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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  John A. Wilson


The New York Times
April 26, 1914

Head of Three A's, After Trip Through Country, Says It Banishes Boundary Lines.

"If Adam Smith, the great Scotch economist, who set forth so concisely the interdependence of the town dweller and the farmer, could only return to life to-day he would join with us in hailing the motor-driven vehicle as a wonderful economic factor in effectively welding together the means of communication between community and country.

President John A. Wilson of the American Automobile Association has included this paragraph in the report which he will make to the meeting of the Executive Board, to be held in Buffalo, April 29, upon his return from the ocean-to-ocean visiting trip to the association's State and local clubs.  Commenting further, the head of this body of motor car owners will say:

"In encouraging and making it possible for people to leave centres of population and live comfortably in the country, the automobile has been the missing necessity, as has been made apparent by the quickly insistent manner in which it has come into its own.  This introduction of a new vehicle on the highways has brought with it the demand for essential changes in road construction and maintenance, in the character of laws governing traffic movement, and in the preparation and dissemination of information for the wider range of motor car use.  With horse-drawn vehicles travel was comparatively local; motor-driven transport of men and merchandise is not only intercounty, but interstate as well, for it must be remembered that the geographical location of our most important cities has comparatively little to do with State lines.

"After a trip across the country, which has included talks and conferences with officers and directors of A. A. A. clubs, I can hardly fail to note the pronounced enthusiasm of men who are laboring for all those things which tend to accelerate the use of the vehicle that now enters into every progressive phase of human existence.  In every State visited I found the same demand for highways improvement, the reaching out from market places to outlying farms, and the more healthful relationship in the earnest co-operation between communities, town and country, and noticeably in the greater understanding between States as to their common needs.

"While I am purposely placing it as a secondary matter, it is entirely right that those States which possess scenic attractions second to nothing found in Europe should be assisted in making these assets collectible, for it is entirely too true that many of our well-to-do people spend their lengthy vacations in foreign countries, when they have near at hand, but, unfortunately, inaccessible, equally attractive health-giving resorts within the confines of their own country.  A tour which would embrace Yellowstone, Glacier Park, the Yosemite Valley, and the Grand Canyon could not be duplicated in European countries, and I have only mentioned a few of the best known of our national recreation places.  Let us not alone provide for our material needs, but at the same time avail ourselves of Nature's manifold treasures."

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