GEORGE WALLACE, “SPEECH AT SERB HALL, MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN” (26 MARCH 1976)
 Thank you folks, thanks to all of you, thank you. [cheers] Well ladies and gentlemen, I wanna thank you very much for your welcome here, to Serb Hall, where I’ve been on a number of occasions, to thank my old-time friend Brocko Gruber [?] for his presenting me to you, and to say that on the Southside I feel very much at home. And, uh – [applause, cheers] And I want to thank all of those on the staff here, at Serb Hall for the trouble you’ve gone to in making the arrangements, because I know it’s overworked you, I’m very appreciative of the president of the organization, the manager, and all the members of the staff.
 So I’ve come back here to Milwaukee, the great state of Wisconsin, to tell you that even though you’re not interested in 1972, I’m here to take up where I left off in nineteen hundred and seventy two- here to 1976 [cheers] in Milwaukee. And I still speak the language of the Southside better than any candidate in this race for the presidency [applause, cheers] here at the present time.
 I came here first twelve years ago, and nearly everything that I predicted and stated in that day has now come to pass. I was a prophet out of my own time. And now nearly every single candidate, Republican and Democratic, is talking and sounding exactly like those of us here at Serb Hall sounded several years ago.
 So they have come to the positions that we’ve taken, we haven’t gone to their positions. And the great issue is still the matter of big government trying to infringe upon the pocketbooks and lives of the people of this country more than they ought to. And as a consequence, I am the one who first made that statement to you nationally, and I am glad to see them all come down the road of repentance politically, and now drink out of the same dipper and draw water out of the same well.
 Because, unless, in 1972, I stood alone, and I took positions by myself that you took, that they didn’t take, but it’s a different story. Because when I was taken out of that race in 1972, I had a million votes more popular than any of the other candidates and 400 delegates.
 And I can tell you that people do great things. When I came to your state they said, “Wallace won’t run but anything but last.” I wound up running second with a few days here in your state. And I wanna thank you for that good send-off. I’m just sorry that I could not complete the campaign.
 But in 1972, I went down to Miami, and I spoke to the Democratic Convention after Larry O’Brian, the chairman, said, “We’re not going to even give him rooms.” Not only did they give me rooms, they invited me to speak, and I spoke and told ‘em, “If you adopt this platform, that you’re about to adopt, you’re going to lose the election, the Democratic party is, by the greatest vote that you’ve ever lost an election.” And that’s exactly what they did, and now in 1976 they’ve taken our advice.
 But I mean what I say. I’ve been saying that a long time. I’m not saying that the things I say or the positions I’m taking just for the separate reason that the people now themselves have lined up that way. I want to tell you this: That the government of the United States and the Democratic party have paid as much as attention to multinationals moving jobs and plants out of Wisconsin, if they had paid as much attention to the fishing rights of the people off the coast, Atlantic coast and the Pacific coast, if they’d pay as much attention to those things involving inflation and unemployment as they have social experimentation and such things as busted and all that kind of business, we would have more jobs for white and black, we would have the fishing industry saved, we wouldn’t have as many unemployed as we have now, and we wouldn’t have the inflation that now exists in this country, that’s about to destroy the middle class in America and here on the Southside of Milwaukee. [cheers, applause]
 So… I wanna shed a little light on my 1976 position. I’m reminded, I don’t like to say reminded because we politicians, you know, you’re cynical about us, they don’t think us to tell the truth and I want to tell you this: I think integrity and honor and accountability are issues in the minds of people in most races whether they be from the lowest to the highest, the people of my state have elected me Governor three times unprecedented. And my first wife once. And I was elected Governor the last time in Alabama with 83% of the vote. We have counties in Alabama that are 80% black, and 70% black, and 65% black. And in those counties, my vote was 97.2, 96.8, 95.4. I – I have been the Governor of all the people of Alabama, and I would be the president of all the people. But I would get off of people’s back and let them make some decisions at the local level themselves, instead of a federal judge and a big bureaucracy doin’ it all for them.
 Yes, I am very proud of the fact that I receive that type of support. And when they write in the Milwaukee Journal and the Sentinel and the Boston Globe and the New York Times and the Washington Post about Alabama and Washington, I want to tell you something about Alabama. Alabama has the lowest taxes of any state in the Union. And in Alabama – and in Alabama, if you own a 10,000-dollar home, your taxes are $35 a year average. [few yells] If you own-if you own a $20,000 home there, the average tax is $95 a year. If you own a $40,000 home, the average tax is $125. So when I’ve been Governor of the state, I’m saying that we don’t tax people out of their homes in Alabama, and so I made a pretty good Governor afterall, in spite of what some of these newspapers say. [cheers, applause]
 We… we, we folks in Alabama do not believe that you can solve every problem under the sun, imagined and unimagined, with the middle class’s money. And I want to tell you that we hadn’t tried it. Let the people keep some of their money themselves, and solve some of their own problems, and it’ll always come out better. And that’s exactly what the issue today! [Sic.] Can the middle class in the United States survive? Can the businessman, small businessman and woman, can the farmer, can the working man and woman survive inflation and unemployment and high regressive taxes in this country if they do not exist, and they do not continue to exist?
 We’re going to see this nation change in some of her institutions, and therefore, we ought to pay attention as I said in 1972, to those who produce the wealth and fight the wars and pay the taxes and hold our country together, but we’ve paid – we pay too much attention to those who don’t work when they can find work, and those who want to rip you off at welfare, and the filthy rich on the other hand.
 The regressive tax structure in this country—I’ve heard about it all my life. And you, the small middle class individual pays a high cost of everything. The high cost of government and the income tax is the most regressive, unfair tax that you can find in the United States, [cheers] right here the – the federal income tax. [applause] But under the income tax we exempt the Ford Foundation, we exempt with their billions, and we exempt the Rockefeller Foundation with their hundreds of millions, and the Carnegies and the Mellons and all of those, under these tax shelters while you working people and farm people and little business-men and -women pay the taxes.
 And I can tell you that I said in 1972 if I become your nominee, or your president. I’m not going to ask the Congress, I’m going to demand. And I am going to the American people by television and radio and the media and call on them to give you relief and make the Rockefellers and the Fords and their Foundations pay the same taxes that you pay. [applause]
 And you’re – you’re not going to get it with just askin’ them to do it—you’ve got to demand it. And the great middle class in this country are big enough to bring it about within the political context.
 My friends, bureaucracy — you pay for that. Down in Washington they got so many people running out of their ears, writing guidelines. They try to write guidelines for schools and unions, writing guidelines for farms and businesses. You don’t need all those people doing that; and as the president of the United States I would submit a budget that cut about 25 to 30 percent of those 35 to 55 thousand dollars a year people off, by the hundreds of thousands, let them get a job in private industry, get off of my back, they’re nothin’ but parasites and they do nothin’ but cost the middle class people money in the United States. [applause]
 And I… I’m not talking about the average federal civil servant, I am talking about the bureaucracy, and they’re all talking about it. No wonder we don’t have any money for rapid transit and for highways and for pollution control, or sewage systems, or water systems — they give it all to bureaucracy. And it’s got to be cut in this country but you can’t cut it by talking easy, and smilin’ about it. You gotta talk rough about it. That’s the only language they understand.
 And I can tell you it’s in the interests of the great middle class; you’re paying for the welfare abusers in this country. I am for welfare, there are people who entitled [sic] to be on it, we have today people that in the Veteran’s hospitals, that gave their lives and time and health to the armed services of our nation [cheers]. And yet, we also find billions of dollars each year going to those not entitled to it! I know from experience that there are people entitled to welfare. But they are ripping you off by the billions of dollars a year by those who are not entitled to it and they ask me, “how can you-“ they -they ask me “how can you stop it?”
 Well my friends, how do they get the taxes out of you? They get the taxes out of you each year, and if they get the taxes out of me and you, they can protect our money from rip off artists on the welfare so that people who get it entitled to it and those that’re not entitled to it, go to work and get you a job if there are jobs available.
 My friends, the matter of foreign aid: foreign aid is a rip-off to those countries who spit in our face. I’ve never understood why the billions of dollars go to those nations who don’t like us, who helped kill our boys in Vietnam. I become your president I’ll tell one country like I told a correspondent from it, who got ten billion dollars from us the last 10 years, and then said they were glad we imperialist dogs lost the war in Vietnam; I told him I would tell your country to get your foreign aid from the Soviet Union, and from North Vietnam. Because I don’t understand the continuation of billions of dollars of middle class money going to those nations who spit in our face.
 I know we have our duty about the third world, and humanitarian aid, but we cannot do it all. We have our limitations. In the recent earthquake in Guatemala, the first state that responded was Alabama. And I received a call from the Guatemalan ambassador, thanking the governor of Alabama for sending two fully fuel-equipped hospitals amobility (?), and I received a letter from the president of Guatemala who said, “You were the first state that responded to the matter of humanitarian aid.” I am not against that at all, but I am certain the continuation of foreign aid, the hundreds of billions of dollars, brings on inflation, and empties the pocketbook of the middle class Americans in the city of Milwaukee and in the state of Wisconsin.
 Law and order, it’s an issue. I told you 12 years ago, it’s not going to be long before we cannot walk the streets of any large city in the United States without fear for your life and limb. And the big newspapers laughed at me, they said this man has something wrong with him—well today it’s the truth. Today in New York, Boston and Milwaukee it’s unsafe, and it’s certainly a sad commentary on supposedly one of the most demo – civilized nations on the face of the earth, for a citizen not to be able to walk in safety, to ride in safety because these permissive federal courts and judges pay more attention to those who shoot and rob you than they do to those who are shot and robbed [applause].
 And we have sure, sure and swift punishment. I am compassionate — they say you’re not compassionate. I am compassionate for those who are in the cemetery. I am compassionate for those who cannot move anything but their head for the rest of their lives, and so somebody attempted to kill him when they robbed him, because they knew they wouldn’t get any more for killing him if they caught you than robbing him if they caught you, and therefore I think we outta have a return to capital punishment -put some people off this earth! [applause].
 We… We have-we have a federal judge in Alabama like you got federal judges everywhere, who take it upon themselves to write law and they are recently concerned about ‘em sleeping too close together. Because our prisons are full with the very few we’ve caught of the many that ought to be caught, but you cannot convict ‘em now with the rules, the Miranda Rule and all, and therefore, they also said they not getting enough razor blades per week. And you got to have food cooked by college-trained nutritionists, which I don’t even have that done for me and I am the governor of Alabama.
 So I am not getting my constitutional right. And I tell you: if the judges paid as much attention to those who needed a shave who are in the cemetery as those who need to shave in prison, we wouldn’t have as many in the cemeteries as a result of these thugs and criminals in this country. And therefore, some day that’s got to come to a stop. And I told you twelve years ago it was going to happen, and many people didn’t believe us, and today they all sayin’ what George Wallace said—sure and swift punishments.
 And I can tell you that I would lead moral support, for the police in this country and for the law enforcement officials and the law abiding, and start putting people in jail or unto jail, and put them on the electric chair if they needed it, for the simple reason that we need to have a return to law and order in this country [applause].
 So… They said it was all too radical but – but there are some multiradicals here in the city of Milwaukee because you’ve got a taste of it, my friends, and we predicted it, that’s all we did. But they said, “Well Wallace is racist, you know,” that’s all they can talk about. I went to the Boston Globe, all they can talk about was race. I said I wanted to go and meet some of their black employees. They said, “Oh, we don’t have any the Union don’t” I said, “Oh that’s not true [laughter], that’s not true. That’s just your excuse, you bunch of hypocrites, that’s what you are.”
 And I tell you, my friends, the matter of the federal court, we have non discrimination, and we ought to have non discrimination. We have it in Alabama, whether you believe it or not. And we today, and I’m so proud I received the vote of the overwhelming majority of all people in my state. Because whatever good happens to our people, white, black, yellow—you name it, it’s good for all of us. And I want you to know that whatever happens to our nation, we’re all bound up together, but I wanna expound on that point in just a moment, and I am going to be brief. But I want to expound on one other point first.
 They told me in the state of Massachusetts, not to talk about the military, because this is a great liberal state, they don’t like the military. Well I’m sorry, we ought to have a military. I’m sorry we had to have one in World War II but we had to defeat the Nazis, and we had to defeat the Japanese militarists, and we did so, thanks to our productivity and ingenuity, the great free enterprise system under which we live.
 My friends it’s important, and I believe in non-confr… I don’t believe in confrontation, I believe in negotiation. But I know this: That while we negotiate with the Soviet Union, they’ve outsmarted us on every occasion. They have never kept a single promise they made since the day when they promised Eastern Europe that they would have free election and they enslave, they enslave the great Polish people, the Serbian people, the Yugoslavs, they… they’ve.. all of Eastern Europe. You young people don’t remember that, they promised free elections, but they never carried it out. And they divided Korea and we turned and gave almost the whole law after we have granted it to the Communists in the Far East. I wish it was not necessary to have armed forces.
 Today they supposedly tried to stop us from shipping something into this country that’s used in the manufacture of every article almost made in Wisconsin. Mica, quartz, manganese, zinc, tin, copper, rubber, bauxite, phosphate—you name it. Aluminum industry, the tin industry, you name it. For the superior navy. We have a pre-Pearl Harbor navy and therefore the sea-lanes are imported through the industrial production and the industrial livelihood of those who work in industry here in Wisconsin of the United States.
 And yet the Soviet navy today is so superior. Suppose they turned us aside in helping, say, some friend in the Mid East. What would happen? Could we fight a superior navy? If we did, we’d lose the rest of our navy. Could we drop a nuclear bomb? They’d drop one too. We would have a catastrophic condition exist that we must never have.
 We didn’t use any gas in World War II and neither did our enemies. It was counter-productive. We both had it. But while we have a nuclear stand-off and we may be inferior, and I am afraid so, they are building superior conventional forces in Europe and in their naval forces. And this is not good for the United States industrial and business future and even though I hate to see a dime spent on armament, it is absolutely necessary not to gamble on the future security physically of the United States or our western allies [applause].
 And if I were the president, if I were the president, I’d use some of this welfare rip-off and some of this foreign aid and some of this bureaucratic rip-off to look after the armed forces of our nation so that we can guarantee that we are number one! [applause] And the United States is number one. That in itself is the basis of foreign policy.
 The matter of negotiating from strength, and there’s nothing to take her place. And I can assure you that I am one who believes in peace having served in World War II as a combatant, one who saw actual combat and today we must never face that again. And the only way never to face it again, the only war that you ever win is the war you never have to fight and the only way you-you’ll never have to fight another war is to be so strong, that no one will want to do anything but talk with you at the negotiation table.
 And that’s exactly what I believe and if you don’t believe it then we don’t agree, and those who believe that we will disarm further the Soviet Union will, you examine yourself because you have sawdust for brains, because it’s just not true my friends, it never has been true.
 I told as I have I tried to hurry along because you been here a long time. I told you 12 years ago, that some day they are going to grab a hold of you, they’re going to hold you and tell you everything from what to do in your unions, and I been endorsed for governor the last time by every single union in Alabama. The AFL-CIO, and we are the most heavily unionized state in the South. And I am very proud that I was endorsed by organized labor. And I don’t care what your national labor leaders tell you, I received a unanimous endorsement from AFL-CIO, every buildings and trade union in Alabama and the steel,  and you name it, and I am very proud of it, and many of them in the state, at the present time, working for me.
 But I told you some day 12 years ago, we are not interested in 12 years ago, but I told you 12 years ago some day they’ll tell you what to do in the unions, what to do in your business, what to do in your farm, and I want to tell the farm people of this state, that I advocated 5 years ago, the matter of the estate tax… that some day you couldn’t be able to keep a farm in a family.
 And I said all the time, we should never embargo any grain products. And even though we might use it as a bargaining tool, it should never be used in a way to penalize the farm people of this great productive state. Because one reason we have today a balance of surplus payment and our recession is no worse than she happens to be is because of the fact that the farm people are so efficient, that they’ve raised so much with so little and so few people that they released all the rest to make consumer goods.
 And when Khrushchev came to this country in nineteen-fifty – 1968, he wasn’t interested in New York, he wasn’t interested in Hollywood, he was interested in an Iowa corn farm. That could have been a Wisconsin corn farm or a dairy farm. He was interested in how so few can do so much for so many, knowing that if they can do in the Soviet Union, what the farm people of Wisconsin did, they would have it made. But he has never been able to do it, and therefore, whenever they ask you to produce, they ought to provide a market, and a fair price in the marketplace for the farm people of Wisconsin and of this country.
 But why, my friends, they are writing guidelines now for farms and unions and business and schools and I told you that 12 years ago. I said, some day they would tell you where you can send your child to school and what your child can be taught and who your child can be taught by.
 I believe in quality education. I believe in equality of opportunity and I want to tell you that I been against all this force business. We have non-discrimination and I was asked a question today that shocked me and it was about Milwaukee, and I said this: I believe in freedom of choice. I believe this: the best system in the world, the most democratic system in the world for public schools is this. Good quality education and teachers and equipment in every school. But let the parent and guardian of each child send their child where they want to send them [cheering, applause].
 If… If they want to send them out of the Southside—let them do so, and provide transportation if necessary. But if they do not want to leave do not make them leave. And anyone who wants to come here, let them come here. That is non-discriminatory, that is democratic. And as the president of the United States, I would submit such an Amendment to the Congress and ask them to submit the American people and I am the only candidate – [applause] I am – I am the only candidate that has been consistent on this position, I’ve been consistent from the time word go.
 The only one who’s been against it. But my friends, listen. I hope you’ll understand me, the only way to fight anything you don’t like is within the constitutional context. And I have a right to say what I wanna say because I been on your side before you were ever on our side. When it wasn’t bothering you, when we called for your help and you didn’t give it, because you said no, that’s not any problem for us; because – but I said, some day, they’ll get you.
 But I paid a high price, and this is the second time I made such a statement as that in a speech. I said it on the Southside, in south Boston. I wanna say this, I’ll say it other places here too, in Milwaukee, I paid a high price for it. But the only way to fight this battle is peacefully and within – within – the constitutional context voting against and for those candidates who stand like you think they ought to stand for and who stand for you.  I am the only presidential candidate who has been against it all time. Others have voted for it in the Congress, now they are against it. And I say that violence never would have solved any problems. And let us not let anything degenerate into this matter involving race. For the simple reason that is not good for this country of ours, is not good for stability and order. Let us hope and pray for the American dream for everybody regardless of their race and color, which is more peace and more prosperity in these United States of ours, because we’re all American citizens, and we all belong into this great land of ours and I’ve always believed that but on the other hand, let people here in this city themselves make some decisions on their own without some federal judge always having to make it for you [cheering] because he thinks he got more ability than you have.
 I will say this: they legislate, that’s what they are doing. They have no right to write law and that’s exactly what they do. And I can tell you if I become the president, I am going to submit to the Congress legislation, on these federal district judges, that they have to be reaffirmed every six years ever – have to be reappointed every six and the Supreme Court have to be reaffirmed every six to eight years so we can get rid of some of them [cheering] if we don’t like them. I told – I, I told you 12 years ago that I don’t like some federal judge appointed for life running my union, my business, my farm, and now running my children and my home—it’s not the way to be and it never has been [cheers, applause].
 And let us, and let us ask the government of the United States and the Democratic party to put their mind on the solution of energy problem, on the solution of putting people back to work, and curbing inflation and cutting big government down and reducing the taxes on the average middle class citizen—that’s what they ought to do. And if they paid as much time to those particular problems as they have paid to the matter of social experimentation, we wouldn’t have the unemployment, we wouldn’t have the inflation and the recession we in today [sic.].
 You vote for George Wallace and I tell you what: I can be your nominee and straighten this matter out with your help because after all I represent the people of this country [cheering]. My friends – – [tape skips]
 In conclusion, in conclusion, what other- what other candidates represents this country, the majority of the people? I tell you who: George Wallace, can you name me one other? Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen, thank you [cheering, applause]. Thank you folks, thank you [applause, cheering, whistling], thank you folks [applause, cheering] thank you folks [applause, cheering, shouting “George for president”].
 In an effort to portray Wallace’s manner of speech in this text, slang words such as “gonna” for “going to” and wanna for “want to” have been used throughout this transcript. Additionally, contractions have been used where Wallace uses them in the speech recording.
 May be a company or union named; sounds like “ree – steel.”
Bibliographic List of Sources
Wallace, George C. Speech at Serb Hall, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 26 March 1976. Audio Copy. Recorded live by J. Michael Hogan and in his possession. [=A].