The World’s Famous Orations, Vol. 10

Author: Roscoe Conkling  | Date: 1880


His Speech Nominating Grant for a Third Term*

There is no field of human activity, responsibility, or reason in which rational beings object to Grant, because he has been weighed in the balance and not found wanting, and because he has had unequaled experience, making him exceptionally competent and fit. From the man who shoes your horse to the lawyer who pleads your case, the officer who manages your railway, the doctor into whose hands you give your life, or the minister who seeks to save your soul, whom now do you reject because you have tried him and by his works have known him? What makes the presidential office an exception to all things else in the common sense to be applied to 97 selecting its incumbent? Who dares to put fetters on the free choice and judgment, which is the birthright of the American people? Can it be said that Grant used official power to perpetuate his plan? He has no plan . No official power has been used for him. Without patronage or power, without telegraph wires running from his house to he Convention, without electioneering contrivances, without effort on his part, his name is on his country’s lips, and he is struck at by the whole Democratic party because his nomination will be the death blow to Democratic success. He is struck at by others who find offense and disqualification in the very service he has gained. Show me a better man. Name one and I am answered; but do not point, as a disqualification, to the very facts which make this man fit beyond all others. Let not experience disqualify or excellences impeach him. There is no third term in the case, and the pretense will die with the political dog-days which engendered it. Nobody is really worried about a third term except those hopelessly longing for a first term and the dupes they have made. Without bureaus, committees, officials or emissaries to manufacture sentiment in his favor, without intrigue or effort on his part, Grant is the candidate whose supporters have never threatened to bolt. As they say, he is a Republican who never wavers. He and his friends stood by the creed and the candidates of the Republican party, holding the 98 right of a majority as the very essence of their faith, and meaning to uphold that faith against the common enemy and the charlatans and the guerrillas who from time to time deploy between the lines and forage on one side or the other. 99

*Delivered before the National Republican Convention on June 5, 1880, and printed here by kind permission of Alfred R. Conkling, author of "The Lief and Letters of Roscoe Conkling."

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Chicago: Roscoe Conkling, The World’s Famous Orations, Vol. 10 in The World’s Famous Orations, ed. William Jennings Bryan (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, December, 1906), Original Sources, accessed May 20, 2024,

MLA: Conkling, Roscoe. The World’s Famous Orations, Vol. 10, in The World’s Famous Orations, edited by William Jennings Bryan, Vol. 10, New York, Funk and Wagnalls, December, 1906, Original Sources. 20 May. 2024.

Harvard: Conkling, R, The World’s Famous Orations, Vol. 10. cited in December, 1906, The World’s Famous Orations, ed. , Funk and Wagnalls, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 20 May 2024, from