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"Pan-Am Exposition Address"
Buffalo, NY, September 5, 1901
William McKinley

Expositions are the timekeepers of progress.  They record the world's advancement.  They stimulate the energy, enterprise, and intellect of the people; and quicken human genius.  They go into the home.  They broaden and brighten the daily life of the people.  They open mighty storehouses of information to the student.  Every exposition, great or small, has led to some onward step.  Comparison of ideas is always educational; and as such instructs the brain and hand of man...

The Pan-American Exposition has done its work thoroughly, presenting in its exhibits evidences of the highest skill and illustrating the progress of the human family in the Western Hemisphere.  This portion of the earth has no cause for humiliation for the part it has performed in the march of civilization.  It has not accomplished everything; far from it.  It has simply done its best, and without vanity or boastfulness, and recognizing the manifold achievements of others, it invites the friendly rivalry of all the powers in the peaceful pursuits of trade and commerce, and will co-operate with all in advancing the highest and best interests of humanity.

The world's products are exchanged as never before, and with increasing transportation facilities come increasing knowledge and larger trade.

Prices are fixed with mathematical precision by supply and demand. The world's selling prices are regulated by market and crop reports.  We travel greater distances in a shorter space of time and with more ease than was ever dreamed of by our fathers.  Isolation is no longer possible or desirable.  The same important news is read, though in different languages, the same day in all Christendom.  The telegraph keeps us advised of what is occurring everywhere, and the press foreshadows, with more or less accuracy, the plans and purposes of the nations.

At the beginning of the nineteenth century there was not a mile of steam railroad on the globe.  Now there are enough miles to make its circuit many times.  Then, there was not a line of electric telegraph; now we have a vast mileage traversing all lands and all seas.  God and man have linked the nations together.  No nation can longer be indifferent to any other.  And as we are brought more and more in touch with each other, the less occasion is there for misunderstandings, and the stronger the disposition, when we have differences, to adjust them in court of arbitration, which is the noblest form for the settlement of international disputes.

Trade statistics indicate that this country is in a state of unexampled prosperity.  The figures are almost appalling.  They show that we are utilizing our fields and forests and mines and that we are furnishing profitable employment to the millions of working men throughout the United States, bringing comfort and happiness to their homes and making it possible to lay by savings for old age and disability.  That all the people are participating in this great prosperity is seen in every American community and shown by the enormous and unprecedented deposits in our savings banks....

We have a vast and intricate business, built up through years of toil and struggle, in which every part of the country has its stake, which will not permit of wither neglect, or of undue selfishness.  No narrow, sordid policy will subserve it.  The greatest skill and wisdom on the part of manufacturers and producers will be required to hold and increase it...

Reciprocity is the natural outgrowth of our wonderful industrial development under the domestic policy now firmly established.  What we produce beyond our domestic consumption must have a vent abroad.  The excess must be relieved through a foreign outlet, and we should sell anywhere we can and buy wherever the buying will enlarge our sales and productions and thereby make a greater demand for home-labor.  The period of exclusiveness is past.  The expansion of our trade and commerce is the pressing problem.  Commercial wars are unprofitable.  A policy of good will and friendly trade relations will prevent reprisals.  Reciprocity treaties are in harmony with the spirit of the times; measures of retaliation are not.

If perchance some of our tariffs are no longer needed for revenue or to encourage and protect our industries at home, why would they not be employed to extend and promote our markets abroad...

In the furtherance of these objects of national interest and concern you are performing an important part..... The good work will go on.  It cannot be stopped.  These buildings will disappear, this creation of art and beauty and industry will perish from sight, but their influence will remain to, "make it live beyond its short living, with praises and Thanksgiving." Who can tell the new thoughts that have been awakened, the ambitions fired, and the high achievements that will be wrought through this exposition?

Let us ever remember that our interest is in concord, not conflict; and that our real eminence rests in the victories of peace, not those of war.  We hope that all who are represented here may be moved to a higher a nobler effort for their own and the world's good, and that out of this city may come not only greater commerce and trade for us all, but more essential than these, relations of mutual respect, confidence and friendship which will deepen and endure. 

Our prayer is that God will graciously vouchsafe prosperity, happiness, and peace to all our neighbors, and like blessings to all the peoples and powers of the earth.