Republican Party Platform 1860

One hundred and fifty years ago this country was involved in the most momentous Presidential Election before or since.  It is interesting to look at the Republican Party Platform from that election.  Other posts will look at the other party platforms in that election.  Slavery and threats to the Union dominate, and the language of the platform in these areas is clear and direct.  The platform also calls for a protective tariff, appropriations for river and harbor improvements, a homestead act for land for settlers in the West, and a transcontinental railroad.  As a political document it is remarkable for its clarity.  Virtually the entire platform would be enacted in the coming years.  The text of the platform:


Published in: on October 1, 2010 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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Historical pet peeves: Democratic-Republicans

No, the political party itself isn’t a pet peeve – sure it had the Prince of Darkness (Jefferson), but it also included the Sage of Montpelier (Madison) – but the term itself bugs me.  There was no such political party called the Democratic-Republicans.  The party of Jefferson, Madison, Monroe et al. were simply called Republicans.  Now, in some contemporary literature they would occasionally be referenced as Democratic-Republicans, but this was not very common.  After all, in his first inaugural, Jefferson did not say “We are all federalists, we are all democratic-republicans.”

So why do high school textbooks and other reference works allude to the Democratic-Republicans?  I suppose it’s for two reasons.  First of all, it helps distinguish the early 19th century political party from the political party that would emerge in the 1850s and which still exists today.  Second, it denotes the continuation between Jefferson’s party and the Democratic party that would be born with the election of Andrew Jackson in 1828.

One could quibble that the Democratic party of Jackson was not quite the same thing as the Republican party out of which it emerged.  Once the Federalist party was vanquished from memory, the Republicans were the only game in town.  The election of 1824 threw everything back into disarray, but technically John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson were members of the same party.  Jackson couldn’t technically claim any greater degree of continuation with the Republican party than Adams.  So, I don’t think it’s completely illegitimate to say that the Democratic party of Andrew Jackson was a completely new political party.

Now this is a bit of an over-simplification, and one could also argue that Adams and his supporters weren’t really committed Republicans, and that Jackson and his men were carrying on the true Republican tradition.  That is a fair argument.

At any rate, I call for the immediate cessation of the use of the party Democratic-Republicans.  The penalty for non-compliance is, ummm, general annoyance on my part, a roll of the eyes, and perhaps a completely silly and futile comment or blog post.

Published in: on June 18, 2010 at 3:02 pm  Comments Off on Historical pet peeves: Democratic-Republicans  
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