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tv   Adlai Stevenson 1952 Acceptance Speech  CSPAN  August 9, 2016 5:14pm-5:33pm EDT

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didn't win. he won the hearts of millions and millions of americans and he won a great place in history. >> he raised the standards. >> the one question i think -- i would love to ask senator stevenson because as the end of his father's life it's become almost a folklore that ambassador stevenson was seri s seriously contemplating retiring from the united nations and i wonder if he ever discuss that had with his dad and what his sense is of his dad's intent. >> yes. first, you know, i think these labels, conservative and liberal can be very misleading. arthur schlesinger used to call my father conservative. what he had was integrity.
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when i served in the center, we weren't democrats, republicans, right, left, for the country. we were products of the enlightenment, ideology didn't play much of a role. but to -- to your point he did not tell this to me, but i did hear from a very, very, very close friend that he was planning to resign from the united nations at the end of the year largely because he was very uncomfortable advocating policies that he spend, you know, vietnam and he, of course, died of '65, july of '65 but i
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think he was planning ton resigning. can i etly, that would not have been his way at all but because he couldn't continue to advocate policies that he didn't support. that has to be the last word. adlai ii is buried in bloomington, illinois. senator adlai stevenson, iii, thank you for being here with us this evening, newton minnow and richard norton smith and we leave you with the contenders from the 1956 convention. >> i say trust the people, their good sense, their decency and fortitude, their faith. trust them with the great decisions. i say it is time to take this government away from men who only know how to count and the to turn it back to men and women
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who care. while congress is on break, we're showing you american history of it normally seen weekends here on c-span 3. coming up, adlai stevenson's acceptance speech at the 1952 democratic national convention, and in about 20 minutes a discussion on the impact of the 1952 campaign between adlai stevenson and dwight eisenhauer. >> tonight "american history tv" in primetime focused on the presidential campaign and we begin with "the contenders, q."our c-span series of contenders who didn't win, followed by adlai stevenson's acceptance speech and a discussion on the election in 1952. that starts 58 r 8:00 eastern each night this week. the c-span radio app makes it easy to continue to follow the
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2016 election wherever you are. it's free to download from the apple app store or google play. get audio coverage and up to the minute schedule information from c-span radio and television plus podcast time for popular public affairs, books and history programs. stay up to date on all the election coverage. c-span's radio app means you always have c-span on the go. governor adlai stevenson accepted his party's presidential nomination at the 1952 democratic convention in his home state of illinois. entered but he eventually allowed his name to be put forward. governor stevenson last the 1952 general election to job dwight eisenhauer with 44% of the popular vote to general
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eisenhower. the speech was covered by nbc news and lasts 15 minutes minutes. >> it's going to be quite a moment in the life of adlai stevenson and i judge that it is. getting a handsome ovation after that introduction by president truman. you can see the president seated in the background taking it easy and waiting for the speech to begin. >> mr. president, ladies and gentlemen. conventi c of the convention and citizens, i accept your nomination and your program. [ applause ]citizens, i accept nomination and your program. [ applause ] i should have preferred to hear those words uttered by a stronger, a wiser, a better man
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than myself. [ applause ] but after listening to the president's speech, i even feel better about myself. [ applause ]none of you, my friends, can wholly appreciate what is in my heart. i can only hope that you understand my words. they will be few. i have not south the honor you have done me. i could not seek it because i aspired to another office which was the full measure of my ambition, and one does not treat the highest office within the gift of the people of illinois as an alternative or as a consolation prize. i would not seek your nomination
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for the presidency because the burdens of that office stagger the imagination. its potential for good or evil now and in the years of our lives smothers exaltation and converts vanity to prayer. i have asked the merciful father, the fatherch us all, to let this cup pass from me, but from such dread responsibility was does not freak in fear, in self-interest or in false humility. so if this cup may not pass for me except i drink it, thy will be done. [ applause ]
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that my heart has been troubled, that i have not sought this nomination, that i could not seek it in good conscience, that i would not seek it in honest self-appraisal is not to say that i value it the less. rather it is that i revere the office of the presidency of the united states. [ applause ] and now, my friends, that you have made your decision, i will fight to win that office with all my heart and my soul. [ cheers and applause ] and with your help i have no doubt that we will win. [ applause ] you have summoned me to the
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highest mission within the gift of any people. i could not be more proud. better men than i were at hand for this mighty task, and i owe to you and to them every resource of my inner strength that i possess to make your deed today a good one for our country and for our party. [ applause ] i am confident, too, that your selection of a candidate for vice president will strengthen me and our party immeasurably in the hard and unmakeable work that lies ahead of all of us. i know you join me in gratitude and in respect for the great democrats and the leaders of our generation whose names you have considered here in this convention, whose vigor, whose
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character, whose devotion to the republic we love so we will have won the respect of countless of americans and have enriched our party. [ applause ] i shall need them. we shall need them because hive not chinged in any espekts since yesterday. your nomination, awesome as i find it, has not enlarged my capacities so i'm profoundly grateful and emboldened by their comradeship and their fielding, and i have been deeply moved by their expressions of goodwill and of support, and i cannot, my friends, resist the urge to take the one opportunity that has been afforded me to pay my humble respects to a very great and good american whom i am proud to call my kinsman, alvin barkley of kentucky.
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let me say, too, that i've been heartened by the conduct of this convention. you have argued and disagreed because as democrats you care and you care deeply, but you have disagreed and argued without calling each other liars and thieves, without disspoiling our best tradition. [ applause ] you have not spoiled our best traditions in any naked struggles for power, and you have written a platform that neither equivocates, contradicts nor evades. you have restated our party's record, its principles and its purposes in language that none can mistake and with a firm confidence in justice, freedom and peace on earth that will raise the hearts and the hopes of mankind for that distant day
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when no one rattles a saber and no one drags a chain. [ applause ] for all these things i am grateful to you, but i feel though exaltation, no sense of triumph. our troubles are all ahead of us. some will call us apiecers and others will say that they are the war party. some would say we are reactionary. others will say that we stand for officialism. there will be the inevitable cries of throw the rascals out. it's time for a change and so on and so on. we'll all those things and many times beside but we'll not hear anything that we've not heard before.
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i am not concerned. we have the working man, the farmer, the thoughtful businessman all know they are better off than before and they all know that the greatest danger to free enterprise in this country died with the great depression under the hammer blows. democratic party. nor am i afraid that the precious two-party system is in danger. certainly the republican party looked brutally alive a couple of weeks ago, and i mean both republican parties. [ applause ] nor am i afraid that the
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democratic party is old and fat and indolent. after 150 years it has been old for a long time. and it will never be indolent as long as it looks forward and not back, as long as it commands the allegiance of the young and the hopeful who dream the dreams and see the visions of a better america and a better world. you will hear many sincere and thoughtful people express concern about the continuation of one party in power for 20 years. i don't belittle this attitude, but change for the sake of change has no absolute merit in itself. if our greatest hazard -- [ applause ] if our greatest hazard is preservation of the values of american civilization and in our self-interest alone, if you will, it is the part -- is it the part of wisdom to change for the sake of change to a party
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were a split personality? [ applause ] to a leader whom we all respect but who has been called upon to minister to a hopeless case of political schizophrenia: if the fear is corruption an official position, do you believe with charles evans hughes that guilt is personal and knows no party? do you doubt the power of any political leader if he has the will to do so, to set his own house in order without his neighbors having to burn it down. >> what does concern me in common with thinking partisans of both parties is not just
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winning this election but how it is won, how well we can take advantage of this straight quadrennial opportunity to debate issues sensibly and soberly. i hope and pray that we democrats, win or lose, can campaign not as a grew said to exterminate the opposing party as our opponents seem to prefer, but as a great opportunity to educate and elevate a people whose destiny is leadership, not alone of a rich and prosperous contented country as in the past but of a world infirment. and, my friends, even more important than winning the election is governing a nation. that is the test of a political
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party, the acid final test when the tumult and the shouting die, when the bands are gone and the lights are dimmed, there is a stark reality of responsibility. an hour of history gaunted with strife dissension and material at home and ruthless inscrutible and hostile power abroad. the ordeal of the 20th century, the bloodiest most turbulent era of the whole christian age is far from over. sacrifice, patience and understanding and immakeable purpose may be our lot for years to come. let's face it. let's talk sense to the american people. let's tell them the truth that there are no games without pains. that we are now on the eve of great decisions, not easy decisions like resistance when you're attacked but a long patient costly struggle which
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alone can ensure triumph over the great enemies of man. war, poverty and tyranny and the assaults upon human dignity which are the most grievous consequences of each. let's tell them that the victory to be won in the 20th century, this portal to the golden age, marks the pretensions of individual human ingenuity for it is a citadel guarded by thick walls of ignorance and of mistrust which do not fall before the trumpet's blast or the politician's implications or even a general's baton. [ applause ] they are, my friends, walls that must be directly stormed by the host of courageous of morality and a vision standing shoulder to shoulder, unafraid of ugly truth, contemptuous of lies, half truths, circuses and


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