In keeping with our Presidential Visits to Rochester (BELOW), on November 2nd, 1940 Franklin Roosevelt delivered an extemporaneous speech at the downtown railroad station.
During the campaign, the primary issue was the war in Europe in which France had fallen to Nazi Germany in May. Both Roosevelt and Wilkie knew that America had little appetite to become deeply involved in another foreign war. Three days before Roosevelt spoke in Rochester, in Boston he made a famous campaign promise:
I have said this before, but I shall say it again and again and again: Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.
When Roosevelt spoke at the train station platform, he addressed a crowd that was more isolationist than not. When America joined the First World War about twenty years earlier, Rochester did not beat the war drums loudly. See One hundred years ago when America entered the War to End All Wars. And Rochester.
In his address at the train station, Roosevelt did not quite echo his rhetorical flourish three days earlier in Boston. He did say, hoping to reassure Rochestarians who did not want their boys sent overseas:
On October 15th, Roosevelt’s opponent Wendel Willkie and his wife Edith campaigned in Rochester, drawing a crowd of about 15,000. Willkie spoke at Convention Hall and toured an automobile factory.
Roosevelt won the 1940 election fairly handily, but not as decisively as in 1932 and 1936. Many felt he should not run for an unprecedented third term — a point made by Willkie in Rochester — keeping Roosevelt’s vote totals down.
Today, November 1940 almost feels like a calm period in which there were hopes the European war could become a stalemate leading to some armistice. But then Germany invade the Soviet Union in June 1941 and Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941.
Historians have argued how deeply Roosevelt felt about his campaign promise in Boston and Rochester. Was he an anti-war, semi-pacifist or really yearning for America to project its power on the international stage? Nonetheless, in retrospect, those boys did have to be sent — sadly — to die in a foreign war.
In When President John Quincy Adams visited Rochester on July 27th and 28th, 1843 and toured Mt. Hope Cemetery, the grave of Nathaniel Rochester.
In On Abraham Lincoln in Rochester from Michael Nighan, a plaque and a train station.
In Memorial Day, 1892, when President Benjamin Harrison dedicated the Soldier’s and Sailor’s Monument in Washington Square Park with Frederick Douglass. And Occupy Rochester, Benjamin Harrison, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass in the same park Occupy would occupy.
November 1st, 1892 when McKinley campaigned for Benjamin Harrison, more support for Harrison.
In October, 26th, 1898: the Rough Rider on his way to the Governor’s mansion. TR Comes to Town, again…and again…and again… by Michael Nighan., a statue of Teddy in School 29.
When Taft spoke at Convention Hall on August 23rd, 1911, the Grand Army of the Republic.
When Wilson spoke at Convention Hall and the Shubert Theatre four days before elected President, it was a three way race.
In BIG BILL, BIG BELL AND SCHOOL BELLS: An ex-president, the Liberty Bell, and several thousand school teachers come to town. it was William Howard Taft.
In FDR’s first visit to Rochester as a national candidate, September 23rd, 1920. And the League of Nations., Rachel in Washington Square Park.
In October 21st, 1920 in Rochester and Governor Harding’s return to normalcy. And the school named after him., a school in North Gates.
In Governor Roosevelt’s triumphant return to the Convention Hall, October 18th, 1932, a luncheon with Eleanor Roosevelt.
In FDR in Rochester en route to a New Deal landslide, October 17th, 1936, an unfinished portrait.
In October 23rd and 24th, 1952 when Ike and Adlai were in town back to back. And School 29., the Adlai E. Stevenson School.
In Nixon at the War Memorial one week before he lost a razor thin election to JFK , the War Memorial.
In LBJ and RFK in Rochester, October 15th,1964, LBJ and RFK at the airport.
In 45 years ago when President Nixon visited Rochester. And 3 days later when East High School erupted in racial violence a media briefing at the Landmark Hotel in Pittsford.
In When Carter stumped Rochester in ’76. And Howard the Duck. it was Howard for Prez.
In 27 years ago today when President George H. W. Bush visited Wilson Magnet High School, a signed chalkboard.
In May 24th, 2005 when President Bush spent political capital in Greece. it is Dr. Bruce Kay
In 5 Meliora Weekends ago when President Clinton spoke., Great Books with President Seligman.
In , A seat at the President’s table four years later soup and a grilled cheese sandwich at Magnolia’s and an eyewitness account.
In Next stop Albany. On the road with the Trumprenuers, the Trumprenuers at the airport.
In Memories of presidential visits on Election Day in Brighton, a vote for Talker.