ACCEPTANCE ADDRESS BY BARRY M. GOLDWATER
Republican National Convention
Palace, Daly City, California
July 16, 1964
To my good friend and
great Republican, Dick Nixon, and your charming wife Pat; my running mate and
that wonderful Republican who has served us so well for so long, Bill Miller and
his wife Stephanie; to Thruston Morton who has done such a commendable job in
chairmaning this Convention; to Mr. Herbert Hoover, who I hope is watching; and
to 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:
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.
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 a 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 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 profits. 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,
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, will not
become a slavery of the prison cell; balanced so that liberty, lacking order,
will not become the license of the mob and the jungle.
Now, we Americans
understand freedom. We have earned it, lived for it, and 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 vision 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. 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 new excesses. Because of this Administration, we are 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 at a pace set by
centralized planning, red tape, rules without responsibility, and regimentation
without recourse. Rather than useful jobs in our country, would your people have
been offered bureaucratic "make work," rather than moral leadership.
They have been given bread and circuses, spectacles, and yes they have even been
given scandals. Tonight there is violence in our streets, corruption in our
highest offices, aimlessness among our youth, anxiety among our elders, and
there is 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
simple honesty is not too much to demand of men in government. We find it in
most. Republicans demand it from every one. They demand it from everyone, no
matter how exalted or protected his position might be. 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 businesses, particularly in our
great cities, is the mounting concern, or should be, of every thoughtful citizen
in the United States.
domestic violence, no less than from foreign aggression is the most elementary
and fundamental purpose of any government, and a government that cannot fulfill
their purpose is one that cannot long command the loyalty of its citizens.
History shows us, demonstrates, that nothing -- nothing prepares the way for
tyranny, more than the failure of public offices 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 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.
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 of equality. Ladies and Gentlemen.
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
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 insure 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 dillusion 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 "hog
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
And I needn't remind
you that was the strength, and the 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 Communism, 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 three decades just
And I needn't remind
you -- but I will -- that it has 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 own 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
Commander-in-Chief 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
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 coin
known, from gold to wheat, from consulates to confidences, and even human
Now the Republican
cause demands that we brand Communism as a principle disturber of peace in the
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
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, sir, 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 unified and
freed, trading openly across its borders, communicating openly across the world.
This is a goal far,
far more meaningful than a moon shot.
It is a truly
inspiring goal for all free men to set for themselves during the latter half of
the 20th Century. I can see -- and all free men must
thrill to -- the advance 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, leading 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 that attitude of "sympatico" -- 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 that
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 along 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 governmentalism.
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
to go our way, so that they will not wander down the dark alleys of tyranny, or
the dead-end streets of collectivism.
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 for deliberation
of the energy and talent of the individual, otherwise our vision is blind at the
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 diseases, 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 roles, jealous of their responsibilities,
unlimited in their aspirations, a nation where all who can will be self-reliant.
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 to
secure his rights, and to guarantee him opportunity to strive, with government
performing only those needed and constitutionally sanctioned tasks which could
not 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
creativity, within a stable order, for we Republicans define government's role
where needed at many, many levels, preferably though the one close 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.
creativity -- these are the elements of the Republican equation. Republicans
agree, 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, a Party for free men, not for blind followers, and not for
conformists. Back in 1858, Abraham Lincoln said this was 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"
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 refire
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.
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 to 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 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. Thank you.
Address by Barry M. Goldwater' Brochure, 1964 Republican National Committee