David Pietrusza's Amsterdam

Author David Pietrusza hails originally from Amsterdam,
New York and presents this webpage in the city's honor.
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Amsterdam Links
Old Seal of the City of Amsterdam, New York
         President Harry S. Truman
    Amsterdam, New York
    October 8, 1948

On October 8, 1948, President Harry S. Truman,
Democratic candidate for President, campaigned in
Amsterdam, New York, addressing the crowd from the rear
platform of his train at 10:30 AM that morning. Here is the
text of his remarks:

Ladies and gentlemen:

You know, I certainly do highly appreciate this turnout. I
thank Mayor Carter most sincerely for that fine
introduction, and I hope he is a good prophet, that I will
be the next President of the United States—and I think
he is right.

This is a very happy day for me to be in your city of
Amsterdam. During the war, it was my business as
chairman of the special Senate committee investigating
the defense program to become somewhat familiar with
your factories here in this city. You made a great
contribution to the war effort. You turned your factories
over from warwork to peace work and you did it
expeditiously. I want to express my appreciation as
President of the United States for the contribution that
you made.

Now, this campaign that I am making up and down the
country is a campaign in the interests of the people.
This is a campaign in which I am trying to explain to you
that it is your own interest that you vote for on
November 2d. It is not necessarily me you are electing
President, you are voting for your own interests—for
this campaign is a campaign of the people against the
special interests. The Republican Congress
conclusively proved that, as soon as they got control.

What was the first thing they did when they got control
of the Congress of the United States? They immediately
began to tear up labor's bill of rights. The first thing they
did was to try and amend the Wagner Labor Act so it
would no longer work in the interests of labor, but
would work in the interests of special privilege.

I vetoed that, and I hope every one of you will read that
veto message, because it strikes at the fundamental
foundation of the Democratic plan to make the
Government for all the people.

The next thing they did was to try to tear up the farm
program. They tried to leave the farmer out on a limb so
he could no longer have a floor under his prices, and
they are trying to tell the people that that floor under
prices to the farmers is causing the high cost of living.
That is not true. You cannot tell how much the price
support program has been worth to this great country of
ours, because the farmer was willing to go out and raise
tremendous crops that have been necessary to feed
the world and to keep enough in this country so that
prices would not go sky high.

If these people had been willing to give me the
necessary controls for allocation of these things,
everybody would have had his fair share, and prices
would not have been out of sight.

I want you to weigh these things. I want you to consider
very carefully the record of the Congressman in this
district, then I think you will want to vote for Professor
Murphy for Congressman from this district, who knows
what these issues are and has been trying to tell you
what they are.

The best interests are the people's interests-in voting
for a government that is of the people and for the

Now, you are the Government. You are yourselves the
Government, when you exercise your rights to vote.
When you do not exercise that right to vote, you are
shirking your duty.

In 1946 two-thirds of the people of the United States
who were entitled to vote stayed away from the polls—
and look what they received as a result of that! They got
a Congress that immediately began working for special
privilege. There were more lobbyists and more higher
paid lobbyists around this 80th Congress than ever
before in the history of the country. And those lobbyists
got just what they wanted. The real estate lobby kept
the housing bill from going through. The big corporation
lobbyists got the Taft-Hartley bill through. Mr. Taft said
that he wrote that bill for the benefit of employers. I
don't think that is anything to brag about.

I want you to study all the things for special privilege
that would have gone through if I had not been standing
there in the interests of the people with the veto. Why, I
vetoed more bills than any other President since
Grover Cleveland, and I am proud of that record
because I was working in the interests of the everyday
man in this country.

Now, let me give you just a good piece of advice. I
understand that today and tomorrow are the last days
for registration. I want to get every voter who is entitled
to the privilege on the books, then I want him on the 2d
of November to get up very early in the morning to go to
the polls and vote the Democratic ticket straight—then
the country will be safe for another 4 years and I won't
have a housing problem myself.
1960: LBJ vs. JFK vs. Nixon