|Address on behalf
of Senator Barry Goldwater on October 27, 1964
Excerpts for today:
you very much. Thank you and good evening. The sponsor has been identified, but
unlike most television programs, the performer hasn't been provided with a
script. As a matter of fact, I have been permitted to choose my own ideas
regarding the choice that we face in the next few weeks.
I have spent
most of my life as a Democrat. I recently have seen fit to follow another
course. I believe that the issues confronting us cross party lines. Now, one
side in this campaign has been telling us that the issues of this election are
the maintenance of peace and prosperity. The line has been used "We've never had
it so good."
But I have an uncomfortable feeling that this prosperity
isn't something on which we can base our hopes for the future. No nation in
history has ever survived a tax burden that reached a third of its national
income. Today, 37 cents of every dollar earned in this country is the tax
collector's share, and yet our government continues to spend $17 million a day
more than the government takes in. We haven't balanced our budget 28 out of the
last 34 years. We have raised our debt limit three times in the last twelve
months, and now our national debt is one and a half times bigger than all the
combined debts of all the nations in the world. We have $15 billion in gold in
our treasury--we don't own an ounce. Foreign dollar claims are $27.3 billion,
and we have just had announced that the dollar of 1939 will now purchase 45
cents in its total value.
As for the peace that we would preserve, I
wonder who among us would like to approach the wife or mother whose husband or
son has died in South Vietnam and ask them if they think this is a peace that
should be maintained indefinitely. Do they mean peace, or do they mean we just
want to be left in peace? There can be no real peace while one American is dying
some place in the world for the rest of us. We are at war with the most
dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to
the stars, and it has been said if we lose that war, and in doing so lose this
way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that
those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening. Well, I
think it's time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were
intended for us by the Founding Fathers.
Not too long ago two friends of
mine were talking to a Cuban refugee, a businessman who had escaped from Castro,
and in the midst of his story one of my friends turned to the other and said,
"We don't know how lucky we are." And the Cuban stopped and said, "How lucky you
are! I had someplace to escape to." In that sentence he told us the entire
story. If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last
stand on Earth. And this idea that government is beholden to the people, that it
has no other source of power except to sovereign people, is still the newest and
most unique idea in all the long history of man's relation to man. This is the
issue of this election. Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government
or whether we abandon the American revolution and confess that a little
intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better
than we can plan them ourselves.
You and I are told increasingly that we
have to choose between a left or right, but I would like to suggest that there
is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down--up to a man's
age-old dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and
order--or down to the ant heap totalitarianism, and regardless of their
sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for
security have embarked on this downward course.
In this vote-harvesting
time, they use terms like the "Great Society," or as we were told a few days ago
by the President, we must accept a "greater government activity in the affairs
of the people." But they have been a little more explicit in the past and among
themselves--and all of the things that I now will quote have appeared in print.
These are not Republican accusations. For example, they have voices that say
"the cold war will end through acceptance of a not undemocratic socialism."
Another voice says that the profit motive has become outmoded, it must be
replaced by the incentives of the welfare state; or our traditional system of
individual freedom is incapable of solving the complex problems of the 20th
century. Senator Fullbright has said at Stanford University that the
Constitution is outmoded. He referred to the president as our moral teacher and
our leader, and he said he is hobbled in his task by the restrictions in power
imposed on him by this antiquated document. He must be freed so that he can do
for us what he knows is best. And Senator Clark of Pennsylvania, another
articulate spokesman, defines liberalism as "meeting the material needs of the
masses through the full power of centralized government." Well, I for one resent
it when a representative of the people refers to you and me--the free man and
woman of this country--as "the masses." This is a term we haven't applied to
ourselves in America. But beyond that, "the full power of centralized
government"--this was the very thing the Founding Fathers sought to minimize.
They knew that governments don't control things. A government can't control the
economy without controlling people. And they know when a government sets out to
do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. They also knew,
those Founding Fathers, that outside of its legitimate functions, government
does nothing as well or as economically as the private sector of the economy.
Now, we have no better example of this than the government's involvement
in the farm economy over the last 30 years. Since 1955, the cost of this program
has nearly doubled. One-fourth of farming in America is responsible for 85% of
the farm surplus. Three-fourths of farming is out on the free market and has
known a 21% increase in the per capita consumption of all its produce. You see,
that one-fourth of farming is regulated and controlled by the federal
government. In the last three years we have spent $43 in feed grain program for
every bushel of corn we don't grow.
Meanwhile, back in the city, under urban renewal the assault on
freedom carries on. Private property rights are so diluted that public interest
is almost anything that a few government planners decide it should be. In a
program that takes for the needy and gives to the greedy, we see such spectacles
as in Cleveland, Ohio, a million-and-a-half-dollar building completed only three
years ago must be destroyed to make way for what government officials call a
"more compatible use of the land." The President tells us he is now going to
start building public housing units in the thousands where heretofore we have
only built them in the hundreds. But FHA and the Veterans Administration tell us
that they have 120,000 housing units they've taken back through mortgage
foreclosures. For three decades, we have sought to solve the problems of
unemployment through government planning, and the more the plans fail, the more
the planners plan. The latest is the Area Redevelopment Agency. They have just
declared Rice County, Kansas, a depressed area. Rice County, Kansas, has two
hundred oil wells, and the 14,000 people there have over $30 million on deposit
in personal savings in their banks. When the government tells you you're
depressed, lie down and be depressed.
Yet anytime you and I question the
schemes of the do-gooders, we are denounced as being against their humanitarian
goals. They say we are always "against" things, never "for" anything. Well, the
trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they
know so much that isn't so. We are for a provision that destitution should not
follow unemployment by reason of old age, and to that end we have accepted
Social Security as a step toward meeting the problem.
But we are against
those entrusted with this program when they practice deception regarding its (Social Security)
fiscal shortcomings, when they charge that any criticism of the program means
that we want to end payments to those who depend on them for livelihood. They
have called it insurance to us in a hundred million pieces of literature. But
then they appeared before the Supreme Court and they testified that it was a
welfare program. They only use the term "insurance" to sell it to the people.
And they said Social Security dues are a tax for the general use of the
government, and the government has used that tax. There is no fund, because
Robert Byers, the actuarial head, appeared before a congressional committee and
admitted that Social Security as of this moment is $298 billion in the hole. But
he said there should be no cause for worry because as long as they have the
power to tax, they could always take away from the people whatever they needed
to bail them out of trouble! And they are doing just that.
Should we allow
a widow with children to work, and not lose the benefits supposedly paid for by
her deceased husband? Shouldn't you and I be allowed to declare who our
beneficiaries will be under these programs, which we cannot do? I think we are
for telling our senior citizens that no one in this country should be denied
medical care because of a lack of funds. But I think we are against forcing all
citizens, regardless of need, into a compulsory government program, especially
when we have such examples, as announced last week, when France admitted that
their Medicare program was now bankrupt. They've come to the end of the road.
In addition, was Barry Goldwater so irresponsible when he suggested that
our government give up its program of deliberate planned inflation so that when
you do get your Social Security pension, a dollar will buy a dollar's worth, and
not 45 cents' worth?
No government ever
voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never
disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life
we'll ever see on this Earth. Federal employees number 2.5 million, and federal,
state, and local, one out of six of the nation's work force is employed by the
government. These proliferating bureaus with their thousands of regulations have
cost us many of our constitutional safeguards. How many of us realize that today
federal agents can invade a man's property without a warrant? They can impose a
fine without a formal hearing, let alone a trial by jury, and they can seize and
sell his property in auction to enforce the payment of that fine. In Chico
County, Arkansas, James Wier overplanted his rice allotment. The government
obtained a $17,000 judgment, and a U.S. marshal sold his 950-acre farm at
auction. The government said it was necessary as a warning to others to make the
system work. Last February 19 at the University of Minnesota, Norman Thomas,
six-time candidate for President on the Socialist Party ticket, said, "If Barry
Goldwater became President, he would stop the advance of socialism in the United
States." I think that's exactly what he will do.
As a former Democrat, I
can tell you Norman Thomas isn't the only man who has drawn this parallel to
socialism with the present administration. Back in 1936, Mr. Democrat himself,
Al Smith, the great American, came before the American people and charged that
the leadership of his party was taking the part of Jefferson, Jackson, and
Cleveland down the road under the banners of Marx, Lenin, and Stalin. And he
walked away from his party, and he never returned to the day he died, because to
this day, the leadership of that party has been taking that party, that
honorable party, down the road in the image of the labor socialist party of
England. Now it doesn't require expropriation or confiscation of private
property or business to impose socialism on a people. What does it mean whether
you hold the deed or the title to your business or property if the government
holds the power of life and death over that business or property? Such machinery
already exists. The government can find some charge to bring against any concern
it chooses to prosecute. Every businessman has his own tale of harassment.
Somewhere a perversion has taken place. Our natural, inalienable rights are now
considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so
fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment. Our
Democratic opponents seem unwilling to debate these issues. They want to make
you and I believe that this is a contest between two men...that we are to choose
just between two personalities.
Well, what of this man that they would
destroy? And in destroying, they would destroy that which he represents, the
ideas that you and I hold dear. Is he the brash and shallow and trigger-happy
man they say he is? Well, I have been privileged to know him "when." I knew him
long before he ever dreamed of trying for high office, and I can tell you
personally I have never known a man in my life I believe so incapable of doing a
dishonest or dishonorable thing.
This is a man who in his own business,
before he entered politics, instituted a profit-sharing plan, before unions had
ever thought of it. He put in health and medical insurance for all his
employees. He took 50 percent of the profits before taxes and set up a
retirement program, a pension plan for all his employees. He sent checks for
life to an employee who was ill and couldn't work. He provided nursing care for
the children of mothers who work in the stores. When Mexico was ravaged by
floods from the Rio Grande, he climbed in his airplane and flew medicine and
supplies down there.
An ex-GI told me how he met him. It was the week
before Christmas during the Korean War, and he was at the Los Angeles airport
trying to get a ride home to Arizona for Christmas, and he said that there were
a lot of servicemen there and no seats available on the planes. Then a voice
came over the loudspeaker and said, "Any men in uniform wanting a ride to
Arizona, go to runway such-and-such," and they went down there, and there was
this fellow named Barry Goldwater sitting in his plane. Every day in the weeks
before Christmas, all day long, he would load up the plane, fly to Arizona, fly
them to their homes, then fly back over to get another load.
hectic split-second timing of a campaign, this is a man who took time out to sit
beside an old friend who was dying of cancer. His campaign managers were
understandably impatient, but he said, "There aren't many left who care what
happens to her. I'd like her to know I care." This is a man who said to his
19-year-old son, "There is no foundation like the rock of honesty and fairness,
and when you begin to build your life upon that rock, with the cement of the
faith in God that you have, then you have a real start." This is not a man who
could carelessly send other people's sons to war. And that is the issue of this
campaign that makes all of the other problems I have discussed academic, unless
we realize that we are in a war that must be won.
If you and I have the courage to tell our elected officials that
we want our national policy based upon what we know in our hearts is morally
right. We cannot buy our security, our freedom from the threat of the bomb by
committing an immorality so great as saying to a billion now in slavery behind
the Iron Curtain, "Give up your dreams of freedom because to save our own skin,
we are willing to make a deal with your slave masters." Alexander Hamilton said,
"A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and
deserves one." Let's set the record straight. There is no argument over the
choice between peace and war, but there is only one guaranteed way you can have
peace--and you can have it in the next second--surrender.
there is a risk in any course we follow other than this, but every lesson in
history tells us that the greater risk lies in appeasement, and this is the
specter our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face--that their policy of
accommodation is appeasement, and it gives no choice between peace and war, only
between fight and surrender. If we continue to accommodate, continue to back and
retreat, eventually we have to face the final demand--the ultimatum. And what
then? When Nikita Khrushchev has told his people he knows what our answer will
be? He has told them that we are retreating under the pressure of the Cold War,
and someday when the time comes to deliver the ultimatum, our surrender will be
voluntary because by that time we will have weakened from within spiritually,
morally, and economically. He believes this because from our side he has heard
voices pleading for "peace at any price" or "better Red than dead," or as one
commentator put it, he would rather "live on his knees than die on his feet."
And therein lies the road to war, because those voices don't speak for the rest
of us. You and I know and do not believe that life is so dear and peace so sweet
as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery. If nothing in life is
worth dying for, when did this begin--just in the face of this enemy? Or should
Moses have told the children of Israel to live in slavery under the pharaohs?
Should Christ have refused the cross? Should the patriots at Concord Bridge have
thrown down their guns and refused to fire the shot heard 'round the world? The
martyrs of history were not fools, and our honored dead who gave their lives to
stop the advance of the Nazis didn't die in vain. Where, then, is the road to
peace? Well, it's a simple answer after all.
You and I have the courage
to say to our enemies, "There is a price we will not pay." There is a point
beyond which they must not advance. This is the meaning in the phrase of Barry
Goldwater's "peace through strength." Winston Churchill said that "the destiny
of man is not measured by material computation. When great forces are on the
move in the world, we learn we are spirits--not animals." And he said, "There is
something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether
we like it or not, spells duty."
You and I have a rendezvous with
destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on
Earth, or we will sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of
We will keep in mind and remember that Barry Goldwater has
faith in us. He has faith that you and I have the ability and the dignity and
the right to make our own decisions and determine our own destiny.
you very much.
Southern California April 19, 1966
To begin with--I am not a politician. I am an ordinary citizen with a
deep-seated belief that much of what troubles us has been brought about by
politicians; and it's high time that more ordinary citizens brought the fresh
air of common sense thinking to bear on these problems. We've had enough of the
wheeling and dealing, and enough of schemers and schemes. I think it's time now
for dreamers--practical dreamers--willing to re-implement the original dream
which became this nation--that idea that has never fully been tried before in
the world--that you and I have the capacity for self-government--the dignity and
the ability and the God-given freedom to make our own decisions, to plan our own
lives and to control our own destiny.
The trouble with that solution is that for every ounce of federal help we get,
we surrender an ounce of personal freedom.
What is obviously needed is not more government, but better government, seeking
a solution to the problems that will not add to bureaucracy, or unbalance the
budget, or further centralize power. Therefore, I propose a constructive
alternative to the Great Society, which I have chosen to call "A Creative
Ronald Reagan delivered this speech to the nation, announcing his candidacy for
President of the United States.
Good evening. I am here tonight to announce my intention to seek the Republican
nomination for President of the United States.
Much talk has come from leaders
who claim that our problems are too difficult to handle. We are supposed to
meekly accept their failures as the most which humanly can be done. They tell us
we must learn to live with less, and teach our children that their lives will be
less full and prosperous than ours have been; that the America of the coming
years will be a place where--because of our past excesses--it will be impossible
to dream and make those dreams come true.
I don't believe that. And, I
don't believe you do either. That is why I am seeking the presidency. I cannot
and will not stand by and see this great country destroy itself. Our leaders
attempt to blame their failures on circumstances beyond their control, on false
estimates by unknown, unidentifiable experts who rewrite modern history in an
attempt to convince us our high standard of living, the result of thrift and
hard work, is somehow selfish extravagance which we must renounce as we join in
sharing scarcity. I don't agree that our nation must resign itself to inevitable
decline, yielding its proud position to other hands. I am totally unwilling to
see this country fail in its obligation to itself and to the other free peoples
of the world.
The crisis we face is not the result of any failure of the
American spirit; it is failure of our leaders to establish rational goals and
give our people something to order their lives by. If I am elected, I shall
regard my election as proof that the people of the United States have decided to
set a new agenda and have recognized that the human spirit thrives best when
goals are set and progress can be measured in their achievement.
The people have not created this disaster in our
economy; the federal government has. It has overspent, overestimated, and
over-regulated. It has failed to deliver services within the revenues it should
be allowed to raise from taxes. In the 34 years since the end of World War II,
it has spent $448 billion more than it has collected in taxes--$448 billion of
printing-press money, which has made every dollar you earn worth less and less.
At the same time, the federal government has cynically told us that high taxes
on business will in some way "solve" the problem and allow the average taxpayer
to pay less. Well, business is not a taxpayer; it is a tax collector. Business
has to pass its tax burden on to the customer as part of the cost of doing
business. You and I pay taxes imposed on business every time we go to the store.
Only people pay taxes and it is political demagoguery or economic illiteracy to
try and tell us otherwise.
The key to restoring the health of the
economy lies in cutting taxes. At the same time, we need to get the waste out of
federal spending. This does not mean sacrificing essential services, nor do we
need to destroy the system of benefits which flow to the poor, elderly, the sick
and the handicapped. We have long since committed ourselves, as a people, to
help those among us who cannot take care of themselves. But the federal
government has proven to be the costliest and most inefficient provider of such
help we could possibly have.
We must put an end to the arrogance of a
federal establishment which accepts no blame for our condition, cannot be relied
upon to give us a fair estimate of our situation and utterly refuses to live
within its means. I will not accept the supposed "wisdom" which has it that the
federal bureaucracy has become so powerful that it can no longer be changed or
controlled by any administration. As President I would use every power at my
command to make the federal establishment respond to the will and the collective
wishes of the people.
We must force the entire federal bureaucracy to
live in the real world of reduced spending, streamlined function and
accountability to the people it serves. We must review the function of the
federal government to determine which of those are the proper province of levels
of government closer to the people.
The 10th article of the Bill of
Rights is explicit in pointing out that the federal government should do only
those things specifically called for in the Constitution. All others shall
remain with the states or the people. We haven't been observing that 10th
article of late. The federal government has taken on functions it was never
intended to perform and which it does not perform well. There should be a
planned, orderly transfer of such functions to states and communities and a
transfer with them of the sources of taxation to pay for them.
savings in administrative overhead would be considerable and certainly there
would be increased efficiency and less bureaucracy.
By reducing federal
tax rates where they discourage individual initiative--especially personal
income tax rates--we can restore incentives, invite greater economic growth and
at the same time help give us better government instead of bigger government.
Proposals such as the Kemp-Roth bill would bring about this kind of realistic
reductions in tax rates.
In short, a punitive tax system must be
replaced by one that restores incentive for the worker and for industry; a
system that rewards initiative and effort and encourages thrift.
these things are possible; none of them will be easy. But the choice is clear.
We can go on letting the country slip over the brink to financial ruin with the
disaster that it means for the individual or we can find the will to work
together to restore confidence in ourselves and to regain the confidence of the
world. I have lived through one Depression. I carry with me the memory of a
Christmas Eve when my brother and I and our parents exchanged our modest
gifts--there was no lighted tree as there has been on Christmases past. I
remember watching my father open what he thought was a greeting from his
employer. We all watched and yes, we were hoping it was a bonus check. It was
notice that he no longer had a job. And in those days the government ran the
radio announcements telling workers not to leave home looking for jobs--there
were no jobs. I'll carry with me always the memory of my father sitting there
holding that envelope, unable to look at us. I cannot and will not stand by
while inflation and joblessness destroy the dignity of our people.
Another serious problem which must be discussed tonight is our energy
situation. Our country was built on cheap energy. Today, energy is not cheap and
we face the prospect that some forms of energy may soon not be available at all.
Last summer you probably spent hours sitting in gasoline lines. This
winter, some will be without heat and everyone will be paying much more simply
to keep home and family warm. If you ever had any doubt of the government's
inability to provide for the needs of the people, just look at the utter fiasco
we now call "the energy crisis." Not one straight answer nor any realistic hope
of relief has come from the present administration in almost three years of
federal treatment of the problem. As gas lines grew, the administration again
panicked and now has proposed to put the country on a wartime footing; but for
this "war" there is no victory in sight. And, as always, when the federal
bureaucracy fails, all it can suggest is more of the same. This time it's
another bureau to untangle the mess by the ones we already have.
this just won't work. Solving the energy crisis will not be easy, but it can be
done. First we must decide that "less" is not enough. Next, we must remove
government obstacles to energy production. And, we must make use of those
technological advantages we still possess.
It is no program simply to
say "use less energy." Of course waste must be eliminated and efficiently
promoted, but for the government simply to tell people to conserve is not an
energy policy. At best it means we will run out of energy a little more slowly.
But a day will come when the lights will dim and the wheels of industry will
turn more slowly and finally stop. As President I will not endorse any course
which has this as its principal objective.
We need more energy and that
means diversifying our sources of supply away from the OPEC countries. Yes, it
means more efficient automobiles. But it also means more exploration and
development of oil and natural gas here in our own country. The only way to free
ourselves from the monopoly pricing power of OPEC is to be less dependent on
outside sources of fuel.
The answer, obvious to anyone except those in
the administration it seems, is more domestic production of oil and gas. We must
also have wider use of nuclear power within strict safety rules, of course.
There must be more spending by the energy industries on research and development
of substitutes for fossil fuels.
In years to come solar energy may
provide much of the answer but for the next two or three decades we must do such
things as master the chemistry of coal. Putting the market system to work for
these objectives is an essential first step for their achievement. Additional
multi-billion-dollar federal bureaus and programs are not the answer.
recent weeks there has been much talk about "excess" oil company profits. I
don't believe we've been given all the information we need to make a judgment
about this. We should have that information. Government exists to protect us
from each other. It is not government's function to allocate fuel or impose
unnecessary restrictions on the marketplace. It is government's function to
determine whether we are being unfairly exploited and if so to take immediate
and appropriate action. As President I would do exactly that.
remains the greatness of our people, our capacity for dreaming up fantastic
deeds and bringing them off to the surprise of an unbelieving world. When
Washington's men were freezing at Valley Forge, Tom Paine told his fellow
Americans: "We have it in our power to begin the world over again," we still
have that power.
We--today's living Americans--have in our lifetime
fought harder, paid a higher price for freedom and done more to advance the
dignity of man than any people who have ever lived on this Earth.The citizens
of this great nation want leadership--yes--but not a "man on a white horse"
demanding obedience to his commands. They want someone who believes they can
"begin the world over again." A leader who will unleash their great strength and
remove the roadblocks government has put in their way. I want to do that more
than anything I've ever wanted. And it's something that I believe with God's
help I can do.
I believe this nation hungers for a spiritual revival;
hungers to once again see honor placed above political expediency; to see
government once again the protector of our liberties, not the distributor of
gifts and privilege. Government should uphold and not undermine those
institutions which are custodians of the very values upon which civilization is
founded--religion, education and, above all, family. Government cannot be
clergyman, teacher and patriot. It is our servant, beholden to us.
who are privileged to be Americans have had a rendezvous with destiny since the
moment in 1630 when John Winthrop, standing on the deck of the tiny Arbella off
the coast of Massachusetts, told the little band of Pilgrims, "We shall be a
city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us so that if we shall deal
falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to
withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword
throughout the world."
A troubled and afflicted mankind looks to us,
pleading for us to keep our rendezvous with destiny; that we will uphold the
principles of self-reliance, self-discipline, morality, and--above
all--responsible liberty for every individual that we will become that shining
city on a hill.
I believe that you and I together can keep this
rendezvous with destiny.
Thank you and good night.
1980 Convention Speech
........The American people, the most generous on earth, who created the highest
standard of living, are not going to accept the notion that we can only make a
better world for others by moving backwards ourselves. Those who believe we can
have no business leading the nation.
I will not stand by and watch this
great country destroy itself under mediocre leadership that drifts from one
crisis to the next, eroding our national will and purpose. We have come together
here because the American people deserve better from those to whom they entrust
our nation's highest offices, and we stand united in our resolve to do something
We need rebirth of the American tradition of leadership at every level of
government and in private life as well. The United States of America is unique
in world history because it has a genius for leaders--many leaders--on many
levels. But, back in 1976, Mr. Carter said, "Trust me." And a lot of people did.
Now, many of those people are out of work. Many have seen their savings eaten
away by inflation. Many others on fixed incomes, especially the elderly, have
watched helplessly as the cruel tax of inflation wasted away their purchasing
power. And, today, a great many who trusted Mr. Carter wonder if we can survive
the Carter policies of national defense.
"Trust me" government asks that
we concentrate our hopes and dreams on one man; that we trust him to do what's
best for us. My view of government places trust not in one person or one party,
but in those values that transcend persons and parties. The trust is where it
belongs--in the people. The responsibility to live up to that trust is where it
belongs, in their elected leaders. That kind of relationship, between the people
and their elected leaders, is a special kind of compact.
and sixty years ago, in 1620, a group of families dared to cross a mighty ocean
to build a future for themselves in a new world. When they arrived at Plymouth,
Massachusetts, they formed what they called a "compact"; an agreement among
themselves to build a community and abide by its laws.
The single act--the voluntary binding together of free people to live under the
law--set the pattern for what was to come.
A century and a half later,
the descendants of those people pledged their lives, their fortunes and their
sacred honor to found this nation. Some forfeited their fortunes and their
lives; none sacrificed honor.
Four score and seven years later, Abraham
Lincoln called upon the people of all America to renew their dedication and
their commitment to a government of, for and by the people.
once again time to renew our compact of freedom; to pledge to each other all
that is best in our lives; all that gives meaning to them--for the sake of this,
our beloved and blessed land?
Together, let us make this a new beginning. Let us make a commitment to care for
the needy; to teach our children the values and the virtues handed down to us by
our families; to have the courage to defend those values and the willingness to
sacrifice for them.
Let us pledge to restore, in our time, the American
spirit of voluntary service, of cooperation, of private and community
initiative; a spirit that flows like a deep and mighty river through the history
of our nation.
As your nominee, I pledge to restore to the federal
government the capacity to do the people's work without dominating their lives.
I pledge to you a government that will not only work well, but wisely; its
ability to act tempered by prudence and its willingness to do good balanced by
the knowledge that government is never more dangerous than when our desire to
have it help us blinds us to its great power to harm us.
Large amounts of oil and natural gas lay beneath our land and off our shores,
untouched because the present administration seems to believe the American
people would rather see more regulation, taxes and controls than more energy.
Coal offers great potential. So does nuclear energy produced under
rigorous safety standards. It could supply electricity for thousands of
industries and millions of jobs and homes. It must not be thwarted by a tiny
minority opposed to economic growth which often finds friendly ears in
regulatory agencies for its obstructionist campaigns.
Make no mistake.
We will not permit the safety of our people or our environment heritage to be
jeopardized, but we are going to reaffirm that the economic prosperity of our
people is a fundamental part of our environment. (Editor's note - The price of oil PLUNGED under Reagan to less than $5.00 PER BARREL!)
Tom Paine had in mind when he wrote--during the darkest days of the American
Revolution--"We have it in our power to begin the world over again."
Nearly 150 years after Tom Paine wrote those words, an American
president told the generation of the Great Depression that it had a "rendezvous
with destiny." I believe that this generation of Americans today has a
rendezvous with destiny.
Tonight, let us dedicate ourselves to renewing
the American compact. I ask you not simply to "Trust me," but to trust your
values--our values--and to hold me responsible for living up to them. I ask you
to trust that American spirit which knows no ethnic, religious, social,
political, regional, or economic boundaries; the spirit that burned with zeal in
the hearts of millions of immigrants from every corner of the Earth who came
here in search of freedom.
Some say that spirit no longer exists. But I
have seen it--I have felt it--all across the land; in the big cities, the small
towns and in rural America. The American spirit is still there, ready to blaze
into life if you and I are willing to do what has to be done; the practical,
down-to-earth things that will stimulate our economy, increase productivity and
put America back to work. The time is now to resolve that the basis of a firm
and principled foreign policy is one that takes the world as it is and seeks to
change it by leadership and example; not by harangue, harassment or wishful
I'll confess that I've been a little afraid to suggest what I'm going to
suggest--I'm more afraid not to--that we begin our crusade joined together in a
moment of silent prayer. God bless America.
Rotunda of the
Capitol, Washington D.C. January 21, 1985
.............. My fellow citizens, our nation is poised for greatness. We must do what we know
is right, and do it with all our might. Let history say of us: "These were
golden years--when the American Revolution was reborn, when freedom gained new
life, and America reached for her best."
Two of our Founding Fathers, a Boston lawyer named Adams and a Virginia planter
named Jefferson, members of that remarkable group who met in Independence Hall
and dared to think they could start the world over again, left us an important
lesson. They had become, in the years then in government, bitter political
rivals in the Presidential election of 1800. Then, years later, when both were
retired and age had softened their anger, they began to speak to each other
again through letters. A bond was reestablished between those two who had helped
create this government of ours.
In 1826, the 50th anniversary of the
Declaration of Independence, they both died. They died on the same day, within a
few hours of each other, and that day was the Fourth of July.
Read all of these Reagan Words: