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THE DEMOCRATIC PLATFORM.
Adopted by the National Democratic Convention, held at St. Louis,
June 28, 1876.
REFORM A PATRIOTIC DUTY. We, the delegates of the Democratic party of the United States in National Convention assembled, do hereby declare the administration of the Federal Government to be in urgent need of immediate Reform; do hereby enjoin upon the cominees of this Convention, and of the Democratic party in each State, a zealous effort and cooperation to this end, and do hereby appeal to our fellow citizens of every former political connection, to undertake with us this first and most pressing patriotic duty.
THE UNION AND CONSTITUTION.
For the Democracy of the whole country, we do here reaffirm our faith in the permanence of the Federal Union, our devotion to the Constitution of the United States with its amendments universally accepted as a final settlement of the controversies that engendered civil war, and do here record our steadfast confidence in the perpetuity of Republican self-government,
NOBLE PRODUCTS OF A HUNDRED YEARS.
In absolute acquiescence in the will of the majority—the vital principle of Republics;
In the supremacy of the civil over the military authority;
In the equality of all citizens before just laws of their own enactment;
In the faithful education of the rising generation, that they may preserve, enjoy and transmit these best conditions of human happiness and hope;
We behold the noblest products of a hundred years of changeful history;
But, while upholding the bond of our Union and great Charter of these our rights, it behooves a free people to practise also that eternal vigilance which is the price of Liberty.
MISRULE AND HARD TIMES.
Reform is necessary to rebuild and establish in the hearts of the whole people, the Union, eleven years ago happily rescued from the danger of a Secession or States; but now to be saved from a corrupt Centralism, which, after inflicting upon ten States the rapacity of carpet-bag tyrannies, has honey-combed the offices of the Federal Government itself with incapacity, waste and fi aud; infected States and mnnicipalities with the contagion of misrule, and locked fast the prosperity of an industrious people in the paralysis of “Hard Times.”
Reform is necessary to establish a sound currency, restore the public credit and maintain the national honor.
We denounce the failure for all these eleven years of peace, to make good the promise of the legal tender notes, which are a changing standard of value in the hands of the people, and the non-payment of which is a disregard of the plighted faith of the nation.
We denounce the improvidence which, in eleven years of peace, has taken from: the people, in Federal taxes, thirteen times the whole amount of the legal-tender notes, and squandered four times their sum in useless expense, without accumulating any re. serve for their redemption.
RETRENCHMENT AND RESUMPTION.
We denounce the financial imbecility and immorality of that party which, during eleven years of peace, has made no advance towards resumption-no preparation for resumption—but instead has obstructed resumption by wasting our resources and exhausting all our surplus income; and, while annually professing to intend a speedy return to specie payments, has annually enacted fresh hindrances thereto. As such a hindrance we denounce the Resumption clause of the Act of 1875, and demand its repeal.
We demand a judicious system of preparation by public economies, by official re· trenchments and by wise finance, which shall enable the nation soon to assure the whole world of its perfect ability and its perfect readiness to meet any of its promises. at the call of the creditor entitled to payment.
We believe such a system, well devised, and, above all, entrusted to competent hands for execution, creating at no time an artificial scarcity of currency, and at no time alarming the public mind into a withdrawal of that vaster machinery of credit by which 95 per cent. of all business transactions are performed—a system open, public and inspiring general confidence, would from the day of its adoption bring healing on its wings to all our harassed industries, set in motion the wheels of commerce, manufactures and the mechanic arts, restore employment to labor, and renew in all its natural sources the prosperity of the people.
REFORM IN FEDERAL TAXATION.
Reform is necessary in the sum and modes of Federal Taxation, to the end that capital may be set free from distrust and labor lightly burdened. .
We denounce the present Tariff, levied upon nearly 4,000 articles, as a masterpiece of injustice, inequality aud false pretense.
It yields a dwindling, not a yearly rising, revenue.
It has degraded American commerce from the first to an inferior rank on the high seas.
It has cut down the sales of American manufactures at home and abroad, and depleted the returns of American agricultureman industry followed by half our people.
It costs the people five times more than it produces to the treasury, obstructs the processes of production and wastes the fruits of labor.
It promotes fraud, fosters smuggling, enriches dishonest officials, and bankrupts. honest merchants.
We demand that all Custom House taxation shall be only for Revenue..
REFORM IN PUBLIC EXPENSE.
Reform is nécessary in the scale of Public Expense Federal, State and Municipal.
Our Federal taxation has swollen from 60 millions gold, in 1860, to 450 millions currency, in 1870; our aggregate taxation from 154 millions gold, in 1860, to 730 millions currency, in 1870, or in one decade from less than $5 per head to more than $18 per head.
Since the peace, the people have paid to their tax gatherers more than thrice the sum of the national debt, and more than twice that sum for the Federal Government alone. We demand a rigorous frugality in every department, and from every officer of the government.
Reform is necessary to put a stop to the profligate waste of public lands and
lions of acres upon railroads alone, and out of more than thrice that aggregate has disposed of less than a sixth directly to tillers of the soil.