|TR’s Last War:
Theodore Roosevelt, The Great War,
and a Journey of Triumph and Tragedy
|From Lyons Press,
an imprint of Globe Pequot
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Jessica Plaskett 203.458.4511
|PROHIBITION PARTY PLATFORM - 1916
The Prohibition Party, assembled in its Twelfth National Convention in the city of
St. Paul, Minnesota, on this Twentieth day of July, 1916, grateful to Almighty God
for the blessings of liberty, for our institutions and the multiplying signs of early
victory for the cause for which the Party stands in order that the people may know
the source of its faith and the basis of its action, should it be clothed with
governmental power, challenges the attention of the Nation and asks the votes of
the people on this Declaration of principles.
We denounce the traffic in intoxicating liquors. We believe in its abolition. It is a
crime—not a business—and should not have governmental sanction.
We demand—and if given power, we will effectuate the demand—that the
manufacture, importation, exportation, transportation and sale of alcoholic
beverage purposes shall be prohibited.
To the accomplishment of that end, we pledge the exercise of all governmental
power and amendment of statutes and the amendment of constitutions, State and
National. Only by a political party committed to this purpose can such policy be
made effective. We call upon all voters, so believing, to place the Prohibition Party
in power upon this issue as a necessary step in the solution of the liquor problem.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote should not be denied or abridged
by the United States or by any State on account of sex. We declare in favor of the
enfranchisement of women by amendments to State and Federal Constitutions.
We condemn the Republican and Democratic parties for their failure to submit an
equal suffrage amendment to the National Constitution. We remind the four million
women voters that our Party was the first to declare for their political rights, which
it did in 1872. We invite their co-operation in electing the Prohibition Party to
We are committed to the policy of peace and friendliness with all nations. We are
unalterably opposed to the wasteful military programme of the Democratic
Republican Parties. Militarism protects no worthy institution. It endangers them all.
It violates the high principles which have brought us as a Nation to the present
hour. We are for a constructive programme in preparedness for peace. We declare
for and will promote a world court, to which national differences shall be
submitted, so maintained as to give its decrees binding force.
We will support a compact among nations to dismantle navies and disband armies,
but until such court and compact are established we pledge ourselves to maintain
an effective army and navy and to provide coast defenses entirely adequate for
We are opposed to universal military service, and to participation in the rivalry that
has brought Europe to the shambles and now imperils the civilization of the race.
Private profit, so far as constitutionally possible, should be taken out of the
manufacture of war munitions and all war equipment.
In normal times we favor the employment of the army in vast reclamation plans, in
reforesting hills and mountains, in building State and National highways, in the
construction of an inland waterway from Florida to Maine, in the opening of Alaska
and in unnumbered other projects which will make our soldiers constructive
builders of peace. For such service there should be paid an adequate individual
Those units of our navy which are capable of being converted into merchantmen
and passenger vessels should be constructed with that purpose in view, and chiefly
so utilized in times of peace.
We condemn the political parties, which for more than thirty years have allowed
munition and war equipment manufacturers to plunder the people and to
jeopardize the highest interest of the Nation by furnishing honey-combed armour
plate and second rate battleships which the Navy League now declares are wholly
We will not allow the country to forget that the first step toward physical,
economic, moral and political preparedness is the enactment of National
The countries at war are preparing for a fierce industrial struggle to follow the
cessation of hostilities. As a matter of commercial economy, international
friendliness, business efficiency, and as a help to peace, we demand that reciprocal
trade treaties be negotiated with all nations with which we have trade relations. A
commission of specialists, free from the control of any party, should be appointed
with power to gather full information of all phases of the questions of tariff and
reciprocity, and to recommend such legislation as it deems necessary for the
welfare of American business and labor.
The necessity of legislation to enable American ship builders or owners to meet
foreign competition, on the most favorable terms, is obvious.
Materials for construction should be admitted free of duty.
The purchase of ships abroad, when low prices invite, should be allowed and, when
so purchased, should be admitted to American registry.
Harbor rules and charges and navigation laws should not be onerous, but favorable
to the highest degree.
Liberal payment should be made by the Government for the carrying of mails or for
All shipping from the United States to any of our possessions should be reserved to
ships of American registry.
The people should not overlook the fact that the effect of Nationwide Prohibition,
on labor and industry generally, will be such as to lower the cost of ship building
per unit, and at the same time permit the payment of higher wages. The increased
volume of trade and commerce, which will result, when the wastage of the liquor
traffic is stopped, will quicken our shipping on every sea and send our flag on
peaceful missions into every port. This is urged as an incidental effect of wise
action on the liquor question, but is none the less to be desired and will aid in the
solution of the problem of our merchant marine.
Mexico needs not a conqueror, but a good Samaritan. We are opposed to the
violation of the sovereignty of the Mexican people, and will countenance no war of
aggression against them. We pledge the help of this country in the suppression of
lawless bands of marauders and murderers, who have taken the lives of American
citizens, on both sides of the border, as well as of Mexicans in their own country.
The lives and property of our citizens, when about their lawful pursuits, either in
the United States or in Mexico, must and will be protected. In the event of a break-
down of government across the border, we would use, in the interests of
civilization, the force necessary for the establishment of law and order.
In this connection we affirm our faith in the Monroe Doctrine, proclaimed in the
early days of the Nation's life and unswervingly maintained for nearly a hundred
We cannot claim the benefits of the Doctrine and refuse to assume or discharge the
responsibility and the duties which inhere therein and flow therefrom. Those duties
have long been unmet in Mexico. We should meet them now, acting, not for
territory, not for conquest or for ourselves alone, but for and with all the nations
of North and South America.
The Democratic party has blundered, and four years ago the Republican party
evaded and passed on the problem it now asks the opportunity to solve. The
abandonment of the Philippines at this time would be an injustice to them and a
violation of our plain duty. As soon as they are prepared for self-government, by
education and training, they should be granted their independence on terms just to
themselves and us.
We reaffirm our declaration in favor of conservation of forests, water power and
other natural resources.
Departmental decisions ought not to be final, but the rights of the people should be
protected by provision for court review.
In order that the public service may be of the highest standard, the government
should be a model employer in all respects. To enforce the civil service law in spirit
as well as in letter, all promotions should be nonpolitical, based only upon proven
fitness; all recommendations for demotions or removals from the service should be
subjected to the review of a nonpartisan board or commission.
The merit system should be extended to cover all postmasters, collectors of
revenue, marshals and other such public officials whose duties are purely
We reaffirm our allegiance to the principle of secure tenure of office, during good
behavior and capable effort, as the means of obtaining expert service. We declare
for the enactment of an equitable retirement law for disabled and superannuated
employees, in return for faithful service rendered, to maintain a high degree of
efficiency in public office.
We stand for Americanism. We believe this country was created for a great mission
among the nations of the earth. We rejoice in the fact that it has offered asylum to
the oppressed of other lands and for those, more fortunately situated, who yet
wished to improve their condition. It is the land of all peoples and belongs not to
any one—it is the heritage of all. It should come first in the affections of every
citizen, and he who loves another land more than this is not fit for citizenship here,
but he is a better citizen who, loving his country, has reverence for the land of his
fathers and gains from its history and traditions that which inspires him to nobler
service to the one in which he lives.
The Federal Government should interest itself in helping the newcomer into that
vocation and locality where he shall most quickly become an American. Those fitted
by experience and training for agricultural pursuits should be encouraged to
develop the millions of acres of rich and idle land.
We favor uniform marriage and divorce laws, the extermination of polygamy and
the complete suppression of the traffic in women and girls. Differences between
capital and labor should be settled through arbitration, by which the rights of the
public are conserved as well as those of the disputants. We declare for the
prohibition of child labor in factories, mines and workshops; an eight hour maximum
day, with one day of rest in seven; for more rigid sanitary requirements and such
working conditions as shall foster the physical and moral well-being of the unborn;
for the protection of all who toil, by the extension of Employers' Liability Acts; for
the adoption of safety appliances for the safeguarding of labor; and for laws that
will promote the just division of the wealth which labor and capital jointly produce.
Provision should be made for those who suffer from industrial accidents and
We pledge a business-like administration of the Nation's affairs; the abolition of
useless offices, bureaus and commissions; economy in the expenditure of public
funds; efficiency in governmental service; and the adoption of the budget system.
The president should have power to veto any single item or items of an
We condemn, and agree when in power to remedy, that which is known as `pork
barrel' legislation, by which millions of dollars have been appropriated for rivers
where there is no commerce, harbors where there are no ships and public buildings
where there is no need.
We are in favor of a single presidential term of six years.
Public utilities and other resources that are natural monopolies are at the present
time exploited for personal gain under a monopolistic system. We demand the
public ownership or control of all such utilities by the people and their operation
and administration in the interests of all the people. We stand for the preservation
and development of our free institutions and for absolute separation of church and
state with the guaranty of full religious and civil liberty.
We stand for the rights, safety, justice and development of humanity; we believe in
the equality of all before the law; in old-age pensions and insurance against
unemployment and in help for needy mothers, all of which could be provided from
what is now wasted for drink.
We favor the initiative, referendum and recall.
While it is admitted that grain and cotton are fundamental factors in our national
life, it cannot be denied that proper assistance and protection are not given these
commodities at terminal markets, in the course of inter-state commerce.
We favor and pledge our efforts to obtain grain elevators at necessary terminal
markets, such elevators to be owned and operated by the Federal Government; also
to secure Federal grain inspection under a system of civil service and to secure the
abolition of any Board of Trade, Chamber of Commerce, or other place of gambling
in grain or trading in `options' or `futures' or `short-selling,' or any other form of so-
called speculation wherein products are not received or delivered, but wherein so-
called contracts are settled by the payment of `margins' or `differences' through
clearing houses or otherwise.
This Party stands committed to free and open markets based upon legitimate supply
and demand, absolutely free from questionable practices or market manipulation.
We also favor government warehouses for cotton at proper terminals where the
interests of producers require the same; and the absolute divorce of all railroad
elevators or warehouses owned by railroad companies, either public or private,
from operation and control of private individuals in competition with the public in
merchandising grain, cotton or other farm products.
We furthermore endorse all proper methods among producers of those means of co-
operative mutual enterprise, which tend toward broader and better markets for
both producer and consumer.
This is the day of opportunity for the American people. The triumph of neither old
political party is essential to our safety or progress. The defeat of either will be no
public misfortune. They are one party. By age and wealth, by membership and
traditions, by platforms and in the character of their candidates, they are the
Conservative Party of the United States. The Prohibition Party as the promoter of
every important measure of social justice presented to the American people in the
last two generations, and as the originator of nearly all such legislation, remains
now the only great Progressive Party.
The patriotic voters, who compose the Republican and Democratic parties, can, by
voting the Prohibition ticket this year, elect the issue of National Prohibition.
To those, in whatever party, who have the vision of a land redeemed from drink,
we extend a cordial invitation to join with us in carrying the banner of Prohibition
to Nationwide victory.