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bill and the Republican McKinley bill is no longer treated by them as an issue upon great and divergent principles of government, but is a mere catering to different sectional and class interests.
The attempt in many States to wrest the Australian ballot system from its true purpose, and to so deform it as to render it extremely difficult for new parties to exercise the rights of suffrage, is an outrage upon popular government. The competition of both the parties for the vote of the slums, and their assiduous courting of the liquor power, and subserviency to the money power, has resulted in placing those powers in the position of practical arbiters of the destiny of the nation.
We renew our protest against these perilous tendencies, and in. vite all citizens to join us in the upbuilding of a party that, as shown in five national campaigns, prefers temporary defeat to an abandonment of the claims of justice, sobriety, personal rights and the protection of American homes.
THE PEOPLE'S PARTY PLATFORM.
ADOPTED AT OMAHA, JULY 4, 1892. Assembled upon the one hundred and sixteenth aniversary of the Declaration of Independence the People's party of America, in their first National Convention, invoking upon their action the blessing of Almighty God, puts forth, in the name and on behalf of the people of this country, the following preamble and delaration of principles.
The conditions which surround us best justify our coöperation; we meet in the midst of a nation brought to the verge of moral, political, and material ruin. Corruption dominates the ballot box, the Legislatures, the Congress, and touches even the ermine of the bench. The people are demoralized; most of the States have been compelled to isolate the voters at the polling places to prevent universal intimidation or bribery. The newspapers are largely subsidized or muzzled; public opinion silenced; business prostrated; our homes covered with mortgages; labor impoverished, and the land concentrating in the hands of the capitalists. The urban workmen are denied the right of organization for selfprotection; imported pauperized labor beats down their wages; a hireling standing army, unrecognized by our laws, is established to shoot them down, and they are rapidly degenerating into European conditions. The fruits of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes for a few, unprecedented in the history of mankind; and the possessors of these, in turn, despise the republic and endanger liberty. From the same prolific womb of the governmental injustice we breed the two great classestramps and millionaries.
The national power to create money is appropriated to enrich bondholders; a vast public debt, payable in legal tender currency, has beer funded into gold-bearing bonds, thereby adding millions to the burdens of the people.
Silver, which has been accepted as coin since the dawn of history, has been demonetized to add to the purchasing power of gold by decreasing the value of all forms of property as well as human labor, and the supply of currency is purposely abridged to fatten usurpers, bankrupt enterprises, and enslave industry.
A vast conspiracy against mankind has been organized on two continents, and it is rapidly taking possession of the world. If not met and overthrown at once, it forebodes terrible social convulsions, the destruction of civilization, or the establishment of an absolute despotism.
We have witnessed for more than a quarter of a century the struggles of the two great political parties for power and plunder,
while grievous wrongs have been inflicted upon the suffering poor. We charge that the controlling influences dominating both these parties have permitted the existing dreadful conditions to develop without serious effort to prevent or restrain them. Neither do they now promise us any substantial reform. They have agreed together to ignore, in the coming campaign, every issue but one. They propose to drown the outcries of a plundered people with the uproar of a sham battle over the tariff, so that capitalists, corporations, national banks, rings, trusts, watered stock, the demonetization of silver, and the oppressions of the usurers may be all lost sight of. They propose to sacrifice our homes, lives, and children on the altar of Mammon; to destroy the multitude in order to secure corrupt funds from the millionaires.
Assembled on the anniversary of the birthday of the nation, and filled with the spirit of the grand generation who established our independence, we seek to restore the Government of the republic to the hands of “the plain people,” with which class it originated.
We assert our purposes to be identical with the purposes of the national Constitution—to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common de. fence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.
We declare that this republic can only endure as a free government while built upon the love of the whole people for each other and for the nation; it cannot be pinned together by bayonets; that the civil war is over, and that every passion and resentment which grew out of it must die with it, and that we must be in fact, as we are in name, the United Brotherhood of Freemen.
Our country finds itself confronted by conditions for which there is no precedent in the history of the world; our annual agricultural productions amount to billions of dollars in value, which must within a few weeks or months be exchanged for billions of dollars of commodities consumed in their production; the existing currency supply is wholly inadequate to make this exchange; the results are falling prices, the formation of combines and rings, and the impoverishment of the producing class. We pledge ourselves that if given power we will labor to correct these evils by wise and reasonable legislation, in accordance with the terms of our platform.
We believe that the powers of Government–in other words, of the people-should be expended (as in the case of the postal service) as rapidly and as far as the good sense of an intelligent people and the teachings of experience shall justify, to the end that oppression, injustice and poverty shall eventually cease in the land.
While our sympathies as a party of reform are naturally upon
the side of every proposition which will tend to make men intelli. gent, virtuous, and temperate, we nevertheless regard these questions—important as they are—as secondary to the great issues now pressing for solution, and upon which not only our individ. ual prosperity, but the very existence of free institutions depend; and we ask all men to first help us to determine whether we are to hạve a republic to administer before we differ as to the conditions upon which it is to be administered; believing that the forces of reform this day organized will never cease to move forward until every wrong is remedied, and equal rights and equal privileges securely established for all the men and women of this country.
We declare therefore,
1. That the union of the labor forces of the United States this day consummated shall be permanent and perpetual-may its spirit enter into all hearts for the salvation of the Republic, and the uplifting of mankind.
2. Wealth belongs to him who creates it, and every dollar taken from industry, without an equivalent, is robbery. “If any man will not work neither shall he eat.” The interests of rural and civic labor are the same; their enemies are identical.
3. We believe that the time has come when the railroad corporations will either own the people or the people must own the railroads, and should the Government enter upon the work of owning and managing any and all railroads we should favor an amendment to the Constitution by which all persons engaged in the Government service shall be placed under a civil service regulation of the most rigid character, so as to prevent the increase of the power of the National Administration by the use of such additional Government employees.
We demand a national currency, safe, sound, and flexible, issued by the general Government only, a full legal tender for all debts, public and private, and that without the use of banking corporations, a just, equitable, and efficient means of distribution direct to the people, at a tax not to exceed two per cent. per annum, to be provided as set forth in the sub-Treasury plan of the Farmers' Alliance or some better system; also by payment in discharge of its obligations for public improvements.
We demand the free and unlimited coinage of silver and gold at the present legal ratio of 16 to 1.
We demand that the amount of the circulating medium be speedily increased to not less than $50 per capita. We demand a graduated income tax.
We believe that the monies of the country should be kept as much as possible in the hands of the people, and hence we de. mand that all national and State revenues shall be limited to the necessary expenses, economically and honestly administered.
We demand that postal savings banks be established by the
Government for the safe deposit of the earnings of the people and to facilitate exchange.
Transportation being a means of exchange and a public necessity, the Government should own and operate the railroads in the interest of the people.
The telegraph and telephone, like the Post Office system, being a necessity for the transmission of news, should be owned and operated by the Government in the interest of the people.
The land, including all the natural sources of wealth, is the heritage of all the people, and should not be monopolized for speculative purposes, and alien ownership of sand should be prohibited. All lands now held by railroads and other corporations in excess of their actual needs, and all lands now owned by aliens should be reclaimed by the Government and held for actual settlers only.