1916 Prohibition Party Platform
The Prohibition Party, assembled in its Twelfth National Convention in the city of St. Paul, Minnesota, on this Twentieth day of July, 1916, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty, for our institutions and the multiplying signs of early victory for the cause for which the Party stands in order that the people may know the source of its faith and the basis of its action, should it be clothed with governmental power, challenges the attention of the Nation and asks the votes of the people on this Declaration of principles.
We denounce the traffic in intoxicating liquors. We believe in its abolition. It is a crime—not a business—and should not have governmental sanction.
We demand—and if given power, we will effectuate the demand—that the manufacture, importation, exportation, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverage purposes shall be prohibited.
To the accomplishment of that end, we pledge the exercise of all governmental power and amendment of statutes and the amendment of constitutions, State and National. Only by a political party committed to this purpose can such policy be made effective. We call upon all voters, so believing, to place the Prohibition Party in power upon this issue as a necessary step in the solution of the liquor problem.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote should not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. We declare in favor of the enfranchisement of women by amendments to State and Federal Constitutions.
We condemn the Republican and Democratic parties for their failure to submit an equal suffrage amendment to the National Constitution. We remind the four million women voters that our Party was the first to declare for their political rights, which it did in 1872. We invite their co-operation in electing the Prohibition Party to power.
We are committed to the policy of peace and friendliness with all nations. We are unalterably opposed to the wasteful military programme of the Democratic Republican Parties. Militarism protects no worthy institution. It endangers them all. It violates the high principles which have brought us as a Nation to the present hour. We are for a constructive programme in preparedness for peace. We declare for and will promote a world court, to which national differences shall be submitted, so maintained as to give its decrees binding force.
We will support a compact among nations to dismantle navies and disband armies, but until such court and compact are established we pledge ourselves to maintain an effective army and navy and to provide coast defenses entirely adequate for national protection.
We are opposed to universal military service, and to participation in the rivalry that has brought Europe to the shambles and now imperils the civilization of the race.
Private profit, so far as constitutionally possible, should be taken out of the manufacture of war munitions and all war equipment.
In normal times we favor the employment of the army in vast reclamation plans, in reforesting hills and mountains, in building State and National highways, in the construction of an inland waterway from Florida to Maine, in the opening of Alaska and in unnumbered other projects which will make our soldiers constructive builders of peace. For such service there should be paid an adequate individual wage.
Those units of our navy which are capable of being converted into merchantmen and passenger vessels should be constructed with that purpose in view, and chiefly so utilized in times of peace.
We condemn the political parties, which for more than thirty years have allowed munition and war equipment manufacturers to plunder the people and to jeopardize the highest interest of the Nation by furnishing honey-combed armour plate and second rate battleships which the Navy League now declares are wholly inadequate.
We will not allow the country to forget that the first step toward physical, economic, moral and political preparedness is the enactment of National Prohibition.
The countries at war are preparing for a fierce industrial struggle to follow the cessation of hostilities. As a matter of commercial economy, international friendliness, business efficiency, and as a help to peace, we demand that reciprocal trade treaties be negotiated with all nations with which we have trade relations. A commission of specialists, free from the control of any party, should be appointed with power to gather full information of all phases of the questions of tariff and reciprocity, and to recommend such legislation as it deems necessary for the welfare of American business and labor.
The necessity of legislation to enable American ship builders or owners to meet foreign competition, on the most favorable terms, is obvious.
Materials for construction should be admitted free of duty.
The purchase of ships abroad, when low prices invite, should be allowed and, when so purchased, should be admitted to American registry.
Harbor rules and charges and navigation laws should not be onerous, but favorable to the highest degree.
Liberal payment should be made by the Government for the carrying of mails or for transport services.
All shipping from the United States to any of our possessions should be reserved to ships of American registry.
The people should not overlook the fact that the effect of Nationwide Prohibition, on labor and industry generally, will be such as to lower the cost of ship building per unit, and at the same time permit the payment of higher wages. The increased volume of trade and commerce, which will result, when the wastage of the liquor traffic is stopped, will quicken our shipping on every sea and send our flag on peaceful missions into every port. This is urged as an incidental effect of wise action on the liquor question, but is none the less to be desired and will aid in the solution of the problem of our merchant marine.
Mexico needs not a conqueror, but a good Samaritan. We are opposed to the violation of the sovereignty of the Mexican people, and will countenance no war of aggression against them. We pledge the help of this country in the suppression of lawless bands of marauders and murderers, who have taken the lives of American citizens, on both sides of the border, as well as of Mexicans in their own country.
The lives and property of our citizens, when about their lawful pursuits, either in the United States or in Mexico, must and will be protected. In the event of a break-down of government across the border, we would use, in the interests of civilization, the force necessary for the establishment of law and order.
In this connection we affirm our faith in the Monroe Doctrine, proclaimed in the early days of the Nation's life and unswervingly maintained for nearly a hundred years.
We cannot claim the benefits of the Doctrine and refuse to assume or discharge the responsibility and the duties which inhere therein and flow therefrom. Those duties have long been unmet in Mexico. We should meet them now, acting, not for territory, not for conquest or for ourselves alone, but for and with all the nations of North and South America.
The Democratic party has blundered, and four years ago the Republican party evaded and passed on the problem it now asks the opportunity to solve. The abandonment of the Philippenes at this time would be an injustice to them and a violation of our plain duty. As soon as they are prepared for self-government, by education and training, they should be granted their independence on terms just to themselves and us.
We reaffirm our declaration in favor of conservation of forests, water power and other natural resources.
Departmental decisions ought not to be final, but the rights of the people should be protected by provision for court review.
In order that the public service may be of the highest standard, the government should be a model employer in all respects. To enforce the civil service law in spirit as well as in letter, all promotions should be nonpolitical, based only upon proven fitness; all recommendations for demotions or removals from the service should be subjected to the review of a nonpartisan board or commission.
The merit system should be extended to cover all postmasters, collectors of revenue, marshals and other such public officials whose duties are purely administrative.
We reaffirm our allegiance to the principle of secure tenure of office, during good behavior and capable effort, as the means of obtaining expert service. We declare for the enactment of an equitable retirement law for disabled and super-annuated employes, in return for faithful service rendered, to maintain a high degree of efficiency in public office.
We stand for Americanism. We believe this country was created for a great mission among the nations of the earth. We rejoice in the fact that it has offered asylum to the oppressed of other lands and for those, more fortunately situated, who yet wished to improve their condition. It is the land of all peoples and belongs not to any one—it is the heritage of all. It should come first in the affections of every citizen, and he who loves another land more than this is not fit for citizenship here, but he is a better citizen who, loving his country, has reverence for the land of his fathers and gains from its history and traditions that which inspires him to nobler service to the one in which he lives.
The Federal Government should interest itself in helping the newcomer into that vocation and locality where he shall most quickly become an American. Those fitted by experience and training for agricultural pursuits should be encouraged to develop the millions of acres of rich and idle land.
We favor uniform marriage and divorce laws, the extermination of polygamy and the complete suppression of the traffic in women and girls. Differences between capital and labor should be settled throuh arbitration, by which the rights of the public are conserved as well as those of the disputants. We declare for the prohibition of child labor in factories, mines and workshops; an eight hour maximum day, with one day of rest in seven; for more rigid sanitary requirements and such working conditions as shall foster the physical and moral well-being of the unborn; for the protection of all who toil, by the extention of Employers' Liability Acts; for the adoption of safety appliances for the safeguarding of labor; and for laws that will promote the just division of the wealth which labor and capital jointly produce. Provision should be made for those who suffer from industrial accidents and occupational diseases.
We pledge a business-like administration of the Nation's affairs; the abolition of useless offices, bureaus and commissions; economy in the expenditure of public funds; efficiency in governmental service; and the adoption of the budget system. The president should have power to veto any single item or items of an appropriation bill.
We condemn, and agree when in power to remedy, that which is known as `pork barrel' legislation, by which millions of dollars have been appropriated for rivers where there is no commerce, harbors where there are no ships and public buildings where there is no need.
We are in favor of a single presidential term of six years.
Public utilities and other resources that are natural monopolies are at the present time exploited for personal gain under a monopolistic system. We demand the public ownership or control of all such utilities by the people and their operation and administration in the interests of all the people. We stand for the preservation and development of our free institutions and for absolute separation of church and state with the guaranty of full religious and civil liberty.
We stand for the rights, safety, justice and development of humanity; we believe in the equality of all before the law; in old-age pensions and insurance against unemployment and in help for needy mothers, all of which could be provided from what is now wasted for drink.
We favor the initiative, referendum and recall.
While it is admitted that grain and cotton are fundamental factors in our national life, it cannot be denied that proper assistance and protection are not given these commodities at terminal markets, in the course of inter-state commerce.
We favor and pledge our efforts to obtain grain elevators at necessary terminal markets, such elevators to be owned and operated by the Federal Government; also to secure Federal grain inspection under a system of civil service and to secure the abolition of any Board of Trade, Chamber of Commerce, or other place of gambling in grain or trading in `options' or `futures' or `short-selling,' or any other form of so-called speculation wherein products are not received or delivered, but wherein so-called contracts are settled by the payment of `margins' or `differences' through clearing houses or otherwise.
This Party stands committed to free and open markets based upon legitimate supply and demand, absolutely free from questionable practices or market manipulation. We also favor government warehouses for cotton at proper terminals where the intertests of producers require the same; and the absolute divorce of all railroad elevators or warehouses owned by railroad companies, either public or private, from operation and control of private individuals in competition with the public in merchandising grain, cotton or other farm products.
We furthermore endorse all proper methods among producers of those means of co-operative mutual enterprise, which tend toward broader and better markets for both producer and consumer.
This is the day of opportunity for the American people. The triumph of neither old political party is essential to our safety or progress. The defeat of either will be no public misfortune. They are one party. By age and wealth, by membership and traditions, by platforms and in the character of their candidates, they are the Conservative Party of the United States. The Prohibition Party as the promoter of every important measure of social justice presented to the American people in the last two generations, and as the originator of nearly all such legislation, remains now the only great Progressive Party.
The patriotic voters, who compose the Republican and Democratic parties, can, by voting the Prohibition ticket this year, elect the issue of National Prohibition.
To those, in whatever party, who have the vision of a land redeemed from drink, we extend a cordial invitation to join with us in carrying the banner of Prohibition to Nationwide victory.