George Oberkirsh Seilhamer.

History of the Republican party (Volume 1) online

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Territories and of the United States. All the Federal officers appointed
for the Territories should be selected from bona fide residents thereof,
and the right of self-government should be accorded as far as prac-

We favor the cession, subject to the homestead laws, of the arid
public lands, to the States and Territories in which they lie, under
such congressional restrictions as to disposition, reclamation, and
occupancy by settlers as will secure the maximum benefits to
the people.

The World's Columbian Exposition is a great national undertaking,
and Congress should promptly enact such reasonable legislation in
aid thereof as will insure a discharge of the expenses and obliga-
tions incident thereto, and the attainment of results commensurate
with the dignity and progress of the nation.

We sympathize with all wise and legitimate efforts to lessen and
prevent the evils of intemperance and promote morality.

Ever mindful of the service and sacrifices of the men who saved


the life of the nation, we pledge anew to the veteran soldiers of the
Republic a watchful care and recognition of their just claims upon a
grateful people.

We commend the able, patriotic, and thoroughly American admin-
istration of President Harrison. Under it the country has enjoyed
remarkable prosperity, and the dignity and honor of the nation, at
home and abroad, have been faithfully maintained, and we offer the
record of pledges kept, as a guaranty of faithful performance in the


The representatives of the Democratic party of the United States
in national convention assembled, do reaffirm their allegiance to the
principles of the party, as formulated by Jefferson, and exemplified
by the long and illustrious line of his successors in Democratic lead-
ership, from Madison to Cleveland; we believe the public welfare
demands that these principles be applied to the conduct of the Fed-
eral Government, through the accession to power of the party that
advocates them ; and we solemnly declare that the need of a return to
these fundamental principles of a free, popular government, based
on home rule and individual liberty, w r as never more urgent than now.
when the tendency to centralize all power at the Federal capital has
become a menace to the reserved rights of the States, that strikes at
the very roots of our Government under the Constitution, as framed
by the fathers of the Republic.

We w r arn the people of our common country, jealous for the preser-
vation of their free institutions, that the policy of Federal control of
elections, to w T hich the Republican party has committed itself, is
fraught with the gravest dangers, scarcely less momentous than
would result from a revolution practically establishing a monarchy
on the ruins of the Republic. It strikes at the North as well as the
South and injures the colored citizen even more than the white; it
means a horde of deputy marshals at every polling place, armed with
Federal power, returning boards appointed and controlled by Federal
authority; the outrage of the electoral rights of the people in the
several States; the subjugation of the colored people to the control of
the party in power and the revival of race antagonisms now happily
abated, of the utmost peril to the safety and happiness of all a meas-
ure deliberately and justly described by a leading Republican Sena-
tor as " the most infamous bill that ever crossed the threshold of
the Senate." Such a policy, if sanctioned by law, would mean the
dominance of a self-perpetuating oligarchy of office-holders, and the
party first intrusted with its machinery could be dislodged from


power only by an appeal to the reserved right of the people to resist
oppression, which is inherent in all self-governing communities. Two
years ago this revolutionary policy was emphatically condemned by
the people at the polls; but, in contempt of that verdict, the Republi-
can Party has defiantly declared, in its latest authoritative utterance,
that its success in the coming election will mean the enactment of
the Force bill and the usurpation of despotic control over the elections
in all the States.

Believing that the preservation of Republican government in the
United States is dependent upon the defeat of this policy of legalized
force and fraud, we invite the support of all citizens who desire to
see the Constitution maintained in its integrity with the laws pursu-
ant thereto which have given our country a hundred years of unexam-
pled prosperity; and we pledge the Democratic party, if it be in-
trusted with power, not only to the defeat of the Force bill, but also
to relentless opposition to the Republican policy of profligate expendi-
ture, which in the short space of two years squandered an enormous
surplus and emptied an overflowing treasury, after piling new bur-
dens of taxation upon the already overtaxed labor of the country.

We denounce Republican protection as a fraud; a robbery of the
great majority of the American people for the benefit of the few. We
declare it to be a fundamental principle of the Democratic Tarty that
the Federal Government has no constitutional power to impose and
collect tariff duties, except for the purpose of revenue only, and we
demand that the collection of such taxes shall be limited to the neces-
sities of the Government when honestly and economically admin-

We denounce the McKinley tariff law enacted by the 51st
Congress as the culminating atrocity of class legislation; we indorse
the efforts made by the Democrats of the present Congress to modify
its most oppressive features in the direction of free raw materials and
cheaper manufactured goods that enter into general consumption;
and we promise its repeal as one of the beneficent results that will
follow the action of the people in intrusting power to the Democratic
Party. Since the McKinley tariff went into operation there have been
ten reductions of the wages of laboring men to one increase. We
deny that there has been any increase of prosperity to the country
since that tariff went into operation, and we point to the dullness and
distress, the wage reductions and strikes in the iron trade as the best
possible evidence that no such prosperity has resulted from the
McKinley Act.

We call the attention of thoughtful Americans to the fact that
after thirty years of restrictive taxes agains the importation of for-


eign wealth in exchange for our agricultural surplus, the homes and
farms of the country have become burdened with a real estate mort-
gage debt of over $2,500,000,000, exclusive of all other forms of
indebtedness; that in one of the chief agricultural States of the West
there appears a real estate mortgage debt averaging $165 per capita
of the total population; and that similar conditions and tendencies
are shown to exist in other agricultural exporting States. We
denounce a policy which fosters no industry so much as it does that of
the sheriff.

Trade interchange on the basis of reciprocal advantages to the
countries participating is a time-honored doctrine of the Democratic
faith, but we denounce the sham reciprocity which juggles with the
people's desire for enlarged foreign markets and freer exchanges by
pretending to establish closer trade relations for a country whose
articles of export are almost exclusively agricultural products with
other countries that are also agricultural, while erecting a custom-
house barrier of prohibitive tariff taxes against the richest countries
of the world that stand ready to take our entire surplus of products
and to exchange therefor commodities which are necessaries and
comforts of life among our own people.

We recognize in the Trusts and Combinations which are designed
to enable capital to secure more than its just share of the joint product
of capital and labor a natural consequence of the prohibitive taxes
which prevent the free competition which is the life of honest trade,
but believe their worst evils can be abated by law, and we demand the
rigid enforcement of the law r s made to prevent and control them,
together with such further legislation in restraint of their abuses as
experience may show to be necessary.

The Kepublican party, while professing a policy of reserving the
public land for small holdings by actual settlers, has given away the
people's heritage, until now a few railroad and non-resident aliens,
individual and corporate, possess a larger area than that of all pur
farms between the two seas. The last Democratic administration
reversed the improvident and unwise policy of the Kepublican party
touching the public domain, and reclaimed from corporations and
syndicates, alien and domestic, and restored to the people nearly one
hundred millions (100,000,000) acres of valuable land to be sacredly
held as homesteads for our citizens, and we pledge ourselves to con-
tinue this policy until every acre of land so unlawfully held shall be
reclaimed and restored to the people.

We denounce the Republican legislation known as the Sherman
Act of 1890 as a cowardly makeshift, fraught with possibilities of
danger in the future, which should make all of its supporters, as well


as its author, anxious for its speedy repeal. We hold to the use of
both gold and silver as the standard money of the country, and to the
coinage of both gold and silver without discriminating against either
metal or charge for mintage, but the dollar unit of coinage of both
metals must be of equal intrinsic and exchangeable value, or be
adjusted through international agreement, or by such safeguards of
legislation as shall insure the maintenance of the parity of the two
metals, and the equal power of every dollar at all times in the mar-
kets, and in payment of debt; and we demand that all paper currency
shall be kept at par with and redeemable in such coin. We insist
upon this policy as especially necessary for the protection of the
farmers and laboring classes, the first and most defenseless victims
of unstable money and a fluctuating currency.

We recommend that the prohibitory ten per cent, tax on State
bank issues be repealed.

Public office is a public trust. We reaffirm the declaration of the
Democratic National Convention of 1876, for the reform of the Civil
Service, and we call for the honest enforcement of all laws regulat-
ing the same. The nomination of a President, as in the recent Repub-
lican Convention, by delegates composed largely of his appointees,
holding office at his pleasure, is a scandalous satire upon free popular
institutions, and a startling illustration of the methods by which a
President may gratify his ambition. We denounce a policy under
which Federal officeholders usurp control of party conventions in the
States, and we pledge the Democratic party to the reform of these
and all other abuses which threaten individual and local self-govern-

The Democratic party is the only party that has ever given the
country a foreign policy consistent and vigorous, compelling respect
abroad and inspiring confidence at home. While avoiding entangling
alliances, it has aimed to cultivate friendly relations with other na-
tions, and especially with our neighbors on the American continent,
whose destiny is closely linked with our own, and we view with alarm
the tendency to a policy of irritation and bluster, which is liable at
any time to confront us with the alternative of humiliation or war.

We favor the maintenance of a navy strong enough for all pur-
poses of national defense, and to properly maintain the honor and
dignity of the country abroad.

This country has always been the refuge of the oppressed from ev-
ery land exiles for conscience sake and in the spirit of the founders
of our Government, we condemn the oppression practiced by the Rus-
sian Government upon its Lutheran and Jewish subjects, and we call
upon our National Government, in the interest of justice and human-


ity, by all just and proper means, to use its prompt and best efforts to
bring about a cessation of these cruel persecutions in the dominions
of the Czar, and to secure to the oppressed equal rights.

We tender our profound and earnest sympathy to those lovers of
freedom who are struggling for home rule and the great cause of
local self-government in Ireland.

We heartily approve all legitimate efforts to prevent the United
States from being used as the dumping-ground for the known crim-
inals and professional paupers of Europe, and we demand the rigid
enforcement of the laws against Chinese immigration, or the impor-
tation of foreign workmen under contract, to degrade American
labor and lessen its wages; but we condemn and denounce any and all
attempts to restrict the immigration. of the industrious and worthy
of foreign lands.

This Convention hereby renews the expression of appreciation of
the patriotism of the soldiers and sailors of the Union in the war for
its preservation, and we favor just and liberal pensions for all dis-
abled Union soldiers, their widows and dependents; but we demand
that the work of the Pension Office shall be done industriously, im-
partially, and honestly. We denounce the present administration of
that office as incompetent, corrupt, disgraceful, and dishonest.

The Federal Government should care for and improve the Missis-
sippi River and other great waterways of the Republic, so as to se-
cure for the interior States easy and cheap transportation to the
tide-w r ater, when any waterway of the public is of sufficient impor-
tance, to demand the aid of the Government, that such aid should
be extended upon a definite plan of continuous work until permanent
improvement is secured.

For purposes of national defense and the promotion of commerce
between the States, we recognize the early construction of the Nicar-
agua Canal and its protection against foreign control as of great im-
portance to the United States.

Recognizing the World's Columbian Exposition as a national un-
dertaking of vast importance, in which the General Government has
invited the co-operation of all the powers of the world, and appre-
ciating the acceptance by many of such powers of the invitation thus
extended, and the broad and liberal efforts being made by them to
contribute to the grandeur of the undertaking, we are of the opinion
that Congress should make such necessary financial provision as shall
be requisite to the maintenance of the national honor and public

Popular education being the only safe basis of popular suffrage,
we recommend to the several States most liberal appropriations for


the public schools. Free common schools are the nursery of good
government, and they have always received the fostering care of the
Democratic party, which favors every means of increasing intelli-
gence. Freedom of education, being an essential of civil and reli-
gious liberty, as well as a necessity for the development of intelli-
gence, must not be interfered with under any pretext whatever. We
are opposed to State interference with parental rights and rights of
conscience in the education of children, as an infringement of the
fundamental Democratic doctrine that the largest individual liberty,
consistent with the rights of others, insures the highest type of
American citizenship and the best government.

We approve the action of the present House of Representatives in
passing bills for the admission into the Union as States of the Terri-
tories of New Mexico and Arizona, and we favor the early admission
of all the Territories having necessary population and resources to
admit 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 bona-fide residents of the Territory or District in which their duties
are to be performed. The Democratic party believes in home rule
and the control of their own affairs by the people of the vicinage.

We favor legislation by Congress and State Legislatures to pro-
tect the lives and limbs of railway employees and those of other
hazardous transportation companies, and denounce the inactivity of
the Republican party, and particularly the Republican Senate, for
causing the defeat of measures beneficial and protective to this
class of wage-workers.

We are in favor of the enactment by the States of laws for abolish-
ing the notorious sweating system, for abolishing contract convict
labor, and for prohibiting the employment in factories of children
under fifteen years of age.

We are opposed to all sumptuary laws as an interference with the
individual rights of the citizen.

Upon this statement of principles and policies the Democratic
party asks the intelligent judgment of the American people. It asks
a change of administration and a change of party in order that there
may be a change of svstem and a change of methods, thus assurinc; the

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maintenance unimpaired of institutions under which the Republic
has grown great and powerful.


We demand a national currency, safe, sound, and flexible, issued
by the General Government only, a full legal tender for all debts, pub-


lie and private, and that without the use of banking corporations, a
just, equitable, and efficient means of distribution direct to the people,
at a tax not to exceed 2 per cent, per annum, to be provided as set
forth in the sub-treasury plan of the Farmers' Alliance, or a better
system; also by payments in discharge of its obligations for public

1. We demand free and unlimited coinage of silver and gold at the
present legal ratio of 16 to 1.

2. We demand that the amount of circulating medium be speedily
increased to not less than $50 per capita.

3. We demand a graduated income tax.

4. We believe that the money of the country should be kept as
much as possible in the hands of the people, and hence we demand
that all State and national revenues shall be limited to the necessary
expenses of the Government, economically and honestly administered.

5. We demand that postal savings banks be established by the
Government for the safe deposit of the earnings of the people and to
facilitate exchange.


The Republicans of the United States, assembled by their repre-
sentatives in National Convention, appealing for the popular and his-
torical justification of their claims to the matchless achievements of
thirty years of Republican rule, earnestly and confidentially address
themselves to the awakened intelligence, experience, and conscience
of their countrymen in the following declaration of facts and prin-

For the first time since the Civil War the American people have
witnessed the calamitous consequences of full and unrestricted
Democratic control of the Government. It has been a record of un-
paralleled incapacity, dishonor, and disaster. In administrative
management it has ruthlessly sacrificed indispensable revenue, en-
tailed an unceasing deficit, eked out ordinary current expenses with
borrowed money, piled up the public debt by $262,000,000 in time
of peace, forced an adverse balance of trade, kept a perpetual menace
hanging over the redemption fund, pawned American credit to alien
syndicates, and reversed all the measures and results of successful
Republican rule. In the broad effect of its policy it has precipitated
panic, blighted industry and trade w r ith prolonged depression, closed
factories, reduced work and wages, halted enterprise, and crippled
American production while stimulating foreign production for the
American market. Every consideration of public safety and individ-
ual interest demands that the Government shall be rescued from the


hands of those who have shown themselves incapable to conduct it
without disaster at home and dishonor abroad, and shall be restored
to the party which for thirty years administered it with unequaled
success and prosperity. And in this connection we heartily indorse
the wisdom, patriotism, and the success of the administration of
President Harrison.

We renew and emphasize our allegiance to the policy of protection
as the bulwark of American industrial independence and the founda-
tion of American development and prosperity. This true American
policy taxes foreign products and encourages home industry; it puts
the burden of revenue on foreign goods; it secures the American mar-
ket for the American producer; it upholds the American standard of
wages for the American workingman; it puts the factory by the side
of the farm, and makes the American farmer less dependent on for-
eign demand and price; it diffuses general thrift, and founds the
strength of all on the strength of each. In its reasonable applica-
tion it is just, fair, and impartial, equally opposed to foreign control
and domestic monopoly, to sectional discrimination, and individual

We denounce the present Democratic tariff as sectional, injurious
to the public credit, and destructive to business enterprise. We de-
mand such an equitable tariff on foreign imports which come into
competition with American products as will not only furnish ade-
quate revenue for the necessary expenses of the Government, but will
protect American labor from degradation to the wage level of other
lands. We are not pledged to any particular schedules. The ques-
tion of rates is a practical question, to be governed by the conditions
of the time and of production; the ruling and uncompromising prin-
ciple is the protection and development of American labor and in-
dustry. The country demands a right settlement, and then it wants

We believe the repeal of the reciprocity arrangements negotiated
by the last Republican Administration was a National calamity, and
we demand their renewal and extension on such terms as will equalize
our trade with other nations, remove the restrictions which now ob-
struct the sale of American products in the ports of other countries,
and secure enlarged markets for the products of our farms, forests,
and factories.

Protection and reciprocity are twin measures of Republican policy,
and go hand in hand. Democratic rule has recklessly struck down
both, and both must be re-established. Protection for w T hat we pro-
duce; free admission for the necessaries of life which we do not pro-
duce; reciprocal agreements of mutual interests which gain open


markets for us in return for our open market to others. Protection
builds up domestic industry and trade and secures our own market for
ourselves; reciprocity builds up foreign trade and finds an outlet for
our surplus.

We condemn the present Administration for not keeping faith with
the sugar producers of this country. The Republican party favors
such protection as will lead to the production on American soil of all
the sugar which the American people use, and for which they pay
other countries more than 1100,000,000 annually.

To all our products to those of the mine and the field as well as
those of the shop and the factory to hemp, to wool, the product of
the great industry of sheep husbandry, as well as to the finished
woolens of the mills, we promise the most ample protection.

We favor restoring the early American policy of discriminating
duties for the upbuilding of our merchant marine and the protection*
of our shipping in the foreign carrying trade, so that American ships
the product of American labor employed in American shipyards,
sailing under the Stars and Stripes, and manned, officered, and owned
by Americans may regain the carrying of our foreign commerce.

The Republican party is unreservedly for sound money. It caused
the enactment of the law providing for the resumption of specie pay-
ments in 1879; since then every dollar has been as good as gold. We
are unalterably opposed to every measure calculated to debase our
currency or impair the credit of our country. We are therefore op-
posed to the free coinage of silver, except by international agreement
with the leading commercial nations of the world, which we pledge
ourselves to promote, and until such agreement can be obtained the
existing gold standard must be preserved. All our silver and paper

Online LibraryGeorge Oberkirsh SeilhamerHistory of the Republican party (Volume 1) → online text (page 60 of 61)