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tv   Reel America President Nixon 1970 State of the Union Address  CSPAN  January 30, 2021 9:08am-9:46am EST

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>> mr. speaker, the president of the united states.
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[applause] >> members of the congress, i have the great pleasure, the high privilege, and a distinct and personal honor of presenting to you the president of the united states. [applause]
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pres. nixon: thank you. my colleagues, distinguished guests, my fellow americans, to address a joint session of congress in this great chamber in which i was once published -- privileged to serve as an honor for which i'm deeply grateful. it is usually an occasion for a detailed and lengthy list of what the president has accomplished in the past, and what he wants the congress to do in the future, and in an election year, lay the political issues which may be decisive in the fall. occasionally there comes a time
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when profound and far-reaching events demand a break in tradition. this is such a time. i say this not only because 1970 marks a new decade in which america will celebrate its 200 birthday, i say because new knowledge and hard experience argue persuasively that both are programs and our institutions in america need to be perfect -- need to be reformed. the moment has arrived to harness the vast energy and abundance of this land to the creation of a new american experience. an experience richer and deeper, and a reflection of the goodness of the human spirit. the 1970's will be a time of new beginnings, a time of exploring and the earth and heavens. a time of discovery, but the time has come for emphasis on developing better ways of managing what we have, and of
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completing what man's genius has done if left unfinished. our land, this land that is ours together is a great and good land. it is also an unfinished land, and the challenge of perfecting it is the 1970's. it is with that spirit that i address my issues addressing a great nation which are above partisanship. when we speak of america's priorities, the first must always be peace for america and the world. [applause] the major immediate goal of our foreign policy is to bring an end to the war in vietnam anyway that our generation will be remembered, not so much as the generation that suffered in war, but more for the fact that we
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have the courage and character to win the kind of peace that the next generation was able to keep. [applause] we are making progress toward that goal. the prospects for peace are far greater today than a year ago. a major part of the credit for this development goes to the members of this congress, who, despite their differences on the conduct of the war, have overwhelmingly indicated their support of a just peace. by this action, you have completely demolished the enemy's hopes that they can gain in washington the victory our fighting men has demand -- have denied them in vietnam. [applause] no goal could be greater than to make the next generation the
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first of the century in which america was at peace with every nation in the world. i shall discuss in detail the new concepts and programs designed to achieve this goal in a separate report on foreign policy, which i shall submit to the congress at a later date. let me describe the directions of our new policies today. we have based our policies on an evaluation of the world as it is, not as it was 25 years ago at the conclusion of world war ii. many of the policies were necessary and right then but obsolete today. then, because of america's overwhelming economic and military strength, because of the weakness of other free world powers, and the inability of independent nations to defend or even govern themselves, america had to assume the major burden for the defense of freedom in the world. in two wars, first in korea, and
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now in vietnam, we have furnished most of the money, arms and men to help other nations defend their freedom. today, the great industrial nations of europe, as well as to pan, have regained their economic strength, and the nations of latin america and many of the nations who acquired their freedom after colonialism after world war ii have a new sense of pride and dignity, and a determination to assume responsibility for their own defense. that is the basis of the doctrine i announced at guam. neither the defense or development of other nations can be exclusively or primarily an american undertaking. [applause] the nations of each part of the world should assume the primary
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responsibility for their own well-being, and they, themselves to determine the terms of that well-being. we shall be faithful to our commitments, but we shall reduce our involvement and presents another nation's affairs. [applause] to insist other nations play a role is not a retreat from responsibility but a sharing of responsibility. result of this new policy has been not to weaken our alliances but to give them new life, new strength, a new sense of common purpose. relationships with our european allies are strong and healthy based on mutual responsibility. we have initiated a new approach to latin america, in which we deal with those nations as partners rather than patriots. the new partnership concept has been welcomed in asia.
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we have developed an historic new basis for japanese american friendship and cooperation, which is the linchpin for peace in the pacific. and if we are to have peace in this entry, a major factor will be the development of a new relationship between the united states and soviet union. i would not underestimate our differences, but we are moving with precision and purpose from an era of confrontation and negotiation. our negotiations on strategic arms limitations and other areas will have a far greater chance for success if both sides are motivated by mutual self-interest rather than sentimentality. it is with -- [applause] this is the same spirit for which you have resumed discussions with communist china
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and our talks at warsaw. our concern in our relations with these nations is to avoid a catastrophic collision and to build a solid basis for peaceful settlement. of our differences. i would be the last to suggest the road to peace is not difficult, but i believe our new policies have contributed to the prospect that america may have the best chance since world war two to enjoy generation of uninterrupted peace, and that chance will be enormously increased. if we continue to have a relationship between congress and the executives in which despite differences in details, with the security of america, and the peace of mankind are concerned, we act not as democrats, republicans, but as americans. [applause]
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as we move into the decade of the 1970's, we have the greatest opportunity for progress of any people in world history. our gross national product will increase by $500 billion in the next 10 years. this increase, alone, is greater than the entire growth of the american economy from 1790 to 1950. the critical question is not whether we will grow but how we will use that growth. the decade of the 1970's, the 1960's was also a period of great growth economically. in that same 10 year period, we witnessed the greatest growth of crime, the greatest increase in inflation, the greatest social unrest in america in 100 years. never has a nation seemed to
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have had more and enjoyed less. at heart, the issue is the effectiveness of government. ours has become, as it continues to be and remains a society of large expectation. government helps generate those expectations. yet, increasingly, it has proved unable to do so. as a people, we had too many visions and two little visions. now -- too little visions. now as we entered the 1970's, we should enter reform for the constitution of american government. [applause] our purpose in this period, should not be better management of the programs in the past. the time has come for a new quest. a quest not for a greater
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quantity of what we have, but for a new quality of life in america. a major part of the substance to approach opportunities contained in more than two legislative proposals, which i sent the congress last year, and which still await enactment. i offer at least a dozen more in the course of this session. at this point, i do not intend to go through a detailed listing of what i proposed and what i would propose, but i recommend three areas in which urgent priorities demand remove now. first, we cannot delay longer in accomplishing a total reform of our welfare system. [applause] when a system penalizes work, breaks up homes, and robs people
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of dignity, there is no alternative to adopting in its place income support, job training and work incentives, which i recommended to the congress last year. [applause] the time has come to assess and reform our institutions of government at the federal, state and local level. it is time for a new federalism, in which after 190 years, the power from the people and local and state governments to washington, d.c., it will begin to flow from washington back to the states and the people of the united states. [applause] third, we must adopt reforms which will expand the range of opportunities for all americans. we can fulfill the american dream, only when each person has
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a fair chance to fulfill his own dreams. this means equal voting right, equal voting opportunities and new opportunities for expanded ownership because in order to be secure in their human rights, people need access to property rights. [applause] i could give similar examples of each of the reforms for education, housing, transportation, and other critical areas which affect the well-being of millions of americans. the people of the united states should wait no longer furthers reforms that would so -- four these reforms that would so deeply enhance the quality of their life. when i speak of actions beneficial to the american people, i can think of none more important than for the congress to join this ministrations in the battle to stop the rise in the cost-of-living.
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[applause] i realize it is tempting to blame someone else for inflation. some blame businesses for raising price, and some blame unions for asking for more wages. but at review of the start, this colfax purely demonstrates where the primary claims for rising prices must be placed. in the decade of the 1960's, the federal government spent $57 billion more than it took in in taxes. in that same decade, the american people paid the bill for that deficit in price increases which raise the cost-of-living for the average family of four by $200 for months in america. millions of americans are forced to go into debt today because the federal government decided to go into debt yesterday.
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we must balance our federal budget so american families will have a better chance to balance their family budget. [applause] only with the cooperation of congress can we meet this highest priority objective of responsible government. we are on the right track. we had a balanced budget in 1969. this ministrations cut more than $7 billion to produce a surplus in 1970, and despite that congress reduced revenue by $3 million, i still recommend a balanced budget for 1971. [applause] but i can assure you that not only to present but stay within
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a balanced budget require some hard decisions. it means rejecting spending programs which would benefit some of the people when their net effect would result in price increases for all of the people. it is time to quit putting good money into bad programs, otherwise, we will end up with bad money and bad programs. [applause] i recognize the political popularity of spending programs, particularly in an election year, but unless we stop the rise in prices, the cost of living for millions of families will become unbearable, and the planned programs for progress for the future will become impossible. in referring to budget cuts,
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there is one area where i have ordered an increase, rather than a cut. that is the requests of those agencies with the responsibility for law enforcement. we've heard a great deal of overblown rhetoric -- [applause] we've heard a great deal of overblown rhetoric in which the word war has too often been used, the war on poverty, the war on misery, disease, hunger. if there is one area where the word war is appropriate, it is in the fight against crime. we must declare and win the war against the criminal elements, which increasingly threatened our cities, homes, and our lives. [applause] we have a tragic example of this problem in the nation's capital.
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the congress and the executives have the primary responsibility. i doubt if many members of this congress, who live more than a few blocks from here, would there leave their cars in the capital garage and walk home tonight. this year, this administration sent to the congress 13 separate pieces of legislation dealing with street crime, narcotics, crime in the district of columbia. none of the bills have reached my desk for signature. i am confident congress will act now to enact the legislation i waste before you last year. we in the executive have done everything we can under existing law, but new and stronger weapons are needed in that fight. [applause]
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while it is true that state and local law enforcement agencies are the cutting edge in the effort to eliminate street crime, burglaries, murder, my proposals to you have embodied my belief that the federal government should play a greater role in working in partnership with these agencies. that is why 1971 federal spending for local law enforcement will double that budgeted for 1970. [applause] the primary responsibility for crimes that affect individuals is with local and state rather than with federal government. but in the field of organized crime, narcotics, pornography, the federal government has a special responsibility it should fulfill. and we should make washington, d.c., where we have the primary responsibility, an example to the nation and the world of respect for law rather than lawlessness. [applause]
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i now turn to a subject which, next to our desire for peace, may well become the major concern of the american people in the decade of the 1970's. in the next 10 years we shall increase our wealth by 50%. the profound question is: does this mean we will be 50% richer in a real sense, 50% better off, 50% happier? or does it mean that in the year 1980 the president standing in this place will look back on a decade in which 70% of our people lived in metropolitan areas choked by traffic, suffocated by smog, poisoned by
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water, deafened by noise, and terrorized by crime? these are not the great questions that concern world leaders at summit conferences. but people do not live at the summit. they live in the foothills of everyday experience, and it is time for all of us to concern ourselves with the way real people live in real life. the great question of the 1970's is, shall we surrender to our surroundings, or shall we make our peace with nature and begin to make reparations for the damage we have done to our air, to our land, and to our water? [applause] restoring nature to its natural state is a cause beyond party and beyond factions.
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it has become a common cause of all the people of this country. it is a cause of particular concern to young americans, because they more than we will reap the grim consequences of our failure to act on programs which are needed now if we are to prevent disaster later. clean air, clean water, open spaces -- these should once again be the birthright of every american. if we act now, they can be. we still think of air as free. but clean air is not free, and neither is clean water. the price tag on pollution control is high. through our years of past carelessness we incurred a debt to nature, and now that debt is being called. the program i shall propose to
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congress will be the most comprehensive and costly program in this field in america's history. it is not a program for just one year. a year's plan in this field is no plan at all. this is a time to look ahead not a year, but five years or 10 years -- whatever time is required to do the job. i shall propose to this congress a $10 billion nationwide clean waters program to put modern municipal waste treatment plants in every place in america where they are needed to make our waters clean again, and do it now. [applause] we have the industrial capacity, if we begin now, to build them all within five years. this program will get them built within five years. as our cities and suburbs relentlessly expand, those priceless open spaces needed for recreation areas accessible to their people are swallowed up -- often forever.
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unless we preserve these spaces while they are still available, we will have none to preserve. therefore, i shall propose new financing methods for purchasing open space and parklands now, before they are lost to us. [applause] the automobile is our worst polluter of the air. adequate control requires further advances in engine design and fuel composition. we shall intensify our research, set increasingly strict standards, and strengthen enforcement procedures -- and we shall do it now. [applause] we can no longer afford to consider air and water common property, free to be abused by anyone without regard to the consequences.
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instead, we should begin now to treat them as scarce resources, which we are no more free to contaminate than we are free to throw garbage into our neighbor's yard. this requires comprehensive new regulations. it also requires that, to the extent possible, the price of goods should be made to include the costs of producing and disposing of them without damage to the environment. [applause] now, i realize that the argument is often made that there is a fundamental contradiction between economic growth and the quality of life, so that to have one we must forsake the other. the answer is not to abandon growth, but to redirect it. for example, we should turn toward ending congestion and eliminating smog the same reservoir of inventive genius that created them in the first place.
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continued vigorous economic growth provides us with the means to enrich life itself and to enhance our planet as a place hospitable to man. each individual must enlist in this fight if it is to be won. it has been said that no matter how many national parks and historical monuments we buy and develop, the truly significant environment for each of us is that in which we spend 80% of our time in our homes, in our places of work, the streets over which we travel. street litter, rundown parking strips and yards, dilapidated fences, broken windows, smoking automobiles, dingy working places, all should be the object of our fresh view. we have been too tolerant of our surroundings and too willing to leave it to others to clean up our environment. it is time for those who make massive demands on society to
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make some minimal demands on themselves. [applause] each of us must resolve that each day he will leave his home, his property, the public places of the city or town a little cleaner, a little better, a little more pleasant for himself and those around him. with the help of people we can do anything, and without their help, we can do nothing. in this spirit, together, we can reclaim our land for ours and generations to come. between now and the year 2000, over 100 million children will be born in the united states. where they grow up and how will, more than any one thing, measure the quality of american life in these years ahead. this should be a warning to us.
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for the past 30 years, our population has also been growing and shifting. but america meant something to the world then which could not be measured in dollars, something far more important than military might. 200 years ago, this was a nation of 3 million people. listen to president thomas jefferson in 1802: "we act not for ourselves alone, but for the whole human race." we had a spiritual quality then which caught the imagination of millions of people in the world. today, when we are the richest and strongest nation in the
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world, let it not be recorded that we lack the moral and spiritual idealism which made us the hope of the world at the time of our birth. the demands of us in 1976 are even greater than in 1776. it is no longer enough to live and let live. now we must live and help live. we need a fresh climate in america, one in which a person can breathe freely and breathe in freedom. our recognition of the truth that wealth and happiness are not the same thing requires us to measure success or failure by new criteria. even more than the programs i have described today, what this nation needs is an example from
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its elected leaders in providing the spiritual and moral leadership which no programs for material progress can satisfy. above all, let us inspire young americans with a sense of excitement, a sense of destiny, a sense of involvement, in meeting the challenges we face in this great period of our history. only then are they going to have any sense of satisfaction in their lives. the greatest privilege an individual can have is to serve in a cause bigger than himself. we have such a cause. how we seize the opportunities i have described today will determine not only our future, but the future of peace and freedom in this world in the last third of the century. may god give us the wisdom, the strength and, above all, the idealism to be worthy of that challenge, so that america can fulfill its destiny of being the world's best hope for liberty, for opportunity, for progress and peace for all peoples. [applause]
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>> you are watching american history tv, every weekend on c-span3. explore our nation's past. american history tv on c-span3, created by america's television cable companies. today we are brought to you by these cable companies that provide public television to the viewers at public service. >> today, retired vincent brooks discusses african-american military service and the challenges they still face today. >> there has been presence from the very beginning. i mean fighting to protect colonials against indian
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attacks, slaves were authorized to actually take arms during that period of time. that changed over time. every time there was an opportunity given, there was an opportunity removed and a presumption that somehow continue to come forward that blacks would not fight. yet, there they were at bunker hill. there they were in the plains fighting against indian tribes, they they were in the philippines. over and over again, lacks have been present. yet -- blacks have been present. yet, there has continued to be in an institutional effort to put an end to that. it has never been settled in america that the answer to the question of will blacks fight? the answer is yes, but even there are -- but even still there are presumptions that linger today. >> learn more at 2:00 p.m. eastern, 11:00 a.m. pacific on
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american history tv. >> you are watching american history tv, 48 hours of programming on american history every weekend on c-span3. follow us on twitter for information on our schedule and to keep up with the latest history news. ♪ ["hail to the chief" playing] [drum roll] ♪ >> this is washington, the capital of a great nation, a city of magnificent buildings, of historic monuments visited by thousands, to pay homage to the shrines dedicated to the nation's greats, to george washington, thomas jefferson, abraham lincoln.


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