Campaign Speech at Cleveland
By President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Recorded November 2, 1940

Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen:

In making this, my final national address of the campaign, I express once more my deep regret that I could not carry out my wish to go to other States in the great Middle West, in the South and across the Mississippi River. It has been solely in the interest of peace and the maintenance of peace that your great Secretary of State and I have felt that we should both remain within easy distance of the National Capital in these trying days.

Tonight in Cleveland, I am happy, through this great audience of my old friends, to give this message to America.

For the past seven years I have had the high honor and the grave responsibility of leadership of the American people. In those seven years, the American people have marched forward, out of a wilderness of depression and despair.

They have marched forward right up to the very threshold of the future—a future which holds the fulfillment of our hopes for real freedom, real prosperity, real peace.

I want that march to continue for four more years. And for that purpose, I am asking your vote of confidence.

There are certain forces within our own national community, composed of men who call themselves American but who would destroy America. They are the forces of dictatorship in our land-on one hand, the Communists, and on the other, the Girdlers.

It is their constant purpose in this as in other lands to weaken democracy, to destroy the free man's faith in his own cause.

In this election all the representatives of those forces, without exception, are voting against the New Deal.

You and I are proud of that opposition. It is positive proof that what we have built and strengthened in the past seven years is democracy!

This generation of Americans is living in a tremendous moment of history.

The surge of events abroad has made some few doubters among us ask: Is this the end of a story that has been told? Is the book of democracy now to be closed and placed away upon the dusty shelves of time?

My answer is this: All we have known of the glories of democracy-its freedom, its efficiency as a mode of living, its ability to meet the aspirations of the common man— all these are merely an introduction to the greater story of a more glorious future.

We Americans of today—all of us—we are characters in this living book of democracy.

But we are also its author. It falls upon us now to say whether the chapters that are to come will tell a story of retreat or a story of continued advance.
I believe that the American people will say: "Forward!"

We look at the old world of Europe today. It is an ugly world, poisoned by hatred and greed and fear. We can see what has been the inevitable consequence of that poison—war.

We look at the country in which we live. It is a great country, built by. generations of peaceable, friendly men and women who had in their hearts faith that the good life can be attained by those who will work for it.

We know that we are determined to defend our country—and with our neighbors to defend this Hemisphere. We are strong in our defense. Every hour and every day we grow stronger.

Our foreign policy is shaped to express the determination of our Government and the will of our people in our dealings with other nations. Those dealings, in the past few years, have been more difficult, more complex than ever before.