1884 Prohibition Party Platform

  1. The Prohibition Party, in National Convention assembled, acknowledge Almighty God as the rightful sovereign of all men, from whom the just powers of government are derived and to whose laws human enactments should conform as an absolute condition of peace, prosperity and happiness.

  2. That the importation, manufacture, supply and sale of alcoholic beverages, created and maintained by the laws of the National and State Governments during the entire history of such laws, are everywhere shown to be the promoting cause of intemperance, with resulting crime and pauperism, making large demands upon public and private charity; imposing large and unjust taxation for the support of penal and sheltering institutions, upon thrift, industry, manufactures and commerce; endangering the public peace, desecrating the Sabbath; corrupting our politics, legislation and administration of the laws; shortening lives, impairing health and diminishing productive industry, causing education to be neglected and despised, nullifying the teachings of the Bible, the church and the school, the standards and guides of our fathers and their children in the founding and growth of our widely-extended country; and which, imperiling the perpetuity of our civil and religious liberties, are baleful fruits by which we know that these laws are contrary to God's laws and contravene our happiness. We therefore call upon our fellow-citizens to aid in the repeal of these laws and in the legal suppression of this baneful liquor traffic.

  3. During the 24 years in which the Republican party has controlled the general Government and many of the States, no effort has been made to change this policy. Territories have been created, Governments for them established, States admitted to the Union, and in no instance in either case has this traffic been forbidden or the people been permitted to prohibit it. That there are now over 200,000 distilleries, breweries, wholesale and retail dealers in their products, holding certificates and claiming the authority of Government for the continuation of the business so destructive to the moral and material welfare of the people, together with the fact that they have turned a deaf ear to remonstrance and petition for the correction of this abuse of civil government, is conclusive that the Republican party is insensible to or impotent for the redress of these wrongs, and should no longer be entrusted with the powers and responsibilities of Government. Although this party in its late National Convention was silent on the liquor question, not so its candidates, Messrs. Blaine and Logan. Within the year past Mr. Blaine has recommended that the revenue derived from the liquor traffic be distributed among the States; and Senator Logan has, by bill, proposed to devote these revenues to the support of the public schools. Thus both virtually recommend the perpetuation of the traffic, and that the States and their citizens become partners in the liquor crime.

  4. That the Democratic party has in its national deliverances of party policy arrayed itself on the side of the drink-makers and sellers by declaring against the policy of Prohibition under the false name of `sumptuary laws;' that when in power in many of the States it has refused remedial legislation, and that in Congress it has obstructed the creation of a Commission of Inquiry into the effects of this traffic, proving that it should not be entrusted with power and place.

  5. That there can be no greater peril to the nation than the existing competition of the Republican and Democratic parties for the liquor vote. Experience shows that any party not openly opposed to the traffic will engage in this competition, will court the favor of the criminal classes, will barter the public morals, the purity of the ballot and every trust and object of good government for party success. Patriots and good citizens should therefore, immediately withdraw from all connection with these parties.

  6. That we favor reforms in the abolition of all sinecures with useless offices and officers, and in elections by the people instead of appointments by the President; that as competency, honesty and sobriety are essential qualifications for office, we oppose removals except when absolutely necessary to secure effectiveness in vital issues; that the collection of revenues from alcoholic liquors and tobacco should be abolished, since the vices of men are not proper subjects of taxation; that revenue from customs duties should be levied for the support of the Government economically administered, and in such manner as will foster American industries and labor; that the public lands should be held for homes for the people, and not bestowed as gifts to corporations, or sold in large tracts for speculation upon the needs of actual settlers; that grateful care and support should be given to our soldiers and sailors disabled in the service of their country, and to the dependent widows and orphans; that we repudiate as un-American and contrary to and subversive to the principles of the Declaration of Independence, that any person or people should be excluded from residence or citizenship who may desire the benefits which our institutions confer upon the oppressed of all nations; that while these are important reforms, and are demanded for purity of administration and the welfare of the people, their importance sinks into insignificance when compared with the drink traffic, which now annually wastes $800,000,000 of the wealth created by toil and thrift, dragging down thousands of families from comfort to poverty, filling jails, penitentiaries, insane asylums, hospitals and institutions for dependency, impairing the health and destroying the lives of thousands, lowering intellectual vigor and dulling the cunning hand of the artisan, causing bankruptcy, insolvency, and loss in trade, and by its corruping power endangering the perpetuity of free institutions, that Congress should exercise its undoubted power by prohibiting the manufacture and sale of intoxicating beverages in the District of Columbia, the Territories of the United States and all places over which the Government has exclusive jurisdiction; that hereafter no State should be admitted to the Union until its Constitution shall expressly and forever prohibit polygamy and the manufacture and sale of intoxicating beverages, and that Congress shall submit to the States an Amendment to the Constitution forever prohibiting the importation, exportation, manufacture and sale of alcoholic drinks.

  7. We earnestly call the attention of the mechanic, the miner and manufacturer to the investigation of the baneful effects upon labor and industry of the needless liquor business. It will be found the robber who lessens wages and profits, foments discontent and strikes, and the destroyer of family welfare. Labor and all legitimate industries demand deliverance from the taxation and loss which this traffic imposes; and no tariff or other legislation can so healthily stimulate production, or increase the demand for capital and labor, or insure so much of comfort and content to the laborer, mechanic, and capitalist as would the suppression of this traffic.

  8. That the activity and co-operation of the women of America for the promotion of temperance has in all the history of the past been a strength and encouragement which we gratefully acknowledge and record. In the later and present phase of the movement for the Prohibition of the traffic, the purity of purpose and method, the earnestness, zeal, intelligence and devotion of the mothers and daughters of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union have been eminently blessed of God. Kansas and Iowa have been given them as `sheaves' of rejoicing, and the education and arousing of the public mind, and the now prevailing demand for the Constitutional Amendment, are largely the fruit of their prayers and labors. Sharing in the efforts that shall bring the question of the abolition of this traffic to the polls, they shall join in the grand `Praise God, from whom all blessings flow,' when by law victory shall be achieved.

  9. That, believing in the civil and the political equality of the sexes, and that the ballot in the hands of woman is her right for protection and would prove a powerful ally for the abolition of the liquor traffic, the execution of the law, the promotion of reform in civil affairs, the removal of corruption in public life, we enunciate the principle and relegate the practical outworking of this reform to the discretion of the Prohibition party in the several States according to the condition of public sentiment in those States.

  10. That we gratefully acknowledge the presence of the divine spirit guiding the counsels and granting the success which has been vouchsafed in the progress of the temperance reform; and we earnestly ask the voters of these United States to make the principles of the above declaration dominant in the Government of the nation.