By 1964 George C. Wallace, the Governor of Alabama, had become the national symbol of opposition to the civil rights movement and to federal governmental intervention to protect the rights of African Americans. In the address below he denounces President Lyndon B. Johnson for signing into law the 1964 Civil Rights Act and uses it as a rallying cry in his campaign to become President of the United States.
We come here today in deference to the memory of those stalwart patriots who on July 4, 1776, pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to establish and defend the proposition that governments are created by the people, empowered by the people, derive their just powers from the consent of the people, and must forever remain subservient to the will of the people.
Today, 188 years later, we celebrate that occasion and find inspiration and determination and courage to preserve and protect the great principles of freedom enunciated in the Declaration of Independence.
It is therefore a cruel irony that the President of the United States has only yesterday signed into law the most monstrous piece of legislation ever enacted by the United States Congress.
It is a fraud, a sham, and a hoax.
This bill will live in infamy. To sign it into law at any time is tragic. To do so upon the eve of the celebration of our independence insults the intelligence of the American people.
It dishonors the memory of countless thousands of our dead who offered up their very lives in defense of principles which this bill destroys.
Never before in the history of this nation have so many human and property rights been destroyed by a single enactment of the Congress. It is an act of tyranny. It is the assassin’s knife stuck in the back of liberty.
With this assassin’s knife and a blackjack in the hand of the Federal force-cult, the left-wing liberals will try to force us back into bondage. Bondage to a tyranny more brutal than that imposed by the British monarchy which claimed power to rule over the lives of our forefathers under sanction of the Divine Right of kings.
Today, this tyranny is imposed by the central government which claims the right to rule over our lives under sanction of the omnipotent black-robed despots who sit on the bench of the United States Supreme Court. This bill is fraudulent in intent, in design, and in execution.
It is misnamed. Each and every provision is mistitled. It was rammed through the congress on the wave of ballyhoo, promotions, and publicity stunts reminiscent of P. T. Barnum.
It was enacted in an atmosphere of pressure, intimidation, and even cowardice, as demonstrated by the refusal of the United States Senate to adopt an amendment to submit the bill to a vote of the people.
To illustrate the fraud–it is not a Civil Rights Bill. It is a Federal Penal Code. It creates Federal crimes which would take volumes to list and years to tabulate because it affects the lives of 192 million American citizens. Every person in every walk and station of life and every aspect of our daily lives becomes subject to the criminal provisions of this bill.
It threatens our freedom of speech, of assembly, or association, and makes the exercise of these Freedoms a federal crime under certain conditions.
It affects our political rights, our right to trial by jury, our right to the full use and enjoyment of our private property, the freedom from search and seizure of our private property and possessions, the freedom from harassment by Federal police and, in short, all the rights of individuals inherent in a society of free men.
Ministers, lawyers, teachers, newspapers, and every private citizen must guard his speech and watch his actions to avoid the deliberately imposed booby traps put into this bill. It is designed to make Federal crimes of our customs, beliefs, and traditions. Therefore, under the fantastic powers of the Federal judiciary to punish for contempt of court and under their fantastic powers to regulate our most intimate aspects of our lives by injunction, every American citizen is in jeopardy and must stand guard against these despots.
Yet there are those who call this a good bill.
It is people like Senator Hubert Humphrey and other members of Americans for Democratic Action. It is people like Ralph McGill and other left-wing radical apologists.
They called it a good bill before it was amended to restore the right to trial by jury in certain cases.
Yet a Federal judge may still try one without a jury under the provisions of this bill. It was the same persons who said it was a good bill before the amendment pretending to forbid busing of pupils from neighborhood schools. Yet a Federal judge may still order busing from one neighborhood school to another. They have done it, they will continue to do it. As a matter of fact, it is but another evidence of the deceitful intent of the sponsors of this bill for them to claim that it accomplished any such thing. It was left-wing radicals who led the fight in the Senate for the so-called civil rights bill now about to enslave our nation.
We find Senator Hubert Humphrey telling the people of the United States that “non-violent” demonstrations would continue to serve a good purpose through a “long, busy and constructive summer.”
Yet this same Senator told the people of this country that passage of this monstrous bill would ease tensions and stop demonstrations.
This is the same Senator who has suggested, now that the Civil Rights Bill is passed, that the President call the fifty state Governors together to work out ways and means to enforce this rotten measure.
There is no need for him to call on me. I am not about to be a party to anything having to do with the law that is going to destroy individual freedom and liberty in this country.
I am having nothing to do with enforcing a law that will destroy our free enterprise system.
I am having nothing to do with enforcing a law that will destroy neighborhood schools.
I am having nothing to do with enforcing a law that will destroy the rights of private property.
I am having nothing to do with enforcing a law that destroys your right –and my right — to choose my neighbors — or to sell my house to whomever I choose.
I am having nothing to do with enforcing a law that destroys the labor seniority system.
I am having nothing to do with this so-called civil rights bill. The liberal left-wingers have passed it. Now let them employ some pinknik social engineers in Washington, D.C., to figure out what to do with it.
The situation reminds me of the little boy looking at the blacksmith as he hammered a red-hot horseshoe into the proper shape.
After minutes of hammering, the blacksmith took the horseshoe, splashed it into a tub of water and threw it steaming onto a sawdust pile.
The little fellow picked up the horseshoe, dropped it quickly.
“What’s the matter, son,” the blacksmith said, “is that shoe too hot to handle?”
“No sir,” the little boy said, “it just don’t take me long to look at a horseshoe.”
It’s not going to take the people of this country long to look at the Civil Rights Bill, either.
And they are going to discard it just as quickly as the little boy tossed away the still hot horseshoe.
But I am not here to talk about the separate provisions of the Federal Penal Code. I am here to talk about principles which have been overthrown by the enactment of this bill. The principles that you and I hold dear. The principles for which our forefathers fought and died to establish and to defend. The principles for which we came here to rededicate ourselves.
But before I get into that, let me point out one important fact. It would have been impossible for the American people to have been deceived by the sponsors of this bill had there been a responsible American press to tell the people exactly what the bill contained. If they had had the integrity and the guts to tell the truth, this bill would never have been enacted.
Whoever heard of truth put to the worst in free and open encounter? We couldn’t get the truth to the American people.
You and I know that that’s extremely difficult to do where our newspapers are owned by out-of-state interests. Newspapers which are run and operated by left-wing liberals, Communist sympathizers, and members of the Americans for Democratic Action and other Communist front organizations with high sounding names.
However, we will not be intimidated by the vultures of the liberal left-wing press. We will not be deceived by their lies and distortions of truth. We will not be swayed by their brutal attacks upon the character and reputation of any honest citizen who dares stand up and fight for liberty.
And, we are not going to be influenced by intellectually bankrupt editors of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, one of whom has presided over the dissolution of the once great Atlanta Constitution. We can understand his bitterness in his bleak failure, but we need not tolerate his vituperative and venomous attacks upon the integrity and character of our people. These editors, like many other left-wingers in the liberal press, are not influenced by tradition. Theirs is a tradition of scalawags. Their mealy-mouthed platitudes disgrace the honored memory of their predecessors — such men of character as Henry Grady, Joel Chandler Harris, and Clarke Howell, men who made the name of the Atlanta Constitution familiar in every household throughout the South. They are not worthy to shine the shoes of those great men.
In this connection I want to pay my highest respects and compliments to the dedicated men of Atlanta and of Georgia who gave to the people of their state what is destined to become the true voice of the south. I have reference to the great newspaper the Atlanta Times.
It is a sad commentary on the period in which we live that it is necessary for the people of a great city to start their own newspaper in order to get the truth.
I hope you have some success in this venture and I assure you that there will be many subscribers in the State of Alabama including myself.
As I have said before, that Federal Penal Code could never have been enacted into law if we had had a responsible press who was willing to tell the american people the truth about what it actually provides. Nor would we have had a bill had it not been for the United States Supreme Court.
Now on the subject of the court let me make it clear that I am not attacking any member of the United States Supreme Court as an individual. However, I do attack their decisions, I question their intelligence, their common sense and their judgment, I consider the Federal Judiciary system to be the greatest single threat to individual freedom and liberty in the United States today, and I’m going to take off the gloves in talking about these people.
There is only one word to describe the Federal judiciary today. That word is “lousy.”
They assert more power than claimed by King George III, more power than Hitler, Mussolini, or Khrushchev ever had. They assert the power to declare unconstitutional our very thoughts. To create for us a system of moral and ethical values. To outlaw and declare unconstitutional, illegal, and immoral the customs, traditions, and beliefs of the people, and furthermore they assert the authority to enforce their decrees in all these subjects upon the American people without their consent.
This is a matter that has been of great concern to many legal authorities. The Council of State Governments composed of representatives of the fifty States sponsored the proposal just last year seeking to curb the powers of this body of judicial tyrants. The Conference of Chief Justices of all of the state Supreme Courts of this nation has also issued an historic statement urging judicial restraint upon the Court.
This latter group said, “the value of a firm statement by us lies in the fact that we speak as members of all the state appellate courts with a background of many years experience in the determination of thousands of cases of all kinds. Surely there are those who will respect the declaration of what we believe.
“It has long been an American boast that we have a government of laws and not of men. We believe that any study of recent decisions of the supreme court will raise at least considerable doubt as to the validity of that boast.”
in addition, the state legislatures have for years flooded the Congress with resolutions condemning usurpations of power by the Federal judiciary.
The court today, just as in 1776, is deaf to the voices of the people and their repeated entreaties: they have become arrogant, contemptuous, highhanded, and literal despots.
It has been said that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. There was never greater evidence as to the proof of this statement than in the example of the present Federal Judiciary.
I want to touch upon just a few of the acts of tyranny which have been sanctioned by the United States Supreme Court and compare these acts with the acts of tyranny enumerated in the Declaration of Independence.
The colonists objected most strenuously to the imposition of taxes upon the people without their consent.
Today, the Federal judiciary asserts the same tyrannical power to levy taxes in Prince Edward County, Virginia, and without the consent of the people. Not only that, but they insist upon the power to tell the people for what purposes their money must be spent.
The colonists stated, “he has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.”
Today, the Federal judiciary, in one of its most recent decisions, has deprived the American people of the right to use the unit system of representation in their own state governments for the accommodation of large districts of people, and has itself prescribed the manner in which the people shall structure the legislative branch of their own government, and have prescribed how the people shall allocate the legislative powers of state government.
More than that they have even told the American people that we may not, with a majority of the people voting for the measure, or with two-thirds of those voting, or even if by unanimous consent, adopt a provision in our state constitutions to allocate the legislative power of state government in any manner other than as prescribed by the court.
One justice of the United States Supreme Court said in this connection, and I quote, “to put the matter plainly, there is nothing in all the history of this Court’s decisions which supports this Constitutional rule. The Court’s draconian pronouncement which makes unconstitutional the legislatures of most of the fifty states finds no support in the words of the constitution in any prior decision of this court or in the 175-year political history of our Federal union… These decisions mark a long step backward into the unhappy era where a majority of the members of this court were thought by many to have convinced themselves and each other that the demands of the constitution were to be measured not by what it says buy by their own notions of wise political theory.”
Two other Justices of the Court said, “such a massive repudiation of the experience of our whole past in asserting destructively novel Judicial power demands analysis of the role of this Court and our Constitutional scheme…It may well impair the Court’s position as the ultimate organ of the Supreme Law of the Land…”
The only reason it is the Supreme Law of the Land today is because we have a President who cares so little for freedom that he would send the armed forces into the states to enforce the dictatorial decree. Our colonist forefather had something to say about that too.
The Declaration of Independence cited as an act of tyranny the fact that, “…Kept among us in times of peace standing armies without the consent of the legislature.”
Today, 188 years later, we have actually witnessed the invasion of the State of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Alabama by the armed forces of the United States and maintained in the state against the will of the people and without consent of state legislatures.
It is a form of tyranny worse than that of King George III who had sent mercenaries against the colonies because today the Federal Judicial tyrants have sanctioned the use of brother against brother and father against son by federalizing the National Guard.
In 1776 the colonists also complained that the monarch “…Has incited domestic insurrections among us…”
Today, we have absolute proof that the Federal Department of Justice has planned, supervised, financed and protected acts of insurrection in the southern states, resulting in vandalism, property damage, personal injury, and staggering expense to the states.
In 1776 it was charged that the monarchy had asserted power to “…Dissolve representative houses and to punish… For opposing with manly firmness his invasions of the rights of the people…”
Today, the Federal judiciary asserts the power not only to dissolve state legislatures but to create them and to dissolve all state laws and state judicial decrees, and to punish a state governor by trial without jury “…For opposing with manly firmness his invasions of the rights of the people.”
The colonists also listed as acts of tyranny: “.The erection of a multitude of new offices and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and to eat out their substance.;”
“…Suspending our own legislatures and declaring themselves invested with the power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever;” “…Abolishing the free system of the English laws. . .;”
–it had “abdicated government here;”
–refusing to assent to the laws enacted by the people, “…Laws considered most wholesome and necessary for the public good;” –and “…For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury …; For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally form of our government; for suspending our own legislatures and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.”
The United States Supreme Court is guilty of each and every one of these acts of tyranny.
Therefore, I echo the sentiments of our forefathers who declared: “a prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”
Ladies and gentlemen, I have listed only a few of the many acts of tyranny which have been committed or specifically sanctioned by the United States Supreme Court.
I feel it important that you should know and understand what it is that these people are trying to do. The written opinions of the court are filled with double talk, semantics, jargon, and meaningless phrases. The words they use are not important. The ideas that they represent are the things which count.
It is perfectly obvious from the left-wing liberal press and from the left-wing law journals that what the court is saying behind all the jargon is that they don’t like our form of government.
They think they can establish a better one. In order to do so it is necessary that they overthrow our existing form, destroy the democratic institutions created by the people, change the outlook, religion, and philosophy, and bring the whole area of human thought, aspiration, action and organization, under the absolute control of the court. Their decisions reveal this to be the goal of the liberal element on the court which is in a majority at present.
It has reached the point where one may no longer look to judicial decisions to determine what the court may do. However, it is possible to predict with accuracy the nature of the opinions to be rendered. One may find the answer in the Communist Manifesto. The Communists are dedicated to the overthrow of our form of government. They are dedicated to the destruction of the concept of private property. They are dedicated to the object of destroying religion as the basis of moral and ethical values.
The Communists are determined that all natural resources shall be controlled by the central government, that all productive capacity of the nation shall be under the control of the central government, that the political sovereignty of the people shall be destroyed as an incident to control of local schools. It is their objective to capture the minds of our youth in order to indoctrinate them in what to think and not how to think.
I do not call the members of the United States Supreme Court Communists. But I do say, and I submit for your judgment the fact that every single decision of the court in the past ten years which related in any way to each of these objectives has been decided against freedom and in favor of tyranny.
A politician must stand on his record. Let the Court stand on its record.
The record reveals, for the past number of years, that the chief, if not the only beneficiaries of the present Court’s rulings, have been duly and lawfully convicted criminals, Communists, atheists, and clients of vociferous left-wing minority groups. You can’t convict a Communist in our Federal court system.
Neither can you convict one of being a Communist in Russia, China, or Cuba. The point is that the United States Supreme Court refuses to recognize the Communist conspiracy and their intent to “bury us.”
let us look at the record further with respect to the court’s contribution to the destruction of the concept of God and the abolition of religion.
The Federal court rules that your children shall not be permitted to read the bible in our public school systems. Let me tell you this, though. We still read the bible in Alabama schools and as long as I am governor we will continue to read the bible no matter what the Supreme Court says.
Federal courts will not convict a “demonstrator” invading and destroying private property. But the Federal courts rule you cannot say a simple “God is great, God is good, we thank Thee for our food,” in kindergartens supported by public funds.
Now, let us examine the manner in which the Court has continuously chipped away at the concept of private property.
It is contended by the left-wing liberals that private property is merely a legal fiction. That one has no inherent right to own and possess property. The courts have restricted and limited the right of acquisition of property in life and have decreed its disposition in death and have ruthlessly set aside the wills of the dead in order to attain social ends decreed by the court. The court has substituted its judgment for that of the testator based on social theory.
The courts assert authority even in decree the use of private cemeteries.
They assert the right to convert a private place of business into a public place of business without the consent of the owner and without compensation to him.
One justice asserts that the mere licensing of a business by the state is sufficient to convert it into control by the Federal judiciary as to its use and disposition.
Another asserts that the guarantees of equal protection and due process of law cannot be extended to a corporation. In one instance, following the edicts of the United States Supreme Court, a state Supreme Court has ordered and directed a private citizen to sell his home to an individual contrary to the wishes of the owner.
In California we witnessed a state Supreme Court taking under advisement the question as to whether or not it will compel a bank to make a loan to an applicant on the basis of his race.
We have witnessed the sanction by the courts of confiscatory taxation.
Let us take a look at the attitude of the court with respect to the control of the private resources of the nation and the allocation of the productive capacity of the nation.
The Supreme Court decisions have sanctioned enactment of the civil rights bill.
What this bill actually does is to empower the United States government to reallocate the entire productive capacity of the agricultural economy covered by quotas and acreage allotments of various types on the basis of race, creed, color and national origin.
It, in effect, places in the hands of the Federal government the right of a farmer to earn a living, making that right dependent upon the consent of the Federal government precisely as is the case in Russia.
The power is there. I am not in the least impressed by the protestations that the government will use this power with benevolent discretion.
We know that this bill authorizes the President of the united states to allocate all defense productive capacity of this country on the basis of race, creed, or color.
It does not matter in the least that he will make such allocations with restraint. The face is that it is possible with a politically dominated agency to punish and to bankrupt and destroy any business that deals with the Federal government if it does not bow to the wishes and demands of the president of the United States.
All of us know what the court has done to capture the minds of our children.
The Federal judiciary has asserted the authority to prescribe regulations with respect to the management, operation, and control of our local schools. The second brown decision in the infamous school segregation case authorized Federal district courts to supervise such matters as teacher hiring, firing, promotion, the expenditure of local funds, both administratively and for capital improvements, additions, and renovations, the location of new schools, the drawing of school boundaries, busing and transportation of school children, and, believe it or not, it has asserted the right in the Federal judiciary to pass judgment upon the curricula adopted in local public schools. A comparatively recent Federal court decision in a Florida case actually entered an order embracing each and every one of these assertions of Federal supervision.
In ruling after ruling, the Supreme Court has overstepped its constitutional authority. While appearing to protect the people’s interest, it has in reality become a judicial tyrant.
It’s the old pattern. The people always have some champion whom they set over them …And nurse into greatness. This, and no other, is the foot from which a tyrant springs, after first appearing as a protector.
This is another way of saying that the people never give up their liberties …And their freedom …But under some delusion. But yet there is hope.
There is yet a spirit of resistance in this country which will not be oppressed. And it is awakening. And I am sure there is an abundance of good sense in this country which cannot be deceived.
I have personal knowledge of this. Thirty-four percent of the Wisconsin Democrats supported the beliefs you and I uphold and expound.
Thirty percent of the Democrats in Indiana join us in fighting this grab for executive power by those now in control in Washington. And, listen to this, forty-three percent of the Democrats in Maryland, practically in view of the nation’s capital, believe as you and I believe.
So, let me say to you today. Take heart. Millions of Americans believe just as we in this great region of the United States believe. I shall never forget last spring as I stood in the midst of a great throng of South Milwaukee supporters at one of the greatest political rallies I have ever witnessed.
A fine-looking man grabbed my hand and said:
“Governor, I’ve never been south of South Milwaukee, but I am a Southerner!”
Of course, he was saying he believed in the principles and philosophy of the southern people …Of you here today and the people of my state of Alabama.
He was right.
Being a southerner is no longer geographic. It’s a philosophy and an attitude.
One destined to be a national philosophy–embraced by millions of Americans–which shall assume the mantle of leadership and steady a governmental structure in these days of crises.
Certainly I am a candidate for President of the United States.
If the left-wingers do not think I am serious–let them consider this.
I am going to take our fight to the people–the court of public opinion–where truth and common sense will eventually prevail.
At this time, I have definite, concrete plans to get presidential electors pledged to me on the ballots in the following states: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, New York, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee, and of course Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Other states are under serious consideration.
A candidate for President must receive 270 electoral votes to win.
The states I am definitely going to enter represent 218 electoral votes.
Conservatives of this nation constitute the balance of power in presidential elections.
I am a conservative.
I intend to give the American people a clear choice. I welcome a fight between our philosophy and the liberal left-wing dogma which now threatens to engulf every man, woman, and child in the United States.
I am in this race because I believe the American people have been pushed around long enough and that they, like you and I, are fed up with the continuing trend toward a socialist state which now subjects the individual to the dictates of an all-powerful central government.
I am running for President because I was born free. I want to remain free. I want your children and mine and our prosperity to be unencumbered by the manipulations of a soulless state.
I intend to fight for a positive, affirmative program to restore constitutional government and to stop the senseless bloodletting now being performed on the body of liberty by those who lead us willingly and dangerously close to a totalitarian central government.
In our nation, man has always been sovereign and the state has been his servant. This philosophy has made the United States the greatest free nation in history.
This freedom was not a gift. It was won by work, by sweat, by tears, by war, by whatever it took to be–and to remain free.
Are we today less resolute, less determined and courageous than our fathers and our grandfathers?
Are we to abandon this priceless heritage that has carried us to our present position of achievement and leadership?
I say if we are to abandon our heritage, let it be done in the open and full knowledge of what we do.
We are not unmindful and careless of our future. We will not stand aside while our conscientious convictions tell us that a dictatorial Supreme Court has taken away our rights and our liberties.
We will not stand idly by while the Supreme Court continues to invade the prerogatives left rightfully to the states by the constitution.
We must not be misled by left-wing incompetent news media that day after day feed us a diet of fantasy telling us we are bigots, racists and hate-mongers to oppose the destruction of the constitution and our nation.
A left-wing monster has risen up in this nation. It has invaded the government. It has invaded the news media. It has invaded the leadership of many of our churches. It has invaded every phase and aspect of the life of freedom-loving people.
It consists of many and various and powerful interests, but it has combined into one massive drive and is held together by the cohesive power of the emotion, setting forth civil rights as supreme to all.
But, in reality, it is a drive to destroy the rights of private property, to destroy the freedom and liberty of you and me.
And, my friends, where there are no property rights, there are no human rights. Red China and Soviet Russia are prime examples.
Politically evil men have combined and arranged themselves against us. The good people of this nation must now associate themselves together, else we will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a struggle which threatens to engulf the entire nation. We can win. We can control the election of the president in November.
Our object must be our country, our whole country and nothing but our country.
If we will stand together–the people of this state–the people of my state–the people throughout this great region–yes, throughout the United States–then we can be the balance of power. We can determine who will be the next president.
Georgia is a great state. Atlanta is a great city. I know you will demonstrate that greatness in November by joining Alabama and other states throughout the south in electing the next president of the United States.
We are not going to change anything by sitting on our hands hoping that things will change for the better. Those who cherish individual freedom have a job to do.
First, let us let it be known that we intend to take the offensive and carry our fight for freedom across this nation. We will wield the power that is ours–the power of the people.
Let it be known that we will no longer tolerate the boot of tyranny. We will no longer hide our heads in the sand. We will reschool our thoughts in the lessons our forefathers knew so well.
We must destroy the power to dictate, to forbid, to require, to demand, to distribute, to edict, and to judge what is best and enforce that will of judgment upon free citizens.
We must revitalize a government founded in this nation on faith in god.
I ask that you join with me and that together, we give an active and courageous leadership to the millions of people throughout this nation who look with hope and faith to our fight to preserve our constitutional system of government with its guarantees of liberty and justice for all within the framework of our priceless freedoms.