George Oberkirsh Seilhamer.

History of the Republican party (Volume 1) online

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currency must be maintained at parity with gold, and we favor all
measures designed to maintain inviolably the obligations of the
United States, and all our money, whether coin or paper, at the pres-
ent standard, the standard of the most enlightened nations of the
earth.

The veterans of the Union armies deserve and should receive fair
treatment and generous recognition. Whenever practicable they
should be given the preference in the matter of employment, and they
are entitled to the enactment of such laws as are best calculated to
secure the fulfillment of the pledges made to them in the dark days of
the country's peril. We denounce the practice in the Pension Bu-
reau, so recklessly and unjustly carried on by the present Administra-
tion, of reducing pensions and arbitrarily dropping names from the
rolls, as deserving the severest condemnation of the American people.

Our foreign policy should be at all times firm, vigorous, and dig-



560 HISTORY OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

nified, and all our interests in the Western Hemisphere carefully
watched and guarded. The Hawaiian Islands should be controlled
by the United States, and no foreign power should be permitted to in-
terfere with them; the Nicaraguan Canal should be built, owned, and
operated by the United States, and by the purchase of the Danish
Islands we would secure a proper and much-needed naval station in
the West Indies.

The massacres in Armenia have aroused the deep sympathy and
just indignation of the American people, and we believe that the
United States should exercise all the influence it can properly exert
to bring these atrocities to an end. In Turkey, American residents
have been exposed to the gravest dangers and American property
destroyed. There and everywhere American citizens and American
property must be absolutely protected at all hazards and at any cost.

We reassert the Monroe Doctrine in its full extent, and we reaffirm
the right of the United States to give the doctrine effect by responding
to the appeal of any American States for friendly intervention in case
of European encroachment. We have not interfered, and shall not
interfere, with the existing possessions of any European power in this
hemisphere, but these possessions must not, on any pretext, be ex-
tended. We hopefully look forward to the eventual withdrawal of
the European powers from this hemisphere, and to the ultimate union
of all of the English-speaking part of the continent by the free con-
sent of its inhabitants.

From the hour of achieving their own independence the people
of the United States have regarded with sympathy the struggles of
other American peoples to free themselves from European domina-
tion. We watch with deep and abiding interest the heroic battle of
the Cuban patriots against cruelty and oppression, and our best hopes
go out for the full success of their determined contest for liberty.

The Government of Spain, having lost control of Cuba, and being
unable to protect the property or lives of resident American citizens,
or to comply with its treaty obligations, we believe that the Gov-
ernment of the United States should actively use its influence and
good offices to restore peace and give independence to the island.

The peace and security of the Republic and the maintenance of its
rightful influence among the nations of the earth demand a naval
power commensurate with its position and responsibility. We there-
fore favor the continued enlargement of the navy, and a complete
system of harbor and seacoast defenses.

For the protection of the quality of our American citizenship, and
of the wages of our workingmen against the fatal competition of low-
priced labor, w r e demand that the immigration laws be thoroughly en-



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY OF THE EPOCH. 561

forced, and so extended as to exclude from entrance to the United
States those who can neither read nor write.

The Civil-service law was placed on the statute book by the Repub-
lican party, which has always sustained it, and we renew our re-
peated declarations that it shall be thoroughly and honestly en-
forced and extended wherever practicable.

We demand that every citizen of the United States shall be allowed
to cast one free and unrestricted ballot, and that such ballot shall be
counted and returned as cast.

We proclaim our unqualified condemnation of the uncivilized and
barbarous practice, well known as lynching or killing of human be-
ings, suspected or charged with crime, without process of law.

We favor the creation of a National Board of Arbitration to settle
and adjust differences which may arise between employers and em-
ployed engaged in interstate commerce.

We believe in an immediate return to the free-homestead policy of
the Republican party, and urge the passage by Congress of a sat-
isfactory free-homestead measure such as has already passed the
House and is now pending in the Senate.

We favor the admission of the remaining Territories at the earliest
practicable date, having due regard to the interests of the people of
the Territories and of the United States. All the Federal officers ap-
pointed for the Territories should be selected from bona-fide residents
thereof, and the right of self-government should be accorded as far as
practicable.

We believe the citizens of Alaska should have representation in the
Congress of the United States, to the end that needful legislation may
be intelligently enacted.

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

The Republican party is mindful of the rights and interests of
women. Protection of American industries includes equal oppor-
tunities, equal pay for equal work, and protection to the home. We
favor the admission of women to wider spheres of usefulness, and
welcome their co-operation in rescuing the country from Democratic
and Populistic mismanagement and misrule.

Such are the principles and policies of the Republican party. By
these principles we will abide, and these policies we will put into ex-
ecution. We ask for them the considerate judgment of the American
people. Confident alike in the history of our great party and in the
justice of our cause, w r e present our platform and our candidates in
the full assurance that the election will bring victory to the Repub-
lican party and prosperity to the people of the United States.



562 HISTORY OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

DEMOCRATIC PLATFORM OF 1896.

We the Democrats of the United States in National Convention as-
sembled, 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 con-
science, the preservation of personal rights, the equality of all citizens
before the law and the faithful observance of constitutional limita-
tions.

During all these years the Democratic party has resisted the ten-
dency of selfish interests to the centralization of governmental power,
and steadfastly maintained the integrity of the dual scheme of gov-
ernment established by the founders of this Republic of Republics.
Under its guidance and teachings the great principle of local self-gov-
ernment 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 the powers granted by the
Constitution of the United States.

Recognizing that the money system is paramount to all others at
this time, we invite attention to the fact that the Federal Constitu-
tion 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 monetary unit 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 com-
modities 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 unalterably opposed to monometallism, which has locked
fast the prosperity of an industrial people in the paralysis of hard
times. Gold 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 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 gold and silver
at the present legal ratio of 16 to 1, without waiting for the aid or



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY OF THE EPOCH. 563

consent of any other nation. We demand 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 obligations of the United States the option reserved by
law to the Government of redeeming such obligations in either silver
coin or gold coin.

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, at an enormous
profit to themselves, supply the Federal Treasury with gold to main-
tain the policy of gold monometallism.

Congress alone has power to coin and issue money, and President
Jackson declared that this power could not be delegated to corpora-
tions or to individuals. We, therefore, denounce the issuance of
notes as money for national banks as in derogation of the Constitu-
tion, and we demand that all paper which is made legal tender for
public and private debts or which is receivable for dues to the United
States shall be issued by the Government of the United States and
shall be redeemable in coin.

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 taxa-
tion 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, en-
acted under the false plea of protection to home industry, proved a
prolific breeder of trusts and monopolies, enriched the few at the ex-
pense of the many, restricted trade, and deprived the producers of the
great American staples of access to their natural markets. Until the
money question is settled we are opposed to any agitation for further
change in our tariff laws, except such as are necessary to make up the
deficit in revenue 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 revenues under the law passed
by a Democratic Congress in strict pursuance of the uniform deci-
sions of that court for nearly one hundred years, that court having
sustained constitutional objections to its enactment which have been
overruled by the ablest judges who have ever sat on that bench.

W 7 e declare that it is the duty of Congress to use all the constitu-



564 HISTORY OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.

tional 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 burden of taxation may be equally and impartially laid, to
the end that wealth may bear its proportion of the expenses of the
government.

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 mone-
tary 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 manufactures.

The absorption of wealth by the few, the consolidation of our lead-
ing railroad systems, and the formation of trusts and pools require a
stricter control by the Federal Government of those arteries of com-
merce. We demand the enlargement of the powers of the Interstate
Commerce Commission and such restrictions and guaranties in the
control of railroads as will protect the people from robbery and
oppression.

We denounce the profligate 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 people's toil
are depressed in prices till they no longer repay the cost of produc-
tion. We demand a return to that simplicity and economy which be-
fits a Democratic Government and a reduction in the number of use-
less offices, the salaries of which drain the substance of the people.

We denounce the 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 especially object to
government by injunction as a new and highly dangerous form of op-
pression 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, relative to
contempts of Federal courts, and providing for trials by jury in cer-
tain cases of contempt.

No discrimination should be indulged in by the government of the
United States in favor of any of its debtors. We approve of the re-
fusal of the 53d Congress to pass the Pacific Railroad Funding
bill; and denounce the effort of the present Republican Congress to
enact a similar measure.

Recognizing the just claims of deserving Union soldiers, we heartily



DOCUMENTARY HISTORY OF THE EPOCH. 565

indorse the rule of Commissioner Murphy that no names shall be
arbitrarily dropped from the pension roll, and the fact of enlistment
and service should be deemed conclusive evidence against disease and
disability before enlistment.

We favor the admission of the Territories of New Mexico and Ari-
zona into the Union as States, and we favor the early admission of all
the Territories having the necessary population and resources to en-
title them to Statehood, and while they remain Territories we hold
that the officials appointed to administer the government of any Ter-
ritory, 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
that all public lands of the United States should be appropriated to
the establishment of free homes for American citizens.

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.

We extend our sympathy to the people of Cuba in their heroic
struggle for liberty and independence.

We are opposed to life tenure in the public service. We favor
appointments based upon merit, fixed terms of office, and such an ad-
ministration of the civil-service laws as will afford equal opportunities
to all citizens of ascertained fitness.

We declare it to be the unwritten law of this Republic, established
by custom and usage of one hundred years, and sanctioned by the
examples of the greatest 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.

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 tide
water. When any waterway of the Republic is of sufficient impor-
tance to demand aid of the Government, such aid should be extended
upon a definite plan of continuous work until permanent improve-
ment 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.



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