« PreviousContinue »
convention actually assembled at St. Louis, it soon made known its preference for Bryan and Sewall. It also raised a committee to confer with a similar committee on the part of the Populists, then also in National Convention at St. Louis, over the details of an out and out alliance of all the free silver coinage elements of the country with the Democratic party.
These committees did not prove very effective for their purpose, and the convention made haste to adopt its platform and to nominate by acclamation the nominees of the Chicago convention, Bryan and Sewall, for President and Vice President.
THE NATIONAL SILVER PARTY PLATFORM OF 1896.
First-The paramount issue at this time in the United States is indisputably the money question. It is between the gold standard, gold bonds and bank currency on the one side and the bimetallic standard, no bonds and government currency on the other.
On this issue we declare ourselves to be in favor of a distinctively American financial system. We are unalterably opposed to the single gold standard, and demand the immediate return to the constitutional standard of gold and silver by the restoration by this government, independently of any foreign power, of the unrestricted coinage of both gold and silver into standard money at the ratio of 16 to 1 and upon terms of exact equality, as they existed prior to 1873; the silver coin to be a full legal tender, equally with gold, for all debts and dues, private and public, and we favor such legislation as will
prevent for the future the demonetization of any kind of legal tender money by private contract.
We hold that the power to control, and regulate a paper currency is inseparable from the power to coin money, and hence that all currency intended to circulate as money should be issued, and its volume controlled, by the general government only and should be legal tender.
We are unalterably opposed to the issue by the United States of interest-bearing bonds in time of peace, and we denounce as a blunder worse than a crime the present treasury policy, concurred in by a Republican House, of plunging the country in debt by hundreds of millions in the vain attempt to maintain the gold standard by borrowing gold; and we demand the payment of all coin obligations of the United States, as provided by existing laws, in either gold or silver coin at the option of the government-not the option of the creditor.
The demonetization of silver in 1873 enormously increased the demand for gold, enhancing its purchasing power and lowering all prices measured by that standard; and since that unjust and indefensible act the prices of American products have fallen upon an average nearly 50 per cent., carrying down with them proportionally the money value of all other forms of property. Such fall of prices has destroyed the profits of legitimate industry, injuring the producer for the benefit of the nonproducer, increasing the burden of the debtor, swelling the gains of the creditor, paralyzing the productive energies of the American people, relegating to idleness vast numbers of willing workers, sending the shadows of despair into the home of the honest toiler, filling the land with tramps and paupers and building up collossal fortunes at the money centres.
In the effort to maintain the gold standard the country has within the last two years in a time of profound peace and plenty, been loaded down with $262,000,000 of additional interest-bearing debt, under such circumstances as to allow a syndicate of native and foreign bankers to realize a new profit of millions on a single deal.
It stands confessed that the gold standard can only be upheld by so depleting our paper curreney as to force the prices of our products below the European and even below the Asiatic level, to enable us to sell in foreign markets, thus aggravating the very evils of which our people so bitterly complain, degrading American labor and striking at the foundation of our civilization itself. The advocates of the gold standard persistently claim that the cause of our distress is overproduction; that we have produced so much that it has made us poor, which implies that the true remedy is to close the factory, abandon the farm and throw a multitude of people out of employment, a doctrine that leaves us unnerved and disheartened and absolutely without hope for the future.!
We affirm it to be unquestioned that there can be no such economic paradox as over-production and at the same time tens of thousands of our fellow-citizens remaining half clothed and half fed and who are piteously clamoring for the common necessaries of life.
Second-That over and above all other questions of policy, we are in favor of restoring to the people of the United States the time-honored money of the Constitution-gold and silver, not one, but both-the money of Washington and Hamilton, and Jefferson and Monroe,
and Jackson and Lincoln, to the end that the American people may receive honest pay for an honest product; that the American debtor may pay his just obligations in an honest standard and not in a standard that has appreciated one hundred per cent. above all the great staples of our country, and to the end further that silver standard countries may be deprived of the unjust advantage they now enjoy in the difference in exchange between gold and silver-an advantage which tariff legislation alone cannot overcome.
We therefore confidently appeal to the people of the United States to leave in abeyance for the moment all other questions, however important and even momentous they may appear, to sunder, if need be, all former party ties and affiliate and unite in one supreme effort to free themselves and their children from the domination of the money power-a power more destructive than any which has ever been fastened upon the civilized men of any race or in any age. And upon the consummation of our desire and efforts we invoke the gracious favor of Divine Providence.