Page images
PDF

THE PLATFORM.

NATIONAL PARTY CONVENTIONS. |

The following platform was reported by the majority of the Committee on Resolutions on July 9, and was adopted by the Convention by a vote of 628 to 301, one delegate being absent: “We, the Democrats of the United States in National Convention assembled, do reaffirm our allegiance to those great essential principles of justice and liberty upon which our institutions are founded, and which the Democratic party has advocated from Jefferson's time to our own —freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of conscience, the preservation of personal rights, the equality of all citizens before the law and the faithful observance | of constitutional limitations. During all these years the Democratic party has re| sisted the tendency of selfish interests to the centralization of governmental power, and steadfastly maintained the integrity of the dual scheme of government established by the founders of this Republic of republics. Under its guidance and teachings the great principle of local self-government has found its best expression in the maintenance of the rights of the states and in its assertion of the necessity of confining the general Government to the exercise of powers granted by the Constitution of the United States.” Pte LIGIOUS LIBERTY.—“The Constitution of the United States guarantees to every citizen the rights of civil and religious liberty. The Democratic party has always been the exponent of political liberty and religious freedom, and it renews its obligations and reaffirms its devotion to these fundamental principles of the Constitution.” sILVER.—“Recognizing that the money question is paramount to all others at this time, we invite attention to the fact that the Constitution names silver and gold together as the money metals of the United states, and that the first coinage law passed by Congress under the Constitution made the silver dollar the money unit of value and admitted gold to free coinage at a ratio based upon the silver-dollar unit. We declare that the act of 1873 demonetizing silver without the knowledge or approval of the American people has resulted in the appreciation of gold and a corresponding fall in the prices of commodities produced by the people, a heavy increase in the burden of taxation and of all debts, public and private, the enrichment of the money-lending class at home and abroad, prostration of industry and impoverishment of the people. We are unaiterably opposed to monometallism, which has locked fast the prosperity of an industrial people in the paralysis of hard times. old monometallism is a British policy, and its adoption has brought other nations into financial servitude to London. It is not only un-American but anti-American, and it can be fastened on the United States only by the stifling of that indomitable spirit and love of liberty which proclaimed our political independence in 1776 and won it in the War of the Revolution. We demand the free and unlimited coinage of both silver and gold at the Rio legal ratio of 16 to 1, without waiting for the aid or consent of any other nation. We demand

25

that the standard silver dollar shall be a full legal tender, equally with gold, for all debts, public and private, and we favor such legislation as will prevent for the future the demonetization of any kind of legal-tender money by private contract. We are opposed to the policy and practice of surrendering to the holders of the obligations of the United States the option reserved by law to the Government of redeeming such obligations in either silver coin or gold coin.” BOND ISSUES.—“We are opposed to the issuing of interest—bearing bonds of the United States in time of peace, and condemn the trafficking with banking syndicates, which, in exchange for bonds and at an enormous profit to themselves, supply the Federal Treasury with gold to maintain the policy of gold monometallism.” NATIONAL BANKS.—“Congress alone has the power to coin and issue money, and President Jackson declared that this power should not be delegated to corporations or individuals. We therefore denounce the issuance of notes intended to circulate as money by National banks as in derogation of the Constitution, and we demand that all paper which is made a legal tender for public and private debts, or which is receivable for duties to the United States, shall be issued by the Government of the United States and shall be redeemable in coin.” TARIFF.—“We hold that tariff duties should be levied for purposes of revenue, such duties to be so adjusted as to operate equally throughout the country, and not discriminate between class or section, and that taxation should be limited by the needs of the Government, honestly and economically administered. we denounce as disturbing to business the Republican, threat to restore the McKinley law, which has been twice condemned by the people in National elections, and which, , enacted under the false plea of protection to home industry, proved a prolific breeder of trusts and monopolies, in which the few, at the expense of the many, restricted trade and deprived the producers of the great American staples of access to their natural markets.” INCOME TAX.—“Until the money question is settled we are opposed to any agi– tation for further changes in our tariff laws except such as are necessary to meet, the deficit caused by the adverse decision of the Supreme Court on the income tax. But for this decision by the Supreme Court there would be no deficit in the revenue law passed by a Democratic Congress in strict pursuance of the uniform decisions of that court for nearly one hundred years, that court having in that decision sustained constitutional objections to its enactment, which had previously been overruled by the ablest Judges who had ever sat on that bench. We declare that it is the duty of Congress to use all the constitutional power which remains after that decision, or which may come from its reversal by the court as it may hereafter be constituted, so that the burdens of taxation may be equally and impartially laid, to the end that we may all, bear our proportion of the expenses of the Government.

[ocr errors]

IMMIGRATION.—"We hold that the most efficient way of protecting American labor is to prevent the importation of foreign pauper labor to compete with it in the home market, and that the value of the home market to our American farmers and artisans is greatly reduced by a vicious monetary system which depresses the prices of their products below the cost of production and thus deprives them of the means of purchasing the products of our home manufactories, and as labor creates the wealth of the country so demand the passage of such laws as may be necessary to protect it in all its rights.” LABOR.—“We are in favor of the arbitration of differences between employers engaged in interstate commerce and their employes, and recommend such legislation as is necessary to carry out this principle."

RAILROADS.—"The absorption of wealth by the few, the consolidation of our leading railroad systems and the formation of trusts and pools require a stricter control by the Federal Government of those arteries of commerce. We demand the enlargement of the powers of the Interstate Commerce Commission and such restrictions and guarantees in the control of railroads as will protect the people from robbery and oppression.” ECONOMY.—"We denounce the promigate, waste of the money wrung from the people by oppressive taxation and the lavish appropriations of recent Republican Congresses, which have kept taxes high, while the labor that pays them is unemployed and the products of the ple's toil are depressed in price till they no longer repay the cost of production. We demand a return to that simplicity and economy which befit a Democratic Government, and a reduction in the number of useless officers, the salaries of which drain the substance of the people.” - FEDERAL COURTS.—“we denounce arbitrary interference by Federal authorities in local affairs as a violation of the Constitution of the United states and a crime against free institutions, and we ospecially object to government by injunction as a new and highly dangerous form of oppression by which Federal Judges, in contempt of the laws of the States and rights of citizens, become at once legislators, judges and executioners; and we approve the bill passed at the last session of the United "states Senate and now pending in the House of Representatives relative to contempts in Federal courts, and providing for trials by jury in certain cases of contempt.” PACIFIC RAILROAD DEBt. —“No discrimination should be indulged in by the Government of the United States in favor of any of its debtors, we approve of the refusal of the LIIId Congress to pass the Pacific Railroad Funding bill: denounce the effort of the present Republican Con&ress to enact a similar measure.”

PENSIONS.—“Recognizing the just slaims of deserving Union soldiers, we heartily indorse the rule of the present Commissioner of Pensions that no names shall be arbitrarily dropped from the pension list, and the fact of enlistment and

dence against disease and disability before enlistment.” STATEHOOD.—“We favor the admission of the Territories of New-Mexico, Oklahoma and Arizona into the Union as States, and we favor the early admission of all the Territories having the necessary population and resources to entitle them to Statehood, and, while they remain Territories, we hold that the officials appointed to administer the government of any Territory, together with the District of Columbia and Alaska, should be bonafide residents of the Territory or District in which the duties are to be performed. The Democratic party believes in home rule, and that all public lands of the United States should be appropriated to the establishment of free homes for American citizens.” ALASKA.—“We recommend that the Territory of Alaska be granted a Delegate in Congress, and that the general land and timber laws of the United States be extended to said Territory.” MONROE DOCTRINE.--"The Monroe Doctrine, as originally declared and as interpreted by succeeding Presidents, is a permanent part of the foreign policy of the United States, and must at all times be maintained.” CUBA.—“We extend our sympathy to the people of Cuba in their heroic struggle for liberty and independence.” CIVIL SERVICE.-"We are opposed to life tenure in the public service. We favor appointments based upon merit, fixed terms of office, and such an administration of the Civil Service laws as will afford equal opportunities to all citizens of ascertained fitness.” - r) Third TERM.–“We declare it to be the unwritten law of this Republic, established by custom and usage of 100 years and sanctioned by the examples of the atest and wisest of those who founded and have maintained our Government, that no man should be eligible for a third term of the Presidential office.” WATERWAYS.–**The Federal Government should care for and improve the Mississippi River and other great waterways of the Republic, so as to secure for the interior States easy and cheap transportation to tidewater. When any waterway of the Republic, is of sufficient importance to demand aid of the Government, such aid should be extended upon a definite plan of continuous work until permanent improvement is secured. “Confiding in the justice of our cause and the necessity of its success at the polls, we submit the foregoing declaration of principles and purposes to the considerate judgment of the American people. We invite the support of all citizens who approve them and who desire to have them made effective through legislation for the relief of the people and the restoration of the country's prosperity.” The platform reported by the minority (signed by David B. Hill, New-York: William F. Vilas, Wisconsin: George Gray, Delaware; John Prentiss Poe, Maryland; Irving W. Drew, New-Hampshire; P. J. Farrell, Vermont; Lynde Harrison, Connecticut; David S. Baker, Rhode Island: C. O. Holman, Maine: Thomas A. C. Weadock, Michigan: James

| NATIONAL PARTY CONVENTIONS.

27

Massachusetts; Robert E. Wright, Pennsylvania: William R. Steele, South Lakota: Allan L. McDermott, New-Jersey, and Charles D. Rogers, Alaska) was as follows: **To the Democratic National Convention: Sixteen delegates, constituting the minority of the Committee on Resolutions, d many declarations in the redoctrine as to demand a distinct statement of what they hold to as the only just and true expression of Democratic faith upon this important issue, as follows, which is offered as a substitute for port of the majority to which they cannot give their assent. Some of these are wholly unnecessary. Some are ill-considered and ambiguously phrased, while others are extreme and revolutionary of the well-recognized principles of the party. The minority content themselves with this general expression of their dis– sent without going into a specific statement of these objectionable features of the report of the majority. “But upon the financial question, which engages at this time the chief share of public attention, the views of the majority differ so fundamentally from what the minority regard as vital Democratic the financial report of the majority: **we declare our belief that the experiment on the part of the United States alone of free silver coinage and a change in the existing standard of value independently of the action, of , other, great nations would not only imperil our finances, but would retard or entirely prewent the establishment of international bimetallism, to which the efforts of the Government should be steadily directed. It would place this country at once upon a silver basis, impair contracts, disturb business, diminish the purchasing power of the wages of labor, and inflict irrepar— able evils upon our Nation's commerce ana industry. ***ntil international co-operation among leading nations for the coinage of silver can be secured, we favor the rigid maintenance of the existing gold standard as essential to the preservation of our National credit, the redemption of our public piedges, and the keeping inviolate of our country's honor. We insist that, all our paper currency shall be kept at a parity with gold. The Democratic, party is the party of hard money, and is opposed to legal—tender paper money as a Eart of our permanent financial system, on a we therefore favor the gradual retirement and cancellation of all United states notes and Treasury notes, under such legislative provisions as will prevent groue contraction. ...We demand that the National credit shall be resolutely mainrained at all times and under all circum-----es"...The majority also feel that the report of the majority is defective in failing to make any recognition of the honesty, economy, courage and fidelity of the pres– ent Democratic Administration, and they therefore offer the i. declaration

as an amendment to the majority report: *We commend the honesty, economy, courage and fidelity of the present Democrate orgational Administration.” "The vote on the financial planks of the minority was: Yeas, 303; nays, 626. On

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic]

Pal

States and Territories. mer. Bragg. Alabami - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 22 Arkansas - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 16 California - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 18 Colorado .................. 8 Connecticut . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Delaware . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Florida. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 8 Georgia - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 26 Illinois - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 47 1 Indiana. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 30 Iowa - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 25% % Kansas - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 20 Kentucky ................! 14 12 Louisiana - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 16 Maine - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 12 Maryland - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 16 Massachusetts ............! 30 Michigan ................. 28 Minnesota ................! 15 3 Mississippi ................ 18 Missouri .................. I 17 17 Montana - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 6 Nebraska ................. 8 8 New-Hampshire - - - - - - - - - - 8 New—Jersey - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 19 1 New-York - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 47 25 North Carolina - - - - - - - - - - - - - 22 North Dakota . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Ohio - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 30 16 Oregon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 4 Pennsylvania ............. 63 1 Rhode Island - - - - - - - - - - - - - 8 South Carolina ........... 18 South Dakota ............. 5 3 Tennessee . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 3 Texas - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 30 Vermont - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - s Virginia - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 24 Washington .............. 8 West Virginia. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Wisconsin - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 24 Alaska. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 6 Arizona - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 6 New-Mexico - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 6

Totals -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 769% 118%

Simon Bolivar Buckner, of Kentucky, was nominated for Vice-President by acclamation.

THE PLATFORM.

The platform, adopted on September 3, ! was as follows: “This Convention has assembled to uphold the principles upon which depend the honor and welfare of the American people, in order that Democrats throughout the Union may unite their patriotic efforts to avert disaster from their country and ruin from their party. The Democratic party is pledged to equal and exact justice to all men of every creed and condition; to the largest freedom of the individual consistent with good government; to the preservation of the Federal Government in its Constitutional vigor, and to the support of the States in all their just rights; to economy in the public expenditures; to the maintenance of the public faith and sound money; and it is opposed to paternalism and all class legislation. The declarations of the Chicago Convention attack individual freedom, the right to private contract, the independence of the judiciary and the authority of

the President to enforce Federal laws. They advocate a reckless attempt to increase the price of silver by legislation, to the debasement of our monetary standard, and threaten unlimited issues of paper money by the Government. They abandon for Republican allies the Democratic cause of tariff reform, to court the favor of protectionists to their fiscal heresy. In view of these and other grave departures from Democratic principles, we cannot support the candidates of that convention nor be bound by its acts. The Democratic party has survived defeats, but could not survive a victory won in behalf of the doctrine and policy proclaimed in its name at Chicago. The condition, however, which made possible such utterances from a National Convention are the direct result of class legislation by the Republican party. It still proclaims, as it has for years, the power and duty of Government to raise and maintain prices by law, and it proposes no remedy for existing evils except oppressive and unjust taxation."

TARIFF.—“The National Democracy here convened, therefore, renews its declarations of faith in Democratic principles, especially as applicable to the conditions of the times. Taxation tariff, excise or direct, is rightfully imposed only for public purposes, and not for private gain. Its amount is justly measured by public expenditures, which should be limited by scrupulous economy. The sum derived by the Treasury from tariff and excise levies is affected by the state of trade and volume of consumption. The amount required by the Treasury is determined by the appropriations made by Congress. The demand of the Republican party for an increase in tariff taxation has its pretext in the deficiency of the revenue, which has its causes in the stagnation of trade and reduced consumption, due entirely to the loss of confidence that has followed the Populist threat of free coinage and depreciation of our money, and the Republican practice of extravagant appropriations beyond the needs of good government. We arraign and condemn the Populistic conventions of Chicago and St. Louis for their co-operation with the Republican party in creating these conditions, which are pleaded in justification of a heavy increase of the burdens of the people by a further resort to protection. We therefore denounce protection and its ally, free coinage of silver, as schemes for the personal profit of a few at the expense of the masses, and oppose the two parties which stand for these schemes as hostile to the people of the Republic, whose food and shelter, comfort and prosperity are attacked by higher taxes and depreciated money. In fine, we reaffirm the historic Democratic doctrine of tariff for revenue only. We demand that henceforth modern and liberal policies toward American shipping shall take the place of our imitation of the restricted statutes of the eighteenth century, which have been abandoned by every maritime Power but the United States, and which, to the Nation's humiliation, have driven American capital and enterprise to the use of alien flags and alien crews, have made the Stars and Stripes an almost unknown *mblem in foreign ports, and have virtually extinguished the race of American se-in-en- We oppose the pretence that iiscriminating duties will promote shipping: that scheme is an invitation to commercial warfare upon the United States, un-American in the light of our great commercial treaties, offering no gain whatever to American shipping, while greatly increasing ocean freights on our agricultural and manufactured products.” MONEY.-“The experience of mankind has shown that, by reason of their natural qualities, gold is the necessary money of the large affairs of commerce and business, while silver is conveniently adapted to minor transactions, and the most beneficial use of both together can be insured only by the adoption of the former as a standard of monetary measure, and the maintenance of silver at a parity with gold by its limited coinage under suitable safeguards of law. Thus the largest possible enjoyment of both metals is gained with a value universally accepted throughout the world, which constitutes the only practical bimetallic currency, assuring the most stable standard, and especially the best and safest money for all who earn their livelihood by labor or the produce of husbandry. They cannot suffer when paid in the best money known to man, but are the peculiar and most defenceless victims of a debased and fluctuating currency, which offers continual profits to the money changer at their cost. Realizing these truths, demonstrated by long and public inconvenience and loss, the Democratic party, in the interests of the masses and of equal justice to all, practically established by the legislation of 1834 and 1853 the gold standard of monetary measurement, and likewise entirely divorced the Government from banking and currency issues. To this longestablished Democratic policy we adhere, and insist upon the maintenance of the gold standard, and of the parity therewith of every dollar issued by the Government, and are firmly opposed to the free and unlimited coinage of silver and to the compulsory purchase of silver bullion. But we denounce also the further maintenance of the present costly patchwork system of National paper currency as a constant source of injury and peril. we assert the necessity of such intelligent currency reform as will confine the Government to its legitimate functions, completely separated from the banking business, and afford to all sections of our country uniform, safe and elastic bank currency under Governmental supervision, measured in volume by the needs of business.” CLEVELAND.—“The fidelity, patriotism and courage with which President Cleveland has fulfilled his great public trust, the high character of his Administration, its wisdom and energy in the maintenance of civil order and the enforcement of the laws, its equal regard for the rights of every class and every section, its firm and dignified conduct of foreign affairs and its sturdy persistence in upholding the credit and honor of the Nation are fully recognized by the Demoeratic party, and will secure to him a are in history beside the fathers of the ublic."

[graphic]

NATIONAL PARTY CONVENTIONS. 29

CIVIL SERVICE.-"We also comment the Administration for the great progress made in the reform of the public service and we indorse its effort to extend the merit system still further. We demand that no backward step be taken, but thal the reform be supported and advanced until the un-Democratic spoils system ol appointments shall be eradicated.” ECONOMY.—“We demand strict economy in the appropriations and in the administration of the Government.” ARBITRATION.—“We favor arbitration for the settlement of international disputes.” PENSIONS.—“We favor a liberal policy of pensions to deserving soldiers and sailors of the United States.” SUPREME COURT.—“The Supreme Court of the United States was wisely established by the framers of our Constitution as one of the three co-ordinate branches of the Government. Its indeendence and authority to interpret the aw of the land without fear or favor must be maintained. We condemn all efforts to degrade that tribunal or impair the confidence and respect which it has deservedly held. The Democratic party ever has maintained, and ever will maintain, the supremacy of law, the inde— pendence of its judicial administration, the inviolability of contracts and the obligations of all good citizens to resist every illegal trust, combination or attempt against the just rights of property and the good order of society, in which are bound up the peace and happiness of our people. “Believing these principles to be essential to the well-being of the Republic, we submit them to the consideration of the American people.”

POPULISTs.

The second National Convention of the Populist party met at St. Louis, Mo., on July 22, 1896. Senator Marion C. Butler, of North Carolina, was temporary chairman, and Senator William V. Allen, of Nebraska, was permanent chairman. William J. Bryan, the Democratic nominee for President, was indorsed, and Thomas E. Watson, of Georgia, was nominated for Vice-President. The convention reversed the order of procedure in nominations, by a vote of 785 to 615, to nominate the candidate for Vice-President first. The names presented were Congressman Harry Skinner, of North Carolina; Thomas E. Watson, of Georgia: Frank Burkitt, of Mississippi; A. L. Mimms, of Tennessee; Mann Page, of Virginia, and Arthur Sewall, of Maine. The balloting began after midnight, July 24, and the result of the first ballot gave Watson 46934: Sewall, 257%, and the others ranging lower. A motion to declare Watson the nominee was carried. On the following day William J. Bryan, nominee of the Democratic Convention, was made the head of the Populist ticket, notwithstanding he had telegraphed to Senator Jones to withdraw his naro if Sewall, Democratic nominee for-VicePresident, was not indorsed for vicePresident. James B. weaver nominatol Mr. Bryan; Henry W. Call nominated S. F. Norton, or Chicago; Mr. Livings: on nominated"J. S. Coxey, but withdrew the

« PreviousContinue »