Henry Wallace Has A Word About Free Enterprise 1944 – The Reference Room
Henry Wallace has been receiving a goodly amount of attention in recent years. As Secretary of Agriculture and then vice-President under FDR, he was a major supporter of FDR’s New Deal policies and considered even by those within his party to be controversial. He was replaced from the vice-Presidential ticket in the 1944 election as the result of several squabbles with key Democratic Party officials, with Senator Harry Truman taking his place. Despite the fact that some 66% of voters approved of Wallace stayiing on as vice-president, to only 2% approving of Senator Harry Truman. In 1948 Wallace finally broke with the party to run on his own independent ticket for President. Some of his proposals seemed radical at the time – he was labeled a Communist by some, a socialist by others.
This address, given while Wallace was still vice-President, discusses the concept of free enterprise and how it not only benefitted the small business owner, it also benefitted the consumer:
Vice-President Wallace: “When we think of America, we think of a fortunate country, where a little man can get ahead through his own efforts. That is what Thomas Jefferson was talking a bout, when he used the words ‘Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness‘. Jefferson laid great emphasis upon agriculture, and feared the day when people would leave the farms and crowd together in great cities. We know now that special precautions must be taken if the growth of cities is not to produce the dire results Jefferson feared. The little man, whose strength is the vitality of the nation, must be preserved. When this war has been won, we want every man in America who has ambition and a willingness to work hard, to have the opportunity to prove in a market, free from unfair restraints. let he have something to add to the productivity and happiness of this nation.”
Here is 15 minutes of that 30 minute address, from March17, 1944.