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Cleveland, Grover. The Platform of the Democratic Party in the Presidential Election of 1888. Retrieved from https://doi.org/doi:10.7282/T3HH6H0D
TitleThe Platform of the Democratic Party in the Presidential Election of 1888
DescriptionGrover Cleveland's personal copy of the official National Democratic Party's platform of 1888. Presented to Grover Cleveland in July 1888.
NoteCourtesy of the State of New Jersey Division of Environmental Protection, the Grover Cleveland Birthplace Historic Site, Caldwell, New Jersey.
NoteTHE PLATFORM - The Democratic party of the United States, in national convention assembled, renews the pledge of its fidelity to Democratic faith and reaffirms the platform adopted by its representatives in the convention of 1884, and indorses the views expressed by President Cleveland in his last earnest message to Congress as the correct interpretation of that platform on the question of tariff reduction; and also indorses the efforts of our Democratic representatives in Congress to secure a reduction of excessive taxation. Chief among its principles of party faith are the maintenance of an indissoluble union of free and indestructible States, now about to enter upon its second century of unexampled progress and renown; devotion to a plan of government strictly specifying every granted power and expressly reserving to the States or people the entire ungranted residue of power; the encouragement of a jealous, popular vigilence, directed to all who have been chosen for brief terms to enact and execute the laws, and are charged with the duty of preserving peace, insuring equality and establishing justice. The Democratic party welcomes an exacting scrutiny of the administration of the executive power which four years ago was committed to its trust in the election of Grover Cleveland President of the United States, and it challenges the most searching inquiry concerning its fidelity and devotion to the pledges which then invited the suffrages of the people. During a most critical period of our financial affairs, resulting from over-taxation, the anomalous condition of our currency, and a public debt unmatured, it has, by the adoption of a wise and conservative course, not only averted a disaster, but greatly promoted the prosperity of the people. It has reversed the improvident and unwise policy of the Republican party touching the public domain, and has reclaimed from corporations and syndicates, alien and domestic, and restored to the people, nearly 100,000,000 acres of land, to be sacredly held as homesteads for our citizens. While carefully guarding the interest and the principles of justice and equity, it has paid out more for pensions and bounties to the soldiers and sailors of the Republic, than ever paid before during an equal period. It has adopted and constantly pursued a firm and prudent foreign policy with all nations, while scrupulously maintaining all the rights and interests of our own government and people at home and abroad. The exclusion from our shores of Chinese laborers has been effectually secured under the provisions of a treaty, the operation of which has been postponed by the action of a Republican majority in the Senate. In every branch of the department of the Government under Democratic control, the rights and the welfare of all the people have been guarded and defended; every public interest has been protected, and the equality of all our citizens before the law without regard to race or color has been steadfastly maintained. Upon its record thus exhibited, and upon the pledge of a continuance to the people of the benefits of it, Democracy invokes a renewal of popular trust by the re-election of a Chief Magistrate who has been faithful, able and prudent. To invoke in addition to that trust, by the transfer also to the Democracy of the entire legislative power. The Republican party, controlling the Senate, and resisting in both Houses of Congress a reformation of unjust and unequal tax laws, which have outlasted the necessities of war, and are now undermining the abundance of a long peace, deny to the people equality before the law, and the fairness and justice which are their right. Then the cry of American labor for a better share in the rewards of industry is stifled with false pretenses, enterprise is fettered, and bound down to home markets; capital is discouraged with doubt, and unequal and unjust laws can neither be properly amended or repealed. The Democratic party will continue, with all the power confided to it, the struggle to reform these laws, in accordance with the pledges of its last platform, indorsed at the ballot-box by the suffrages of the people. Of all the industrious freemen of our land, the immense majority, including every tiller of the soil, gain no advantage from excessive tax laws, but the price of nearly everything they buy is increased by the favoritism of an unequal system of tax legislation. All unnecessary taxation is unjust taxation. It is repugnant to the creed of Democracy that by such taxation the cost of the necessaries of life should be unjustifiably increased to all our people. Judged by Democratic principle, the interests of the people are betrayed when, by unnecessary taxation, trusts and combinations are permitted to exist which, while unduly enriching the few that combine, rob the body of citizens, by depriving them of the benefits of natural competition. Every Democrat true to government action is violated when, through unnecessary taxation, a vast sum of money, far beyond the needs of an economical administration, is drawn from the people and the channels of trade, and accumulated as a demoralizing surplus in the national treasury. The money now lying idle in the Federal treasury, resulting from superfluous taxation, amounts to more than $125,000,000, and the surplus collected is reaching the sum of more than $60,000,000 annually. Debauched by this immense temptation the remedy of the Republican party is to meet and exhaust by extravagant appropriations and expenses, whether constitutional or not, the accumulation of extravagant taxation. The Democratic policy is to enforce frugality in public expenses in abolishing unnecessary taxation. Our established domestic industries and enterprises should not, and need not be, endangered by reduction of correction of the burden of taxation. On the contrary, a fair careful revision of our tax laws, with due allowance for the difference between the wages of American and foreign labor, must promote and encourage every branch of such industries and enterprises, by giving them assurance of an extended market, and steady and continuous operations. In the interest of American labor, which should in no event be neglected, the revision of our tax laws contemplated by the Democratic party should promote the advantage of such labor, by cheapening the cost of the necessaries of life in the home of every working-man, and at the same time securing to him steady and remunerative employment. Upon this question of tariff reform, so closely concerning every phase of our national life, and on every question involved in the problem of good government, the Democratic party submits its principles and professions to the intelligent suffrages of the American people.
Time PeriodThe Industrial Revolution (1870-1900)
CollectionGCB Grover Cleveland Birthplace General Collection
Organization NameGrover Cleveland Birthplace State Historic Site
RightsThis resource may be copyright protected. You may make use of this resource, with proper attribution, for educational and other non-commercial uses only. Contact the contributing organization to obtain permission for reproduction, publication, and commercial use.