October 21, 1797 :: The USS Constitution is launched by President George Washington in Boston Harbor

The USS Constitution :: Launched: October 21, 1797, Boston Harbor; First Sail Date: July 22, 1798; Production Cost: $302,718 (1797 dollars)

The USS Constitution, also known as Old Ironsides, is a wooden-hulled, 2,200 ton displacement, three-masted, 44-gun heavy frigate of the United States Navy which was launched on October 21, 1797. She is one of the first (heavy) frigates of the United States Navy, one of original six frigates authorized for construction by the Naval Act of 1794 and the third constructed in the series. The Constitution was named by President George Washington at her launch and is the world’s oldest commissioned naval warship still afloat. Although the Constitution is now a museum, she is still an active commissioned warship in the United States Navy.

The Naval Act of 1794 provided for the construction six frigates to operate in the Mediterranean Sea in response to a string of attacks on American merchant vessels by the Barbary Pirates, operating primarily out of Algiers. In 1793 11 American ships were captured by the pirates and their crews and cargos held for ransom. A peace agreement was finalized between the United States and the Barbary States in March 1796 and construction of the last three ships was halted in accordance with the Naval Act. At the urging of President Washington, Congress agreed to fund the final construction of the three ships nearest to completion: they would become the USS United States, USS Constellation, and USS Constitution.

Under the terms of the peace treaty with the pirates, the United States committed to paying tribute for protection to the pirates. By 1800 the tribute payments to the Barbary states amounted to over 20% of United States federal government’s annual budget. The United States conducted the First Barbary War in 1801 to gain more favorable peace terms; the Second Barbary War in 1815 ended the payment of tribute. In 1816, the British Royal Navy finally put a substantial end to the activity of the pirates.

In a coincidence commented on by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1942, the October 21st anniversary was the day the Royal Navy submarine H.M.S. Seraph with American Major General Mark W. Clark landed the first American reconnaissance team on the Algerian coast in preparation for the Operation Torch landings.

From “An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943” by Rick Atkinson

“Even before the fleet weighed anchor in Virginia, a small invasion vanguard had arrived off the African coast. This party comprised fewer than a dozen men; their mission—both courageous and daft—would become one of the most celebrated clandestine operations of the war. It began with a single light. Major General Mark W. Clark stood on the bridge of the submarine H.M.S. Seraph at ten P.M. on October 21, peering through his binoculars at a bright beacon on the Algerian coast. Braced to absorb the submarine’s roll, he raked the lenses across the white line of surf two miles away.

After several days of creeping submerged across the Mediterranean from Gibraltar at four knots, Clark was desperate to get ashore. Though Seraph surfaced every night to recharge her batteries, the fetid air inside grew so stale each day that a struck match would not light. Clark and the four other American officers had passed the time playing countless rubbers of bridge or, after lessons from the British commandos aboard, hands of cribbage. Small bruises covered Clark’s head; at six foot three inches tall, he found it impossible to dodge the sub’s innumerable pipes and knobs. “There’s the sugar-loaf hill to the left. I can see its outline against the sky,” Clark told Seraph’s commander, Lieutenant Norman L. A. Jewell. A pale glow to the east marked the fishing port of Cherchel, said to have been founded by Selene, daughter of Mark Antony and Cleopatra. Algiers lay another sixty miles up the coast. Clark focused again on the light burning in the seaward gable of an isolated farmhouse. “There’s a beach below the house. A black splotch behind the beach—that’s the grove of trees,” Clark said. “Yessir, this is the place we’re looking for.””

For more information about the founding of the United States Navy:

For more information about the Barbary Wars:

#AmericanHistory #History

21 October 1805 :: The Battle of Trafalgar

The Battle of Trafalgar was a decisive military victory for the British Royal Navy under the command of Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson against the combined fleets of the French and Spanish Navies, during the the Napoleonic Wars (1796–1815). Nelson’s brilliant and unorthodox naval strategies were the key to the British victory. During the battle, Nelson was shot and mortally wounded, however he lived long enough to see the British victory.

For more information, please consider:

  • Nelson’s Trafalgar: The Battle That Changed the World by RoyAdkins 
  • The Pursuit of Victory: The Life and Achievement of HoratioNelson by Roger Knight  (This is a wonderful book to read )

October 15-21, 1941 :: The German Kraljevo and Kragujevac massacre

In a reprisal for Nazi resistance activities against German troops, approximately 2800 innocent civilians in the Serbian towns of Kraljevo and Kragujevac are murdered by troops from the German 704th Infantry Division. Four villages were also burned down by the 717th Infantry Division after hostage roundups.

The partisan resistance had resulted in the deaths of 10 and the wounding of 26 German soldiers. The number of hostages to be murdered was calculated from a policy previously issued by Hitler as 100 hostages killed for every German soldier killed and 50 hostages killed for every German soldier wounded, however the number of hostages killed usually exceeded this formula. This policy was issued by Hitler and the top leadership of the Nazi Party and Wehrmacht with the dual intention of suppressing anti-Nazi resistance and involving the German generals in war crimes to make them less likely to surrender or reveal information about the Holocaust. Several senior German military officials were tried and convicted for their involvement in these reprisal murders at the Nuremberg trials.

From “The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi JewishPolicy, September 1939-March 1942” by Christopher R. Browning

“The 717th division of Major General Hoffmann was responsible for this region, and the reprisal order of October 10th was to him a veritable hunting license. When units of his division suffered casualties in an attack on Kraljevo on October 15 and 16, they went on a house-to-house search through the city, and by the evening of the 17th had shot 1,736 men and 19 “communist” women.”’

The Kraljevo massacre was shortly followed by an even larger one in Kragujevac, When a German punitive expedition returning to the town suffered casualties and Hoffmann ordered immediate retaliation. The number of communist suspects, prison inmates, Jews, and even men rounded up from the surrounding villages considered “communist infested” left the Germans far short of their quota of 2,300. The German commander, Major Konig, an ardent critic of “soft” measures, had his troops seize 3,200 inhabitants from the city itself, including the students of the local high school, and they fired away on October 21 until the quota had been met.'”

October 19, 1781 :: The British surrender at Yorktown. George Washington secures American victory in the War of Independence

October 19, 1781 :: The British surrender at Yorktown resulting in a decisive American victory in the War for Independence.

In October 1781 the combined forces of the American Continental Army led by General George Washington and a French Army led by Marshall Jean-Baptiste Rochambeau with support from the French West Indies fleet under the command of Vice Admiral François Joseph Paul de Grasse, laid siege to the British forces under Generals Charles Cornwallis and Henry Clinton which were entrenched around Yorktown, Virginia.

The siege and battle of Yorktown would be the last major battle of the American War for Independence. Cornwallis requested terms of capitulation on October 17, 1781. After two days of negotiations, the surrender ceremony occurred on October 19. Over 7,000 British soldiers were taken prisoner, many of whom eventually chose to stay in America after their release and became American citizens. The American victory would lead to the Treaty of Paris of 1783.

A humiliated and recalcitrant Cornwallis added disgrace to defeat by refusing to attend the surrender ceremony. In his place he sent his deputy Brigadier General Charles O’Hara. O’Hara first refused to surrender to the Americans and attempted to offer the British surrender to Rochambeau, who refused to accept and directed that the British surrender to General Washington. When O’Hara offered his sword in surrender to Washington, Washington refused to receive the surrender from the deputy of Cornwallis and directed the sword be surrendered to his deputy General Benjamin Lincoln. Washington’s deputy accepted the sword finalizing the surrender. Because the British had repeatedly denied military honors to Americans during the war, the British were denied military honors after the surrender at Yorktown. However the surrendering British officers were allowed to leave for Britain after the surrender. Later Cornwallis would sneak his way into Canada and return in disgrace to Britain.

From “Almost A Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence” by John Ferling (https://global.oup.com/academic/product/almost-a-miracle-9780195382921?cc=us&lang=en&)

“That same afternoon, October 19, at two o’clock, six and one-half years to the day since this war had begun at Lexington and Concord, the British surrender formally began. The British army marched from the tottering ruins of their lockup in Yorktown, accompanied by a band whose “drums [were] covered with black handkerchiefs and their fifes with black ribbons.”

From “Almost A Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence” by John Ferling
“That same afternoon, October 19, at two o’clock, six and one-half years to the day since this war had begun at Lexington and Concord, the British surrender formally began. The British army marched from the tottering ruins of their lockup in Yorktown, accompanied by a band whose “drums [were] covered with black handkerchiefs and their fifes with black ribbons.”

The defeated British processed between a long row of French soldiers in their dress whites on their left and the American soldiery, few in uniforms and a considerable number without shoes, on their right. The redcoats appeared surly, one rebel thought, but the Germans seemed to him to be indifferent. A French officer was struck by the appearance of the British, who “seemed… much more tired and much less heroic” than the Germans. Slowly, dolefully, the vanquished marched toward the designated field of surrender, a prosaic plain midway between the quarters of the victorious allied commanders and the hitherto obscure village whose name was about to be catapulted into history. It was a gorgeous day, bright and sunny, and the leaves were just beginning to show their autumn colors. Throngs of spectators from the Williamsburg Neck had come to watch, nearly as many, thought one soldier, as the numbers that comprised the rebel army. The principal officers rode at the head of the defeated army, save for Cornwallis, who pleaded illness and did not appear. Brigadier General Charles O’Hara was given responsibility for surrendering. About forty, O’Hara had been a soldier since he was a teenager, fighting in Europe and Africa before being sent to America in October 1780, where he always served with Cornwallis. He chased after Greene, fought him at Guilford Courthouse, where he was wounded in the chest and thigh, then fought on in Virginia.

O’Hara rode forward to a row of allied officers mounted on horseback and asked which officer was Rochambeau. He was curtly told that he was to surrender to General Washington. But when O’Hara drew up in front of the American commander and offered his sword, Washington disdainfully refused to accept a token from a subordinate of Cornwallis. He directed O’Hara to surrender to General Lincoln, the second in command of the Continental army. Once his distasteful duty was done, O’Hara turned and rode away. According to an eyewitness, “tears rolled down his cheeks.” When the little ceremony was concluded, the British soldiers came forward to ground their weapons. It was a lengthy process, and at times the redcoat band played mournful tunes, though contrary to legend it likely never played “The World Turned Upside Down,” a popular song of the day. At other times during the ceremony the French band played more upbeat melodies.”

For more see George Washington’s Mount Vernon

#AmericanHistory #History


The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787 by Gordon S. Wood

One of the core pillars of American republicanism is individual liberty. But the founders also understood that individual liberty could not be maintained without a virtuous body politic grounded is a secularized public religion where citizens are willing to place the public good ahead individual interests, in much the same way that individuals in a family will sacrifice their desires for the greater good of the entire family.

Ultimately this philosophy can be traced back to Puritan Communitarianism and their concept of “Free Will” from Romans 1-9 (and specifically chapter 7). In this belief system, before “salvation” a person is a slave to sin, afterwards they receive the “free will” to be able to choose between the good Christ wants a person to chose and the selfish sinfulness Christ’s death freed a person from.

From “The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787” by Gordon S. Wood

“The sacrifice of individual interests to the greater good of the whole formed the essence of republicanism and comprehended for Americans the idealistic goal of their Revolution. From this goal flowed all of the Americans’ exhortatory literature and all that made their ideology truly revolutionary.

This republican ideology both presumed and helped shape the Americans’ conception of the way their society and politics should be structured and operated—a vision so divorced from the realities of American society, so contrary to the previous century of American experience, that it alone was enough to make the Revolution one of the great Utopian movements of American history.

By 1776 the Revolution came to represent a final attempt, perhaps—given the nature of American society—even a desperate attempt, by many Americans to realize the traditional Commonwealth ideal of a corporate society, in which the common good would be the only objective of government.”

#AmericanHistory #History

October 16, 1946 :: Major Nazi War Criminals Executed

16 October 1946 :: Nazi War Criminals Executed by hanging after the Nuremberg Trials. Executed were:

Hans Frank, Nazi governor of the General Government of occupied Poland

Wilhelm Frick, the Nazi Interior Minister and responsible for the civil persecution within Nazi Germany and senior civilian official overseeing the concentration camps within Germany

Alfred Jodl, Nazi general who oversaw the implementation of Hitler’s military war crimes

Ernst Kaltenbrunner, SS General and Chief of the Reich Main Security Office (including Sicherheitspolizei (SIPO), Ordnungspolizei (ORPO), and Geheime Staatspolizei (GESTAPO).

Wilhelm Keitel, Nazi general who approved the implementation of Hitler’s military war crimes

Joachim von Ribbentrop, Nazi Foriegn Minister who orchestrated the take over of Austria, and the invasions of Czechoslovakia and Poland

Alfred Rosenberg, Nazi eugenicist, racial propaganda leader / agitator and governor of the Reichskommissariat Ostland in the occupied Soviet Union

Fritz Sauckel, General Plenipotentiary for [Slave] Labor

Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Head of the Reichskommissar in the Netherlands

Julius Streicher, racial propaganda leader / agitator and publisher / editor of the notorious Der Stürmer

Hermann Göring, the second in command of Nazi Germany committed suicide in his cell the previous night

Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS and responsible for the KL Concentration Camps and Nazi Death Camps, committed suicide shortly after being captured by the British on 23 May 1945

Martin Bormann, head of the Nazi Party Chancellery and Hitler’s private secretary, was sentenced to death in absentia, but was not caught and reportedly committed suicide in Berlin on 2 May 1945

Theodore Roosevelt survives an assassination attempt and gives a speech with a bullet lodged in his chest

October 14, 1912 :: While on a campaign stop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, former President Theodore Roosevelt is shot by saloon keeper John Flammang Schrank. The bullet hit Roosevelt in the chest pocket, which fortunately contained his steel eye glass case and a folded copy of the speech he was going to present that day entitled “Progressive Cause Greater Than Any Individual”. Roosevelt rescued the would be assasin from the mob that wanted to lynch him for his crime. Roosevelt refused to go to the hospital before he finished giving his speech – which lasted over 90 minutes. Fortunately later it was discovered that the bullet had not penetrated farther than his outer chest muscle and the bullet was left in place.

He opened his speech with the comment: “Friends, I shall ask you to be as quiet as possible. I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.”


Text of “Progressive Cause Greater Than Any Individual” by Theodore Roosevelt

Friends, I shall ask you to be as quiet as possible. I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose. But fortunately I had my manuscript, so you see I was going to make a long speech, and there is a bullet – there is where the bullet went through – and it probably saved me from it going into my heart. The bullet is in me now, so that I can not make a very long speech, but I will try my best.

And now, friends, I want to take advantage of this incident and say a word of solemn warning to my fellow countrymen. First of all, I want to say this about myself: I have altogether too important things to think of to feel any concern over my own death; and now I can not speak to you insincerely within five minutes of being shot. I am telling you the literal truth when I say that my concern is for many other things. It is not in the least for my own life. I want you to understand that I am ahead of the game, anyway. No man has had a happier life than I have led; a happier life in every way. I have been able to do certain things that I greatly wished to do, and I am interested in doing other things. I can tell you with absolute truthfulness that I am very much uninterested in whether I am shot or not. It was just as when I was colonel of my regiment. I always felt that a private was to be excused for feeling at times some pangs of anxiety about his personal safety, but I can not understand a man fit to be a colonel who can pay any heed to his personal safety when he is occupied as he ought to be occupied with the absorbing desire to do his duty.

I am in this cause with my whole heart and soul. I believe that the Progressive movement is for making life a little easier for all our people; a movement to try to take the burdens off the men and especially the women and children of this country. I am absorbed in the success of that movement.

Friends, I ask you now this evening to accept what I am saying as absolutely true, when I tell you I am not thinking of my own success. I am not thinking of my life or of anything connected with me personally. I am thinking of the movement. I say this by way of introduction, because I want to say something very serious to our people and especially to the newspapers. I don’t know anything about who the man was who shot me tonight. He was seized at once by one of the stenographers in my party, Mr. Martin, and I suppose is now in the hands of the police. He shot to kill. He shot – the shot, the bullet went in here – I will show you.

I am going to ask you to be as quiet as possible for I am not able to give the challenge of the bull moose quite as loudly. Now, I do not know who he was or what party he represented. He was a coward. He stood in the darkness in the crowd around the automobile, and when they cheered me, and I got up to bow, he stepped forward and shot me in the darkness.

Now, friends, of course, I do not know, as I say, anything about him; but it is a very natural thing that weak and vicious minds should be inflamed to acts of violence by the kind of awful mendacity and abuse that have been heaped upon me for the last three months by the papers in the interest of not only Mr. Debs but of Mr. Wilson and Mr. Taft.

Friends, I will disown and repudiate any man of my party who attacks with such foul slander and abuse any opponent of any other party; and now I wish to say’ seriously to all the daily newspapers, to the Republican, the Democratic and the Socialist parties, that they can not, month in and month out and year in and year out, make the kind of untruthful, of bitter assault that they have made and not expect that brutal, violent natures, or brutal and violent characters, especially when the brutality is accompanied by a not very strong mind; they can not expect that such natures will be unaffected by it.

Now, friends, I am not speaking for myself at all. I give you my word, I do not care a rap about being shot; not a rap.

I have had a good many experiences in my time and this is one of them. What I care for is my country. I wish I were able to impress upon my people – our people, the duty to feel strongly but to speak the truth of their opponents. I say now, I have never said one word against any opponent that I can not – on the stump – that I can not defend. I have said nothing that I could not substantiate and nothing that I ought not to have said – nothing that I – nothing that, looking back at, I would not say again.

Now, friends, it ought not to be too much to ask that our opponents – [speaking to some one on the stage] – I am not sick at all. I am all right. I can not tell you of what infinitesimal importance I regard this incident as compared with the great issues at stake in this campaign, and I ask it not for my sake, not the least in the world, but for the sake of our common country, that they make up their minds to speak only the truth, and not to use the kind of slander and mendacity which if taken seriously must incite weak and violent natures to crimes of violence. Don’t you make any mistake. Don’t you pity me. I am all right. I am all right and you can not escape listening to the speech either.

And now, friends, this incident that has just occurred – this effort to assassinate me, emphasizes to a peculiar degree the need of this Progressive movement. Friends, every good citizen ought to do everything in his or her power to prevent the coming of the day when we shall see in this country two recognized creeds fighting one another, when we shall see the creed of the “Have-nots ” arraigned against the creed of the “Haves.” When that day comes then such incidents as this tonight will be commonplace in our history. When you make poor men – when you permit the conditions to grow such that the poor man as such will be swayed by his sense of injury against the men who try to hold what they improperly have won, when that day comes, the most awful passions will be let loose and it will be an ill day for our country.

Now, friends, what we who are in this movement are endeavoring to do is to forestall any such movement by making this a movement for justice now – a movement in which we ask all just men of generous hearts to join with the men who feel in their souls that lift upward which bids them refuse to be satisfied themselves while their countrymen and countrywomen suffer from avoidable misery. Now, friends, what we Progressives are trying to do is to enroll rich or poor, whatever their social or industrial position, to stand together for the most elementary rights of good citizenship, those elementary rights which are the foundation of good citizenship in this great Republic of ours.

My friends are a little more nervous than I am. Don’t you waste any sympathy on me. I have had an A-1 time in life and I am having it now.

I never in my life was in any movement in which I was able to serve with such whole-hearted devotion as in this; in which I was able to feel as I do in this that common weal. I have fought for the good of our common country.

And now, friends, I shall have to cut short much of the speech that I meant to give you, but I want to touch on just two or three of the points.

In the first place, speaking to you here in Milwaukee, I wish to say that the Progressive Party is making its appeal to all our fellow citizens without any regard to their creed or to their birthplace. We do not regard as essential the way in which a man worships his God or as being affected by where he was born. We regard it as a matter of spirit and purpose. In New York, while I was Police Commissioner, the two men from whom I got the most assistance were Jacob Riis, who was born in Denmark, and Oliver Van Briesen, who was born in Germany – both of them as fine examples of the best and highest American citizenship as you could find in any part of this country.

I have just been introduced by one of your own men here – Henry Cochems. His grandfathers, his father and that father’s seven brothers, all served in the United States army, and they entered it four years after they had come to this country from Germany. Two of them left their lives, spent their lives, on the field of battle. I am all right – I am a little sore. Anybody has a right to be sore with a bullet in him. You would find that if I was in battle now I would be leading my men just the same. Just the same way I am going to make this speech.

At one time I promoted five men for gallantry on the field of battle. Afterward in making some inquiries about them I found it happened that two of them were Protestants, two Catholics and one a Jew. One Protestant came from Germany and one was born in Ireland. I did not promote them because of their religion. It just happened that way. If all five of them had been Jews I would have promoted them, or if all five had been Protestants I would have promoted them; or if they had been Catholics. In that regiment I had a man born in Italy who distinguished himself by gallantry; there was a young fellow, a son of Polish parents, and another who came here when he was a child from Bohemia, who likewise distinguished themselves; and friends, I assure you, that I was incapable of considering any question whatever, but the worth of each individual as a fighting man. If he was a good fighting man, then I saw that Uncle Sam got the benefit from it. That is all.

I make the same appeal in our citizenship. I ask in our civic life that we in the same way pay heed only to the man’s quality of citizenship, to repudiate as the worst enemy that we can have whoever tries to get us to discriminate for or against any man because of his creed or his birth-place.

Now, friends, in the same way I want our people to stand by one another without regard to differences of class or occupation. I have always stood by the labor unions. I am going to make one omission tonight. I have prepared my speech because Mr. Wilson had seen fit to attack me by showing up his record in comparison with mine. But I am not going to do that tonight. I am going to simply speak of what I myself have done and of what I think ought to be done in this country of ours.

It is essential that there should be organizations of labor. This is an era of organization. Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize.

My appeal for organized labor is twofold; to the outsider and the capitalist I make my appeal to treat the laborer fairly, to recognize the fact that he must organize, that there must be such organization, that the laboring man must organize for his own protection, and that it is the duty of the rest of us to help him and not hinder him in organizing. That is one-half of the appeal that I make.

Now, the other half is to the labor man himself. My appeal to him is to remember that as he wants justice, so he must do justice. I want every labor man, every labor leader, every organized union man, to take the lead in denouncing crime or violence. I want them to take the lead in denouncing disorder and in denouncing the inciting of riot; that in this country we shall proceed under the protection of our laws and with all respect to the laws, and I want the labor men to feel in their turn that exactly as justice must be done them so they must do justice. That they must bear their duty as citizens, their duty to this great country of ours, and that they must not rest content unless they do that duty to the fullest degree.

I know these doctors when they get hold of me they will never let me go back, and there are just a few things more that I want to say to you.

And here I have got to make one comparison between Mr. Wilson and myself, simply because he has invited it and I can not shrink from it.

Mr. Wilson has seen fit to attack me, to say that I did not do much against the trusts when I was President. I have got two answers to make to that. In the first place what I did, and then I want to compare what I did while I was President and what Mr. Wilson did not do while he was Governor.

When I took office the Anti-Trust Law was practically a dead letter and the Inter-State Commerce Law in as poor a condition. I had to revive both laws. I did. I enforced both. It will be easy enough to do now what I did then, but the reason that it is easy now is because I did it when it was hard.

Nobody was doing anything. I found speedily that the Inter-State Commerce Law by being made more perfect could be made a most useful instrument for helping solve some of our industrial problems. So with the Anti-Trust Law. I speedily found that almost the only positive good achieved by such a successful lawsuit as the Northern Securities suit, for instance, was in establishing the principle that the Government was supreme over the big corporation, but that by itself that law did not accomplish any of the things that we ought to have accomplished; and so I began to fight for the amendment of the law along the lines of the Inter-State Commerce Law, and now we propose, we Progressives, to establish an inter-State commission having the same power over industrial concerns that the Inter-State Commerce Commission has over railroads, so that whenever there is in the future a decision rendered in such important matters as the recent suits against! the Standard Oil, the sugar – no not that – tobacco – Tobacco Trust – we will have a commission which will see that the decree of the court is really made effective; that it is not made a merely nominal decree.

Our opponents have said that we intend to legalize monopoly. Nonsense. They have legalized monopoly. At this moment the Standard Oil and Tobacco Trust monopolies are legalized; they are being carried on under the decree of the Supreme Court.

Our proposal is really to break up monopoly. Our proposal is to put in the law – to lay down certain requirements, and then require the commerce commission – the industrial commission – to see that the trusts live up to those requirements. Our opponents have spoken as if we were going to let the commission declare what the requirements should be. Not at all. We are going to put the requirements in the law and then see that the commission requires them to obey that law.

And now, friends, as Mr. Wilson has invited the comparison, I only want to say this: Mr. Wilson has said that the States are the proper authorities to deal with the trusts. Well, about eighty per cent. of the trusts are organized in New Jersey. The Standard Oil, the tobacco, the sugar, the beef, all those trusts are organized in New Jersey and Mr. Wilson – and the laws of New Jersey say that their charters can at any time be amended or repealed if they misbehave themselves and it gives the Government – the laws give the Government ample power to act about those laws, and Mr. Wilson has been Governor a year and nine months and he has not opened his lips. The chapter describing what Mr. Wilson has done about the trusts in New Jersey would read precisely like a chapter describing the snakes in Ireland, which ran: “There are no snakes in Ireland.” Mr. Wilson has done precisely and exactly nothing about the trusts.

I tell you, and I told you at the beginning, I do not say anything on the stump that I do not believe. I do not say anything I do not know. Let any of Mr. Wilson’s friends on Tuesday point out one thing or let Mr. Wilson point out one thing he has done about the trusts as Governor of New Jersey.

And now, friends, there is one thing I want to say especially to you people here in Wisconsin. All that I have said so far is what I would say in any part of this Union. I have a peculiar right to ask that in this great contest you men and women of Wisconsin shall stand with us. You have taken the lead in progressive movements here in Wisconsin. You have taught the rest of us to look to you for inspiration and leadership. Now, friends, you have made that movement here locally. You will be doing a dreadful injustice to yourselves; you will be doing a dreadful injustice to the rest of us throughout this Union, if you fail to stand with us now that we are making this National movement, and what I am about to say now I want you to understand if I speak of Mr. Wilson I speak with no mind of bitterness. I merely want to discuss the difference of policy between the Progressive and the Democratic Party and to ask you to think for yourselves which party you will follow. I will say that, friends, because the Republican Party is beaten. Nobody need to have any idea that anything can be done with the Republican Party.

When the Republican Party – not the Republican Party – when the bosses in the control of the Republican Party, the Barneses and Penroses, last June stole the nomination and wrecked the Republican Party for good and all; I want to point out to you nominally they stole that nomination from me, but really it was from you. They did not like me, and the longer they live the less cause they will have to like me. But while they do not like me, they dread you. You are the people that they dread. They dread the people themselves, and those bosses and the big special interests behind them made up their mind that they would rather see the Republican Party wrecked than see it come under the control of the people themselves. So I am not dealing with the Republican Party. There are only two ways you can vote this year. You can be progressive or reactionary. Whether you vote Republican or Democratic it does not make any difference, you are voting reactionary.

Now, the Democratic Party in its platform and through the utterances of Mr. Wilson has distinctly committed itself to the old flintlock, muzzle-loaded doctrine of States’ rights, and I have said distinctly that we are for the people’s rights. We are for the rights of the people. If they can be obtained best through the National Government, then we are for National rights. We are for the people’s rights however it is necessary to secure them.

Mr. Wilson has made a long essay against Senator Beveridge’s bill to abolish child labor. It is the same kind of an argument that would be made against our bill to prohibit women from working more than eight hours a day in industry. It is the same kind of argument that would have to be made; if it is true, it would apply equally against our proposal to insist that in continuous industries there shall be by law one day’s rest in seven and a three-shift eight-hour day. You have labor laws here in Wisconsin, and any Chamber of Commerce will tell you that because of that fact there are industries that will not come into Wisconsin. They prefer to stay outside where they can work children of tender years, where they can work women fourteen and sixteen hours a day, where, if it is a continuous industry, they can work men twelve hours a day and seven days a week.

Now, friends, I know that you of Wisconsin would never repeal those laws even if they are to your commercial hurt, just as I am trying to get New York to adopt such laws even though it will be to New York’s commercial hurt. But if possible I want to arrange it so that we can have justice without commercial hurt, and you can only get that if you have justice enforced Nationally. You won’t be burdened in Wisconsin with industries not coming to the state if the same good laws are extended all over the other States. Do you see what I mean? The States all compete in a common market; and it is not justice to the employers of a State that has enforced just and proper laws to have them exposed to the competition of another State where no such laws are enforced. Now, the Democratic platform, and their speakers, declare that we shall not have such laws. Mr. Wilson has distinctly declared that you shall not have a National law prohibit the labor of children, to prohibit child labor. He has distinctly declared that we shall not have a law to establish a minimum wage for women.

I ask you to look at our declaration and hear and read our platform about social and industrial justice and then, friends, vote for the Progressive ticket without regard to me, without regard to my personality, for only by voting for that platform can you be true to the cause of progress through-out this Union.

September 23, 1949 :: President Truman’s Statement Announcing the First Soviet Nuclear Test

I believe the American people, to the fullest extent consistent with national security, are entitled to be informed of all developments in the field of atomic energy. That is my reason for making public the following information.

We have evidence that within recent weeks an atomic explosion occurred in the U.S.S.R.

Ever since atomic energy was first released by man, the eventual development of this new force by other nations was to be expected. This probability has always been taken into account by us.

Nearly 4 years ago I pointed out that “scientific opinion appears to be practically unanimous that the essential theoretical knowledge upon which the discovery is based is already widely known. There is also substantial agreement that foreign research can come abreast of our present theoretical knowledge in time.” And, in the Three-Nation Declaration of the President of the United States and the Prime Ministers of United Kingdom and of Canada, dated November 15, 1945, it was emphasized that no single nation could in fact have a monopoly of atomic weapons.

This recent development emphasizes once again, if indeed such emphasis were needed, the necessity for that truly effective enforceable international control of atomic energy which this Government and the large majority of the members of the United Nations support.

1 2 3 52