The following are excerpts from a Gov. Thomas E. Dewey speech delivered in April 1950 regarding how a sectional political party in this country is “a menace to responsible government.” He viewed the Democrat party as a liberal and radical party, with policies similar to Lenin’s. Ironically, he denounces sectional parties as a menace with no legitimate role in a free society, though his own party originated as such in 1854.
Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com
The Great American Political Divide
Gov. Thomas E. Dewey on Big Government, Circa 1950
“Big Government: New Trend in US” Lecture on Political Science by Thomas E. Dewey, Governor of New York.
“Although the United States is the youngest of the great nations, ours is one of the oldest free republics on earth. Its durability has persisted in the face of wars and the inevitable frailty of human beings who conduct government. Our political history has been the history of a two-party system in action. From the early days of the republic our basic political arrangement has been the same — one party in power and one party in opposition.
The Democratic party would be the liberal to radical party. The Republican party would be the conservative to reactionary party.
Now is there a legitimate role for third parties in this country? The answer depends on whether the third party is national in character with intellectual breadth and a broad base of popular support, or whether it is narrowly local in nature.
Such sectional or local parties are, basically, only splinter movements. They have proved to be a menace to responsible government here, just as they have to responsible governments elsewhere. I see no legitimate place for hem in a free system such as ours.
On Big Government Lenin has said that socialized medicine is the “keystone of the arch” of communism. Socialized medicine today is a major part of the President’s legislative program.
In the same way last year, Mr. Truman called for power to use federal funds to build factories which would compete with privately-owned factories. It is fundamental that no citizen can successfully compete against his government . . .
Why has Big Government made such a successful appeal to our people these last 17 years? I think it is because many millions of Americans have been persuaded that Big Government is the alternative to depression and insecurity. The offer of Big Government today is to protect its people against the hazards of life. Its method, for the present, is to socialize incomes through taxation and to socialize risks. Government which pretends to take the risks out of life is fraudulent. All it does is remove the rewards.
And if the final result is total leisure in the form of continuous paid unemployment, the result will not be a richer life but a national last illness. Big Government, like dictatorships, can continue only by growing larger and larger. It can never retrench without admitting failure. It feeds on the gradual obliteration of State and local governments as elements of sovereignty and tends to transform them into districts and prefectures.
By adsorbing more than half of all the taxing power of the nation, Big Government now deprives the State and local governments of the capacity to support the programs they should conduct. In place of their own taxing powers, it offers them in exchange the counterfeit currency of federal subsidy.”
(“Big Government: New Trend in US,” Lecture on Political Science by Thomas E. Dewey, Governor of New York, April 1950)