49.Barry Goldwater - Barry Goldwater - Presidential Nomination Acceptance Address
My good friend and great Republican, Dick Nixon, and your charming wife, Pat. my running
mate, that wonderful Republican who has served us so well for so long, Bill Miller and his wife, Stephanie. to
Thurston Morton who's done such a commendable job in chairmaning this
Convention. to Mr. Herbert Hoover, who I hope is watching. and to that that great
American and his wife, General and Mrs. Eisenhower. to my own wife, my family, and to all of
my fellow Republicans here assembled, and Americans across this great Nation.
From this moment, united and determined, we will go forward together, dedicated to
the ultimate and undeniable greatness of the whole man. Together we will win.
I accept your nomination with a deep sense of humility. I accept, too, the responsibility that
goes with it, and I seek your continued help and your continued guidance. My fellow
Republicans, our cause is too great for any man to feel worthy of it. Our task would be too
great for any man, did he not have with him the hearts and the hands of this great Republican
Party, and I promise you tonight that every fiber of my being is consecrated to our cause. that
nothing shall be lacking from the struggle that can be brought to it by enthusiasm, by
devotion, and plain hard work.
In this world no person, no Party can guarantee anything, but what we can do and what we
shall do is to deserve victory, and victory will be ours.
The good Lord raised this mighty Republic to be a home for the brave and to flourish as the
land of the free not to stagnate in the swampland of collectivism, not to cringe before the bullying of communism.
Now, my fellow Americans, the tide has been running against freedom. Our people have
followed false prophets. We must, and we shall, return to proven ways not
because they are old, but because they are true. We must, and we shall, set the tides running again in the
cause of freedom. And this party, with its every action, every word, every breath, and every
heartbeat, has but a single resolve, and that is freedom made orderly for this Nation by our
constitutional government. freedom under a government limited by the laws of nature and of
nature's God. freedom balanced so that order lacking liberty [sic] will not become the slavery
of the prison shell [cell]. balanced so that liberty lacking order will
not become the license of the mob and of the jungle.
Now, we Americans understand freedom. We have earned it. we have lived for it, and we
have died for it. This Nation and its people are freedom's model in a searching world.
We can be freedom's missionaries in a doubting world.
But, ladies and gentlemen, first we must renew freedom's mission in our own hearts and in our own homes.
During four futile years, the administration which we shall replace has distorted and lost that
vision. It has talked and talked and talked and talked the words of freedom, but it has failed
and failed and failed in the works of freedom.
Now, failures cement the wall of shame in Berlin. Failures blot the sands of shame at
the Bay of Pigs. Failures mark the slow death of freedom in Laos. Failures infest the jungles of
Vietnam. And failures haunt the houses of our once great alliances and undermine the
greatest bulwark ever erected by free nations the NATO community. Failures proclaim lost
leadership, obscure purpose, weakening will, and the risk of inciting our sworn enemies to new aggressions and to
And because of this administration we are tonight a world divided. we are a Nation becalmed.
We have lost the brisk pace of diversity and the genius of individual creativity. We are
plodding along at a pace set by centralized planning, red tape, rules without responsibility,
and regimentation without recourse.
Rather than useful jobs in our country, our people have been offered bureaucratic "make
work". rather than moral leadership, they have been given bread and circuses. They have
been given spectacles, and, yes, they've even been given scandals.
Tonight, there is violence in our streets, corruption in our highest offices, aimlessness
amongst our youth, anxiety among our elders, and there's a virtual despair among the many
who look beyond material success for the inner meaning of their lives. And where examples of
morality should be set, the opposite is seen. Small men, seeking great wealth or power, have
too often and too long turned even the highest levels of public service into mere personal opportunity.
Now, certainly, simple honesty is not too much to demand of men in government. We find it
in most. Republicans demand it from everyone. They demand it from everyone no matter how
exalted or protected his position might be.
Now the growing menace in our country tonight, to personal safety, to life,
to limb and property, in homes, in churches, on the playgrounds, and places of business, particularly in
our great cities, is the mounting concern, or should be, of every thoughtful citizen
in the United States.
Security from domestic violence, no less than from foreign aggression, is the most elementary
and fundamental purpose of any government, and a government that cannot fulfill
this purpose is one that cannot long command the loyalty of its citizens.
History shows us it demonstrates that nothing, nothing prepares the way for tyranny more
than the failure of public officials to keep the streets safe from bullies and marauders.
Now, we Republicans see all this as more, much more, than the result of mere political
differences or mere political mistakes. We see this as the result of a fundamentally and
absolutely wrong view of man, his nature, and his destiny. Those who seek to
live your lives for you, to
take your liberties in return for relieving you of yours, those who elevate the state and downgrade the citizen
must see ultimately a world in which earthly power can be substituted for Divine Will, and this Nation was founded upon the rejection of that notion and upon the acceptance of God as the author of freedom.
Now those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what
they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. They and
let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies.
Absolute power does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed.
Their mistaken course stems from false notions, ladies and gentlemen, of equality. Equality,
rightly understood, as our founding fathers understood it, leads to liberty and to the
emancipation of creative differences. Wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our
time, it leads first to conformity and then to despotism.
Fellow Republicans, it is the cause of Republicanism to resist concentrations of power, private
or public, which enforce such conformity and inflict such despotism. It is the cause of
Republicanism to ensure that power remains in the hands of the people.
And, so help us God, that is exactly what a Republican President will
do with the help of a Republican Congress.
It is further the cause of Republicanism to restore a clear understanding of the tyranny of man over man
in the world at large. It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard
decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a
world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression
and this is hogwash.
It is further the cause of Republicanism to remind ourselves, and the world, that only the
strong can remain free, that only the strong can keep the peace.
Now, I needn't remind you, or my fellow Americans regardless of party, that Republicans have
shouldered this hard responsibility and marched in this cause before. It was Republican
leadership under Dwight Eisenhower that kept the peace, and passed along to
this administration the mightiest arsenal for defense the world has ever known. And I
needn't remind you that it was the strength and the [un]believable will of the Eisenhower years that
kept the peace by using our strength, by using it in the Formosa Straits and in Lebanon and by showing it
courageously at all times.
It was during those Republican years that the thrust of Communist imperialism was blunted. It
was during those years of Republican leadership that this world moved closer, not to war, but
closer to peace, than at any other time in the last three decades.
And I needn't remind you but I will that it's been during Democratic years that our
strength to deter war has stood still, and even gone into a planned decline.
It has been during Democratic years that we have weakly stumbled into
conflict, timidly refusing to draw our own
lines against aggression, deceitfully refusing to tell even our people of our full participation,
and tragically, letting our finest men die on battlefields, unmarked by purpose, unmarked by
pride or the prospect of victory.
Yesterday, it was Korea. Tonight, it is Vietnam. Make no bones of this. Don't try to sweep this under the rug.
We are at war in Vietnam. And yet the President, who is the CommanderinChief of our forces, refuses to say refuses
to say, mind you, whether or not the objective over there is victory. And his Secretary of Defense continues to
mislead and misinform the American people, and enough of it has gone by.
And I needn't remind you but I will it has been during Democratic years that a billion persons were cast
into Communist captivity and their fate cynically sealed.
Today in our beloved country we have an administration which seems eager to deal with communism in
every coin known from gold to wheat, from consulates to confidences, and even human freedom itself.
Now the Republican cause demands that we brand communism as the principal disturber of
peace in the world today. Indeed, we should brand it as the only significant disturber of the
peace, and we must make clear that until its goals of conquest are absolutely renounced and
its relations with all nations tempered, communism and the governments it now controls are
enemies of every man on earth who is or wants to be free.
Now, we here in America can keep the peace only if we remain vigilant and only if we remain
strong. Only if we keep our eyes open and keep our guard up can we prevent war. And I want
to make this abundantly clear: I don't intend to let peace or freedom be torn from our grasp
because of lack of strength or lack of will and that I promise you, Americans.
I believe that we must look beyond the defense of freedom today to its extension
tomorrow. I believe that the communism which boasts it will bury us will, instead, give way to
the forces of freedom. And I can see in the distant and yet recognizable future the outlines of a world
worthy of our dedication, our every risk, our every effort, our every sacrifice along the way.
Yes, a world that will redeem the suffering of those who will be liberated from tyranny. I
can see and I suggest that all thoughtful men must contemplate the flowering of an
Atlantic civilization, the whole of Europe reunified and freed, trading openly across its borders,
communicating openly across the world.
Now, this is a goal far, far more meaningful than a moon shot.
It's a truly inspiring goal for all free men to set for themselves during the latter half of the twentieth century.
I can also see and all free men must thrill to the events of this Atlantic civilization joined
by its great ocean highway to the United States. What a destiny! What a destiny can be ours
to stand as a great central pillar linking Europe, the Americas, and the venerable and vital
peoples and cultures of the Pacific. I can see a day when all the Americas, North and South,
will be linked in a mighty system, a system in which the errors and misunderstandings of the
past will be submerged one by one in a rising tide of prosperity and interdependence. We
know that the misunderstandings of centuries are not to be wiped away in a day or wiped away in an
hour. But we pledge, we pledge that human sympathy what our neighbors to the South
call an attitude of "simpatico" no less than enlightened self'interest will be our guide.
And I can see this Atlantic civilization galvanizing and guiding emergent nations everywhere.
Now I know this freedom is not the fruit of every soil. I know that our own freedom was
achieved through centuries, by unremitting efforts of brave and wise men. And I know
that the road to freedom is a long and a challenging road. And I know also that some men
may walk away from it, that some men resist challenge, accepting the false security of
And I pledge that the America I envision in the years ahead will extend its hand in health, in
teaching and in cultivation, so that all new nations will be at least encouraged encouraged!
to go our way, so that they will not wander down the dark alleys of tyranny or the deadend
streets of collectivism.
My fellow Republicans, we do no man a service by hiding freedom's light under a bushel of
I seek an America proud of its past, proud of its ways, proud of its dreams, and determined
actively to proclaim them. But our example to the world must, like charity, begin at home. In
our vision of a good and decent future, free and peaceful, there must be room, room for
deliberation of the energy and the talent of the individual. otherwise our vision is blind at
We must assure a society here which, while never abandoning the needy or forsaking the
helpless, nurtures incentives and opportunities for the creative and the productive. We must
know the whole good is the product of many single contributions.
And I cherish a day when our children once again will restore as heroes the sort of men and
women who, unafraid and undaunted, pursue the truth, strive to cure disease, subdue and
make fruitful our natural environment and produce the inventive engines of production,
science, and technology.
This Nation, whose creative people have enhanced this entire span of history, should again
thrive upon the greatness of all those things which we, we as individual citizens, can and
should do. And during Republican years, this again will be a nation of men and women, of
families proud of their role, jealous of their responsibilities, unlimited in
their aspirations a Nation where all who can will be selfreliant.
We Republicans see in our constitutional form of government the great framework which
assures the orderly but dynamic fulfillment of the whole man, and we see the whole man as
the great reason for instituting orderly government in the first place.
We see in private property and in economy based upon and fostering private property, the
one way to make government a durable ally of the whole man, rather than
his determined enemy. We see in the sanctity of private property the only durable foundation
for constitutional government in a free society. And beyond that, we see,
in cherished diversity of ways, diversity of thoughts, of motives and accomplishments. We don't seek to
lead anyone's life for him. We only seek only seek to secure his rights, guarantee him opportunity guarantee
him opportunity to strive, with government performing only those needed and
constitutionally sanctioned tasks which cannot otherwise be performed.
We Republicans seek a government that attends to its inherent responsibilities of maintaining
a stable monetary and fiscal climate, encouraging a free and a competitive economy and
enforcing law and order. Thus, do we seek inventiveness, diversity, and creative difference
within a stable order, for we Republicans define government's role where needed at many,
many levels preferably, though, the one closest to the people involved.
Our towns and our cities, then our counties, then our states, then our regional compacts and
only then, the national government. That, let me remind you, is the ladder of liberty, built
by decentralized power. On it also we must have balance between the branches of
government at every level.
Balance, diversity, creative difference: These are the elements of the Republican equation.
Republicans agree heartily to disagree on many, many of their applications, but we have
never disagreed on the basic fundamental issues of why you and I are Republicans.
This is a Party. This Republican Party is a Party for free men, not for blind followers, and not for conformists.
In fact, in 1858 Abraham Lincoln said this of the Republican party and
I quote him, because he probably could have said it during the last week or so: "It was composed of strange,
discordant, and even hostile elements" end of the quote in
1858. Yet all of these elements agreed on one paramount objective: To arrest the progress of slavery, and place it
in the course of ultimate extinction.
Today, as then, but more urgently and more broadly than then, the task of preserving and
enlarging freedom at home and of safeguarding it from the forces of tyranny abroad is great
enough to challenge all our resources and to require all our strength.
Anyone who joins us in all sincerity, we welcome. Those who do not care for our cause, we
don't expect to enter our ranks in any case. And let our Republicanism, so focused and so
dedicated, not be made fuzzy and futile by unthinking and stupid labels.
I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.
And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.
Why the beauty of the very system we Republicans are pledged to restore and revitalize,
the beauty of this Federal system of ours is in its reconciliation of diversity with unity. We must
not see malice in honest differences of opinion, and no matter how great, so long as they are
not inconsistent with the pledges we have given to each other in and through our Constitution.
Our Republican cause is not to level out the world or make its people conform in computer
regimented sameness. Our Republican cause is to free our people and light the way for liberty
throughout the world.
Ours is a very human cause for very humane goals.
This Party, its good people, and its unquenchable devotion to freedom, will not fulfill
the purposes of this campaign, which we launch here and now, until our cause has won the day,
inspired the world, and shown the way to a tomorrow worthy of all our yesteryears.
I repeat, I accept your nomination with humbleness, with pride, and you and I are going to
fight for the goodness of our land.