Miller Center

The Republican Party (August 25, 1920)

Warren G. Harding

The Republican Party has justified the confidence the country reposed in it. When in October 1918 the President made his most partisan appeal for a Congress to do his bidding, it was the shocking partisanship of a century. The patriotic people of the nation remembered that the Republicans generously supported every request of the President for power and authority. They remembered that it was Representative Kahn*, a Republican, and a minority member, who carried through the bill for the enlargement of our army and navy. The Republican Party never has been found requisite in its patriotic duty, and no clearer or more positive proof of its earnestness, its disinterestedness, and its patriotic devotion but be given during the days of its minority in the 65th Congress**. As the party kept faith then, so will it continue to do in the days to come and restore us to tranquility and security.

 

And now a word that may be regarded as personal to my friends of Wyandot County [Ohio]. Two sons of Wyandot are here today, who have made the greatest sacrifice for their country which men may offer short of life itself. They were blinded under the flag, our flag, in the Argonne***.

I want publicly to pledge to them and to those of their comrades who suffered such impairment as must deprive them of a full part in life, the republic’s unfailing and grateful consideration. I want to pledge them something more. I know what inspired their heroism. I know what made them proud soldiers of the republic. They fought for America and for American rights. They answered the challenge of American rights. They fought to defend American lives, American freedom on the seas, and American ideals of international relationships.

If it had been for democracy alone, they would have gone when Belgium was invaded. If it had been for humanity alone, they would have answered the Lusitania’s sinking. Their hearts were stirred, their supreme offering was made, only when America was in peril.

They can never see Old Glory, sublime at home, and signaling our concepts of freedom and justice throughout the world, but I pledge to them this afternoon that, though their eyes may never see it again, they may know in their hearts that there shall never be a substitute for the Stars and Stripes they last beheld.

* Congressman Julius Kahn, Republican of California. (1861-1921)

** March 4, 1917 to March 4, 1919. The Senate and House of Representatives were both controlled by the Democrat Party

*** Battle of Meuse-Argonne, fought in part in the Argonne Forest, commenced September 26, 1918 and continued until the Armistice of November 11. For the American Army in France, commanded by General John J. Pershing, it was by far its largest engagement, and in which the American Expeditionary Force, lost twenty-six thousand men killed and tens of thousands wounded.