EISENHOWER, Dwight D. Typescript draft of Eisenhower's 1953 State of the Union Address, WITH VERY EXTENSIVE AUTOGRAPH REVISIONS BY THE PRESIDENT, marked "Sixth Draft" at top of first page. [Washington, D.C.], 27 January 1953. 44 pages, folio (12½ x 8 in.), typed on rectos only, double-spaced, irregularly paginated, with unpaginated inserted leaves, stapled at top corner. [With:] Typed note (reportedly from E.J. Hughes, Eisenhower's speechwriter), n.d. 1 page, 12mo, White House stationary, identifying the typescript as "fourth draft of message," with "Presidential editing."
THE HEAVILY REVISED DRAFT OF PRESIDENT EISENHOWER'S FIRST STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS
A heavily reworked and rewritten draft, whose extensive authorial changes reflect the great significance the new President placed upon this, his very first State of the Union Address, delivered in person before the joint session of the 83rd Congress on 2 February 1953. The address, on which work had begun in December, went through many revisions, since Ike's speechwriter, Emmet Hughes "tended to strive for high-sounding phrases while Eisenhower wanted to talk in a direct, down-to-Earth way..." (G. Perret, Eisenhower, Holbrook, Mass., 1999, p.429). A comparison with the final version of the address reveals Eisenhower's decisive role in the preparation of this key address. On many pages, the original typewritten text is so heavily revised and exhibits such extensive deletions as to constitute a virtually new text, with Eisenhower's neatly penciled script filling the page margins.
The finished Address comprised a preamble and ten numbered sections; in the draft, there are 11 sections, each carrying a subject heading, "The War in Korea," "National Defense," "Labor" (calling for the amendment, not repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act); in the final address these were omitted. It is evident that the preamble of the address was largely created by Eisenhower's revisions here. One declarative sentence is completely lined out: "The people have demanded a true and constructive change in their leadership," and Eisenhower has revised the next: "It is the manifest manifestly, the joint purpose of my the Congressional leadership and this Administration to justify their resounding call to office the summons to governmental responsibility issued last November by the American people."
Then, Eisenhower spells out four "ruling purposes" that he perceives will be the "grand labors of this leadership"; the changes here are quite interesting: "To apply Application of our strength and influence in world affairs with such fortitude and such foresight that it will deter aggression and secure peace; "To give to our own people Establishment of a national government of such integrity and such efficiency that its honor at home will ensure respect abroad; "To The release and encourage encouragement of the those incentives inspiring that inspire creative initiative in our free economy,' so that its productivity may fortify freedom everywhere; "And to foster Fostering the well-being of all our citizens, and working for and ensure the equality of opportunity enjoyed by them all our citizens, so that the freedom we enjoy may inspire free men everywhere our solidarity may multiply our strength in every needful project we undertake" (this sentence further altered in the final speech).
A half-page insert, which follows, contains Eisenhower's admission that "In the brief time I have been in office it has not been possible to prepare a complete and comprehensive program." In spite of his disclaimer, his lengthy address demonstrates that the President had given a great deal of thought to the issues facing the nation, and he spells out the principles and policies which will direct his Administration. In the longest section, dealing with world affairs, he observes "our country has come through a painful period of trial and disillusionment since the joyful summer of victory in 1945. We anticipated a world of peace and productivity cooperation. The calculated aggression pressure of Stalinism has forced us, instead to live in a world of turmoil." He concludes that "the free world cannot indefinitely remain in a posture of paralyzed tension..." One of Eisenhower's most dramatic gestures during the campaign had been a public promise to travel to Korea to speed a settlement of that conflict; here he reminds the public that he has fulfilled that pledge: "I have made, as you know, a visit to the fighting fronts of recently visited Korea."
Eisenhower's inspiring concluding passages show considerable revision, ending with an appeal: "In this spirit, let us together turn to the great tasks before us." Eisenhower's first State of the Union Address, while not one of the most memorable of its type, carried the important implication that "all the important challenges to American life originated abroad, which meant that the Cold War not only had to be fought--it had to be won" (Perret, p.431).
Provenance: John F. Fleming, New York