Breckinridge Platform 1860

Continuing on with our examination of the platforms of the political parties in the 1860 election, we come to the platform of the Democrats who refused to support Douglas and nominated Vice-President of the United States John C. Breckinridge for President.  The platform is quite similar to the platform of the Douglas Democrats, including the endorsement of the 1856 Democratic platform.  The main distinction is that the Breckinridge Democrats made it clear that neither the Federal or Territorial governments had any power to prohibit slavery in a territory.  Once a territory was a state after it was admitted to the Union, its constitution could then allow or prohibit slavery.   I find the platform rather moderate in the context of the times, and Southern fire-eaters must have been disappointed that a more full bore pro-slavery platform was not adopted.  The Breckinridge platform:

June, 1860 Richmond, Virginia

Resolved, That the platform adopted by the Democratic party at Cincinnati be affirmed, with the following explanatory resolutions:

1. That the Government of a Territory organized by an act of Congress is provisional and temporary, and during its existence all citizens of the United States have an equal right to settle with their property in the Territory, without their rights, either of person or property, being destroyed or impaired by Congressional or Territorial legislation.

2. That it is the duty of the Federal Government, in all its departments, to protect, when necessary, the rights of persons and property in the Territories, and wherever else its constitutional authority extends.

3. That when the settlers in a Territory, having an adequate population, form a State Constitution, the right of sovereignty commences, and being consummated by admission into the Union, they stand on an equal footing with the people of other States, and the State thus organized ought to be admitted into the Federal Union, whether its constitution prohibits or recognizes the institution of slavery.

Resolved, That the Democratic party are in favor of the acquisition of the Island of Cuba, on such terms as shall be honorable to ourselves and just to Spain, at the earliest practicable moment.

Resolved, That the enactments of State Legislatures to defeat the faithful execution of the Fugitive Slave Law are hostile in character, subversive of the Constitution, and revolutionary in their effect.

Resolved, That the Democracy of the United States recognize it as the imperative duty of this Government to protect the naturalized citizen in all his rights, whether at home or in foreign lands, to the same extent as its native-born citizens.

WHEREAS, One of the greatest necessities of the age, in a political, commercial, postal and military point of view, is speedy communication between the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Therefore be it

Resolved, that the National Democratic party do hereby pledge themselves to use every means in their power to secure the passage of some bill, to the extent of the constitutional authority of Congress, for the construction of a Pacific Railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean, at the earliest practicable moment.

Published in: on July 26, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Breckinridge Platform 1860  
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