on a single web site before there's a vote so that the American people can see how their money is being spent.
Of course, none of these reforms will even happen if we don't also reform how we work with one another. Now, I'm not naive. I never thought that the mere fact of my election would usher in peace and harmony and -- some postpartisan era. I knew that both parties have fed divisions that are deeply entrenched. And on some issues, there are simply philosophical differences that will always cause us to part ways. These disagreements, about the role of government in our lives, about our national priorities and our national security, they've been taking place for over 200 years. They're the very essence of our democracy.
But what frustrates the American people is a Washington where every day is Election Day. We can't wage a perpetual campaign where the only goal is to see who can get the most embarrassing headlines about the other side, a belief that if you lose, I win. Neither party should delay or obstruct every single bill just because they can. The confirmation of -- I'm speaking to both parties now. The confirmation of well-qualified public servants shouldn't be held hostage to the pet projects or grudges of a few individual Senators.
Washington may think that saying anything about the other side, no matter how false, no matter how malicious, is just part of the game. But it's precisely such politics that has stopped either party from helping the American people. Worse yet, it's sowing further division among our citizens, further distrust in our Government. So, no, I will not give up on trying to change the tone of our politics. I know it's an election year. And after last week, it's clear that campaign fever has come even earlier than usual. But we still need to govern.
To Democrats, I would remind you that we still have the largest majority in decades and the people expect us to solve problems, not run for the hills. And if the Republican leadership is going to insist that 60 votes in the Senate are required to do any business at all in this town -- a supermajority -- then the responsibility to govern is now yours as well. Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it's not leadership. We were sent here to serve our citizens, not our ambitions. So let's show the American people that we can do it together.
This week, I'll be addressing a meeting of the House Republicans. I'd like to begin monthly meetings with both Democratic and Republican leadership. I know you can't wait.
Now, throughout our history, no issue has united this country more than our security. Sadly, some of the unity we felt after 9/11 has dissipated. And we can argue all we want about who's to blame for this, but I'm not interested in relitigating the past. I know that all of us love this country. All of us are committed to its defense. So let's put aside the schoolyard taunts about who's tough. Let's reject the false choice between protecting our people and upholding our values. Let's leave behind the fear and division and do what it takes to defend our Nation and forge a more hopeful future for America and for the world.
That's the work we began last year. Since the day I took office, we've renewed our focus on the terrorists who threaten our Nation. We've made substantial investments in our homeland security and disrupted plots that threatened to take American lives. We are filling unacceptable gaps revealed by the failed Christmas attack, with better airline security and swifter action on our intelligence. We've prohibited torture and strengthened partnerships from the Pacific to South Asia to the Arabian Peninsula. And in the last year, hundreds of Al Qaida's fighters and affiliates, including many senior leaders, have been captured or killed, far more than in 2008.
And in Afghanistan, we're increasing our troops and training Afghan security forces so they can begin to take the lead in July of 2011 and our troops can begin to come home. We will reward good governance, work to reduce corruption, and support the rights of all Afghans, men and women alike. We're joined by allies and partners who have increased their own commitments and who will come together tomorrow in London to reaffirm our common purpose. There will be difficult days ahead, but I am absolutely confident we will succeed.
As we take the fight to Al Qaida, we are responsibly leaving Iraq to its people. As a candidate, I promised that I would end this war, and that is what I am doing as President. We will have all of our combat troops out of Iraq by the end of this August. We will support the Iraqi Government as they hold elections, and we will continue to partner with the Iraqi people to promote regional peace and prosperity. But make no mistake: This war is ending, and all of our troops are coming home.
Tonight all of our men and women in uniform, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and around the world, they have to know that we -- that they have our respect, our gratitude, our full support. And just as they must have the resources they need in war, we all have a responsibility to support them when they come home. That's why we made the largest increase in investments for veterans in decades last year. That's why we're building a 21st century VA. And that's why Michelle has joined with Jill Biden to forge a national commitment to support military families.
Now, even as we prosecute two wars, we're also confronting perhaps the greatest danger to the American people, the threat of nuclear weapons. I've embraced the vision of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan through a strategy that reverses the spread of these weapons and seeks a world without them. To reduce our stockpiles and launchers, while ensuring our deterrent, the United States and Russia are completing negotiations on the farthest reaching arms control treaty in nearly two decades. And at April's Nuclear Security Summit, we will bring 44 nations together here in Washington, DC, behind a clear goal: securing all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world in 4 years so that they never fall into the hands of terrorists.
Now, these diplomatic efforts have also strengthened our hand in dealing with those nations that insist on violating international agreements in pursuit of nuclear weapons. That's why North Korea now faces increased isolation and stronger sanctions, sanctions that are being vigorously enforced. That's why the international community is more united and the Islamic Republic of Iran is more isolated. And as Iran's leaders continue to ignore their obligations, there should be no doubt: They too will face growing consequences. That is a promise.
That's the leadership we are providing: engagement that advances the common security and prosperity of all people. We're working through the G-20 to sustain a lasting global recovery. We're working with Muslim communities around the world to promote science and education and innovation. We have gone from a bystander to a leader in the fight against climate change. We're helping developing countries to feed themselves and continuing the fight against HIV/AIDS. And we are launching a new initiative that will give us the capacity to respond faster and more effectively to bioterrorism or an infectious disease, a plan that will counter threats at home and strengthen public health abroad.
As we have for over 60 years, America takes these actions because our destiny is connected to those beyond our shores. But we also do it because it is right. That's why, as we meet here tonight, over 10,000 Americans are working with many nations to help the people of Haiti recover and rebuild. That's why we stand with the girl who yearns to go to school in Afghanistan, why we support the human rights of the women marching through the streets of Iran, why we advocate for the young man denied a job by corruption in Guinea. For America must always stand on the side of freedom and human dignity -- always.
Abroad, America's greatest source of strength has always been our ideals. The same is true at home. We find unity in our incredible diversity, drawing on the promise enshrined in our Constitution: The notion that we're all created equal; that no matter who you are or what you look like, if you abide by the law, you should be protected by it; if you adhere to our common values, you should be treated no different than anyone else.
We must continually renew this promise. My administration has a Civil Rights Division that is once again prosecuting civil rights violations and employment discrimination. We finally strengthened our laws to protect against crimes driven by hate. This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It's the right thing to do.
We're going to crackdown on violations of equal pay laws so that women get equal pay for an equal day's work. And we should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system, to secure our borders and enforce our laws and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our Nation.
In the end, it's our ideals, our values that built America, values that allowed us to forge a nation made up of immigrants from every corner of the globe, values that drive our citizens still. Every day, Americans meet their responsibilities to their families and their employers. Time and again, they lend a hand to their neighbors and give back to their country. They take pride in their labor and are generous in spirit. These aren't Republican values or Democratic values that they're living by, business values or labor values, they're American values.
Unfortunately, too many of our citizens have lost faith that our biggest institutions -- our corporations, our media, and, yes, our Government -- still reflect these same values. Each of these institutions are full of honorable men and women doing important work that helps our country prosper. But each time a CEO rewards himself for failure or a banker puts the rest of us at risk for his own selfish gain, people's doubts grow. Each time lobbyists game the system or politicians tear each other down instead of lifting this country up, we lose faith. The more that TV pundits reduce serious debates to silly arguments, big issues into sound bites, our citizens turn away. No wonder there's so much cynicism out there. No wonder there's so much disappointment.
I campaigned on the promise of change. Change we can believe in, the slogan went. And right now I know there are many Americans who aren't sure if they still believe we can change or that I can deliver it.
But remember this: I never suggested that change would be easy or that I could do it alone. Democracy in a nation of 300 million people can be noisy and messy and complicated. And when you try to do big things and make big changes, it stirs passions and controversy. That's just how it is.
Those of us in public office can respond to this reality by playing it safe and avoid telling hard truths and pointing fingers. We can do what's necessary to keep our poll numbers high and get through the next election, instead of doing what's best for the next generation.
But I also know this: If people had made that decision 50 years ago or 100 years ago or 200 years ago, we wouldn't be here tonight. The only reason we are here is because generations of Americans were unafraid to do what was hard, to do what was needed even when success was uncertain, to do what it took to keep the dream of this Nation alive for their children and their grandchildren.
Now, our administration has had some political setbacks this year, and some of them were deserved. But I wake up every day knowing that they are nothing compared to the setbacks that families all across this country have faced this year. And what keeps me going, what keeps me fighting, is that despite all these setbacks, that spirit of determination and optimism, that fundamental decency that has always been at the core of the American people, that lives on.
It lives on in the struggling small-business owner who wrote to me of his company, "None of us," he said," . . . are willing to consider, even slightly, that we might fail." It lives on in the woman who said that even though she and her neighbors have felt the pain of recession, "We are strong. We are resilient. We are American." It lives on in the 8-year-old boy in Louisiana who just sent me his allowance and asked if I would give it to the people of Haiti. And it lives on in all the Americans who've dropped everything to go someplace they've never been and pull people they've never known from the rubble, prompting chants of "U. S.A.! U. S.A.! U. S.A!" when another life was saved.
The spirit that has sustained this Nation for more than two centuries lives on in you, its people. We have finished a difficult year. We have come through a difficult decade. But a new year has come. A new decade stretches before us. We don't quit. I don't quit. Let's seize this moment to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our Union once more.
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.
<title="Protest of Senate Censure">
<date="April 15, 1834">
To the Senate of the United States:
It appears by the published Journal of the Senate that on the 26th of December last a resolution was offered by a member of the Senate, which after a protracted debate was on the 28th day of March last modified by the mover and passed by the votes of twenty-six Senators out of forty-six who were present and voted, in the following words, viz:
<*The Senate ordered that it be not entered on the Journal.>
Resolved , That the President, in the late Executive proceedings in relation to the public revenue, has assumed upon himself authority and power not conferred by the Constitution and laws, but in derogation of both.
Having had the honor, through the voluntary suffrages of the American people, to fill the office of President of the United States during the period which may be presumed to have been referred to in this resolution, it is sufficiently evident that the censure it inflicts was intended for myself. Without notice, unheard and untried, I thus find myself charged on the records of the Senate, and in a form hitherto unknown in our history, with the high crime of violating the laws and Constitution of my country.
It can seldom be necessary for any department of the Government, when assailed in conversation or debate or by the strictures of the press or of popular assemblies, to step out of its ordinary path for the purpose of vindicating its conduct or of pointing out any irregularity or injustice in the manner of the attack; but when the Chief Executive Magistrate is, by one of the most important branches of the Government in its official capacity, in a public manner, and by its recorded sentence, but without precedent, competent authority, or just cause, declared guilty of a breach of the laws and Constitution, it is due to his station, to public opinion, and to a proper self-respect that the officer thus denounced should promptly expose the wrong which has been done.
In the present case, moreover, there is even a stronger necessity for such a vindication. By an express provision of the Constitution, before the President of the United States can enter on the execution of his office he is required to take an oath or affirmation in the following words:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.
The duty of defending so far as in him lies the integrity of the Constitution would indeed have resulted from the very nature of his office, but by thus expressing it in the official oath or affirmation, which in this respect differs from that of any other functionary, the founders of our Republic have attested their sense of its importance and have given to it a peculiar solemnity and force. Bound to the performance of this duty by the oath I have taken, by the strongest obligations of gratitude to the American people, and by the ties which unite my every earthly interest with the welfare and glory of my country, and perfectly convinced that the discussion and passage of the above-mentioned resolution were not only unauthorized by the Constitution, but in many respects repugnant to its provisions and subversive of the rights secured by it to other coordinate departments, I deem it an imperative duty to maintain the supremacy of that sacred instrument and the immunities of the department intrusted to my care by all means consistent with my own lawful powers, with the rights of others, and with the genius of our civil institutions. To this end I have caused this my solemn protest against the aforesaid proceedings to be placed on the files of the executive department and to be transmitted to the Senate.
It is alike due to the subject, the Senate, and the people that the views which I have taken of the proceedings referred to, and which compel me to regard them in the light that has been mentioned, should be exhibited at length, and with the freedom and firmness which are required by an occasion so unprecedented and peculiar.
Under the Constitution of the United States the powers and functions of the various departments of the Federal Government and their responsibilities for violation or neglect of duty are clearly defined or result by necessary inference. The legislative power is, subject to the qualified negative of the President, vested in the Congress of the United States, composed of the Senate and House of Representatives; the executive power is vested exclusively in the President, except that in the conclusion of treaties and in certain appointments to office he is to act with the advice and consent of the Senate; the judicial power is vested exclusively in the Supreme and other courts of the United States, except in cases of impeachment, for which purpose the accusatory power is vested in the House of Representatives and that of hearing and determining in the Senate. But although for the special purposes which have been mentioned there is an occasional intermixture of the powers of the different departments, yet with these exceptions each of the three great departments is independent of the others in its sphere of action, and when it deviates from that sphere is not responsible to the others further than it is expressly made so in the Constitution. In every other respect each of them is the coequal of the other two, and all are the servants of the American people, without power or right to control or censure each other in the service of their common superior, save only in the manner and to the degree which that superior has prescribed.
The responsibilities of the President are numerous and weighty. He is liable to impeachment for high crimes and misdemeanors, and on due conviction to removal from office and perpetual disqualification; and notwithstanding such conviction, he may also be indicted and punished according to law. He is also liable to the private action of any party who may have been injured by his illegal mandates or instructions in the same manner and to the same extent as the humblest functionary. In addition to the responsibilities which may thus be enforced by impeachment, criminal prosecution, or suit at law, he is also accountable at the bar of public opinion for every act of his Administration. Subject only to the restraints of truth and justice, the free people of the United States have the undoubted right, as individuals or collectively, orally or in writing, at such times and in such language and form as they may think proper, to discuss his official conduct and to express and promulgate their opinions concerning it. Indirectly also his conduct may come under review in either branch of the Legislature, or in the Senate when acting in its executive capacity, and so far as the executive or legislative proceedings of these bodies may require it, it may be exercised by them. These are believed to be the proper and only modes in which the President of the United States is to be held accountable for his official conduct.
Tested by these principles, the resolution of the Senate is wholly unauthorized by the Constitution, and in derogation of its entire spirit. It assumes that a single branch of the legislative department may for the purposes of a public censure, and without any view to legislation or impeachment, take up, consider, and decide upon the official acts of the Executive. But in no part of the Constitution is the President subjected to any such responsibility, and in no part of that instrument is any such power conferred on either branch of the Legislature.
The justice of these conclusions will be illustrated and confirmed by a brief analysis of the powers of the Senate and a comparison of their recent proceedings with those powers.
The high functions assigned by the Constitution to the Senate are in their nature either legislative, executive, or judicial. It is only in the exercise of its judicial powers, when sitting as a court for the trial of impeachments, that the Senate is expressly authorized and necessarily required to consider and decide upon the conduct of the President or any other public officer. Indirectly, however, as has already been suggested, it may frequently be called on to perform that office. Cases may occur in the course of its legislative or executive proceedings in which it may be indispensable to the proper exercise of its powers that it should inquire into and decide upon the conduct of the President or other public officers, and in every such case its constitutional right to do so is cheerfully conceded. But to authorize the Senate to enter on such a task in its legislative or executive capacity the inquiry must actually grow out of and tend to some legislative or executive action, and the decision, when expressed, must take the form of some appropriate legislative or executive act.
The resolution in question was introduced, discussed, and passed not as a joint but as a separate resolution. It asserts no legislative power, proposes no legislative action, and neither possesses the form nor any of the attributes of a legislative measure. It does not appear to have been entertained or passed with any view or expectation of its issuing in a law or joint resolution, or in the repeal of any law or joint resolution, or in any other legislative action.
Whilst wanting both the form and substance of a legislative measure, it is equally manifest that the resolution was not justified by any of the executive powers conferred on the Senate. These powers relate exclusively to the consideration of treaties and nominations to office, and they are exercised in secret session and with closed doors. This resolution does not apply to any treaty or nomination, and was passed in a public session.
Nor does this proceeding in any way belong to that class of incidental resolutions which relate to the officers of the Senate, to their Chamber and other appurtenances, or to subjects of order and other matters of the like nature, in all which either House may lawfully proceed without any cooperation with the other or with the President.
On the contrary, the whole phraseology and sense of the resolution seem to be judicial. Its essence, true character, and only practical effect are to be found in the conduct which it enlarges upon the President and in the judgment which it pronounces on that conduct. The resolution, therefore though discussed and adopted by the Senate in its legislative capacity, is in its office and in all its characteristics essentially judicial.
That the Senate possesses a high judicial power and that instances may occur in which the President of the United States will be amenable to it is undeniable; but under the provisions of the Constitution it would seem to be equally plain that neither the President nor any other officer can be rightfully subjected to the operation of the judicial power of the Senate except in the cases and under the forms prescribed by the Constitution.
The Constitution declares that "the President, Vice-President, and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors;" that the House of Representatives "shall have the sole power of impeachment;" that the Senate "shall have the sole power to try all impeachments;" that "when sitting for that purpose they shall be on oath or affirmation;" that "when the President of the United States is tried the Chief Justice shall preside;" that "no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members present," and that "judgment shall not extend further than to removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States."
The resolution above quoted charges, in substance, that in certain proceedings relating to the public revenue the President has usurped authority and power not conferred upon him by the Constitution and laws, and that in doing so he violated both. Any such act constitutes a high crime--one of the highest, indeed, which the President can commit--a crime which justly exposes him to impeachment by the House of Representatives, and, upon due conviction, to removal from office and to the complete and immutable disfranchisement prescribed by the Constitution. The resolution, then, was in substance an impeachment of the President, and in its passage amounts to a declaration by a majority of the Senate that he is guilty of an impeachable offense. As such it is spread upon the journals of the Senate, published to the nation and to the world, made part of our enduring archives, and incorporated in the history of the age. The punishment of removal from office and future disqualification does not, it is true, follow this decision, nor would it have followed the like decision if the regular forms of proceeding had been pursued, because the requisite number did not concur in the result. But the moral influence of a solemn declaration by a majority of the Senate that the accused is guilty of the offense charged upon him has been as effectually secured as if the like declaration had been made upon an impeachment expressed in the same terms. Indeed, a greater practical effect has been gained, because the votes given for the resolution, though not sufficient to authorize a judgment of guilty on an impeachment, were numerous enough to carry that resolution.
That the resolution does not expressly allege that the assumption of power and authority which it condemns was intentional and corrupt is no answer to the preceding view of its character and effect. The act thus condemned necessarily implies volition and design in the individual to whom it is imputed, and, being unlawful in its character, the legal conclusion is that it was prompted by improper motives and committed with an unlawful intent. The charge is not of a mistake in the exercise of supposed powers, but of the assumption of powers not conferred by the Constitution and laws, but in derogation of both, and nothing is suggested to excuse or palliate the turpitude of the act. In the absence of any such excuse or palliation there is only room for one inference, and that is that the intent was unlawful and corrupt. Besides, the resolution not only contains no mitigating suggestions, but, on the contrary, it holds up the act complained of as justly obnoxious to censure and reprobation, and thus as distinctly stamps it with impurity of motive as if the strongest epithets had been used.
The President of the United States, therefore, has been by a majority of his constitutional triers accused and found guilty of an impeachable offense, but in no part of this proceeding have the directions of the Constitution been observed.
The impeachment, instead of being preferred and prosecuted by the House of Representatives, originated in the Senate, and was prosecuted without the aid or concurrence of the other House. The oath or affirmation prescribed by the Constitution was not taken by the Senators, the Chief Justice did not preside, no notice of the charge was given to the accused, and no opportunity afforded him to respond to the accusation, to meet his accusers face to face, to cross-examine the witnesses, to procure counteracting testimony, or to be heard in his defense. The safeguards and formalities which the Constitution has connected with the power of impeachment were doubtless supposed by the framers of that instrument to be essential to the protection of the public servant, to the attainment of justice, and to the order, impartiality, and dignity of the procedure. These safeguards and formalities were not only practically disregarded in the commencement and conduct of these proceedings, but in their result I find myself convicted by less than two-thirds of the members present of an impeachable offense.
In vain may it be alleged in defense of this proceeding that the form of the resolution is not that of an impeachment or of a judgment thereupon, that the punishment prescribed in the Constitution does not follow its adoption, or that in this case no impeachment is to be expected from the House of Representatives. It is because it did not assume the form of an impeachment that it is the more palpably repugnant to the Constitution, for it is through that form only that the President is judicially responsible to the Senate; and though neither removal from office nor future disqualification ensues, yet it is not to be presumed that the framers of the Constitution considered either or both of those results as constituting the whole of the punishment they prescribed. The judgment of guilty by the highest tribunal in the Union, the stigma it would inflict on the offender, his family, and fame, and the perpetual record on the Journal, handing down to future generations the story of his disgrace, were doubtless regarded by them as the bitterest portions, if not the very essence, of that punishment. So far, therefore, as some of its most material parts are concerned, the passage, recording, and promulgation of the resolution are an attempt to bring them on the President in a manner unauthorized by the Constitution. To shield him and other officers who are liable to impeachment from consequences so momentous, except when really merited by official delinquencies, the Constitution has most carefully guarded the whole process of impeachment. A majority of the House of Representatives must think the officer guilty before he can be charged. Two-thirds of the Senate must pronounce him guilty or he is deemed to be innocent. Forty-six Senators appear by the Journal to have been present when the vote on the resolution was taken. If after all the solemnities of an impeachment, thirty of those Senators had voted that the President was guilty, yet would he have been acquitted; but by the mode of proceeding adopted in the present case a lasting record of conviction has been entered up by the votes of twenty-six Senators without an impeachment or trial, whilst the Constitution expressly declares that to the entry of such a judgment an accusation by the House of Representatives, a trial by the Senate, and a concurrence of two-thirds in the vote of guilty shall be indispensable prerequisites.
Whether or not an impeachment was to be expected from the House of Representatives was a point on which the Senate had no constitutional right to speculate, and in respect to which, even had it possessed the spirit of prophecy, its anticipations would have furnished no just ground for this procedure. Admitting that there was reason to believe that a violation of the Constitution and laws had been actually committed by the President, still it was the duty of the Senate, as his sole constitutional judges, to wait for an impeachment until the other House should think proper to prefer it. The members of the Senate could have no right to infer that no impeachment was intended. On the contrary, every legal and rational presumption on their part ought to have been that if there was good reason to believe him guilty of an impeachable offense the House of Representatives would perform its constitutional duty by arraigning the offender before the justice of his country. The contrary presumption would involve an implication derogatory to the integrity and honor of the representatives of the people. But suppose the suspicion thus implied were actually entertained and for good cause, how can it justify the assumption by the Senate of powers not conferred by the Constitution?
It is only necessary to look at the condition in which the Senate and the President have been placed by this proceeding to perceive its utter incompatibility with the provisions and the spirit of the Constitution and with the plainest dictates of humanity and justice.
If the House of Representatives shall be of opinion that there is just ground for the censure pronounced upon the President, then will it be the solemn duty of that House to prefer the proper accusation and to cause him to be brought to trial by the constitutional tribunal. But in what condition would he find that tribunal? A majority of its members have already considered the case, and have not only formed but expressed a deliberate judgment upon its merits. It is the policy of our benign systems of jurisprudence to secure in all criminal proceedings, and even in the most trivial litigations, a fair, unprejudiced, and impartial trial, and surely it can not be less important that such a trial should be secured to the highest officer of the Government.
The Constitution makes the House of Representatives the exclusive judges, in the first instance, of the question whether the President has committed an impeachable offense. A majority of the Senate, whose interference with this preliminary question has for the best of all reasons been studiously excluded, anticipate the action of the House of Representatives, assume not only the function which belongs exclusively to that body, but convert themselves into accusers, witnesses, counsel, and judges, and prejudge the whole case, thus presenting the appalling spectacle in a free State of judges going through a labored preparation for an impartial hearing and decision by a previous ex parte investigation and sentence against the supposed offender.
There is no more settled axiom in that Government whence we derived the model of this part of our Constitution than that "the lords can not impeach any to themselves, nor join in the accusation, because they are judges." Independently of the general reasons on which this rule is founded, its propriety and importance are greatly increased by the nature of the impeaching power. The power of arraigning the high officers of government before a tribunal whose sentence may expel them from their seats and brand them as infamous is eminently a popular remedy--a remedy designed to be employed for the protection of private right and public liberty against the abuses of injustice and the encroachments of arbitrary power. But the framers of the Constitution were also undoubtedly aware that this formidable instrument had been and might be abused, and that from its very nature an impeachment for high crimes and misdemeanors, whatever might be its result, would in most cases be accompanied by so much of dishonor and reproach, solicitude and suffering, as to make the power of preferring it one of the highest solemnity and importance. It was due to both these considerations that the impeaching power should be lodged in the hands of those who from the mode of their election and the tenure of their offices would most accurately express the popular will and at the same time be most directly and speedily amenable to the people. The theory of these wise and benignant intentions is in the present case effectually defeated by the proceedings of the Senate. The members of that body represent not the people, but the States; and though they are undoubtedly responsible to the States, yet from their extended term of service the effect of that responsibility during the whole period of that term must very much depend upon their own impressions of its obligatory force. When a body thus constituted expresses beforehand its opinion in a particular case, and thus indirectly invites a prosecution, it not only assumes a power intended for wise reasons to be confined to others, but it shields the latter from that exclusive and personal responsibility under which it was intended to be exercised, and reverses the whole scheme of this part of the Constitution.
Such would be some of the objections to this procedure, even if it were admitted that there is just ground for imputing to the President the offenses charged in the resolution. But if, on the other hand, the House of Representatives shall be of opinion that there is no reason for charging them upon him, and shall therefore deem it improper to prefer an impeachment, then will the violation of privilege as it respects that House, of justice as it regards the President, and of the Constitution as it relates to both be only the more conspicuous and impressive.
The constitutional mode of procedure on an impeachment has not only been wholly disregarded, but some of the first principles of natural right and enlightened jurisprudence have been violated in the very form of the resolution. It carefully abstains from averring in which of "the late proceedings in relation to the public revenue the President has assumed upon himself authority and power not conferred by the Constitution and laws." It carefully abstains from specifying what laws or what parts of the Constitution have been violated. Why was not the certainty of the offense--" the nature and cause of the accusation "--set out in the manner required in the Constitution before even the humblest individual, for the smallest crime, can be exposed to condemnation? Such a specification was due to the accused that he might direct his defense to the real points of attack, to the people that they might clearly understand in what particulars their institutions had been violated, and to the truth and certainty of our public annals. As the record now stands, whilst the resolution plainly charges upon the President at least one act of usurpation in "the late Executive proceedings in relation to the public revenue," and is so framed that those Senators who believed that one such act, and only one, had been committed could assent to it, its language is yet broad enough to include several such acts, and so it may have been regarded by some of those who voted for it. But though the accusation is thus comprehensive in the censures it implies, there is no such certainty of time, place, or circumstance as to exhibit the particular conclusion of fact or law which induced any one Senator to vote for it; and it may well have happened that whilst one Senator believed that some particular act embraced in the resolution was an arbitrary and unconstitutional assumption of power, others of the majority may have deemed that very act both constitutional and expedient, or, if not expedient, yet still within the pale of the Constitution; and thus a majority of the Senators may have been enabled to concur in a vague and undefined accusation that the President, in the course of "the late Executive proceedings in relation to the public revenue," had violated the Constitution and laws, whilst if a separate vote had been taken in respect to each particular act included within the general terms the accusers of the President might on any such vote have been found in the minority.
Still further to exemplify this feature of the proceeding, it is important to be remarked that the resolution as originally offered to the Senate specified with adequate precision certain acts of the President which it denounced as a violation of the Constitution and laws, and that it was not until the very close of the debate, and when perhaps it was apprehended that a majority might not sustain the specific accusation contained in it, that the resolution was so modified as to assume its present form. A more striking illustration of the soundness and necessity of the rules which forbid vague and indefinite generalities and require a reasonable certainty in all judicial allegations, and a more glaring instance of the violation of those rules, has seldom been exhibited.
In this view of the resolution it must certainly be regarded not as a vindication of any particular provision of the law or the Constitution, but simply as an official rebuke or condemnatory sentence, too general and indefinite to be easily repelled, but yet sufficiently precise to bring into discredit the conduct and motives of the Executive. But whatever it may have been intended to accomplish, it is obvious that the vague, general, and abstract form of the resolution is in perfect keeping with those other departures from first principles and settled improvements in jurisprudence so properly the boast of free countries in modern times. And it is not too much to say of the whole of these proceedings that if they shall be approved and sustained by an intelligent people, then will that great contest with arbitrary power which had established in statutes, in bills of rights, in sacred charters, and in constitutions of government the right of every citizen to a notice before trial, to a bearing before conviction, and to an impartial tribunal for deciding on the charge have been waged in vain.
If the resolution had been left in its original form it is not to be presumed that it could ever have received the assent of a majority of the Senate, for the acts therein specified as violations of the Constitution and laws were clearly within the limits of the Executive authority. They are the "dismissing the late Secretary of the Treasury because he would not, contrary to his sense of his own duty, remove the money of the United States in deposit with the Bank of the United States and its branches in conformity with the President's opinion, and appointing his successor to effect such removal, which has been done." But as no other specification has been substituted, and as these were the "Executive proceedings in relation to the public revenue" principally referred to in the course of the discussion, they will doubtless be generally regarded as the acts intended to be denounced as "an assumption of authority and power not conferred by the Constitution or laws, but in derogation of both." It is therefore due to the occasion that a condensed summary of the views of the Executive in respect to them should be here exhibited.
By the Constitution "the executive power is vested in a President of the United States." Among the duties imposed upon him, and which he is sworn to perform, is that of "taking care that the laws be faithfully executed." Being thus made responsible for the entire action of the executive department, it was but reasonable that the power of appointing, overseeing, and controlling those who execute the laws--a power in its nature executive--should remain in his hands. It is therefore not only his right, but the Constitution makes it his duty, to "nominate and, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoint" all "officers of the United States whose appointments are not in the Constitution otherwise provided for," with a proviso that the appointment of inferior officers may be vested in the President alone, in the courts of justice, or in the heads of Departments.
The executive power vested in the Senate is neither that of "nominating" nor "appointing." It is merely a check upon the Executive power of appointment. If individuals are proposed for appointment by the President by them deemed incompetent or unworthy, they may withhold their consent and the appointment can not be made. They check the action of the Executive, but can not in relation to those very subjects act themselves nor direct him. Selections are still made by the President, and the negative given to the Senate, without diminishing his responsibility, furnishes an additional guaranty to the country that the subordinate executive as well as the judicial offices shall be filled with worthy and competent men.
The whole executive power being vested in the President, who is responsible for its exercise, it is a necessary consequence that he should have a right to employ agents of his own choice to aid him in the performance of his duties, and to discharge them when he is no longer willing to be responsible for their acts. In strict accordance with this principle, the power of removal, which, like that of appointment, is an original executive power, is left unchecked by the Constitution in relation to all executive officers, for whose conduct the President is responsible, while it is taken from him in relation to judicial officers, for whose acts he is not responsible. In the Government from which many of the fundamental principles of our system are derived the head of the executive department originally had power to appoint and remove at will all officers, executive and judicial. It was to take the judges out of this general power of removal, and thus make them independent of the Executive, that the tenure of their offices was changed to good behavior. Nor is it conceivable why they are placed in our Constitution upon a tenure different from that of all other officers appointed by the Executive unless it be for the same purpose.
But if there were any just ground for doubt on the face of the Constitution whether all executive officers are removable at the will of the President, it is obviated by the contemporaneous construction of the instrument and the uniform practice under it.
The power of removal was a topic of solemn debate in the Congress of 1789 while organizing the administrative departments of the Government, and it was finally decided that the President derived from the Constitution the power of removal so far as it regards that department for whose acts he is responsible. Although the debate covered the whole ground, embracing the Treasury as well as all the other Executive Departments, it arose on a motion to strike out of the bill to establish a Department of Foreign Affairs, since called the Department of State, a clause declaring the Secretary "to be removable from office by the President of the United States." After that motion had been decided in the negative it was perceived that these words did not convey the sense of the House of Representatives in relation to the true source of the power of removal. With the avowed object of preventing any future inference that this power was exercised by the President in virtue of a grant from Congress, when in fact that body considered it as derived from the Constitution, the words which had been the subject of debate were struck out, and in lieu thereof a clause was inserted in a provision concerning the chief clerk of the Department, which declared that "whenever the said principal officer shall be removed from office by the President of the United States, or in any other case of vacancy," the chief clerk should during such vacancy have charge of the papers of the office. This change having been made for the express purpose of declaring the sense of Congress that the President derived the power of removal from the Constitution, the act as it passed has always been considered as a full expression of the sense of the legislature on this important part of the American Constitution.
Here, then, we have the concurrent authority of President Washington, of the Senate, and the House of Representatives, numbers of whom had taken an active part in the convention which framed the Constitution and in the State conventions which adopted it, that the President derived an unqualified power of removal from that instrument itself, which is "beyond the reach of legislative authority." Upon this principle the Government has now been steadily administered for about forty-five years, during which there have been numerous removals made by the President or by his direction, embracing every grade of executive officers from the heads of Departments to the messengers of bureaus.
The Treasury Department in the discussions of 1789 was considered on the same footing as the other Executive Departments, and in the act establishing it were incorporated the precise words indicative of the sense of Congress that the President derives his power to remove the Secretary from the Constitution, which appear in the act establishing the Department of Foreign Affairs. An Assistant Secretary of the Treasury was created, and it was provided that he should take charge of the books and papers of the Department "whenever the Secretary shall be removed from office by the President of the United States." The Secretary of the Treasury being appointed by the President, and being considered as constitutionally removable by him, it appears never to have occurred to anyone in the Congress of 1789, or since until very recently, that he was other than an executive officer, the mere instrument of the Chief Magistrate in the execution of the laws, subject, like all other heads of Departments, to his supervision and control. No such idea as an officer of the Congress can be found in the Constitution or appears to have suggested itself to those who organized the Government. There are officers of each House the appointment of which is authorized by the Constitution, but all officers referred to in that instrument as coming within the appointing power of the President, whether established thereby or created by law, are "officers of the United States." No joint power of appointment is given to the two Houses of Congress, nor is there any accountability to them as one body; but as soon as any office is created by law, of whatever name or character, the appointment of the person or persons to fill it devolves by the Constitution upon the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, unless it be an inferior office, and the appointment be vested by the law itself "in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of Departments."
But at the time of the organization of the Treasury Department an incident occurred which distinctly evinces the unanimous concurrence of the First Congress in the principle that the Treasury Department is wholly executive in its character and responsibilities. A motion was made to strike out the provision of the bill making it the duty of the Secretary "to digest and report plans for the improvement and management of the revenue and for the support of public credit," on the ground that it would give the executive department of the Government too much influence and power in Congress. The motion was not opposed on the ground that the Secretary was the officer of Congress and responsible to that body, which would have been conclusive if admitted, but on other ground, which conceded his executive character throughout. The whole discussion evinces an unanimous concurrence in the principle that the Secretary of the Treasury is wholly an executive officer, and the struggle of the minority was to restrict his power as such. From that time down to the present the Secretary of the Treasury, the Treasurer, Register, Comptrollers, Auditors, and clerks who fill the offices of that Department have in the practice of the Government been considered and treated as on the same footing with corresponding grades of officers in all the other Executive Departments.
The custody of the public property, under such regulations as may be prescribed by legislative authority, has always been considered an appropriate function of the executive department in this and all other Governments. In accordance with this principle, every species of property belonging to the United States (excepting that which is in the use of the several coordinate departments of the Government as means to aid them in performing their appropriate functions) is in charge of officers appointed by the President, whether it be lands, or buildings, or merchandise, or provisions, or clothing, or arms and munitions of war. The superintendents and keepers of the whole are appointed by the President, responsible to him, and removable at his will.
Public money is but a species of public property. It can not be raised by taxation or customs, nor brought into the Treasury in any other way except by law; but whenever or howsoever obtained, its custody always has been and always must be, unless the Constitution be changed, intrusted to the executive department. No officer can be created by Congress for the purpose of taking charge of it whose appointment would not by the Constitution at once devolve on the President and who would not be responsible to him for the faithful performance of his duties. The legislative power may undoubtedly bind him and the President by any laws they may think proper to enact; they may prescribe in what place particular portions of the public property shall be kept and for what reason it shall be removed, as they may direct that supplies for the Army or Navy shall be kept in particular stores, and it will be the duty of the President to see that the law is faithfully executed; yet will the custody remain in the executive department of the Government. Were the Congress to assume, with or without a legislative act, the power of appointing officers, independently of the President, to take the charge and custody of the public property contained in the military and naval arsenals, magazines, and storehouses, it is believed that such an act would be regarded by all as a palpable usurpation of executive power, subversive of the form as well as the fundamental principles of our Government. But where is the difference in principle whether the public property be in the form of arms, munitions of war, and supplies or in gold and silver or bank notes? None can be perceived; none is believed to exist. Congress can not, therefore, take out of the hands of the executive department the custody of the public property or money without an assumption of executive power and a subversion of the first principles of the Constitution.
The Congress of the United States have never passed an act imperatively directing that the public moneys shall be kept in any particular place or places. From the origin of the Government to the year 1816 the statute book was wholly silent on the subject. In 1789 a Treasurer was created, subordinate to the Secretary of the Treasury, and through him to the President. He was required to give bond safely to keep and faithfully to disburse the public moneys, without any direction as to the manner or places in which they should be kept. By reference to the practice of the Government it is found that from its first organization the Secretary of the Treasury, acting under the supervision of the President, designated the places in which the public moneys should be kept, and especially directed all transfers from place to place. This practice was continued, with the silent acquiescence of Congress, from 1789 down to 1816, and although many banks were selected and discharged, and although a portion of the moneys were first placed in the State banks, and then in the former Bank of the United States, and upon the dissolution of that were again transferred to the State banks, no legislation was thought necessary by Congress, and all the operations were originated and perfected by Executive authority. The Secretary of the Treasury, responsible to the President, and with his approbation, made contracts and arrangements in relation to the whole subject-matter, which was thus entirely committed to the direction of the President under his responsibilities to the American people and to those who were authorized to impeach and punish him for any breach of this important trust.
The act of 1816 establishing the Bank of the United States directed the deposits of public money to be made in that bank and its branches in places in which the said bank and branches thereof may be established, "unless the Secretary of the Treasury should otherwise order and direct," in which event he was required to give his reasons to Congress. This was but a continuation of his preexisting power as the head of an Executive Department to direct where the deposits should be made, with the superadded obligation of giving his reasons to Congress for making them elsewhere than in the Bank of the United States and its branches. It is not to be considered that this provision in any degree altered the relation between the Secretary of the Treasury and the President as the responsible head of the executive department, or released the latter from his constitutional obligation to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." On the contrary, it increased his responsibilities by adding another to the long list of laws which it was his duty to carry into effect.
It would be an extraordinary result if because the person charged by law with a public duty is one of his Secretaries it were less the duty of the President to see that law faithfully executed than other laws enjoining duties upon subordinate officers or private citizens. If there be any difference, it would seem that the obligation is the stronger in relation to the former, because the neglect is in his presence and the remedy at hand.
It can not be doubted that it was the legal duty of the Secretary of the Treasury to order and direct the deposits of the public money to be made elsewhere than in the Bank of the United States whenever sufficient reasons existed for making the change. If in such a case he neglected or refused to act, he would neglect or refuse to execute the law. What would be the sworn duty of the President? Could he say that the Constitution did not bind him to see the law faithfully executed because it was one of his Secretaries and not himself upon whom the service was specially imposed? Might he not be asked whether there was any such limitation to his obligations prescribed in the Constitution? Whether he is not equally bound to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, whether they impose duties on the highest officer of State or the lowest subordinate in any of the Departments? Might he not be told that it was for the sole purpose of causing all executive officers, from the highest to the lowest, faithfully to perform the services required of them by law that the people of the United States have made him their Chief Magistrate and the Constitution has clothed him with the entire executive power of this Government? The principles implied in these questions appear too plain to need elucidation.
But here also we have a contemporaneous construction of the act which shows that it was not understood as in any way changing the relations between the President and Secretary of the Treasury, or as placing the latter out of Executive control even in relation to the deposits of the public money. Nor on that point are we left to any equivocal testimony. The documents of the Treasury Department show that the Secretary of the Treasury did apply to the President and obtained his approbation and sanction to the original transfer of the public deposits to the present Bank of the United States, and did carry the measure into effect in obedience to his decision. They also show that transfers of the public deposits from the branches of the Bank of the United States to State banks at Chillicothe, Cincinnati, and Louisville, in 1819, were made with the approbation of the President and by his authority. They show that upon all important questions appertaining to his Department, whether they related to the public deposits or other matters, it was the constant practice of the Secretary of the Treasury to obtain for his acts the approval and sanction of the President. These acts and the principles on which they were rounded were known to all the departments of the Government, to Congress and the country, and until very recently appear never to have been called in question.
Thus was it settled by the Constitution, the laws, and the whole practice of the Government that the entire executive power is vested in the President of the United States; that as incident to that power the right of appointing and removing those officers who are to aid him in the execution of the laws, with such restrictions only as the Constitution prescribes, is vested in the President; that the Secretary of the Treasury is one of those officers; that the custody of the public property and money is an Executive function which, in relation to the money, has always been exercised through the Secretary of the Treasury and his subordinates; that in the performance of these duties he is subject to the supervision and control of the President, and in all important measures having relation to them consults the Chief Magistrate and obtains his approval and sanction; that the law establishing the bank did not, as it could not, change the relation between the President and the Secretary--did not release the former from his obligation to see the law faithfully executed nor the latter from the President's supervision and control; that afterwards and before the Secretary did in fact consult and obtain the sanction of the President to transfers and removals of the public deposits, and that all departments of the Government, and the nation itself, approved or acquiesced in these acts and principles as in strict conformity with our Constitution and laws.
During the last year the approaching termination, according to the provisions of its charter and the solemn decision of the American people, of the Bank of the United States made it expedient, and its exposed abuses and corruptions made it, in my opinion, the duty of the Secretary of the Treasury, to place the moneys of the United States in other depositories. The Secretary did not concur in that opinion, and declined giving the necessary order and direction. So glaring were the abuses and corruptions of the bank, so evident its fixed purpose to persevere in them, and so palpable its design by its money and power to control the Government and change its character, that I deemed it the imperative duty of the Executive authority, by the exertion of every power confided to it by the Constitution and laws, to check its career and lessen its ability to do mischief, even in the painful alternative of dismissing the head of one of the Departments. At the time the removal was made other causes sufficient to justify it existed, but if they had not the Secretary would have been dismissed for this cause only.
His place I supplied by one whose opinions were well known to me, and whose frank expression of them in another situation and generous sacrifices of interest and feeling when unexpectedly called to the station he now occupies ought forever to have shielded his motives from suspicion and his character from reproach. In accordance with the views long before expressed by him he proceeded, with my sanction, to make arrangements for depositing the moneys of the United States in other safe institutions.
The resolution of the Senate as originally framed and as passed, if it refers to these acts, presupposes a right in that body to interfere with this exercise of Executive power. If the principle be once admitted, it is not difficult to perceive where it may end. If by a mere denunciation like this resolution the President should ever be induced to act in a matter of official duty contrary to the honest convictions of his own mind in compliance with the wishes of the Senate, the constitutional independence of the executive department would be as effectually destroyed and its power as effectually transferred to the Senate as if that end had been accomplished by an amendment of the Constitution. But if the Senate have a right to interfere with the Executive powers, they have also the right to make that interference effective, and if the assertion of the power implied in the resolution be silently acquiesced in we may reasonably apprehend that it will be followed at some future day by an attempt at actual enforcement. The Senate may refuse, except on the condition that he will surrender his opinions to theirs and obey their will, to perform their own constitutional functions, to pass the necessary laws, to sanction appropriations proposed by the House of Representatives, and to confirm proper nominations made by the President. It has already been maintained (and it is not conceivable that the resolution of the Senate can be based on any other principle) that the Secretary of the Treasury is the officer of Congress and independent of the President; that the President has no right to control him, and consequently none to remove him. With the same propriety and on similar grounds may the Secretary of State, the Secretaries of War and the Navy, and the Postmaster-General each in succession be declared independent of the President, the subordinates of Congress, and removable only with the concurrence of the Senate. Followed to its consequences, this principle will be found effectually to destroy one coordinate department of the Government, to concentrate in the hands of the Senate the whole executive power, and to leave the President as powerless as he would be useless--the shadow of authority after the substance had departed.
The time and the occasion which have called forth the resolution of the Senate seem to impose upon me an additional obligation not to pass it over in silence. Nearly forty-five years had the President exercised, without a question as to his rightful authority, those powers for the recent assumption of which he is now denounced. The vicissitudes of peace and war had attended our Government; violent parties, watchful to take advantage of any seeming usurpation on the part of the Executive, had distracted our councils; frequent removals, or forced resignations in every sense tantamount to removals, had been made of the Secretary and other officers of the Treasury, and yet in no one instance is it known that any man, whether patriot or partisan, had raised his voice against it as a violation of the Constitution. The expediency and justice of such changes in reference to public officers of all grades have frequently been the topic of discussion, but the constitutional right of the President to appoint, control, and remove the head of the Treasury as well as all other Departments seems to have been universally conceded. And what is the occasion upon which other principles have been first officially asserted? The Bank of the United States, a great moneyed monopoly, had attempted to obtain a renewal of its charter by controlling the elections of the people and the action of the Government. The use of its corporate funds and power in that attempt was fully disclosed, and it was made known to the President that the corporation was putting in train the same course of measures, with the view of making another vigorous effort, through an interference in the elections of the people, to control public opinion and force the Government to yield to its demands. This, with its corruption of the press, its violation of its charter, its exclusion of the Government directors from its proceedings, its neglect of duty and arrogant pretensions, made it, in the opinion of the President, incompatible with the public interest and the safety of our institutions that it should be longer employed as the fiscal agent of the Treasury. A Secretary of the Treasury appointed in the recess of the Senate, who had not been confirmed by that body, and whom the President might or might not at his pleasure nominate to them, refused to do what his superior in the executive department considered the most imperative of his duties, and became in fact, however innocent his motives, the protector of the bank. And on this occasion it is discovered for the first time that those who framed the Constitution misunderstood it; that the First Congress and all its successors have been under a delusion; that the practice of near forty-five years is but a continued usurpation; that the Secretary of the Treasury is not responsible to the President, and that to remove him is a violation of the Constitution and laws for which the President deserves to stand forever dishonored on the journals of the Senate.
There are also some other circumstances connected with the discussion and passage of the resolution to which I feel it to be not only my right, but my duty, to refer. It appears by the Journal of the Senate that among the twenty-six Senators who voted for the resolution on its final passage, and who had supported it in debate in its original form, were one of the Senators from the State of Maine, the two Senators from New Jersey, and one of the Senators from Ohio. It also appears by the same Journal and by the files of the Senate that the legislatures of these States had severally expressed their opinions in respect to the Executive proceedings drawn in question before the Senate.
The two branches of the legislature of the State of Maine on the 25th of January, 1834, passed a preamble and series of resolutions in the following words:
Whereas at an early period after the election of Andrew Jackson to the Presidency, in accordance with the sentiments which he had uniformly expressed, the attention of Congress was called to the constitutionality and expediency of the renewal of the charter of the United States Bank; and
Whereas the bank has transcended its chartered limits in the management of its business transactions, and has abandoned the object of its creation by engaging in political controversies, by wielding its power and influence to embarrass the Administration of the General Government, and by bringing insolvency and distress upon the commercial community; and
Whereas the public security from such an institution consists less in its present pecuniary capacity to discharge its liabilities than in the fidelity with which the trusts reposed in it have been executed; and
Whereas the abuse and misapplication of the powers conferred have destroyed the confidence of the public in the officers of the bank and demonstrated that such powers endanger the stability of republican institutions: Therefore,
Resolved , That in the removal of the public deposits from the Bank of the United States, as well as in the manner of their removal, we recognize in the Administration an adherence to constitutional rights and the performance of a public duty.
Resolved , That this legislature entertain the same opinion as heretofore expressed by preceding legislatures of this State, that the Bank of the United States ought not to be rechartered.
Resolved, That the Senators of this State in the Congress of the United States be instructed and the Representatives be requested to oppose the restoration of the deposits and the renewal of the charter of the United States Bank.
On the 11th of January, 1834 the house of assembly and council composing the legislature of the State of New Jersey passed a preamble and a series of resolutions in the following words:
Whereas the present crisis in our public affairs calls for a decided expression of the voice of the people of this State; and
Whereas we consider it the undoubted right of the legislatures of the several States to instruct those who represent their interests in the councils of the nation in all matters which intimately concern the public weal and may affect the happiness or well-being of the people: Therefore,
1. Be it resolved by the council and general assembly of this State , That while we acknowledge with feelings of devout gratitude our obligations to the Great Ruler of Nations for His mercies to us as a people that we have been preserved alike from foreign war, from the evils of internal commotions, and the machinations of designing and ambitious men who would prostrate the fair fabric of our Union, that we ought nevertheless to humble ourselves in His presence and implore His aid for the perpetuation of our republican institutions and for a continuance of that unexampled prosperity which our country has hitherto enjoyed.
2. Resolved, That we have undiminished confidence in the integrity and firmness of the venerable patriot who now holds the distinguished post of Chief Magistrate of this nation, and whose purity of purpose and elevated motives have so often received the unqualified approbation of a large majority of his fellow-citizens.
3. Resolved, That we view with agitation and alarm the existence of a great moneyed incorporation which threatens to embarrass the operations of the Government and by means of its unbounded influence upon the currency of the country to scatter distress and ruin throughout the community, and that we therefore solemnly believe the present Bank of the United States ought not to be rechartered.
4. Resolved, That our Senators in Congress be instructed and our members of the House of Representatives, be requested to sustain, by their votes and influence, the course adopted by the Secretary of the treasury, Mr. Taney, in relation to the Bank of the United States and the deposits of the Government moneys, believing as we do the course of the Secretary to have been constitutional, and that the public good required its adoption.
5. Resolved, That the governor be requested to forward a copy of the above resolutions to each of our Senators and Representatives from this State to the Congress of the United States.
On the 21st day of February last the legislature of the same State reiterated the opinions and instructions before given by joint resolutions in the following words:
Resolved by the council and general assembly of the State of New Jersey, That they do adhere to the resolutions passed by them on the 11th day of January last, relative to the President of the United States, the Bank of the United States, and the course of Mr. Taney in removing the Government deposits.
Resolved, That the legislature of New Jersey have not seen any reason to depart from such resolutions since the passage thereof, and it is their wish that they should receive from our Senators and Representatives of this State in the Congress of the United States that attention and obedience which are due to the opinion of a sovereign State openly expressed in its legislative capacity.
On the 2d of January, 1834, the senate and house of representatives composing the legislature of Ohio passed a preamble and resolutions in the following words:
Whereas there is reason to believe that the Bank of the United States will attempt to obtain a renewal of its charter at the present session of Congress; and
Whereas it is abundantly evident that said bank has exercised powers derogatory to the spirit of our free institutions and dangerous to the liberties of these United States; and
Whereas there is just reason to doubt the constitutional power of Congress to grant acts of incorporation for banking purposes out of the District of Columbia; and
Whereas we believe the proper disposal of the public lands to be of the utmost importance to the people of these United States, and that honor and good faith require their equitable distribution: Therefore,
Resolved by the general assembly of the State of Ohio, That we consider the removal of the public deposits from the Bank of the United States as required by the best interests of our country, and that a proper sense of public duty imperiously demanded that that institution should be no longer used as a depository of the public funds.
Resolved also, That we view with decided disapprobation the renewed attempts in Congress to secure the passage of the bill providing for the disposal of the public domain upon the principles proposed by Mr. Clay, inasmuch as we believe that such a law would be unequal in its operations and unjust in its results.
Resolved also, That we heartily approve of the principles set forth in the late veto message upon that subject; and
Resolved, That our Senators in Congress be instructed and our Representatives requested to use their influence to prevent the rechartering of the Bank of the United States, to sustain the Administration in its removal of the public deposits, and to oppose the passage of a land bill containing the principles adopted in the act upon that subject passed at the last session of Congress.
Resolved , That the governor be requested to transmit copies of the foregoing preamble and resolutions to each of our Senators and Representatives.
It is thus seen that four Senators have declared by their votes that the President, in the late Executive proceedings in relation to the revenue, had been guilty of the impeachable offense of "assuming upon himself authority and power not conferred by the Constitution and laws, but in derogation of both," whilst the legislatures of their respective States had deliberately approved those very proceedings as consistent with the Constitution and demanded by the public good. If these four votes had been given in accordance with the sentiments of the legislatures, as above expressed, there would have been but twenty-two votes out of forty-six for censuring the President, and the unprecedented record of his conviction could not have been placed upon the Journal of the Senate.
In thus referring to the resolutions and instructions of the State legislatures I disclaim and repudiate all authority or design to interfere with the responsibility due from members of the Senate to their own consciences, their constituents, and their country. The facts now stated belong to the history of these proceedings, and are important to the just development of the principles and interests involved in them as well as to the proper vindication of the executive department, and with that view, and that view only, are they here made the topic of remark.
The dangerous tendency of the doctrine which denies to the President the power of supervising, directing, and controlling the Secretary of the Treasury in like manner with the other executive officers would soon be manifest in practice were the doctrine to be established. The President is the direct representative of the American people, but the Secretaries are not. If the Secretary fo the Treasury be independent of the President in the execution of the laws, then is there no direct responsibility to the people in that important branch of this government to which is committed the care of the national finances. And it is in the power of the Bank of the United States, or any other corporation, body of men, or individuals, if a Secretary shall be found to accord with them in opinion or can be induced in practice to promote their views, to control through him the whole action of the Government (so far as it is exercised by his Department) in defiance of the Chief Magistrate elected by the people and responsible to them.
But the evil tendency of the particular doctrine averted to, though sufficiently serious, would be as nothing in comparison with the pernicious consequences which would inevitably flow from the approbation situational power of arraigning and censuring the official conduct of the Executive in the manner recently pursued. Such proceedings are eminently calculated to unsettle the foundations of the Government, to disturb the harmonious action of its different departments, and to break down the checks and balances by which the wisdom of its framers sought to insure its stability and usefulness.
The honest differences of opinion which occasionally exist between the Senate and the President in regard to matters in which both are obliged to participate are sufficiently embarrassing; but if the course recently adopted by the Senate shall hereafter be frequently pursued, it is not only obvious that the harmony of the relations between the President and the Senate will be destroyed, but that other and graver effects will ultimately ensue. If the censures of the Senate be submitted to by the President, the confidence of the people in his ability and virtue and the character and usefulness of his Administration will soon be at an end, and the real power of the Government will fall in to the hands of a body holding their offices for long terms, not elected by the people and not to them directly responsible. If, on the other hand, the illegal censures of the Senate should be resisted by the President, collisions and angry controversies might ensue, discreditable in their progress and in the end compelling the people to adopt the conclusion either that their Chief Magistrate was unworthy of their respect or that the Senate was chargeable with calumny and injustice. Either of these results would impair public confidence in the perfection of the system and lead to serious alterations of its framework or the practical abandonment of some of its provisions.
The influence of such proceedings on the other departments of the Government, and more especially on the States, could not fail to be extensively pernicious. When the judges in the last resort of official misconduct themselves overleap the bounds of their authority as prescribed by the Constitution, what general disregard of its provisions might not their example be expected to produce? And who does not perceive that such contempt of the Federal Constitution by one of its most important departments would hold out the strongest temptations to resistance on the part of the State sovereignties whenever they shall suppose their just rights to have been invaded? Thus all the independent departments of the Government, and the states which compose our confederated Union, instead of attending to their appropriate duties and leaving those who may offend to be reclaimed or punished in the manner pointed out in the Constitution, would fall to mutual crimination and recrimination and give to the people confusion and anarchy instead of order and law, until at length some form of aristocratic power would be established on the ruins of the Constitution or the States be broken into separate communities.
Far be it from me to charge or to insinuate that the present Senate of the United States intend tin the most distant way to encourage such a result. It is not of their motives or designs , but only of the tendency of their acts, that it is my duty to speak. It is, if possible, to make Senators themselves sensible of the danger which lurks under the precedent set in their resolution, and at any rate to perform my duty as the responsible head of one of the coequal departments of the Government, that I have been compelled to point out the consequences to which the discussion and passage of the resolution may lead if the tendency of the measure be not checked in its inception. It is due to the high trust with which I have been charged, to those who may be called to succeed me in it, to the representatives of the people whose constitutional prerogative has been unlawfully assumed, to the people and to the States, and to the Constitution they have established that I should not permit its provisions to be broken down by such an attack on the executive department without at least some effort "to preserve, protect, and defend" them. With this view, and for the reasons which have been stated, I do hereby solemnly protest against the aforementioned proceedings of the Senate as unauthorized by the Constitution, contrary to its spirit and to several of its express provisions, subversive of that distribution of the powers of government which it has ordained and established, destructive of the checks and safeguards by which those powers were intended on the one hand to be controlled and on the other to be protected, and calculated by their immediate and collateral effects, by their character and tendency, to concentrate in the hands of a body not directly amenable to the people a degree of influence and power dangerous to their liberties and fatal to the Constitution of their choice.
The resolution of the Senate contains an imputation upon my private as well as upon my public character, and as it must stand forever on their journals, I can not close this substitute for that defense which I have not been allowed to present in the ordinary form without remarking that I have lived in vain if it be necessary to enter into a formal vindication of my character and purposes from such an imputation. In vain do I bear upon my person enduring memorials of that contest in which American liberty was purchased; in vain have I since periled property, fame, and life in defense of the rights and privileges so dearly bought; in vain am I now, without a personal aspiration or the hope of individual advantage, encountering responsibilities and dangers from which by mere inactivity in relation to a single point I might have been exempt, if any serious doubts can be entertained as to the purity of my purposes and motives. If I had been ambitious, I should have sought an alliances with that powerful institution which even now aspires to no divided empire. If I had been venal, I should have sold myself to its designs. Had I preferred personal comfort and official ease to the performance of my arduous duty, I should have ceased to molest it. In the history of conquerors and usurpers, never in the fire of youth nor in the vigor of manhood could I find an attraction to lure me from the path of duty, and now I shall scarcely find and inducement to commence their career of ambition when gray hairs and a decaying fame, instead of inviting to toil and battle, call me to the contemplation of other worlds, where conquerors cease to be honored and usurpers expiate their crimes. The only ambition I can feel is to acquit myself to Him to whom I must soon render an account of my stewardship, to serve my fellowmen, and to live respected and honored in the history of my country. No; the ambition which leads me on is an anxious desire and a fixed determination to return to the people unimpaired the sacred trust they have confided to my charge; to heal the wounds of the Constitution and preserve it from further violation; to persuade my countrymen, so far as I may, that it is not in a splendid government supported by powerful monopolies and aristocratical establishments that they will find happiness or their liberties protection, but in a plain system, void of pomp, protecting all and granting favors to none, dispensing its blessings, like the dews of Heaven, unseen and unfelt save in the freshness and beauty they contribute to produce. It is such a government that the genius of our people requires; such an one only under which our States may remain for ages to come united, prosperous, and free. If the Almighty Being who has hitherto sustained and protected me will but vouchsafe to make my feeble powers instrumental to such a result, I shall anticipate with pleasure the place to be assigned me in the history of my country, and die contented with the belief that I have contributed in some small degree to increase the value and prolong the duration of American liberty.
To the end that the resolution of the Senate may not be hereafter drawn into precedent with the authority of silent acquiescence on the part of the executive department, and to the end also that my motives and views in the Executive proceedings denounced in that resolution may be known to my fellow-citizens, to the world, and to all posterity, I respectfully request that this message and protest may be entered at length on the journals of the Senate.
<date="January 20, 1920">
My countrymen, the first flaming torch of Americanism was lighted in framing the Federal Constitution in 1787. The pilgrims signed their simple and majestic covenant a full century and a half before, and set aflame their beacon of liberty on the coast of Massachusetts. Other pioneers of New World's freedom were rearing their new standards of liberty from Jamestown to Plymouth for five generations before Lexington and Concord heralded the new era. It is all American in the destined result, yet all of it lacked the soul of nationality.
In simple truth, there was no thought of nationality in the revolution for American independence. The colonists were resisting a wrong, and freedom was their solace. Once it was achieved, nationality was the only agency suited to its preservation. Americanism really began when robed in nationality. The American Republic began the blazed trail of representative popular government. Representative democracy was proclaimed the safe agency of highest human freedom. America headed the forward procession of civil, human, and religious liberty, which ultimately will affect the liberation of all mankind. The Federal Constitution is the very base of all Americanism, the "Ark of the Covenant" of American liberty, the very temple of equal rights. The Constitution does abide and ever will, so long as the Republic survives.
Let us hesitate before we surrender the nationality which is the very soul of highest Americanism. This republic has never failed humanity, or endangered civilization. We have been tardy sometimes--like when we were proclaiming democracy and neutrality, and yet ignored our national rights--but the ultimate and helpful part we played in the Great War will be the pride of Americans so long as the world recites the story. We do not mean to hold aloof, we choose no isolation, we shun no duty. I like to rejoice in an American conscience; and in a big conception of our obligation to liberty, justice, and civilization--aye, and more. I like to think of Columbia's helping hand to new republics which are seeking the blessings portrayed in our example. But I have a confidence in our America that requires no council of foreign powers to point the way of American duty. We wish to counsel, cooperate, and contribute, but we arrogate to ourselves the keeping of the American conscience, and every concept of our moral obligation.
It is time to idealize, but it's very practical to make sure our own house is in perfect order before we attempt the miracle of Old World stabilization. Call it selfishness of nationality if you will, I think it an inspiration to patriotic devotion-- to safeguard America first, to stabilize America first, to prosper America first, to think of America first, to exalt America first, to live for and revere America first.
Let the internationalist dream and the Bolshevist destroy. God pity him for whom no minstrel raptures swell. In the spirit of the Republic we proclaim Americanism and acclaim America.
<date="May 14, 1920">
My countrymen, there isn't anything the matter with the world's civilization except that humanity is viewing it through a vision impaired in a cataclysmal war. Poise has been disturbed, and nerves have been wracked, and fever has rendered men irrational. Sometimes there have been draughts upon the dangerous cup of barbarity. Men have wandered far from safe paths, but the human procession still marches in the right direction. Here in the United States we feel the reflex, rather than the hurting wound itself, but we still think straight; and we mean to act straight; we mean to hold firmly to all that was ours when war involved us and seek the higher attainments which are the only compensations that so supreme a tragedy may give mankind.
America's present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate; not experiment, but equipoise; not submergence in internationality but sustainment in triumphant nationality. It's one thing to battle successfully against the world's domination by a military autocracy because the infinite God never intended such a program; but it's quite another thing to revise human nature and suspend the fundamental laws of life and all of life's requirements.
The world calls for peace. America demands peace, formal as well as actual, and means to have it so we may set our own house in order. We challenged the proposal that an armed autocrat should dominate the world, and we choose for ourselves to cling to the representative democracy which made us what we are.
This republic has its ample task. If we put an end to false economics which lure humanity to utter chaos, ours will be the commanding example of world leadership today. If we can prove a representative popular government under which the citizenship seeks what it may do for the government and country, rather than what the country may do for individuals, we shall do more to make democracy safe for the world than all armed conflict ever recorded.
The world needs to be reminded that all human ills are not curable by legislation, and that quantity of statutory enactments and excess of government offer no substitute for quality of citizenship. The problems of maintained civilization are not to be solved by a transfer of responsibility from citizenship to government and no eminent page in history was ever drafted to the standards of mediocrity. Nor, no government worthy of the name which is directed by influence on the one hand or moved by intimidation on the other. My best judgement of America's need is to steady down, to get squarely on our feet, to make sure of the right path. Let's get out of the fevered delirium of war with the hallucination that all the money in the world is to be made in the madness of war and the wildness of its aftermath. Let us stop to consider that tranquility at home is more precious than peace abroad and that both our good fortune and our eminence are dependent on the normal forward stride of all the American people. We want to go on, secure and unafraid, holding fast to the American inheritance, and confident of the supreme American fulfillment.
<title="Presidential Debate with Senator Bob Dole">
<date="October 6, 1996">
<JIM LEHRER: Good evening from the Bushnell Theater in Hartford, Connecticut. I'm Jim Lehrer, of The NewsHour on PBS. Welcome to the first of the 1996 Presidential debates between President Bill Clinton, the Democratic nominee, and Senator Bob Dole, the Republican nominee. This event is sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates. It will last 90 minutes, following a format and rules worked out by the two campaigns. There will be two-minute opening and closing statements; in between, a series of questions, each having three parts: a 90-second answer, a 60-second rebuttal, and a 30-second response. I will assist the candidates in adhering to those time limits, with the help of a series of lights visible to both. Under their rules, the candidates are not allowed to question each other directly. I will ask the questions. There are no limitations on the subjects. The order for everything tonight was determined by coin toss. Now to the opening statements and to President Clinton. Mr. President. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> Thank you, Jim, and thank you to the people of Hartford, our hosts. I want to begin by saying again how much I respect Senator Dole and his record of public service, and how hard I will try to make this campaign and this debate one of ideas, not insults. Four years ago I ran for President at a time of high unemployment and rising frustration. I wanted to turn this country around with a program of opportunity for all, responsibility from all, and an American community where everybody has a role to play. I wanted a government that was smaller and less bureaucratic to help people have the tools to make the most of their own lives. Four years ago you took me on faith. Now there's a record: 10 million more jobs, rising incomes, falling crime rates and welfare rolls, a strong America at peace. We are better off than we were four years ago. Let's keep it going. We cut the deficit by 60 percent. Now let's balance the budget and protect Medicare, Medicaid, education, and the environment. We cut taxes for 15 million working Americans. Now let's pass the tax cuts for education and childrearing, help with medical emergencies and buying a home. We passed family and medical leave. Now let's expand it so more people can succeed as parents and in the work force. We passed the 100,000 police, the assault weapons ban, the Brady Bill. Now let's keep going by finishing the work of putting the police on the street and tackling juvenile gangs. We passed welfare reform. Now let's move a million people from welfare to work. And most important, let's make education our highest priority so that every 8-year-old will be able to read, every 12-year-old can log on to the Internet, every 18-year-old can go to college. We can build that bridge to the 21st century, and I look forward to discussing exactly how we're going to do it.
<LEHRER: Senator Dole, two minutes. >
<SENATOR BOB DOLE: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President, for those kind words. And I thank the people of Hartford, the Commission, and all those out here who may be listening or watching. It's a great honor for me to be here, standing here as the Republican nominee. I'm very proud to be the Republican nominee, reaching out to Democrats and Independents. I have three very special people with me: my wife, Elizabeth, my daughter, Robin, who have never let me down; and a fellow named Frank Carafa from New York, who along with Ollie Manninen helped me out in the mountains of Italy a few years back. I've learned from them that people do have tough times and sometimes you can't go it alone. And that's what America's all about. I remember getting my future back from doctors and nurses and a doctor in Chicago named Dr. Kelikian, and ever since that time I've tried to give something back to my country, to the people who are watching us tonight. America is the greatest place on the face of the Earth. And I know millions of you still have anxieties. You work harder and harder to make ends meet and put food on the table. You worry about the quality and the safety of your children and the quality of education. But even more importantly, you worry about the future and will they have the same opportunities that you and I have had. And Jack Kemp and I want to share with you some ideas tonight. Jack Kemp is my runningmate, doing an outstanding job. Now, I'm a plain-speaking man, and I learned long ago that your word was your bond. And I promise you tonight that I'll try to address your concerns and not try to exploit them. It's a tall order, but I've been running against the odds for a long time. And again, I'm honored to be here this evening. >
<LEHRER: Mr. President, first question: There's a major difference in your view of the role of the federal government and that of Senator Dole. How would you define the difference? >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> Well, Jim, I believe that the federal government should give people the tools and try to establish the conditions in which they can make the most of their own lives. That, to me, is the key. And that leads me to some different conclusions from Senator Dole. For example, we have reduced the size of the federal government to its smallest size in 30 years. We've reduced more regulations, eliminated more programs than my two Republican predecessors. But I have worked hard for things like the family and medical leave law, the Brady bill, the assault weapons ban, the program to put 100,000 police on the street. All of these are programs that Senator Dole opposed, that I supported because I felt they were a legitimate effort to help people make the most of their own lives. I've worked hard to help families impart values to their own children. I supported the V-chip so that parents would be able to control what their kids watch on television when they're young, along with the ratings system for television and educational television. I supported strong action against the tobacco companies to stop the marketing, advertising, and sale of tobacco to young people. I supported a big increase in the safe and drug-free schools program. These were areas on which Senator Dole and I differed, but I believed that they were the right areas for America to be acting together as one country to help individuals and families make the most of their own lives and raise their kids with good values and a good future.
<LEHRER: Senator Dole, one minute. >
<SENATOR DOLE: I think the basic difference is -- and I have had some experience in this -- I think the basic difference -- I trust the people; the President trusts the government. If you go back and look at the health care plan that he wanted to impose on the American people -- one-seventh the total economy, 17 new taxes, price controls, 35 to 50 new bureaucracies, a cost of $1.5 trillion. Don't forget that; that happened in 1993. A tax increase that taxed everybody in America, not just the rich. If you made $25,000 -- that's the original proposal -- you got your Social Security taxes increased. We had a BTU tax that turned into a $35 billion gas tax, a $265 billion tax increase. I guess I rely more on the individual. I carry a little card around in my pocket called the 10th Amendment. Where possible, I want to give power back to the States and back to the people. That's my difference for the present, and we'll have specific differences later. He noted a few, but there are others. >
<LEHRER: Mr. President, 30 seconds. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> I trust the people. We've done a lot to give the people more powers to make their own decisions over their own lives. But I do think we are right when we try to, for example, give mothers and newborns 48 hours before they can be kicked out of the hospital, ending these drive-by deliveries. I think we were right to pass the Kassebaum-Kennedy bill, which states you can't lose your health insurance just because you change jobs or because someone in your family has been sick. Our government is smaller and less bureaucratic and has given more authority to the states than its two predecessors under Republican Presidents. But I do believe we have to help our people get ready to succeed in the 21st century. State of the Nation
<LEHRER: Senator Dole, the President said in his opening statement, we are better off today than we were four years ago. Do you agree? >
<SENATOR DOLE: Well, he's better off than he was four years ago. <Laughter> >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> I agree with that. That's right.
<SENATOR DOLE: And I may be better off four years from now. But -- <laughter> I don't know, I look at the slowest growth in a century. He inherited a growth of 4.7, 4.8 percent; now it's down to about 2.4 percent. We're going to pass a million bankruptcies this year for the first time in history. We've got stagnant wages; in fact, women's wages have dropped 2.2 percent. Men's wages haven't gone up, gone down. So we have stagnation. We have the highest foreign debt in history. And it seems to me that if you take a look -- are you better off? Well, I guess some may be better off. Saddam Hussein is probably better off than he was four years ago. Rene Preval is probably better off than he was four years ago. But are the American people? They're working harder and harder and paying more taxes. For the first time in history, you pay about 40 percent of what you earn, more than you spend for food, clothing, and shelter combined, for taxes under this administration. So some may be better off. They talk about family income being up. That's not true in Connecticut; family income is down. And it's up in some cases because both parents are working; one works for the family, and one works to pay taxes for the Government. We're going to give them a tax cut so they can spend more time with their children, maybe even take a vacation. That's what America is all about. >
<LEHRER: Mr. President, one minute. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> Well, let me say, first of all, in February, Senator Dole acknowledged that the American economy was in the best shape it's been in in 30 years. We have 10 million more jobs, a faster job growth rate than under any Republican administration since the 1920s. Wages are going up for the first time in a decade. We have record number of new small businesses. We had the biggest drop in the number of people in poverty in 27 years. All groups of people are growing -- we had the biggest drop in income inequality in 27 years in 1995. The average family's income has gone up over $1,600 just since our economic plan passed. So I think it's clear that we're better off than we were four years ago. Now we need to focus on, what do we need to do to be better off still? How can we help people -- as we are -- to get their retirements when they work for small businesses, to be able to afford health insurance, to be able to educate their children? That's what I want to focus on. But we're clearly better off than we were four years ago, as Senator Dole acknowledged this year.
<LEHRER: Senator Dole? >
<SENATOR DOLE: I doubt that I acknowledged that this year, but in any event, I think we just look at the facts. We ask the people that are viewing tonight, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" It's not whether we're better off; it's whether they're better off. Are you working harder to put food on the table, to feed your children? Are your children getting a better education? Drug use has doubled the past 44 months all across America. Crime has gone down, but it's because of mayors like Rudy Giuliani, where one-third of the drop happened in one city, New York City. So, yes, some may be better off. But of the people listening tonight, the working families who will benefit from our economic package, they'll be better off when Bob Dole is President and Jack Kemp is Vice President. >
<LEHRER: Mr. President, Senator Dole has come pretty close in the last few days to accusing you of lying about his position on Medicare reform. Have you done so? >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> Absolutely not. Let's look at the position. First of all, remember that in this campaign season, since Senator Dole has been a candidate, he has bragged about the fact that he voted against Medicare in the beginning, in 1965, one of only 12 members. He said he did the right thing then; he knew it wouldn't work at the time. That's what he said. Then his budget, that he passed along with Speaker Gingrich, cut Medicare $270 billion, more than was necessary to repair the Medicare Trust Fund. It would have charged seniors more for out-of-pocket costs, as well as more in premiums, because doctors could have charged them more. The American Hospital Association, the nurses association, the Catholic Hospital Association all said hundreds of hospitals could close and people would be hurt badly under the Dole-Gingrich Medicare plan that I vetoed. And now, with this risky $550 billion tax scheme of Senator Dole's, even his own friends -- his campaign cochair, Senator D'Amato, says that they can't possibly pay for it without cutting Medicare more and cutting Social Security as well, according to him. Now, my balanced budget plan adds 10 years to the life of the Medicare Trust Fund -- 10 years. And we'll have time to deal with the long-term problems of the baby boomers. But it was simply wrong to finance their last scheme to cut Medicare $270 billion, to run the risk of it withering on the vine. We always have to reform it over the years, but we need someone who believes in it to reform it.
<LEHRER: Senator Dole. >
<SENATOR DOLE: Well, I must say I looked back at the vote on Medicare in 1965 -- we had a program called Eldercare that also provided drugs and was means-tested so people who needed medical attention received it. I thought it was a good program. But I have supported Medicare ever since. In fact, I used to go home and my mother would tell me -- said, "Bob, all I've got is my Social Security and my Medicare. Don't cut it." I wouldn't violate anything my mother said. In fact, we had a conversation about our mothers one day, a very poignant conversation in the White House. I'm concerned about health care. I've had the best health care in government hospitals, Army hospitals, and I know its importance. But we've got to fix it. It's his trustees, the President's trustees, not mine, who say it's going to go broke. He doesn't fix it for 10 years. We ought to appoint a commission, just as we did with Social Security in 1983 when we rescued Social Security. And I was proud to be on that commission, along with Claude Pepper, the champion of senior citizens from Florida. And we can do it again if we take politics out of it. Stop scaring the seniors, Mr. President. You've already spent $45 million scaring seniors and tearing me apart. I think it's time to have a truce. >
<LEHRER: Mr. President. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> Well, let me say first of all, I'd be happy to have a commission deal with this, and I appreciate what Senator Dole did on the '83 Social Security commission. But it won't be possible to do if his tax scheme passes, because even his own campaign co-chair, Senator D'Amato, says he'll have to cut Medicare even more than was cut in the bill that I vetoed. I vetoed that bill because it cut more Medicare and basically ran the risk of breaking up the system. My balanced budget plan puts 10 years onto Medicare. We ought to do that; then we can have a commission. But Senator Dole's plans are not good for the country. Senator Dole's Tax Cut Proposal
<LEHRER: Senator Dole, speaking of your tax plan, do you still think that's a good idea, the 15 percent across-the-board tax cut? >
<SENATOR DOLE: Oh, yes, and you'll be eligible. <Laughter> >
<SENATOR DOLE: And so will the former President, yes. <Laughter> >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> That's good. I need it.
<SENATOR DOLE: Well, the people need it; that's the point. This is not a Wall Street tax cut. This is a family tax cut. This is a Main Street tax cut. Fifteen percent across -- let's take a family making $30,000 a year -- that's $1,261. Now, maybe to some in this Bushnell Memorial that's not a lot of money, but people watching tonight with a couple of kids, a working family -- that's four or five months of day care, maybe a personal computer; it may be three or four months of mortgage payments. This economic package is about families, but it's a six-point package. First of all, it's a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, which President Clinton defeated. He twisted arms and got six Democrats to vote the other way. We lost by one vote. It's balancing the budget by the year 2002. It's the tax cut, cutting capital gains 50 percent, so that you can go out and create more jobs and more opportunities. It's a state tax relief. It's a $500-per-child tax credit. It's about litigation reform. Now that the President gets millions of dollars from the trial lawyers, he probably doesn't like this provision. In fact, when I fell off that podium in Chico, before I hit the ground I had a call on my cell phone from a trial lawyer saying, "I think we've got a case here." <Laughter> And it's also regulatory reform. So it's a good package, Mr. President, and we'd like to have your support. >
<LEHRER: Mr. President. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> Well, here's the problem with it. It sounds very good, but there's a reason that 500 economists, including seven Nobel Prize winners, and business periodicals like Business Week and even Senator Dole's friend Senator Warren Rudman, former Republican Senator from New Hampshire, says it is not a practical program. It's a $550 billion tax scheme that will cause a big hole in the deficit, which will raise interest rates and slow down the economy and cause people to pay more for home mortgages, car payments, credit card payments, college loans, and small business loans. It's not good to raise the deficit; we've worked too hard to lower it. It will actually raise taxes on 9 million people. And in addition to that, it will force bigger cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, education, and the environment than the ones that he and Mr. Gingrich passed that I vetoed last year. So it sounds great. But our targeted tax cut for education, childrearing, health care, and homebuying, which is paid for in my balanced budget plan -- something that he has not done -- certified by the Congressional Budget Office, that's the right way to go.
<LEHRER: Senator Dole. >
<SENATOR DOLE: The President wants to increase spending 20 percent over the next six years. I want to increase spending 14 percent. That's how simple it is. I want the government to pinch pennies for a change, instead of the American families. We're talking about six percentage points over six years. And with that money, you give it back to the working people. You also provide opportunity scholarships so low-income parents will have the same choice that others have in sending their children to better schools. And it will work. And when it does work, Mr. President, I know you will congratulate me. >
<LEHRER: Mr. President, the Senator mentioned trial lawyers, and that means campaign financing. How do you personally avoid being unduly influenced by people who give you money or give you services in your campaigns? >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> Well, I try to articulate my positions as clearly as possible, tell people what I stand for, and let them decide whether they're going to support me or not. The Senator mentioned the trial lawyers. In the case of the product liability bill, which they passed and I vetoed -- I think that's what he's talking about -- I actually wanted to sign that bill, and I told the people exactly what--the Congress -- exactly what kind of bill I would sign. Now, a lot of the trial lawyers didn't want me to sign any bill at all, but I thought we ought to do what we could to cut frivolous lawsuits. But they wouldn't make some of the changes that I thought should be made. And let me just give you an example. I had a person in the Oval Office who lost a child in a schoolbus accident where a drunk driver caused the accident directly, but there were problems with the schoolbus. The drunk driver had no money. Under the new bill, if I had signed it, a person like that could never have had any recovery. I thought that was wrong. So I gave four or five specific examples to the Congress, and I said, "Prove to me that these people could recover, but we're going to eliminate frivolous lawsuits; I'll sign the bill." But generally, I believe that a President has to be willing to do what he thinks is right. I've done a lot of things that were controversial: my economic plan, my trade position, Bosnia, Haiti, taking on the NRA for the first time, taking on the tobacco companies for the first time. Sometimes you just have to do that because you know it's right for the country over the long run. That's what I've tried to do, and that's what I will continue to do as President.
<LEHRER: Senator Dole? >
<SENATOR DOLE: You mean, how does he avoid the conflict? Well, I don't know in the case of the trial lawyers. When I look at the trial lawyers, and when you're a few million short you run out to Hollywood and pick up $2 million to $4 million, and organized labor comes to Washington, DC, and puts $35 million into the pot -- now, if these aren't special interests, then I've got a lot to learn. I was there for a while before I left on June 11th. The trial lawyers -- I don't -- my wife is a lawyer. We're the only two lawyers in Washington that trust each other, but we're lawyers. I like lawyers. I don't dislike trial lawyers. But it seems to me there has got to be some end to the frivolous lawsuits, and there's got to be some cap on punitive damage. You're putting a lot of business people out of business, small-business men and small-business women who paid 70 percent of your $265 billion tax increase, the largest tax increase in the history of America. I said that one day, and Pat Moynihan -- and the Democrats say no -- he said, "in the history of the world." So I modified it--the largest tax increase in the history of the world. And it seems to me that there is a problem there, Mr. President. And I will address you as Mr. President. You didn't do that with President Bush in 1992. >
<LEHRER: Mr. President. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> Let me say, first of all, I signed a tort reform bill that dealt with civilian aviation a couple of years ago. I've proved that I will sign reasonable tort reform. Secondly, Senator Dole has had some pretty harsh comments about special interest money, but it wasn't me who opposed what we tried to do to save the lives of children who are subject to tobacco and then went to the tobacco growers and bragged about standing up to the federal government when we tried to stop the advertising, marketing, and sales of tobacco to children. And it wasn't me that let the polluters actually come into the halls of Congress, into the rooms, and rewrite the environmental laws. That's what Speaker Gingrich and Senator Dole did, not me.
<SENATOR DOLE: That's not true. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> So I believe that we should take a different approach to this and talk about how we stand on the issues instead of trying to characterize each other's motivations. I think Senator Dole and I just honestly disagree.
<LEHRER: Well, Senator Dole, let me ask you the same question I asked the President: How do you avoid being influenced by people who contribute money and services to your campaigns? >
<SENATOR DOLE: I think it's very difficult. Let's be honest about it. That's why we need campaign finance reform. That's why I reach out to the Perot voters, and we've done about all that--we are the reform party, the Republican Party, and the Perot voters who are looking for a home ought to take a look at the Republican record. Whatever it is, whatever the checklist was in '92, it's all done but campaign finance reform. I worked with Senator Mitchell, who played me, I guess, in the debate warmup. We tried six or eight years ago to -- he appointed three people, I appointed three people -- to get campaign finance reform. We couldn't get it done because it wasn't enforceable. You suggested a commission; Newt Gingrich did. I've suggested that, at least four or five years ago, we have a commission on campaign finance reform, they send it to Congress, and we have to vote it up or down. That's how it works. We're never going to fix it by the parties, because Democrats want a better advantage for themselves, we want a better advantage as Republicans, and that's not how it's going to work. But I want to touch on this tobacco thing. I know the President's been puffing a lot on that. But I want to go back to 1965. That was my first vote against tobacco companies when I said we ought to label cigarettes, and I've had a consistent record ever since 1965. We passed a bill in 1992 to encourage the States to adopt programs to stop kids from smoking. All 50 states did it. It took three years. It wasn't until election year, Mr. President, that you ever thought about stopping smoking. What about drugs that have increased -- doubled in the last 44 months? Cocaine is up 141 percent -- or marijuana; cocaine up 166 percent. And it seems to me that you have a selective memory. Mine doesn't work that way, so I just want to try to correct it as we go along. >
<LEHRER: Mr. President. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> Mr. Lehrer, I hope we'll have a chance to discuss drugs later in the program, but let me respond to what you said. I agree that too many incumbent politicians in Washington in both parties have consistently opposed campaign finance reform. That was certainly the case from the minute I got there. So after Speaker Gingrich and Senator Dole took over the Congress, I went to New Hampshire and a man suggested -- a gentleman that, unfortunately, just passed away a couple of days ago suggested that we appoint a commission. And I shook hands with him on it, and I appointed my members, and the commission never met. And then Senator Dole's ardent supporter Senator McCain, who is out there today, along with Senator Feingold, supported -- sponsored a campaign finance reform proposal. I strongly supported it, and members of Senator Dole's own party in the Senate killed it. And he was not out there urging them to vote for the McCain-Feingold bill. So I think the American people, including the Perot supporters, know that I've had a consistent record in favor of campaign finance reform, and I will continue to have. And I hope we can finally get it in the next session of Congress, because we need it badly.
<LEHRER: Senator Dole, 30 seconds. >
<SENATOR DOLE: Well, on campaign reform itself we're going to get it when we have a bipartisan commission, take it out of politics get people who don't have any interest in politics but understand the issue, and let them make a recommendation to Congress. Now, we're not kidding anybody, Mr. President. These are sophisticated people watching tonight, millions and millions of Americans. They know the Republican Party hasn't done it. They know the Democratic Party won't do it. We ought to agree that somebody else should do it, and then we have to vote it up or down. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> I agree. Teenage Drug Use
<LEHRER: Mr. President, the Senator mentioned drugs. He's suggested in the past that you bear some responsibility for the rise in drug use of teenagers in the United States. Is he right? >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> Well, Jim, I think every American in any position of responsibility should be concerned about what's happened. I am. But let's look at the overall record. Overall in America, cocaine use has dropped 30 percent in the last four years, casual drug use down 13 percent. The tragedy is that our young people are still increasing their use of drugs, up to about 11 percent total with marijuana. And I regret it. Let me tell you what I've tried to do about it. I appointed a four-star general who led our efforts south of the border to keep drugs from coming into the country as our nation's drug czar, the most heavily decorated soldier in uniform when he retired. We submitted the biggest drug budget ever. We have dramatically increased control and enforcement at the border. We supported a crime bill that had 60 death penalties, including the death penalty for drug kingpins. And I supported a big expansion in the safe and drug-free schools program to support things like the D. A.R. E. program, because I thought all those things were very important. Do I think that I bear some responsibility for the fact that too many of our children still don't understand drugs are wrong, drugs can kill you, even though I have consistently opposed the legalization of drugs all my public life and worked hard against them? I think we all do. And I hope we can do better. I don't think this issue should be politicized, because my record is clear and I don't think Senator Dole supports using drugs. I think we just have to continue to work on this until those who think it isn't dangerous and won't kill them and won't destroy their lives get the message and change.
<LEHRER: Senator. >
<SENATOR DOLE: Again, you're very selective, Mr. President. You don't want to politicize drugs, but it's all right to politicize Medicare and go out and scare senior citizens and other vulnerable groups, veterans and people who get Pell grants and things like this. I mean, you say we have done all these bad things, which isn't the case. But it seems to me the record is clear. The record was pretty clear in Arkansas when you were Governor: drug use doubled. You resisted the appointment of a drug czar there because you thought it might interfere with treatment. But here you cut the drug czar's office 83 percent. You have cut interdiction substantially. That's what I want to stop it from coming across the border. And in my administration we're going to train the National Guard to stop it from coming across the border. This is an invasion of drugs from all over the world. And we have a responsibility. You had a Surgeon General McCaffrey, you had a lady who said we ought to consider legalizing drugs. Is that the kind of leadership we need? And I won't comment on other things that have happened in your administration or your past about drugs. But it seems to me the kids ought to, if they have started they ought to stop, and just don't do it. >
<LEHRER: Mr. President. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> Let me say again, we did have a drug czar in Arkansas, but he answered to the Governor, just like this one answers to the President. That's what I thought we ought to do. Secondly, Senator Dole, you voted against the crime bill that had the death penalty for drug kingpins in it, and you voted to cut services to 23 million school children under the Safe and Drug-Free Schools Act. I don't think that means you're soft on drugs. We just have a different approach. But let me remind you that my family has suffered from drug abuse. I know what it's like to see somebody you love nearly lose their lives, and I hate drugs, Senator. We need to do this together, and we can. Gun Control
<LEHRER: Senator Dole, on the Government -- continuing to talk about the government's role -- if elected President, would you seek to repeal the Brady bill and the ban on assault weapons? >
<SENATOR DOLE: Not if I didn't have a better idea, but I've got a better idea. It's something I've worked on for 15 years. It's called the automated check, or the instant check. It's being used in 17 states right now, States like Florida, Colorado, Virginia, and other states. You don't buy any gun -- you don't get any gun. We've got 20 million names on a computer in Washington, DC, of people who should not have a gun. We ought to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, and there are eight other categories that should not have guns. I've been working on this for a long, long time. You walk in, you put your little card in there. If it says "tilt," you don't get any gun. You don't get a handgun; you don't get a rifle; you don't get a shotgun. You get zippo. If we're going to protect American children and American families and people who live as prisoners in their own home, we've got to stop guns from being dumped on the street. The administration says they support the instant check. They've appropriated about $200 million, but only spent about $3 million to get it underway. In our administration, in my administration, we will expedite this. It keeps up the technology. It keeps guns out of the hands of people who should not have guns. That is the bottom line. And I believe it's a good idea. It has strong bipartisan support, and perhaps that's another thing we can depoliticize. You talk about the Brady bill. There's only been one prosecution under the Brady bill -- only one under the assault weapon ban, and only seven under the Brady bill that you talk about all the time. And on the assault weapons ban, out of 17 weapons that were banned, only six are banned now because 11 have been modified and they're back on the street. Let's get together on this instant check, because that will really make a difference. >
<LEHRER: Mr. President. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> The President. Let me say, first of all, Senator Dole has gone back and forth about whether he'd be for repealing the Brady bill or repealing the assault weapons ban, and I think his present position is that he would not do so. And if that's true, I'm grateful for it. But let's look at the facts here. The Brady bill has kept at least 60,000 felons, fugitives, and stalkers from getting handguns. Senator Dole led the fight against the Brady bill. He tried to keep it from coming to my desk. He didn't succeed, and I signed it, and I'm glad I did. Then when we had the assault weapons ban in the Senate, Senator Dole fought it bitterly and opposed the entire crime bill and almost brought the entire crime bill down because the National Rifle Association didn't want the assault weapons ban, just like they didn't want the Brady bill. But two years later, nobody has lost their handguns, I mean, their rifles. We've expanded the Brady bill to cover people who beat up their spouses and their kids. And this is a safer country. So I'm glad I took on that fight. And I believe, with all respect, I was right, and he was wrong.
<SENATOR DOLE: Well, the President doesn't have it quite right. I mean, it seemed to me at the time that the assault weapon ban was not effective. But that's history. As I told the NRA, that's history: You're not going to worry about it anymore; I'm not going to worry about it anymore. Let's do something better. Let's stop playing the political game, Mr. President, talking about this and this. You add up all the States who have used the instant check and how many weapons they've kept out of the hands of criminals, it would far surpass the number you mentioned. So in my view, if you want to be protected, you ought to vote for Bob Dole, and we'll get the instant check passed, and we'll keep guns out of the hands of criminals. Foreign Policy >
<LEHRER: Mr. President, Senator Dole said the other day that you practiced a photo-op foreign policy that has lessened the credibility of the United States throughout the world. Is he wrong about that? >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> If that's what he said, he's not right about that. Look at where we are today. The United States is still the indispensable nation in the aftermath of the Cold War and on the brink of the 21st century. I have worked to support our country as the world's strongest force for peace and freedom, prosperity and security. We have done the following things: Number one, we've managed the aftermath of the Cold War, supporting a big drop in nuclear weapons in Russia, the removal of Russian troops from the Baltics, the integration of Central and Eastern European democracies into a new partnership with NATO and, I might add, with a democratic Russia. There are no nuclear missiles pointed at the children of the United States tonight and have not been in our administration for the first time since the dawn of the nuclear age. We have worked hard for peace and freedom. When I took office, Haiti was governed by a dictator that had defied the United States. When I took office, the worst war in Europe was waging in Bosnia. Now there is a democratically elected President in Haiti, peace in Bosnia. We have just had elections there. We have made progress in Northern Ireland and the Middle East. We've also stood up to the new threats of terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, organized crime. And we have worked hard to expand America's economic presence around the world with the biggest increase in trade, with the largest number of new trade agreements in history. That's one of the reasons America is number one in auto production again.
<LEHRER: Senator. >
<SENATOR DOLE: Well, I have a different view again. I've supported the President on Bosnia. And I think we were told the troops would be out in a year. Now I understand it's been extended 'til sometime next year. But let's start with Somalia, where they dragged Americans through the streets and where 18 Americans were killed one day because they didn't have -- they were pinned down for eight hours, the Rangers; they didn't have the weapons; they didn't have the tanks. They asked for the tanks. They didn't get the tanks from this administration, because we were nation building. It's called mission creep. We turn it over to the United Nations. The President didn't have much to do about it. Look at Haiti where we've spent about $3 billion, and we got an alarm call there about two weeks ago: "You've got to send down some more people because the President has found out there are death squads on his own property, so we need more protection from America." Bosnia, Northern Ireland -- there is no cease-fire in Bosnia. I think there are still lots of problems in Bosnia. We agreed to train and arm the Muslims so they could defend themselves -- the policy you had when you ran in 1992 -- we haven't done that. We're way behind, which means Americans can't come home. Americans shouldn't have gone there in the first place, had we let them defend themselves as they have a right to do under Article 57 of the United Nations Charter. >
<LEHRER: Mr. President. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> First of all, I take full responsibility for what happened in Somalia, but the American people must remember that those soldiers were under an American commander when that happened. I believe they did the best they could under the circumstances. And let's not forget that hundreds of thousands of lives were saved there. Secondly, in Haiti, political violence is much, much smaller than it was. Thirdly, in Bosnia it's a virtual miracle that there has been no return to war. And at least there has now been an election, and the institutions are beginning to function. In Northern Ireland and the Middle East we are better off than we were four years ago. There will always be problems in this old world, but if we're moving in the right direction and America is leading, we're better off.
<LEHRER: Senator Dole, if elected President, what criteria would you use to decide when to send U. S. troops into harm's way? >
<SENATOR DOLE: Well, after World War I we had a policy of disengagement. Then from World War I to World War II we had sort of a compulsory engagement policy. Now, I think we have to have a selective engagement policy. We have to determine when our interests are involved, not the United Nations' interests. And many of the things the President talked about he turned over to the United Nations; they decided. He's deployed more troops than any President in history around the world. It's cost us billions and billions of dollars for peacekeeping operations. These are facts. And it seems to me that when you make a decision, the decision is made by the President of the United States, by the Commander in Chief. He makes that decision when he commits young men or young women who are going to go around and defend our liberty and our freedom. That would be my position. Then I'm going to have a top-down review at the Pentagon, not a bottom-up review where you all fight over how much money is there. I want a top-down review to determine what our priorities are and what we should do in defense and then follow that policy, instead of this bottom-up review with all of the services fighting for the money. The President said he was going to cut defense $60 billion; he cut defense $112 billion, devastated States like California and others. And I think now we've got a problem. We've got to go back and look. It's just like you said in Texas one day, you know, you raised taxes too much -- and you did -- and you cut defense too much, Mr. President -- and you did, and you may have said that, too. But the bottom line is, we are the strongest nation in the world, we provide the leadership, and we're going to have to continue to provide the leadership. But let's do it on our terms when our interests are involved and not when somebody blows a whistle at the United Nations. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> Our military is the strongest military in the world. It is the strongest, best prepared, best equipped it has ever been. There is very little difference in the budget that I have proposed and the Republican budget over the next six-year period. We are spending a lot of money to modernize our weapons system. I have proposed a lot of new investments to improve the quality of life for our soldiers, for our men and women in uniform, for their families, for their training. That is my solemn obligation. You asked, when do you decide to deploy them? The interests of the American people must be at stake; our values must be at stake; we have to be able to make a difference. And frankly, we have to consider what the risks are to our young men and women in uniform. But I believe the evidence is that our deployments have been successful, in Haiti, in Bosnia, when we moved to Kuwait to repel Saddam Hussein's threatened invasion of Kuwait, when I have sent the fleet into the Taiwan Straits, when we've worked hard to end the North Korean nuclear threat. I believe the United States is at peace tonight in part because of the disciplined, careful, effective deployment of our military resources.
<LEHRER: Senator Dole. >
<SENATOR DOLE: Well, I failed to mention North Korea and Cuba a while ago. You look at North Korea, where they have enough plutonium to build six nuclear bombs, where we've sort of distanced ourselves from our allies, South Korea. They lost about a million people in the war, the Korean war, the forgotten war. We lost 53,000 Americans. We shouldn't be doing any favors for North Korea. It's a closed society; we don't have any inspection; we don't know whether it's going to work or not. But we keep giving them these incentives -- some would call them something else -- incentives. We don't know what's going to happen. Here we have Cuba, 90 miles from our shores. And what have we done? We've passed a law that gave people the right to sue, and the President postponed it for six months. And it seems to me if you want to send a signal you've got to send a signal, Mr. President. The sooner, the better off we'll be if we put tougher sanctions on Castro, not try to make it easier for him. Cuba >
<LEHRER: Well, Mr. President, what is your attitude toward Cuba and how Cuba should be treated. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> Well, first of all, for the last four years we have worked hard to put more and more pressure on the Castro government to bring about more openness and a move toward democracy. In 1992, before I became President, Congress passed the Cuba Democracy Act, and I enforced it vigorously. We made the embargo tougher, but we increased contacts, people to people, with the Cubans, including direct telephone service, which was largely supported by the Cuban-American community. Then Cuba shot down two of our planes and murdered four people in international airspace. They were completely beyond the pale of the law, and I signed the Helms-Burton legislation. Senator Dole is correct. I did give about six months before the effective date of the act before lawsuits can actually be filed, even though they're effective now and can be legally binding, because I want to change Cuba. And the United States needs help from other countries. Nobody in the world agrees with our policy on Cuba now. But this law can be used as leverage to get other countries to help us to move Cuba to democracy. Every single country in Latin America, Central America, and the Caribbean is a democracy tonight but Cuba. And if we stay firm and strong, we will be able to bring Cuba around as well.
<SENATOR DOLE: Well, that's the point I made -- we have to be firm and strong. And I hope that will happen. It will happen starting next January and maybe can happen the balance of this year. We have not been firm and strong. If you look at the poor people who still live in Cuba, it's a haven for drug smugglers, and we don't have a firm policy when it comes to Fidel Castro. In my view, the policy has failed. So Congress passes a law, the President signs it like he does a lot of things, but he -- like welfare reform, "Well, I'm going to sign it, but I'm going to try to change it next year." I mean, a lot of these election-year conversions the President is talking about -- all the drug money and all the other things, all this antismoking campaign -- all happened in 1996. And I think the people viewing out there ought to go back and take a look at the record. When he fought a balanced budget amendment, when he gave you that biggest tax increase in history, when he tried to take over your health care system, when he fought regulatory reform that costs the average family $6,000 to $7,000 a year -- this is serious business. It's about your family. It's about your business. And in this case, it's about a firmer policy with Cuba. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> There were several off-the-subject whoppers in that litany. Let me just mention, Senator Dole voted for $900 billion in tax increases. His runningmate, Jack Kemp, once said that Bob Dole never met a tax he didn't hike. <Laughter> And everybody knows, including the Wall Street Journal, hardly a friend of the Democratic Party or this administration, that the '82 tax increase he sponsored, in inflation-adjusted dollars was the biggest tax increase in American history. So we ought to at least get the facts out here on the table so we can know where to go from here. Health Care Reform
<LEHRER: Senator Dole, you mentioned health reform several times. What do you think should be done about the health care system? >
<SENATOR DOLE: Let me first answer that question about the 1982 tax cut. You know, we were closing loopholes; we were going after big corporations. I know you probably would oppose it, Mr. President, but I think we should have a fairer system and a flatter system. And we will have a fairer, flatter system, and we're going to make the economic package work. Health care: Well, we finally passed the Kassebaum bill. The President was opposed to it in 1993. He wanted to give us this big system that took over about one-seventh the economy, that put on price controls, created all these state alliances, and would cost $1.5 trillion and force people into managed care whether they wanted it or not. Most people want to see their own doctor. They're going to see their own doctor when Bob Dole is President. We won't threaten anybody. So we passed the Kassebaum-Kennedy bill; that will cover about 20 to 25 million people. We've been for that for four, five, or six years. The President held it up. And even when it finally got near passage, Senator Kennedy held it up for 100 days because he wasn't satisfied with one provision. But it will cover a pre-existing condition. If you change your job you're going to be covered. So, there are a lot of good things in this bill that we should have done, instead of trying this massive, massive takeover by the federal government. But then, of course, you had a Democratic Congress, and they didn't want to do that. Until we got a Republican Congress -- we finally got action, and I'm very proud of my colleagues in the Republican Party for getting that done. It means a lot to a lot of people watching us tonight. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> Well, that sounds very good, but it's very wrong. Senator Dole remembers well that we actually offered not to even put in a health care bill in 1994 but instead to work with the Senate Republicans and write a joint bill. And they said no, because they got a memo from one of their political advisers saying that instead they should characterize whatever we did as big Government and make sure nothing was done to aid health care before the '94 elections so they could make that claim. Well, maybe we bit off more than we could chew. But we're pursuing a step-by-step reform now. The Kennedy-Kassebaum bill that I signed will make it possible for 25 million people to keep their health insurance when they change jobs or when somebody in their family has been sick. I signed a bill to stop these drive-by deliveries where insurance companies can force people out of the hospital after 24 hours. And I vetoed Senator Dole's Medicare plan that would have forced a lot of seniors into managed care and taken a lot more money out of their pockets and led to Medicare withering on the vine.
<LEHRER: Senator. >
<SENATOR DOLE: Well, many of the provisions in the Kassebaum bill were provisions -- my provisions, like deductions for long-term care, making certain that self-employed people who are watching tonight can deduct not 30 percent but 80 percent of what you pay for premiums; you can also deduct long-term care now. So it's a good start. I think -- we're even looking at our tax cut proposal, our economic package. There may be a way there to reach out to the uninsured, because there are a lot of uninsured people in this country, particularly children, that should be covered. Another way you can do it is to expand Medicaid. In America, no one will go without health care, no one will go without food... >
<LEHRER: Senator, go ahead and finish your sentence, sorry. >
<SENATOR DOLE: Food. <Laughter> Iraq >
<LEHRER: Back to foreign affairs for a moment. Mr. President, are you satisfied with the way you handled this last Iraq crisis and the end result? >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> Well, I believe that we did the appropriate thing under the circumstances. Saddam Hussein is under a U. N. resolution not to threaten his neighbors or repress his own citizens. Unfortunately, a lot of people have never been as concerned about the Kurds as the United States has tried to be, and we've been flying an operation to protect them out of Turkey for many years now. What happened was, one of the Kurdish leaders invited him to go up north. But we felt, since the whole world community had told him not to do it, that once he did it we had to do something. We did not feel that I could commit -- I certainly didn't feel I should commit American troops to throw him out of where he had gone, and that was the only way to do that. So the appropriate thing strategically to do was to reduce his ability to threaten his neighbors. We did that by expanding what's called the no-fly zone, by increasing our allies' control of the airspace, now from the Kuwait border to the suburbs of Baghdad. Was it the right thing to do? I believe it was. Is it fully effective? Did it make him withdraw from the north? Well, he has a little bit, and I hope he will continue. We have learned that if you give him an inch he'll take a mile. We had to do something. And even though not all of our allies supported it at first, I think most of them now believe that what we did was an appropriate thing to do.
<LEHRER: Senator Dole. >
<SENATOR DOLE: Well, the President's own CIA Director says that Saddam is stronger now than he was. And I don't understand extending the no-fly zone in the south when the trouble was in the north. And what we've done -- during the Bush administration the Kurds were at the State Department negotiating, trying to work their differences out. Now we've got all -- thousands and thousands of refugees. We're even shipping, I guess, 3,000 Kurds to Guam. It involves Turkey. It's a real problem, and Saddam is probably stronger than he ever was. We shot, what, 44 cruise missiles -- they're worth about $1.2 million apiece -- and hit some radar that -- repaired in a couple, three days. Did we inflict any damage? No. Did we have any of our allies helping? Well, we have Great Britain. They're always very loyal to us, and I appreciate that. And of course Kuwait, even though they had to find out they had 5,000 troops coming. They didn't even understand that. We had to get their permission. The bottom line is, we went in there alone. We're supposed to be operating under a U. N. resolution. We did it without any of our allies that helped us in the Gulf. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> Senator Dole has, two or three times before tonight, criticized me for working with the U. N. Now I'm being criticized for not working with the U. N.
<SENATOR DOLE: That's not the U. N. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> Sometimes the United States has to act alone, or at least has to act first. Sometimes we cannot let other countries have a veto on our foreign policy. I could not send soldiers into the north of Iraq; that would have been wrong. I could reduce Saddam Hussein's ability to threaten Kuwait and his other neighbors again. That's what I did; I still believe it was the right thing to do. Middle East Peace Process
<LEHRER: Senator Dole, on your photo-op foreign policy charge against the President... >
<SENATOR DOLE: Not mine. >
<LEHRER: No, no, I mean your charge against the President that he has a photo-op foreign policy; does the Middle East summit last week fall into that category? >
<SENATOR DOLE: Well, there were some good pictures, but does it fall into that category? I don't know. I want to be very serious. I have supported the President when I thought he was right on Bosnia; I supported him on NAFTA and GATT. So it's not that we always disagree; others disagreed with us. The Mideast is very difficult. But it seemed to me just as an observer that before you would call somebody to America, you would have some notion what the end result might be. Now, maybe it's better just to get together and sit down and talk; maybe that was the purpose. And I know talks have -- <inaudible> -- started again today. But again, it's almost like an ad hoc foreign policy. It's ad hoc. It's sort of, "Well, we get up in the morning and read the papers and what country's in trouble, we'll have a meeting." To me, that's not the strategy that I think that people expect from America. I think we have lost credibility. And I say this very honestly, without any partisanship. We've lost credibility around the world. Our allies don't -- they're not certain what we're going to do, what our reaction, what our response is going to be. Nobody suggested sending troops to Iraq, if that was the hint there from the President. But I do think that Saddam Hussein is stronger than he was, and I do believe that we didn't gain a great deal in the Mideast by bringing three of the four leaders -- one refused to come -- to Washington, DC. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> We have a very consistent policy in the Middle East: It is to support the peace process, to support the security of Israel, and to support those who are prepared to take risks for peace. It is a very difficult environment. The feelings are very strong. There are extremists in all parts of the Middle East who want to kill that peace process. Prime Minister Rabin gave his life because someone in his own country literally hated him for trying to bring peace. I would liked to have had a big, organized summit, but those people were killing each other rapidly. Innocent Arab children, innocent Israeli people -- they were dying. So much trust has broken down in the aftermath of the change of government. I felt that if I could just get the parties together to say, let's stop the violence, start talking, commit to the negotiations, that would be a plus. Now, today the Secretary of State is in the Middle East, and they've started negotiations. And all of those leaders promised me they would not quit until they resolved the issues between them and got the peace process going forward again.
<LEHRER: Senator Dole. >
<SENATOR DOLE: Well, I was disappointed the President did not call for an unconditional end to the violence. I mean, it seemed to me the violence would stop when these leaders came to America. The killing and the tragedies had taken place, and it's unfortunate. And it is a difficult area; no doubt about it. It shouldn't be politicized in any way, by the President or by his opponent, and I don't intend to politicize it. I hope that they have talked, and I hope they've reached some result and that the killing will end. Vision for the Future >
<LEHRER: Mr. President, in your acceptance speech in Chicago, you said the real choice in this race is, quote, "whether we build a bridge to the future or a bridge to the past, about whether we believe our best days are still out there or our best days are behind us, about whether we want a country of people all working together or one where you're on your own." End quote. Are you saying that you believe Senator Dole is a man of the past and if elected President he would lead the country backward? >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> Well, I'm saying that Senator Dole said in his fine speech in San Diego that he wanted to build a bridge to the past. And I think I know what he meant by that. He is troubled, as I am, by some of the things that go on today. But I believe America is the greatest country in human history because we have maintained freedom and increasing prosperity by relentlessly pushing the barriers of knowledge, the barriers of the present, always moving into the future. That's why when I became President I was determined to kind of move beyond this old, stale debate that had gone on in Washington for too long, to get this country moving again. And that's why we've got a country with 10 million more jobs and record numbers of new businesses and rising incomes and falling crime rates and welfare roll rates. That's why we're moving in the right direction. And I'm trying to emphasize that what I want to do is to continue to do that. That's why my balanced budget plan will still invest and grow this economy. That's why I want a tax cut for education and childrearing, but it's got to be paid for. That's why I want to continue the work we have done, over partisan opposition, to work with communities to bring that crime rate down until our streets are all safe again. These are my commitments. I am very oriented toward the future. I think this election has to be geared toward the future. I think America's best days are still ahead. But we've got to build the right bridge.
<LEHRER: Senator Dole. >
<SENATOR DOLE: You know, the President reminds me sometimes of my brother, Kenny, who is no longer alive, but Kenny was a great talker. And he used to tell me things that I knew were not quite accurate, so we always had a rule, we divided by six. Now, maybe in your case, maybe just two. But 11 million new jobs and everything -- I mean, the President can't take credit for everything that Governors are doing or that's happening in New York City when it comes to the murder rate and then not be responsible for the bad things that happen, whether it's drug use or something else in America. And so it seems to me that we can talk about -- well, we called Kenny the great exaggerator because he just liked to make it sound a little better; it made him feel better. When it comes to bridges, I want a bridge to the future. I also want a bridge to the truth. We have to tell the truth. We've got people watching tonight and listening tonight trying to find the truth. And the truth is, there's a lot wrong with America. We need a strong economic package. We need a tax cut. We need the $500 child credit. And we'll have that soon. >
<LEHRER: Mr. President. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> I do not for a moment think I'm entitled to all the credit for the good things that have happened in America. But where I have moved to work with the American people to help them have the tools to make the most of their own lives, I think I should get some credit for that. I also personally took responsibility tonight when Senator Dole asked me about the drug problem. But you know, I think my ideas are better for the future. Senator Dole voted against student loans, against Head Start, against creating the Department of Education. If he gets elected President, we'll start the new century without anyone in the Cabinet of the President representing education and our children. I personally don't think that's the right kind of future for America, and I think we ought to take a different tack. Education
<LEHRER: Senator Dole, do you still favor eliminating the Department of Education? >
<SENATOR DOLE: Yes. I didn't favor it when it was started. I voted against it. It was a tribute after President Carter's election to the National Education Association, who sent a lot of delegates to the Democratic Convention, who give 99.5 percent of their money to Democrats and the President. And a lot of the teachers send their kids to private schools or better public schools. So what we want to do is called opportunity scholarships. Now, some say, "Oh, you're Republican; you can't be reaching out to these people." I've reached out to people all my life. I've worked on the food stamp program proudly and the WIC program and the school lunch program with Senators like George McGovern, Hubert Humphrey, and others, to name a few of my Democratic friends. I'm not some extremist out here. I care about people. I have my own little foundation that's raised about $10 million for the disabled. I don't advertise it -- just did, haven't before. I try to do a lot of things that I think might be helpful to people. So it seems to me that we ought to take that money we can save from the Department of Education, put it into opportunity scholarships, and tell little Landel Shakespeare out in Cleveland, Ohio, and tell your mother and father you're going to get to go to school because we're going to match what the State puts up, and you're going to get to go to the school of your choice. I don't fault the President or the Vice President for sending their children to private schools or better schools; I applaud them for it. I don't criticize them. But why shouldn't everybody have that choice? Why shouldn't low-income Americans and low-middle-income Americans? I'm excited about it. It's going to be a big, big opportunity for a lot of people. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> Let me say, first of all, I'm all for students having more choices. We've worked hard to expand public school choice. In my balanced budget bill there are funds for 3,000 new schools, created by teachers and parents, sometimes by business people, called charter schools that have no rules. They're free of bureaucracy and can only stay in existence if they perform and teach children. The ones that are out there are doing well. What I'm against is Senator Dole's plan to take money away from all of the children we now help with limited Federal funds and help far fewer. If we're going to have a private voucher plan, that ought to be done at the local level or the State level. But Senator Dole has consistently opposed Federal help to education. He voted against student loans, he voted against my improved student loan plan, he voted against the national service bill, against the Head Start bill. He voted against our efforts in safe and drug-free schools. He has voted against these programs. He does not believe it. That's the issue. Ninety percent of our kids are out there in those public schools, and we need to lift their standards and move them forward with the programs like those I've outlined in this campaign.
<SENATOR DOLE: I had better correct the President. I don't know what time it is, but it's probably getting late. But I want to correct -- all of these things I voted against, they were probably part of some big package that had a lot of pork in it, or a lot of things that we shouldn't have had, and we probably voted no. I've supported all of the education programs; I've supported Head Start. I think we ought to look at it. So I don't want anybody out there to think that we've just been voting no, no, no. Let's give low-income parents the same right that people of power and prestige have in America and let them go to better schools. Let's turn the schools back to the teachers and back to the parents and take it away from the National Education Association. >
<LEHRER: Mr. President, what's wrong with the school choice proposal? >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> I support school choice. I support school choice. I have advocated expansions of public school choice alternatives and, I said, the creation of 3,000 new schools that we are going to help the States to finance. But if you're going to have a private voucher plan, that ought to be determined by States and localities where they're raising and spending most of the money. I simply think it's wrong to take money away from programs that are helping build basic skills for kids -- 90 percent of them are in the public schools -- to take money away from programs that are helping fund the school lunch program, that are helping to fund the other programs that are helping our schools to improve their standards. Our schools are getting better. And our schools can be made to be even better still with the right kind of community leadership and partnership at the school level. I have been a strong force for reform. And Senator, I remind you that a few years ago, when I supported a teacher testing law in my home State, I was pretty well lambasted by the teachers association. I just don't believe we ought to be out there running down teachers and attacking them the way you did at the Republican Convention. I think we ought to be lifting them up and moving our children forward. And let me just say, that budget you passed that I vetoed would have cut 50,000 kids out of Head Start. It would have eliminated the AmeriCorps plan. And it would have cut back on student loans and scholarships. Now, it would have; that's a fact. That's one of the big reasons I vetoed it. We need to be doing more in education, not less.
<SENATOR DOLE: Well, the AmeriCorps program, I must say, if that's one of your successes I wouldn't speak about it too loudly. It's cost about $27,000 to pay people to volunteer. We've got four million young people volunteering every year. The number hasn't gone down. And you pick out 20,000, whether they need the money or not, and they get paid for volunteering. I like young people. I like teachers. I'm a product of public schools. You attended a private school for some time in your life. I like teachers. You're not for school choice. You can't be for school choice, because it's that special interest money again. When you're getting 99.5 percent of the money -- we don't know what happened to the other .5 percent; we're looking for it. Somebody got it. But it all went to Democrats, and this is part of that liberal establishment, one of those liberal things that you just can't do. You're for school uniforms and curfews, and you're opposed to truancy. Now, that's not reform, Mr. President. Why can't Landel Shakespeare in Cleveland or Pilar Gonzalez in Milwaukee give their children an opportunity to go to a better school? Some schools aren't safe; some schools aren't even safe. Your choice is nothing. Let's give them a real choice, the kind of choice you have and the kind of choice a lot of people have in America. If we want to stop crime and teenage pregnancy, let's start with education. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> First of all, Senator Dole, let's set the record straight. I was able, for two years when I was a very young boy, to go to a Catholic school, but I basically went to public schools all my life. And I've worked hard for a long time to make them better. Ninety percent of our kids are there. It's amazing to me -- you are all for having more responsibility at the local level for everything except schools, where we don't have very much money at the federal level to spend on education. We ought to spend it helping the 90 percent of the kids that we can help. If a local school district in Cleveland or anyplace else wants to have a private school choice plan like Milwaukee did, let them have at it. I might say, the results are highly ambiguous. But I want to get out there and give a better education opportunity to all of our children. And that's why I vetoed the budget that you passed with $30 billion in education cuts. It was wrong, and my plan for the future is better. Political Philosophy
<LEHRER: Mr. President. Senator Dole, at the Republican Convention you said the following, and I quote: "It is demeaning to the Nation that within the Clinton administration, a corps of the elite who never grew up, never did anything real, never sacrificed, never suffered, and never learned should have the power to fund with your earnings their dubious and self-serving schemes." End quote. Whom, precisely, and what, precisely, did you have in mind? >
<SENATOR DOLE: I had precisely in mind a lot of the people that were in the White House and other agencies who have never been, had any experience, who came to Washington without any experience. They're all very liberal, of course, or they wouldn't be in the administration. And their idea was that they knew what was best for the American people. Now, I feel very strongly about a lot of things. I feel strongly about education. I want to help young people have an education, just as I had an education after World War II with the GI bill of rights. And we've had millions of young men and women in subsequent wars change the face of the nation because the government helped with their education. Now, the reason they don't want to have, you know, the reason the President can't support this is pretty obvious. It's not taking anything away from schools. It's new money. It's not going to be taken away from anybody else except it will downsize the Department of Education. But this is a very liberal administration. This is the administration that gave you the big tax cut. This is the administration that tried to take over health care and impose a governmental system. This is the administration that fought regulatory reform and that's putting a lot of small-business men and small-business women out of business. This is the administration that fought the balanced budget amendment and vetoed a balanced budget and vetoed welfare reform twice. And the list goes on and on and on. That's what I had in mind. I want people in my administration and will have people in my administration who understand America. There won't be 10 millionaires and 14 lawyers in the Cabinet. They'll be people with experience and people who understand America and people who know the hard knocks in life. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> When Senator Dole made that remark about all the elitists, young elitists in the administration, one of the young men who works for me who grew up in a house trailer looked at me and said, "Mr. President, I know how you grew up. Who is he talking about?" And you know, this liberal charge, that's what their party always drags out when they get in a tight race. It's sort of their golden oldie, you know, it's a record they think they can play that everybody loves to hear. <Laughter> And I just don't think that dog will hunt this time. The American people should make up their own mind. Here's the record: We cut the deficit four years in a row for the first time since before the Civil War--I mean, before World War II -- and maybe before the Civil War, too. <Laughter> We've got 10 million new jobs. We've got record numbers of new small businesses. We made every one of them eligible for a tax cut. We've got declining crime rates, two million fewer people on welfare rolls before welfare reform passed, and a 50 percent increase in child support, and a crime bill with 60 death penalties, 100,000 police, and the assault weapons ban. The American people can make up their mind about whether that's a liberal record or a record that's good for America. Liberal, conservative, you put whatever label you want on it.
<SENATOR DOLE: Well, I think it's pretty liberal; I'll put that label on it. When you take a look at all the programs you've advocated, Mr. President, thank goodness we had a Republican Congress there. The first thing you did when you came into office was send up a stimulus package that said, we've got a little pork we want to scatter around America, $16 billion. And even some in your own party couldn't buy that. I remember talking by the telephone -- I'm not even certain you were too excited about it -- I'll never repeat what I talk with the President about, but in any event, we saved the taxpayers $16 billion. And then came some other programs and then came health care and then came the tax increase. And a lot of these things just stopped in 1994 because then the Congress changed, and I think we've done a good job. >
<LEHRER: Mr. President, if you're not a liberal, describe your political philosophy. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> I believe that the purpose of politics is to give people the tools to make the most of their own lives, to reinforce the values of opportunity and responsibility, and to build a sense of community so we're all working together. I don't believe in discrimination. I believe you can protect the environment and grow the economy. I believe that we have to do these things with a government that's smaller and less bureaucratic but that we have to do them nonetheless. It's inconvenient for Senator Dole, but the truth is I've reduced the size of government more than my Republican predecessors. And I did stop them, I admit that; I sure stopped their budget. Their budget cut enforcement for the Environmental Protection Agency by a third. It cut funds to clean up toxic waste dumps -- with 10 million of our kids still living within four miles of a toxic waste dump -- by a third. It ended the principle of the polluters should pay for those toxic waste dumps unless it was very recent. Their budget weakened our support for education $30 billion, even cut funds for scholarships and college loans. Their budget cut $270 billion in Medicare. And finally, their budget withdrew the national guarantee of health care to poor children, families with children with handicaps, the elderly in nursing homes, poor pregnant women. It was wrong for the country, and calling it conservative won't make it right. It was a bad decision for America and would have been bad for our future if I hadn't stopped it.
<SENATOR DOLE: Well, the President can define himself in any way he wants, but I think we have to look at the record. Go back to the time he was, what, Texas director for George McGovern. George McGovern is a friend of mine, so I don't mean -- but he was a liberal, proud liberal. I've just finished reading a book. I think it's called, what is it, The Demise of the Democratic Party by Ronald Radosh or something, talking about all the liberal influences in the administration, whether it's organized labor or whether it's the Hollywood elite or whether it's some of the media elite or whether it's the labor unions or whatever. And so I think -- you take a look at it, but the bottom line is this: I think the American people probably lose sight of all of these bills and all these things. They want to know what's going to happen to them. They've all got a lot of anxieties out there. Did anybody complain when you raised taxes? Did anybody go out and ask the people, "How are you going to pay the extra money?" That's why we want an economic package. We want the Government to pinch their pennies for a change instead of the people pinching their pennies. That's what our message is to people watching, not all this back and forth -- you voted this way, you voted that way. We want a better America as we go into the next century. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> The way to get a better America is to balance the budget and protect Medicare, Medicaid, education, and the environment; to give a targeted tax cut -- and let me talk about the education tax cut -- to let people have a $10,000 deduction for the cost of college tuition in any year, any kind of college tuition; to give families a tax credit, a dollar-for-dollar reduction in their taxes for the cost of a typical community college so we can open that to everybody, and then to let people save in an IRA and withdraw from it without a tax penalty for education, homebuying, or medical expenses. That's the right way to go into the 21st century, balance the budget and cut taxes, not balloon with this $550 billion tax scheme. Personal Differences
<LEHRER: Senator Dole, we've talked mostly now about differences between the two of you that relate to policy issues and that sort of thing. Are there also significant differences in the more personal area that are relevant to this election? >
<SENATOR DOLE: Let me say first on the President's promise for another tax cut -- I mean, I've told people as I travel around, "All of you who got the tax cut he promised last time, vote for him in '96," and not many hands go up. So the question is, would you buy a used election promise from my opponent? The people want economic reform. They're having a hard time making ends meet. You got one parent working for the government, the other parent working for the family. And this is important business. This is about getting the economy moving again. This is about American jobs and opportunities. It's about the government, as I said before, pinching its pennies for a change instead of the poor taxpayer. When they raise your taxes, nobody runs around asking people, "Where are you going to get the extra money?" I think the government can do better. >
<LEHRER: Are there personal differences? That are relevant to this. >
<SENATOR DOLE: Well, my blood pressure is lower and my weight, my cholesterol. But I will not make health an issue in this campaign. <Laughter> I think he's a bit taller than I am. But I think there are personal differences. I mean, I don't like to get into personal matters. As far as I'm concerned, this is a campaign about issues. It's about my vision for America and about his liberal vision for America, and not about personal things. And I think his liberal vision is a thing of the past. I know he wants to disown it. I wouldn't want to be a liberal either, Mr. President, but you're stuck with it because that's your record. It's your record in Arkansas, the biggest tax increase in history, the biggest crime increase in history, biggest drug increase in history in Arkansas. >
<LEHRER: Mr. President. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> Well, just for the record, when I was a Governor, we had the lowest -- second lowest tax burden of any State in the country, the highest job growth rate of any State when I ran for President, and were widely recognized for a lot of other advances. But the important thing is, what are we going to do now? I think a targeted tax cut is better for our future, targeted to education and childrearing, with the rest of the education plan -- hooking up all of our classrooms to the Internet by the year 2000, making sure we've got an army of reading volunteers, trained people to teach with parents and teachers so that our 8-year-olds can learn to read; investing in our environment, cleaning up two-thirds of the worst toxic waste dumps. Those plans are better than this $550 billion tax scheme. Now, remember, folks, even Senator Dole's campaign cochair, Senator D'Amato, says he's got to cut Medicare to pay for this. Everybody who has looked at it, 500 economists, seven Nobel Prize winners, say it's bad for the economy. It's going to blow a hole in the deficit, raise taxes on nine million people, and require bigger cuts than the one I vetoed. Our plan is better. It will take us into the future with a growing economy and healthier families.
<SENATOR DOLE: Well, I'm really encouraged to know of your renewed friendship with Al D'Amato, and I know he appreciates it. <Laughter> You didn't even have tax cuts in your budget, Mr. President, the first two years you were President. It wasn't until we had a Republican Congress that you even thought about -- you talked about tax cuts. And getting back to personal differences, I think, Jim, if you're a little more specific, but I think the President could clarify one thing tonight, and that's the question of pardons. I know you talked about it with Jim Lehrer on the PBS show. And I've never discussed Whitewater, as I've told you personally; I'm not discussing Whitewater now. But I am discussing a power the President has to grant pardons, and hopefully in the next segment you could lay that to rest. >
<LEHRER: Mr. President. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> Well, first of all, he made that remark about Senator D'Amato. He's arranged for me to spend a lot more time with Senator D'Amato in the last couple of years, and so I'm more familiar with his comments than I used to be. <Laughter> Let me say what I've said already about this pardon issue. This is an issue they brought up. There has been no consideration of it, no discussion of it. I'll tell you this: I will not give anyone special treatment, and I will strictly adhere to the law. And that is what every President has done, as far as I know in the past. But whatever other Presidents have done, this is something I take seriously, and that's my position.
<SENATOR DOLE: But it seems to me the President shouldn't have any comment at all, particularly where it's someone where you've had business dealings. I mean, you may be sending a signal; I don't know. I'm not questioning anybody. But as the President of the United States, when somebody asks you about pardons, you say "no comment," period. And I think he made a mistake, and I think when you make a mistake, you say, "I made a mistake." But apparently his position hasn't changed. If there are other specific areas -- but beyond that, I haven't gotten into any of these things, as the President knows. We've had that discussion. And again, I know Senator D'Amato I think may have had a hearing or two on Whitewater; I can't remember. <Laughter> But he's not my general chairman, he's a friend of mine. And so is Senator Kennedy a friend of yours... >
<SENATOR DOLE: I remember one day on the floor, I said, "Now, gentlemen, let me tax your memories," and Kennedy jumped up and said, "Why haven't we thought of that before?" <Laughter> One of your liberal friends. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> That's right. Thank you.
<LEHRER: Mr. President, 30 seconds. >
<SENATOR DOLE: What's the subject matter?>
<LEHRER: Senator Dole, if you could single out one thing that you would like for the voters to have in their mind about President Clinton on a policy matter or a personal matter, what would it be? Something to know about him, understand it, and appreciate it. >
<SENATOR DOLE: See, if I say anything, it's going to be misconstrued. I don't think this is even a race between the two -- it's about our vision for America. I happen to like President Clinton personally. I'm addressing him all evening as Mr. President. I said in 1992 he didn't extend that courtesy to President Bush. But I respect the Presidency. I've served under a number of Presidents; they all have their strengths, and they all have their weaknesses. So I'd rather talk about my strengths. I think I have my strengths. I think the best thing going for Bob Dole is that Bob Dole keeps his word. It's a question between trust and fear. And I would say I think, Mr. President, about all you've got going in this campaign is fear. You're spending millions and millions of dollars in negative ads, frightening senior citizens. I know this to be a fact, because I had one tell me last week, "Senator, don't cut my Medicare." I'm trying to save your Medicare, just as I rescued Social Security with a bipartisan commission. I have relatives on Medicare. I used to sign welfare checks for my grandparents. I know all about poverty and all about need and all about taking care of people, and that's been my career in the United States Senate. And I'll keep my word on the economic package. If I couldn't cut taxes and balance the budget at the same time, I wouldn't look you in the eye tonight in your living room, or wherever you may be, and say that this is good for America. People will tell you who have served with Bob Dole, agree or disagree, he kept his word. That's what this race is all about. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> I'd like the American people to know that I have worked very hard to be on their side and to move this country forward, and we're better off than we were four years ago. But the most important thing is my plan for the 21st century is a better plan: a targeted tax cut; a real commitment to educational reform; a deep commitment to making welfare reform work, with incentives to the private sector to move people from welfare to work -- now we have to create those jobs, now that we're requiring people to go to work; a commitment to step-by-step health care reform, with the next step helping people who are between jobs to access health care and not lose it just because they're out of work for a while; a commitment to grow the economy while protecting the environment. That's what I'd like them to know about me, that I've gotten up every day and worked for the American people and worked so that their children could have their dreams come true. And I believe we've got the results to show we're on the right track. The most important thing is I believe we've got the right ideas for the future. And like Senator Dole -- I like Senator Dole. You can probably tell we like each other. We just see the world in different ways, and you folks out there are going to have to choose who you think is right.
<SENATOR DOLE: Well, I'd say, you know, the first homeless bill in the Senate was the Dole-Byrd bill, part of the Byrd-Dole bill -- I can't remember who was in control then. I remember working with Senator Ribicoff from Connecticut on the hospice program; we now have 2,500 hospices. As I said, I remember, I've worked all my life while I was in the Congress -- I left on June 11 because I wanted the American people to know that I was willing to give up something. President Clinton ran for Governor in 1990 and said he was going to fill out his term, but he didn't. He's President, so I guess it's a little better deal. But I wanted the American people to know that I was willing to give up something; it wasn't just getting more power and more power. So I rolled the dice. I put my career on the line because I really believe the future of America is on the line. We can give you all these numbers. They don't mean a thing if you're out of work, you have nothing to eat, or you can't have medical care, or you're holding a crack baby in your arms right now, and what do you do next? You know, America's best days are ahead of us. I've seen the tough times. I know they can be better. And I'll lead America to a brighter future. >
<LEHRER: Mr. President, what do you say to Senator Dole's point that this election is about keeping one's word? >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> Let's look at that. When I ran for President, I said we'd cut the deficit in half in four years; we've cut it by 60 percent. I said that our economic plan would produce eight million jobs; we have 10 million new jobs. We're number one in autos again, record numbers of new small businesses. I said we'd pass a crime bill that would put 100,000 police on the street, ban assault weapons, and deal with the problems that ought to be dealt with with capital punishment, including capital punishment for drug kingpins. And we did that. I said we would change the way welfare works. And even before the bill passed, we had moved nearly two million people from welfare to work, working with States and communities. I said we'd get tougher on child support, and child support enforcement is up 50 percent. I said that I would work for tax relief for middle-class Americans. The deficit was bigger than I thought it was going to be, and I think they're better off, all of us are, that we got those interest rates down and the deficit down. The Republicans talk about it, but we're the first administration in anybody's lifetime looking at this program to bring that deficit down four years in a row. We still gave tax cuts to 15 million working Americans. And now I've got a plan that has been out there for two years -- it could have been passed already, but instead the Republicans shut the Government down to try to force their budget and their plan on me, and I couldn't take that. But we'll get the rest of that tax relief. And so I think when you can look at those results, you know that the plan I have laid out for the future has a very good chance of being enacted if you'll give me a chance to build that bridge to the 21st century.
<LEHRER: Senator. >
<SENATOR DOLE: Well, there he goes again -- I mean, it's a line that has been used before -- but exaggerating all of the things he did. He didn't do all these things. Let's take all of these 4, you know, years in a row. He came in with a high growth rate. The 1990 budget agreement, which some didn't like, had some very tough cost controls. It put a lot of pressure on Congress. The S and L crisis was over. They were starting to sell assets; all of that money was coming in. And he cut defense an extra $60 billion, threw a lot of people out of work. He talks about a smaller government. There are actually more people in government, except for the people in defense-related jobs. They're gone. The government is bigger than it was when President Kennedy was around, even though he says it's not. In addition, the Republican Congress cut $53 billion. So let's give credit where credit is due. Governor Engler in Michigan cut taxes 21 times, created a lot of new jobs. So did Governor Thompson. So did Governor Rowland. And a lot of people out there deserve credit, Mr. President. When I'm President of the United States, we're going to have a Governors council, and we're going to work directly with the Governors, Republicans and Democrats, to the get power back to people and back to the states. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> I think a lot of people deserve credit, and I've tried to give it to them. But I believe that my plan is better than Senator Dole's ill-advised, $550 billion scheme, which I will say again will blow a hole in the deficit. Our plan will balance the budget and grow the economy, preserve the environment, and invest in education. We have the right approach for the future. And look at the results: It is not midnight in America, Senator. We are better off than we were four years ago.
<LEHRER: All right, that's the last question, the last answer. Let's go now to the closing statements. >
<SENATOR DOLE: Are we done? >
<LEHRER: Mr. President, you're first. Two minutes. >
<PRESIDENT CLINTON:> Well, first, Jim, let me thank you, and thank you, Senator Dole, and thank you, ladies and gentlemen, all of you listening tonight, for the chance you've given us to appear. I want to say in the beginning that I am profoundly grateful for the chance that you have given me to serve as President for the last four years. I never could have dreamed anything like this would come my way in life, and I've done my best to be faithful to the charge you've given me. I'm proud of the fact that America is stronger and more prosperous and more secure than we were four years ago. I'm glad we're going in the right direction. And I've done my best tonight to lay out my plans for going forward to an even better future in the next century. I'd like to leave you with the thought that the things I do as President are basically driven by the people whose lives I have seen affected by what does or doesn't happen in this country: the autoworker in Toledo who was unemployed when I was elected and now has a great job, because we're number one in auto production again; all the people I've met who used to be on welfare who are now working and raising their children -- and I think what others could do for our country and for themselves if we did the welfare reform thing in the proper way. I think of the man who grabbed me by the shoulder once with tears in his eyes and said his daughter was dying of cancer, and he thanked me for giving him a chance to spend some time with her without losing his job, because of the Family and Medical Leave Act. I think of all the people that I grew up with and went to school with whom I stay in touch with and who never let me forget how what we do in Washington affects all of you out there in America. Folks, we can build that bridge to the 21st century, big enough and strong enough for all of us to walk across. And I hope that you will help me build it.
<LEHRER: Senator Dole, your closing statement, sir. >
<SENATOR DOLE: Thank you, Jim. Thank you, Mr. President. Thank everyone for watching and listening. I want to address my remarks to the young people of America, because they're the ones that are going to spend most of their life in the 21st century. They're the ones who have the challenges. And there are people out there making predictions that it's not going to be the same; you're not going to have the opportunity; there is going to be more deficits, more drugs, more crime, and less confidence in the American people. And that's what you're faced with, what the parents are faced with and the grandparents are faced with. It's important. It's their future. And I would say to those I know there are more young people experimenting with drugs today than ever before. Drug use has gone up. And if you care about the future of America, if you care about your future, just don't do it. And I know that I am someone older than you, but I've had my anxious moments in my life. I've learned to feed myself and to walk and to dress. I'm standing here as proof that in America, the possibilities are unlimited. I know who I am, and I know where I'm from, and I know where I want to take America. We are the greatest country on the face of the Earth. We do more good things for more people in our communities, our neighborhoods than anywhere that I know of. This is important business. This election is important. I ask for your support. I ask for your help. If you really want to get involved, just tap into my home page, <a href="http://millercenter. org/expressionengine. php?URL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.">http://www.</a>. Thank you. God bless America. ><title="Remarks to the People of Ghana">
<date="March 23, 1998">
Thank you. President and Mrs. Rawlings, honorable ministers, honorable members of the Council of State, honorable Members of Parliament, honorable members of the Judiciary, nananom <to the chiefs>, and the people of Ghana. Mitsea mu. America fuo kyia mo <My greetings to you. Greetings from America>. Now you have shown me what akwaaba <welcome> really means. Thank you, thank you so much.
I am proud to be the first American President ever to visit Ghana and to go on to Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, Botswana, and Senegal. It is a journey long overdue. America should have done it before, and I am proud to be on that journey. Thank you for welcoming me.
I want to listen and to learn. I want to build a future partnership between our two people, and I want to introduce the people of the United States, through my trip, to the new face of Africa. From Kampala to Cape Town, from Dakar to Dar-Es-Salaam, Africans are being stirred by new hopes for democracy and peace and prosperity.
Challenges remain, but they must be to all of you a call to action, not a cause for despair. You must draw strength from the past and energy from the promise of a new future. My dream for this trip is that together we might do the things so that, 100 years from now, your grandchildren and mine will look back and say this was the beginning of a new African renaissance.
With a new century coming into view, old patterns are fading away: The cold war is gone; colonialism is gone; apartheid is gone. Remnants of past troubles remain. But surely, there will come a time when everywhere reconciliation will replace recrimination. Now, nations and individuals finally are free to seek a newer world where democracy and peace and prosperity are not slogans but the essence of a new Africa.
Africa has changed so much in just 10 years. Dictatorship has been replaced so many places. Half of the 48 nations in sub-Saharan Africa choose their own governments, leading a new generation willing to learn from the past and imagine a future. Though democracy has not yet gained a permanent foothold even in most successful nations, there is everywhere a growing respect for tolerance, diversity, and elemental human rights. A decade ago, business was stifled. Now, Africans are embracing economic reform. Today from Ghana to Mozambique, from Cote d'Ivoire to Uganda, growing economies are fueling a transformation in Africa.
For all this promise, you and I know Africa is not free from peril: the genocide in Rwanda; civil wars in Sierra Leone, Liberia, both Congos; pariah states that export violence and terror; military dictatorship in Nigeria; and high levels of poverty, malnutrition, disease, illiteracy, and unemployment. To fulfill the vast promise of a new era, Africa must face these challenges. We must build classrooms and companies, increase the food supply and save the environment, and prevent disease before deadly epidemics break out.
The United States is ready to help you. First, my fellow Americans must leave behind the stereotypes that have warped our view and weakened our understanding of Africa. We need to come to know Africa as a place of new beginning and ancient wisdom from which, as my wife, our First Lady, said in her book, we have so much to learn. It is time for Americans to put a new Africa on our map.
Here in Independence Square, Ghana blazed the path of that new Africa. More than four decades ago, Kwame Nkrumah proposed what he called a "motion of destiny" as Ghana stepped forward as a free and independent nation. Today, Ghana again lights the way for Africa. Democracy is spreading. Business is growing. Trade and investment are rising. Ghana has the only African-owned company today on our New York Stock Exchange.
You have worked hard to preserve the peace in Africa and around the world -- from Liberia to Lebanon, from Croatia to Cambodia. And you have given the world a statesman and peacemaker in Kofi Annan to lead the United Nations. The world admires your success. The United States admires your success. We see it taking root throughout the new Africa. And we stand ready to support it.
First, we want to work with Africa to nurture democracy, knowing it is never perfect or complete. We have learned in over 200 years that every day democracy must be defended and a more perfect union can always lie ahead. Democracy requires more than the insults and injustice and inequality that so many societies have known and America has known. Democracy requires human rights for everyone, everywhere, for men and women, for children and the elderly, for people of different cultures and tribes and backgrounds. A good society honors its entire family.
Second, democracy must have prosperity. Americans of both political parties want to increase trade and investment in Africa. We have an "African Growth and Opportunity Act" now before Congress. Both parties' leadership are supporting it. By opening markets and building businesses and creating jobs, we can help and strengthen each other. By supporting the education of your people, we can strengthen your future and help each other. For centuries, other nations exploited Africa's gold, Africa's diamonds, Africa's minerals. Now is the time for Africans to cultivate something more precious, the mind and heart of the people of Africa, through education.
Third, we must allow democracy and prosperity to take root without violence. We must work to resolve the war and genocide that still tear at the heart of Africa. We must help Africans to prevent future conflicts.
Here in Ghana, you have shown the world that different peoples can live together in harmony. You have proved that Africans of different countries can unite to help solve disputes in neighboring countries. Peace everywhere in Africa will give more free time and more money to the pressing needs of our children's future. The killing must stop if a new future is to begin.
Fourth and finally, for peace and prosperity and democracy to prevail, you must protect your magnificent natural domain. Africa is mankind's first home. We all came out of Africa. We must preserve the magnificent natural environment that is left. We must manage the water and forest. We must learn to live in harmony with other species. You must learn how to fight drought and famine and global warming. And we must share with you the technology that will enable you to preserve your environment and provide more economic opportunity to your people.
America has good reason to work with Africa: 30 million Americans, more than one in ten, proudly trace their heritage here. The first Peace Corps volunteers from America came to Ghana over 35 years ago; over 57,000 have served in Africa since then. Through blood ties and common endeavors, we know we share the same hopes and dreams to provide for ourselves and our children, to live in peace and worship freely, to build a better life than our parents knew and pass a brighter future on to our children. America needs Africa, America needs Ghana as a partner in the fight for a better future.
So many of our problems do not stop at any nation's border, international crime and terrorism and drug trafficking, the degradation of the environment, the spread of diseases like AIDS and malaria, and so many of our opportunities cannot stop at a nation's border. We need partners to deepen the meaning of democracy in America, in Africa, and throughout the world. We need partners to build prosperity. We need partners to live in peace. We will not build this new partnership overnight, but perseverance creates its own reward.
An Ashanti proverb tells us that by coming and going, a bird builds its nest. We will come and go with you and do all we can as you build the new Africa, a work that must begin here in Africa, not with aid or trade, though they are important, but first with ordinary citizens, especially the young people in this audience today. You must feel the winds of freedom blowing at your back, pushing you onward to a brighter future.
There are roughly 700 days left until the end of this century and the beginning of a new millennium. There are roughly 700 million Africans in sub-Saharan Africa. Every day and every individual is a precious opportunity. We do not have a moment to lose, and we do not have a person to lose.
I ask you, my friends, to let me indulge a moment of our shared history in closing. In 1957 our great civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, came to Accra to help represent our country as Ghana celebrated its independence. He was deeply moved by the birth of your nation.
Six years later, on the day after W. E.B. Du Bois died here in Ghana in 1963, Dr. King spoke to an enormous gathering like this in Washington. He said these simple words: "I have a dream, a dream that all Americans might live free and equal as brothers and sisters." His dream became the dream of our Nation and changed us in ways we could never have imagined. We are hardly finished, but we have traveled a long way on the wings of that dream.
Dr. Du Bois, a towering African-American intellectual, died here as a citizen of Ghana and a friend of Kwame Nkrumah. He once wrote, "The habit of democracy must be to encircle the Earth." Let us together resolve to complete the circle of democracy, to dream the dream that all people on the entire Earth will be free and equal, to begin a new century with that commitment to freedom and justice for all, to redeem the promise inscribed right here on Independence Arch. Let us find a future here in Africa, the cradle of humanity.
Medase. America dase <I thank you. America thanks you>. Thank you, and God bless you.
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