1900 Prohibition Party Platform


The National Prohibition party, in convention represented, at Chicago, June 27 and 28, 1900, acknowledge Almighty God as the Supreme Source of all just government. Realizing that this Republic was founded upon Christian principles and can endure only as it embodies justice and righteousness, and asserting that all authority should seek the best good of all the governed, to this end wisely prohibiting what is wrong and permitting only what is right, hereby records and proclaims:

First—We accept and assert the definition given by Edmund Burke, that 'a party is a body of men joined together for the purpose of promoting, by their joint endeavor, the national interest upon some particular principle upon which they are all agreed.'

We declare that there is no principle now advocated, by any other party, which could be made a fact in government with such beneficent moral and material results as the principle of prohibition, applied to the beverage liquor traffic; that the national interest could be promoted in no other way so surely and widely as by its adoption and assertion through a National policy, and the co-operation therein by every State, forbidding the manufacture, sale, exportation, importation, and transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes; that we stand for this as the only principle, proposed by any party anywhere, for the  settlement of a question greater and graver than any other before the American people, and involving more profoundly than any other their moral future, and financial welfare; and that all the patriotic citizenship of this country, agreed upon this principle, however much disagreement there may be as to minor considerations and issues, should stand together at the ballot-box, from this time forward, until prohibition is the established policy of the United States, with a party in power to enforce it and to insure its moral and material benefits.

 We insist that such a party, agreed upon this principle and policy, having sober leadership, without any obligation for success to the saloon vote and to those demoralizing political combinations of men and money now allied therewith and suppliant thereto, can successfully cope with all other and lesser problems of government, in legislative halls and in the executive chair, and that it is useless for any party to make declarations in its platforms as to any questions concerning which there may be serious differences of opinion in its own membership, and as to which, because of such differences, the party could legislate only on a basis of mutual concessions when coming into power.

 We submit that the Democratic and Republican parties are alike insincere in their assumed hospitality to trusts and monopolies. They dare not and do not attack the most dangerous of them all, the liquor power. So long as the saloon debauches the citizens and breeds the purchasable voter, money will continue to buy its way to power. Break down this traffic, elevate manhood, and a sober citizenship will find a way to control dangerous combinations of capital.

 We propose as a first step in the financial problems of the nation to save more than a billion of dollars every year, now annually expended to support the liquor traffic and to demoralize our people. When that is accomplished, conditions will have so improved that, with a clearer atmosphere, the country can address itself to the questions as to the kind and quantity of currency needed.

 Second—We reaffirm as true indisputably the declaration of William Windom when Secretary of the Treasury in the cabinet of President Arthur, that `Considered socially, financially, politically, or morally, the licensed liquor traffic is or ought to be the overwhelming issue in American politics,' and that `the destruction of this iniquity stands next on the calendar of the world's progress.' We hold that the existence of our party presents this issue squarely to the American people, and lays upon them the responsibility of choice between liquor parties, dominated by distillers and brewers, with their policy of saloon-perpetuation, breeding waste, wickedness, woe, pauperism, taxation, corruption and crime, and our one party of patriotic and moral principle, with a policy which defends it from domination by corrupt bosses and which insures it forever against the blighting control of saloon politics.

 We face with sorrow, shame, and fear the awful fact that this liquor traffic has a grip on our Government, Municipal, State, and National, through the revenue system and saloon sovereignty, which no other dares to dispute; a grip which dominates the party now in power, from caucus to Congress, from policeman to President, from the rumshop to the White House; a grip which compels the executive to consent that law shall be nullified in behalf of the brewer, that the canteen shall curse our army and spread intemperance across the seas, and that our flag shall wave as the symbol of partnership, at home and abroad, between this Government and the men who defy and defile it for their unholy gain.

 Third—We charge upon President McKinley, who was elected to his high office by appeal to Christian sentiment and patriotism almost unprecedented and by a combination of moral influences never before seen in this country, that, by his conspicuous example as a wine-drinker at public banquets and a wine-serving host in the White House, he has done more to encourage the liquor business, to demoralize the temperance habits of young men, and to bring Christian practices and requirements into disrepute, than any other President this republic has had. We further charge upon President McKinley responsibility for the army canteen, with all its dire brood of disease, immorality, sin, and death, in this country, in Cuba, in Porto Rico, and the Philippines; and we insist that by his attitude concerning the canteen, and his apparent contempt for the vast number of petitions and petitioners protesting against it, he has outraged and insulted the moral sentiment of this country in such a manner and to such a degree as calls for its righteous uprising and his indignant and effective rebuke.

 We challenge denial of the fact that our Chief Executive, as commander in chief of the military forces of the United States, at any time prior to or since March 2, 1899, could have closed every army saloon, called a canteen, by executive order, as President Hayes in effect did before him, and should have closed them, for the same reasons which actuated President Hayes; we assert that the act of Congress passed March 2, 1899, forbidding the sale of liquor`in any post exchange or canteen,' by any `officer or private soldier' or by `any other person on any premises used for military purposes in the United States' was and is as explicit an act of prohibition as the English language can frame.

 We declare our solemn belief that the Attorney-General of the United States in his interpretation of that law, and the Secretary of War in his acceptance of that interpretation and his refusal to enforce the law, were and are guilty of treasonable nullification thereof, and that President McKinley, through his assent to and indorsement of such interpretation and refusal, on the part of officials appointed by and responsible to him, shares responsibility in their guilt; and we record our conviction that a new and serious peril confronts our country, in the fact that its President, at the behest of the beer power, dares and does abrogate a law of Congress, through subordinates removable at will by him and whose acts become his, and thus virtually confesses that laws are to be administered or to be nullified in the interest of a law-defying business, by an Administration under mortgage to such businesses for support.

 Fourth—We deplore the fact that an Administration of this Republic claiming the right and power to carry our flag across seas, and to conquer and annex new territory, should admit its lack of power to prohibit the American saloon on subjugated soil, or should openly confess itself subject to liquor sovereignty under that flag. We are humiliated, exasperated and grieved, by the evidence painfully abundant, that this Administration's policy of expansion is bearing so rapidly its first fruits of drunkenness, insanity, and crime under the hot-house sun of the tropics; and when the president of the first Philippine commission said:`It was unfortunate that we introduced and established the saloon there, to corrupt the natives and to exhibit the vices of our race,' we charge the inhumanity and unchristianity of this act upon the Administration of William McKinley and upon the party which elected and would perpetuate the same.

 Fifth—We declare that the only policy which the government of the United States can of right uphold as to the liquor traffic, under the national Constitution, upon any territory under the national Constitution, upon any territory under the military or civic control of that Government, is the policy of prohibition: that 'to establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, to provide for the common defense, to promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,' as the Constitution provides, the liquor traffic must neither be sanctioned nor tolerated, and that the revenue policy, which makes our Government a partner with distillers and brewers and barkeepers, is a disgrace to our civilization, an outrage upon humanity, and a crime against God.

 We condemn the present Administration at Washington because it has repealed the prohibitory laws in Alaska, and has given over the partly civilized tribes there to be the prey of the American grog-shop; and because it has entered on a license policy in our new possessions by incorporating the same in the recent act of Congress in the code of laws for the government of the Hawaiian Islands.

 We call general attention to the fearful fact that exportation of liquors from the United States to the Philippine Islands increased from $337 in 1898 to $467,198 in the first ten months of the fiscal year ending June 30, 1900; and that while our exportation of liquors to Cuba never reached $30,000 a year previous to American occupation of that island, our exports of such liquors to Cuba during the fiscal year of 1899 reached the sume of $629,855.

 Sixth—One great religious body (the Baptist) having truly declared of the liquor traffic `that it has no defensible right to exist, that it can never be reformed, and that it stands condemned by its unrighteous fruits as a thing un-Christian, un-American, and perilous utterly to every interest in life;' another great religious body (the Methodist) having as truly asserted, and reiterated that `no political party has a right to expect, nor should receive, the votes of Christian men so long as it stands committed to the license system, or refuses to put itself on record in an attitude of open hostility to the saloon;' other great religious bodies having made similar deliverances, in language plain and unequivocal, as to the liquor traffic and the duty of Christian citizenship in opposition thereto; and the fact being plain and undeniable that the Democratic party stands for license, the saloon, and the canteen, while the Republican party, in policy and administration, stands for the canteen, the saloon and revenue therefrom, we declare ourselves justified in expecting that Christian voters everywhere shall cease their complicity with the liquor curse by refusing to uphold a liquor party, and shall unite themselves with the only party which upholds the prohibition policy, and which for nearly thirty years has been the faithful defender of the church, the State, the home, and the school, against the saloon, its expanders and perpetuators, their actual and persistent foes.

 We insist that no differences of belief as to any other question or concern of government should stand in the way of such a union of moral and Christian citizenship as we hereby invite, for the speedy settlement of this paramount moral, industrial, financial and political issue, which our party presents; and we refrain from declaring ourselves upon all minor matters, as to which differences of opinion may exist, that hereby we may offer to the American people a platform so broad that all can stand upon it who desire to see sober citizenship actually sovereign over the allied hosts of evil, sin, and crime, in a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

 We declare that there are but two real parties today concerning the liquor traffic —Perpetuationists and Prohibitionists—and that patriotism, Christianity, and every interest of genuine republicanism and of pure democracy, besides the loyal demands of our common humanity, require the speedy union, in one solid phalanx at the ballot-box, of all who oppose the liquor traffic's perpetuation, and who covet endurance for this Republic.