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Speech of Charles Curtis
ACCEPTING THE
Nomination for the Vice Presidency
(Given in Topeka, Kansas, August 18, 1928)
MR. CHAIRMAN, MEMBERS OF THE NOTIFICATION COMMITTEE, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
There has grown up in our system of politics the custom of formally notifying the candidates of the respective parties, of the fact that they have been nominated for the two highest offices within the gift of the People There has also grown up the custom on the part of the candidates, when accepting the nomination, to devote some time to a presentation of their views on the outstanding political topics of the day. Like many another, I have hoped that some day the State of Kansas might be represented by such a fortunate individual. To-day this had occurred for the first time in the history of our State. The Committee has done its part gracefully and well in these ceremonies

I accept the nomination of the Republican Party for Vice President of the United States. It is not in the nature of man to refuse such a signal mark of political recognition. I feel that my thirty-three years of life spent in an endeavor to further the cause of good government in this country have been rewarded indeed. I experience a sense of humbleness when I think that our party has in this splendid manner testified its faith in my capacity to fill such an exalted office in the affairs of the nation. I promise you that if elected no effort of mine will be spared to justify that faith.

The time, place and manner of your notification are particularly fitting. I am in the city of my birth; my life-long residence; and my home. Around me are my neighbors and friends - friends gathered from throughout our great State of Kansas and representing thousands of others not present. They have given me loyal aid in all my efforts since that far-off day when I entered politics. They know without my words what their friendship has done for me. They know I appreciate it, and that I am and will be loyal to them. Alone, I could do nothing; with my friends to aid me, all things seem possible.

Neither the time nor the occasion will permit a review of all the subjects treated in the Republican platform. It is the part of wisdom that a speech of this character be sufficiently concise not to put too great a strain on the attention of the audience.

MAINTENANCE AND PROMOTION OF NATIONAL PROSPERITY

The United States is enjoying to-day an era of national prosperity never before equaled by any nation on the face of the globe. This has been accomplished by the application of Republican principles to the task of government. To maintain and promote that national prosperity, not to sacrifice it for factional interests, are the essential purposes which should shape the administration of our government. The following are only a few of the principal methods by which these aims can be accomplish:

1. To protect Agriculture effectively, and to encourage it in every proper manner.

2. To protect American Labor by enacting all needed legislature, and by encouraging closer relations between Labor and Capital.

3. To enforce the laws without fear or favor.

4. To encourage active participation by women in the conduct of the government.

5. To reduce the public debt, public expenses, and taxes.

6. To maintain peace, engage in commerce with all nations, and to enter entangling alliances with none.

7. To encourage all industry and to maintain a protective tariff with duties high enough fully to protect American producers, American products, and American labor against foreign competition.

8. To develop, aid, and encourage means of transportation and communication, national and international, by land in water, and in the air, through the consolidation of railroads; the establishment of a complete system of inland waterways; the re-establishment of a strong Merchant Marine; a strong Postal and commercial air-craft service; and a wider more efficient use of the ever-increasing possibilities of the radio.

9. To give equal and exact justice to all men of whatever state of persuasion.

10. To support the State governments in all their rights.

11. To preserve the Federal government in its whole constitutional vigor, and to maintain and expand the existing high state of national consciousness.

12. To preserve the liberty of the press; the freedom of speech and worship; civil liberty and security of individual rights; and to promote the cause of education among the people.

13. To complete the lives and property of our citizens by the completion of an adequate system of flood-control for the Mississippi River and its tributaries, and elsewhere if necessary, to prevent a recurrence of a disaster such as recently occurred in the Mississippi Valley.

Manifestly, I cannot discuss here each of these fourteen means to the desired end; and I shall, therefore, limit myself to the first four or five.

AGRICULTURE

To encourage the Agriculture always has been a Republican doctrine. It is a necessary part of our philosophy of government. Agriculture is the basic industry of the country and in the very nature of things will ever be so. Whatever is to the detriment of the farmer is, eventually, to the detriment of all our citizens; his welfare and prosperity are inevitably reflected in the welfare and prosperity of the whole nation.

Many plans for the encouragement of Agriculture have been proposed, and many have been given effect by our party. In the course of my political every one which in my opinion promised an appreciable measure of sound relief has had my whole-hearted and active support. Of recent years, two farm measures have been introduced by me in the Senate. Two Democrat members of the House joined in their preparations and introduction. The first was known as the Curtis-Aswell Bill. It created an Interstate Farm Marketing Association. Its purpose was to promote and stimulate the orderly flow of agricultural commodities in commerce; to remove burdens and restraints on such commodities; and to provide for the processing, preparing for market, handling, pooling, storing, and marketing of agricultural commodities through co-operative marketing associations. The object of this measure was to place the marketing organizations under the ownership and control of the farmers themselves. The other measure was known as the Curtis-Crisp Bill. Its object was to enable the farmers to stabilize their markets against undue and excessive fluctuations; to preserve advantageous domestic markets; and to minimize speculation and waste in marketing.

Without the help which the Republican party has given, the agricultural situation would be infinitely worse than it is. The Capper-Volstead Act gave to the farmer the right to engage in collective buying and co-operative selling. In every possible way the Republican administration has endeavored to give practical and substantial effect to that right.

The Department of Agriculture fills an important place in the work of aiding and advising the farmer. It is our policy to widen each year as much as possible the scope of the Department's effectiveness. In the last year alone, $2,298,172.00 was spent in particularly valuable research work covering numerous classes of agriculture products, including cattle and swine. It is estimated $4,157,887.00 will be required for this work for the coming year. Nearly $3,000,000.00 is expended annually by the Department of Agriculture in broadening agriculture markets.

The development of inland waterways, and water transportation in general, is of great value to the agricultural sections of the country. An extensive project in this regard is now being executed. The last Congress has provided for a barge line to extend from St. Louis to Missouri River points, which when in full operation will bring decided relief in the difficulties and cost of transporting farm products. When the loss of the foreign market for our products was imminent because of insufficiency of ships in which to transport them, vessels of the United States Shipping Board were reconditioned and placed in service, thereby saving the market. Tariff protection against foreign competition always has been given to farm products. The Fordney-McCumber Tariff Act carries higher rates of duty on agriculture products than any tariff law in the history of the nation. It has been found that certain of the duties are not high enough to give adequate to some of the products of the farm, and I believe it is the duty of Congress to provide rates high enough to protect such products against foreign competition. In addition, by this act, the duties have been lowered on most of the articles the farmers buy or they have been put on the free list.

Appropriations have been made freely to aid the farmers in time of crop failures. The Federal Farm Loan System and the intermediate credit banks have made to available to farmers, on loans at a low rate of interest, more than $2,500,000,000.00.

That effective help has been given to the farmer by the Republican party since it took charge on March 4, 1921, is indicated by the statement of the Washington office of the American Farm Bureau Federation. On page one of its Annual Report dated April 6, 1923, there appears the following:

"The passing of the 67th Congress into history marks an epoch in the undertaking of the American Farm Bureau's national legislative campaign. It is not too much to say that the twenty-six laws passed by that Congress, which were initiated and supported by us, are of far more importance to American agriculture than all the legislation relating to Agriculture passed since the adoption of our Constitution."

Though much has been done to ameliorate the farmers' situation, still more remains to be done, for there exists to-day a depression in Agriculture which in the best interests of all the people, must be relieved.

The question of the proper relief for Agriculture is a try and perplexing one. The problem is of deep-seated economic importance to every citizen without regard to his occupation or his political party. Properly, its solution is and always should be, non-partisan. I am convinced that if a small joint committee of the House and Senate were appointed to study the problem and to find its proper solution, the necessary relief quickly could and would be afforded. The Committee could be assisted in its task by the advice and experience of the most capable experts on the subject whose services can be obtained.

It will be remembered that for years we had great trouble with the problem of settling our standard of value. The failure to settle had brought forth the Greenback Party, and later the Free Silver Party. In 1899, that great and able statesman from Maine, Thomas B. Reed, appointed a Committee of Eleven to draw a measure fixing the standard of value. In three weeks the committee had agreed upon a draft of a bill, and the Gold Standard Act of 1900 was the result. We have had no trouble with that question since then. If such a committee could settle so satisfactorily that great and vexing question, surely a similar committee of able legislators specifically charged with the task could agree upon an agriculture relief plan which would be equally satisfactory.

The solution will be found, and found promptly. Our party has pledged itself to the development and enactment of measures which will place the agriculture interests of the United States on a basis of economic equality with other industries, to insure its prosperity and success.

LABOR

In the early days, employees labored long hours amid unsanitary conditions, and dangerous, unguarded machinery. The plight of the native workingmen was aggravated by the ever-increasing number of immigrant laborers who contended with them for jobs.

Steady progress has been made in the enactment of legislation to relieve these conditions. The hours of labor have been reduced to eight where formerly they were ten and twelve. Laws to improve working conditions have been passed, and the scope of these laws is being broadened constantly. Immigration has been restricted sharply.

In recent years, Capital and Labor have come to recognize that they are indispensable to each other; that they are economic allies, not enemies; and that disputes between them are to the detriment of both as well as to the detriment of the people of the country as a whole. It is believed that the time will come, and that it is not far off, when there will be a complete and honest understanding between Labor and Capital as to their respective right, and the rights of the general public.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

To determine the extent to which legislation is beneficial and beyond which it is hurtful, it is the province of statesmanship. Good laws, that is, good statesmanship, are the result of the application of common sense and sound judgment to immutable principles. While people may differ as to the wisdom of the enactment of a particular piece of legislation, or as to the amending of the Constitution in regard thereto, it is impossible to ignore the Constitution, and unthinkable to evade it by a particular administrative policy.

The Constitution of the United States is the keystone of our national strength, our pride in the hour of prosperity, our consolation and rallying point under every pressure of adversity; and whoever seriously wishes to preserve out Constitution in its full purity and vigor must be of necessity wish to have all its Articles and Amendments honestly obeyed and faithfully enforced.

Both freedom and justice are to be secured only through popular respect for the laws of out country while they remain so, regardless of personal opinion. The Republican party pledges itself to the faithful enforcement and vigorous execution of the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution. My own record shows clearly that I believe in and practice enforcement of the law.

The Prohibition Amendment ultimately was adopted by all of the States except Connecticut and Rhode Island - not merely by the required three-fourths of the States, but by all but two. Through this voluntary action which binds all, the States delegated to the Federal government their full original power and responsibility on the liquor prohibition question. The Federal government accepted the power and responsibility so delegated, thereby binding itself, and, accordingly, Congress passed the Volstead Act. For the Federal government now to adopt, or even to propose or to favor, a policy which will result in allowing each State to determine for itself the alcoholic content of beverages to be manufactured, sold and transported throughout the country, would be a direct and indefensible attempt on its part to evade or to repudiate the responsibility so delegated and assumed, and an endeavor to redelegate that responsibility to the several States from whence it came, without any justification for such action.

ENCOURAGEMENT OF WOMEN IN GOVERNMENT

Since the beginning of civilization, the right to vote, which is the right to have a decisive voice in the affairs of government, has been coveted and fought for. When obtained, it has been cherished by its possessors; hedged around with restrictions and qualification; and extended to others only with reluctance. During the early period of own government it was not every free man who was entitled to vote. Our present policy of universal suffrage is the growth of the years, and the recognition of women's right was particularly slow.

My personal stand on the question was at all times firmly and openly in favor of permitting women to vote. It is known and recognized that my active aid and support were instrumental to no small degree in procuring the action of the Senate on June 4, 1919 by which the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was proposed to several states, and women's right to the ballot became effective August 26, 1920.

The mere right to vote, not exercised, is useless. As a matter of duty, women as well as men should exercise that right. There are in the United States to-day between twenty-six and twenty-seven million women over the age of twenty-one, entitled to vote. As the years pass, these women are becoming increasing alive to their opportunity to take a large and important part in the management and control of the country's affairs; to enforce recognition, change and improvement in their own particular problem and those which most interest them; and to become a distinct power in deciding all questions of vital concern to every citizen regardless of sex.

The Republican party has welcomed and encouraged this development. From the first it has given women substantial recognition in its councils. It believes in, and practices, the principle of full equality between man and woman. It has procured the appointment of women to responsible executive positions in the various departments of government throughout the country; it has caused the appointment of women judges and women diplomats; and it had procured the election of women legislators. This was done because women have borne their fair share of responsibility in government, with great credit, and have demonstrated their ability in its management. The 19th Amendment has been of the utmost importance in assisting our party in the task of good government. We feel confident that our record for the maintenance and promotion of national prosperity will result in aligning the women's votes on the side of the Republican party in the coming campaign.

REDUCTION OF PUBLIC DEBT, EXPENSES, AND TAXES

Prompt reduction of the public debt, of expenses of public administration, and of Federal taxes, are obviously sound business practices.

The people have not forgotten the real condition of the country and of the government, when the Republican Administration took charge on March 4, 1921. The aftermath of the tremendous struggle of the World War was full upon us. Credit was on the wane; our bonds were far below par; industry was at a standstill; or running at a loss; taxes were high and almost intolerable; and the work of the government was being extravagantly administered. Our party, under the leadership of President Coolidge, has brought about the corrections of these conditions. Credit has been restored; our bonds are above par; and industry is prospering.

The Budget System was installed to control governmental expenditures and to reduce public expenses. It has resulted in substantial elimination of extravagance and waste in administration. There is one way in which the expense of government can and should be reduced still further. It is by doing away with every useless and unnecessary Board, Bureau and Commission. There are many such, the existence of which greatly enlarges the Federal pay-roll. Some of them overlap each other and cause duplication of work which if necessary at all could be handled by previously existing Departments. They are the result of the modern tendency, seriously unwise, to over-legislate, over-regulate, and over-administer the lives of our people. This fault should be checked at once, and eradicated entirely as soon as possible.

In spite of this situation, which the Budget System cannot reach, the government has by the adoption of that system materially reduced its expenses, living well within its income and setting a praise-worthy example of sound financing not only to our own people but to those to the world in general. This is shown by the fact that the Treasury surplus for the fiscal year ended June 30th, last, was $398,000,000.00.

At the close of the War, the public debt had reached a total figure quite beyond the comprehension of the average man. It was $25,500,000,000.00. The interest charges thereon alone were stupendous. The policy of quick and substantial curtailment of the public debt was adopted and put into immediate effect. If for no other reason than to cut down the almost incredible annual interest charges, the propriety of this action cannot be denied seriously. The report of the Treasury Department for the year ended June 30, 1928, now shows the public debt to be $17,604,000,000.00, a reduction of $7,796,000,000.00. A second good business principle put into effect needs merely its statement to show its wisdom. By transfer into securities bearing a low rate of interest, the annual rate on the interest-bearing debt was reduced from 4.29% to 3.88%. The prompt reduction of the total debt, and the lowering of the interest rate, have resulted in an annual interest saving of more than $275,000,000.00. A graphic illustration of this result of this second policy alone is: The payment on the public debt during the last year was $900,000,000.00, on which there was an interest saving of $35,000.000.00. As recently stated by President Coolidge, this saving is approximately sufficient to meet the government's annual expense in taking care of flood control work to be done in the Mississippi Valley. The practical result of the Republican program is sufficient to show that out opponents' proposals to carry the debt indefinitely and continue to pay such interest charges, cannot be justified.

Despite the tremendous sums paid toward reduction of the public debt, the sound financial policy adopted by the Republican party has enabled it to make four reductions in taxes thereby greatly lightening the tax burden of the American people. In the fiscal year just closed, taxes were cut by more than $220,000,000.00 Our party is pledged to a continuation of these sound policies, and to such further reduction of the tax burden as the condition of the Treasury may from time to time permit.

CONCLUSION

A few words more, and I shall have finished. You have notified me that the man who has been nominated to the high office of President of the United States; who in a few short months is to lead our party to renewed victory, and our country to continued honor, happiness and prosperity, is HERBERT CLARK HOOVER. He is well worthy of the party's choice; a credit to it and to the nation,both in the eyes of out people and the world. His extensive knowledge, training and experience well fit him to guide the country wisely and justly to new heights of renown.

The policies of Calvin Coolidge are those of our party and are expressed in our platform. They are Mr. Hoover's, and they are mine. They are those of Washington, Lincoln and Roosevelt. Their wisdom and beneficent effect on the lives of our 118,000,000 people have been demonstrated during the years, particularly these last years, in Mr. Coolidge's administration, and will continue to be demonstrated for years to come. We can well be proud of our record of sound and constructive leadership.

There must be no disloyalty within our ranks, and there will be none. Republicans may quarrel among themselves, but not at such a time as this. Then they form and present a united and impenetrable front.

Loyal and united, we can go to the polls in November assured of a deserved and decisive majority vote of the people.

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