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Back Benjamin Harrison's "American Worker" Speech
Alliance, Ohio, October 13, 1890

There is nothing in which the American people are harder upon their public servants than in the insatiable demand they make for public speech. I began talking before breakfast this morning, and have been kept almost continuously at it through the day, with scarcely time for lunch; and yet, as long as the smallest residuum of strength or voice is left I cannot fail to recognize these hearty greetings and to say some appreciative word in return. I do very much thank you, and I do very deeply feel the cordial enthusiasm with which you have received me. It is very pleasant to know that as American citizens we love our government and its institutions, and are all ready to pay appropriate respect to any public officer who endeavors in such light as he has to do his public duty. This homage is not withheld by one's political opponents, and it is pleasant to know that in all things that affect the integrity and honor and perpetuity of our government we rise above party ties and considerations. The interests of this government are lodged with you.

There is not much that a president can do to shape its policy. He is charged under the Constitution with the duty of making suggestions to Congress, but, after all, legislation originates with the Congress of the United States, and the policy of our laws is directed by it. The president may veto, but he cannot frame a bill. Therefore it is of great interest to you, and to all our people, that you should choose such men to represent you in the Congress of the United States as will 
faithfully promote those policies to which you have given your intelligent adhesion. This country of ours is secure, and social order is maintained, because the great masses of our people live in contentment and some good measure of comfort. God forbid that we should ever reach the condition which has been reached by some other countries, where all that is before many of their population is the question of bare subsistence, where it is simply "how shall I find bread for today?" No hopes of accumulation; no hope of comfort; no hope of education, or higher things for the children that are to come after them. God be blessed that that is not our condition in America! Here is a chance to every man; here fair wages for fair work, with education for the masses, with no classes or distinctions to keep down the ambitious young. We have a happy lot. Let us not 
grumble if now and then things are not prosperous as they might be. Let us think of the average, and if this year's crop is not as full as we could wish, we have already in these green fields the promise of a better one to come. Let us not doubt that we are now-as I have seen the evidence of it in a very extended trip through the West-entering upon an upgrade in all departments of business.

Everywhere I went, in the great city of St. Louis and the smaller manufacturing towns through which we passed, there was one story to tell-and I have no doubt it is true in your midst-every wheel is running and every hand is busy. I believe the future is bright before us for 
increasingly better times for all, and as it comes I hope that its kindly touch may be felt by every one who hears me, and that its beneficent help may come into every home.
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