Goldwater’s 1964 Acceptance Speech

Excerpts from a Conservative voice …

and to all of my fellow Republicans here assembled, and Americans across this great Nation.

From this moment, united and determined, we will go forward together, dedicated to the ultimate and undeniable greatness of the whole man. Together we will win.

I accept your nomination with a deep sense of humility. I accept, too, the responsibility that goes with it, and I seek your continued help and your continued guidance. My fellow Republicans, our cause is too great for any man to feel worthy of it.

We are plodding at a pace set by centralized planning, red tape, rules without responsibility, and regimentation without recourse.

Rather than useful jobs in our country, people have been offered bureaucratic “make work,” rather than moral leadership, they have been given bread and circuses, spectacles, and, yes, they have even been given scandals. Tonight there is violence in our streets, corruption in our highest offices, aimlessness among our youth, anxiety among our elders and there is a virtual despair among the many who look beyond material success for the inner meaning of their lives. Where examples of morality should be set, the opposite is seen. Small men, seeking great wealth or power, have too often and too long turned even the highest levels of public service into mere personal opportunity.

We see this as the result of a fundamentally and absolutely wrong view of man, his nature and his destiny. Those who seek to live your lives for you, to take your liberties in return for relieving you of yours, those who elevate the state and downgrade the citizen must see ultimately a world in which earthly power can be substituted for divine will, and this Nation was founded upon the rejection of that notion and upon the acceptance of God as the author of freedom.

Those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth. And let me remind you, they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyrannies. Absolute power does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed. Their mistaken course stems from false notions of equality, ladies and gentlemen. Equality, rightly understood, as our founding fathers understood it, leads to liberty and to the emancipation of creative differences. Wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our time, it leads first to conformity and then to despotism.

Fellow Republicans, it is the cause of Republicanism to resist concentrations of power, private or public, which enforce such conformity and inflict such despotism. It is the cause of Republicanism to ensure that power remains in the hands of the people.

I know that the road to freedom is a long and a challenging road. I know also that some men may walk away from it, that some men resist challenge, accepting the false security of governmental paternalism.

I cherish a day when our children once again will restore as heroes the sort of men and women who – unafraid and undaunted – pursue the truth, strive to cure disease, subdue and make fruitful our natural environment and produce the inventive engines of production, science, and technology.

We Republicans see in our constitutional form of government the great framework which assures the orderly but dynamic fulfillment of the whole man, and we see the whole man as the great reason for instituting orderly government in the first place.

We see, in private property and in economy based upon and fostering private property, the one way to make government a durable ally of the whole man, rather than his determined enemy. We see in the sanctity of private property the only durable foundation for constitutional government in a free society. And beyond that, we see, in cherished diversity of ways, diversity of thoughts, of motives and accomplishments. We do not seek to lead anyone’s life for him – we seek only to secure his rights and to guarantee him opportunity to strive, with government performing only those needed and constitutionally sanctioned tasks which cannot otherwise be performed.

We Republicans seek a government that attends to its inherent responsibilities of maintaining a stable monetary and fiscal climate, encouraging a free and a competitive economy and enforcing law and order. Thus do we seek inventiveness, diversity, and creativity within a stable order, for we Republicans define government’s role where needed at many, many levels, preferably through the one closest to the people involved.

This Party, its good people, and its unquestionable devotion to freedom, will not fulfill the purposes of this campaign which we launch here now until our cause has won the day, inspired the world, and shown the way to a tomorrow worthy of all our yesteryears.

I thought, at this juncture in our history, we might review and reflect the vision and thoughts of a true Conservative.  No, this isn’t original or witty, it isn’t supposed to be.  When someone posts or asserts “I’m a Republican” or, “I’m a conservative, but…”  perhaps these thoughts will echo in our thoughts and we’ll once again find that great vision of a great man.  I am not a fan of the “Big Tent” and, I doubt Senator Goldwater would be either.  We as conservatives and Republicans have values and standards.    When faced with the issues and challenges today, lets ask the question:  How would Barry evaluate this issue?


  1. Hey V V

    I am likin’ this one!! 🙂

  2. Veritas Vincit says

    I thought it might return us to a benchmark of conservatism and the values of being a Republican. Thank you.

  3. Iris Lynch says

    Great post. The mantra I love from the ‘other side’ is “I am socially moderate, fiscally conservative”. Funny how that gets us into such unending DEBT!

  4. Basil St. John says

    As opposed the DEBT created by the socially conservative, fiscally conservative?

  5. Let’s hope the next Republican nominee makes this speech in the 2012 convention.

    Then he or she will do as badly as Goldwater, who carried 6 backward states (AL, MS, LA, SC, GA, & the ultra-backwater AZ), garnered 38.5% of the popular vote, and 52 electoral votes to 486 for the incumbent Democratic President.

    I like your thinking, Sonoran Alliance!

  6. Mike Norton says

    Great post… always nice to see Barry. I’d love to see the party start to go back to his principles.

  7. Veritas Vincit says

    Richard, I’ll see your ventriloquist’s dummy now occupying the Oval Office and raise you one Barry Goldwater. By the time 2012 rolls around, the Obamanation and his witch Pelosi will have led this once great nation into something resembling France only worse.

    Oh’bamit! There’s a Load of Pelosi running Congress.

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