« PreviousContinue »
We denounce as disturbing to business the republican threat to restore the McKinley law, which has been twice condemned by the people in national elections, and which, enacted under the false plea of protection to home industry, proved a prolific breeder of trusts and monopolies, in which the few, at the expense of the many, restricted trade and deprived the producers of the great American staples of access to their natural markets.
"Until the money question is settled we are opposed to any agi tation for further changes in our tariff laws except such as are necessary to meet the deficit caused by the adverse decision of the supreme court on the income tax. But for this decision by the supreme court, there would be no deficit in the revenue law passed by a democratic congress in strict pursuance of the uniform decisions of that court for nearly 100 years, that court having in that decision sustained constitutional objections to its enactment,. which had previously been overruled by the ablest judges who had ever sat on that bench. We declare that it is the duty of congress to use all the constitutional power which remains after that decision, or which may come from its reversal by the court as it may hereafter be constituted, so that the burdens of taxation may be equally and impartially laid, to the end that we may all bear our proportion of the expenses of the government.
"We demand the enlargement of the powers of the Interstate Commerce Commission, and such restrictions and guarantees in the control of railroads as will protect the people from robbery and oppression caused by the formation of trusts, pools, etc.
We denounce arbitrary interference by federal authorities in local affairs as a violation of the constitution of the United States and a crime against free institutions; and we especially object to government by injunction as a new and highly dangerous form of oppression by which federal judges, in contempt of the laws of the states and rights of citizens, become at once legislators, judges, and executioners.
"We are opposed to life tenure in the public service. We favor appointments based upon merit, fixed terms of office, and such an administration of the civil service laws as will afford equal opportunities to all citizens of ascertained fitness."
Other planks are: Civil and religious liberty to all; the preven tion of the importation of foreign pauper labor; legislation to provide for "arbitration of differences between employers engaged in interstate commerce and their employés; " retrenchment and economy in public expenditures; no discrimination in favor of any public debtors, such as proposed in the Pacific Railroad Funding bill; indorsement of the rule of the present commissioner of pensions; admission of New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Arizona as states; early admission of all territories with sufficient population and resources; the appropriation of all public lands for free homesteads; congressional representation for Alaska, and extension of federal land and timber laws to that territory; maintenance of the Monroe doctrine "as originally declared and as interpreted by succeeding presidents; ' sympathy for the Cuban insurgents; no third term for president; and improvement of waterways.
A minority report, signed by sixteen members of the Committee on Resolutions -among them D. B. Hill (N. Y.), W. F. Vilas (Wis.), G. Gray (Del.), and J. E. Russell (Mass.)-was submitted, offering the following substitute for the financial plank:
"We declare our belief that the experiment on the part of the United States alone of free-silver coinage, and a change in the existing standard of value independently of the action of other great nations, would not only imperil our finances, but would retard or entirely prevent the establishment of international bimetallism, to which the efforts of the government should be steadily directed. It would place this country at once upon a silver basis, impair contracts, disturb business, diminish the purchasing power of the wages of labor, and inflict irreparable evils upon our nation's commerce and industry.
"Until international co-operation among leading nations for the coinage of silver can be secured, we favor the rigid maintenance of the existing gold standard as essential to the preservation of our national credit, the redemption of our public pledges, and the keeping inviolate of our country's honor. We insist that all our paper currency shall be kept at a parity with gold. The democratic party is the party of hard money, and is opposed to legal-tender paper money as a
part of our permanent financial system; and we therefore favor the gradual retirement and cancellation of all United States notes and treasury notes, under such legislative provisions as will prevent undue contraction. We demand that the national credit shall be resolutely maintained at all times and under all circumstances.
"The minority also feel that the report of the majority is defective in failing to make any recognition of the honesty, economy, courage, and fidelity of the present democratic administration; and they therefore offer the following declaration as an amendment to the majority report:
"We commend the honesty, economy, courage, and fidelity of the present democratic national administration."
Mr. Hill then offered amendments to protect all existing contracts against violation by any change of monetary standard, and providing, in case free coinage should, after one year's operation, have failed to effect and maintain a parity between gold and silver at the ratio of 16 to 1, that it should thereupon be suspended.
The debate that followed lasted about seven hours-a time of most intense excitement. Senator Tillman (S. C.), Senator Hill (N. Y.), and ex-Representative Bryan (Neb.) were the most prominent figures.
In the course of an impassioned speech denunciatory of the Cleveland administration, Mr. Tillman asserted that the issue was a sectional one-the North and East against the South and West. This aroused such marks of disapproval, that Senator Jones of Arkansas took the platform and passionately disavowed any intention on the part of the silver leaders to inaugurate a sectional campaign. Mr. Hill replied with an extremely adroit and forcible presentation of the anti-silver arguments. At least one of his declarations may become historical-"I am a democrat, but I am not a revolutionist." Mr. Vilas (Wis.) and ex-Governor W. E. Russell (Mass.) also spoke for gold. Then Mr. Bryan (Neb.) came forward in response to a call, and delivered the oration which, from that time on, was one of the instrumental factors that secured his nomination. It abounded in eloquent metaphor, and was adorned with every resource of rhetorical embellishment and oratorical gesture. As he closed dramatically with the declaration: "We shall answer their demand for the gold standard by saying to them: 'You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns! You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold!"" an indescribable wave of long-continued ent usiasm overswept the convention.
After quiet was restored, the previous question was ordered. Mr. Hill then demanded a roll-call on his substitute for the free-coinage plank: it was rejected by 303 ayes to 626 noes, 1 not voting.
A vote by states on the resolution indorsing the administration was also demanded by Mr. Hill, resulting in 357 ayes to 564 noes, 9 not voting and absent.
A ballot was then taken resulting in adoption of the platform as reported by the Committee on Resolutions. Details of the vote are as follows:
VOTE ON ADOPTION OF DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL PLATFORM.
District of Columbia
The above vote is exactly the same as that on the rejection of Mr. Hill's substitute for the free-coinage plank, except in the case of the vote from the District of Columbia. Two of the six delegates from that district voted in favor of Mr. Hill's substitute.
Bryan and Sewall Nominated.-Most of the nominations for the presidency were made on the evening of July 9. All the really active candidates were free-silver men. The gold-standard candidates had practically been withdrawn when Hon. W. C. Whitney (N. Y.) and ex-Governor W. E. Russell (Mass.) declared that they would not be candidates. The following names were formally presented:
Richard P. Bland of Missouri, long-time champion of free coinage, nominated by Senator Vest; seconded by David Overmeyer of Kansas and J. R. Williams of Illinois.
Governor Claude Matthews of Indiana, nominated by Senator Turpie; seconded by O. Trippett of California.
Ex-Governor Horace Boies of Iowa, nominated by ex-Representative Frederick White; seconded by A. D. Smith of Minnesota.
William J. Bryan of Nebraska, nominated by Hal T. Lewis of Georgia; seconded by T. F. Kluts of North Carolina, G. F. Williams of Massachusetts, and T. J. Kernan of Louisiana.
Senator J. C. S. Blackburn of Kentucky, nominated by John S. Rhea; seconded by W. W. Foote of California.
John R. McLean of Ohio, nominated by A. W. Patrick. Ex-Governor Sylvester Pennoyer of Oregon, nominated July 10 by Mr. Miller.
Ex-Governor Robert E. Pattison of Pennsylvania, nominated July 10 by W. F. Harrity.
An earnest but unsuccessful effort was made by the silver republicans who had withdrawn from the St. Louis convention, to secure the nomination of Senator Teller as a candidate upon whom the scattered silver elements in the country might be induced to unite.
Mr. Pattison was the only gold-standard candidate announced as in the race to stay. The gold delegates were divided in opinion on the advisability of having a candidate. One faction, including Mr. Whitney and Mr. Hill (N. Y.), General Bragg and W. F. Vilas (Wis.), W. E. Russell (Mass.), and A. L. McDermott (N. J.), was opposed to voting for a gold man on a free-coinage platform. Another faction, led by Mr. Harrity (Penn.), thought a vote ought to be cast in view of future possibilities.
The consequence of the difference of opinion among the gold democrats was that, while one of the gold states, New York, cast no vote for any candidate for president, and New Jersey only two votes, there were other states, like Pennsylvania, which adopted a different course. In several of the gold states, notably Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and New Jersey, only a small proportion of the delegates voted for a candidate for president. Mr. Pattison, the gold democrat voted for, nevertheless received 100 votes, although, as stated, the big New York delegation and most of the delegates from New Jersey and the New England states refrained from voting.
On July 10 the ballots for president were cast.
The first ballot showed that Bland was well in the lead, having 235 to 119 for Bryan, 95 for Pattison, 85 for Boies, 83 for Blackburn, 37 for Matthews, with 178, consisting chiefly of the delegates from the gold states, not voting. While Bland bad nearly twice as many votes as any other candidate, all his friends were greatly disappointed that he did not have more. On the second ballot he rose to 283, while Bryan advanced to 190; on the third ballot Bland gained only eight votes, while Bryan's column rose to 219. The fourth ballot registered a loss for Bland and another considerable gain for Bryan. On this ballot the Nebraska candidate secured the votes of Alabama, Kansas, and Idaho. Then followed a general stampede to Bryan on the fifth ballot, including California, Colorado, Illinois, Tennessee, Virginia, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Ohio. As soon as it became apparent that Mr. Bryan had control of the requisite majority, the names of Bland, Boies, and Matthews were withdrawn, and the votes of Missouri, Iowa, and Indiana cast for Bryan. Arkansas and Montana changed their votes from Bland to Bryan; Texas did the same. Upon motion of Senator Turpie, the nomination of Mr. Bryan was declared unanimous, in spite of a few protests from the Pennsylvania delegation. In the balloting upward of 160 delegates present, representing the gold states, took no part throughout.
The following are the totals of the votes obtained on the five ballots: