|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
|REPUBLICAN PARTY PLATFORM - 1916
June 7, 1916
In 1861 the Republican party stood for the Union. As it stood for the Union of
States, it now stands for a united people, true to American ideals, loyal to
American traditions, knowing no allegiance except to the Constitution, to the
Government, and to the Flag of the United States. We believe in American policies
at home and abroad.
Protection of American Rights
We declare that we believe in and will enforce the protection of every American
citizen in all the rights secured to him by the Constitution, by treaties and the laws
of nations, at home and abroad, by land and by sea. These rights, which in violation
of the specific promise of their party made at Baltimore in 1912, the Democratic
President and the Democratic Congress have failed to defend, we will unflinchingly
We desire peace, the peace of justice and right, and believe in maintaining a strict
and honest neutrality between the belligerents in the great war in Europe. We must
perform all our duties and insist upon all our rights as neutrals without fear and
without favor. We believe that peace and neutrality, as well as the dignity and
influence of the United States, cannot be preserved by shifty expedients, by
phrase-making, by performances in language, or by attitudes ever changing in an
effort to secure votes or voters. The present Administration has destroyed our
influence abroad and humiliated us in our own eyes. The Republican party believes
that a firm, consistent, and courageous foreign policy, always maintained by
Republican Presidents in accordance with American traditions, is the best, as it is
the only true way, to preserve our peace and restore us to our rightful place among
We believe in the pacific settlement of international disputes, and favor the
establishment of a world court for that purpose.
We deeply sympathize with the fifteen million people of Mexico who, for three
years have seen their country devastated, their homes destroyed, their fellow
citizens murdered and their women outraged, by armed bands of desperadoes led
by self-seeking, conscienceless agitators who when temporarily successful in any
locality have neither sought nor been able to restore order or establish and
We express our horror and indignation at the outrages which have been and are
being perpetrated by these bandits upon American men and women who were or
are in Mexico by invitation of the laws and of the government of that country and
whose rights to security of person and property are guaranteed by solemn treaty
obligations. We denounce the indefensible methods of interference employed by
this Administration in the internal affairs of Mexico and refer with shame to its
failure to discharge the duty of this country as next friend to Mexico, its duty to
other powers who have relied upon us as such friend, and its duty to our citizens in
Mexico, in permitting the continuance of such conditions, first by failure to act
promptly and firmly, and second, by lending its influence to the continuation of
such conditions through recognition of one of the factions responsible for these
We pledge our aid in restoring order and maintaining peace in Mexico. We promise
to our citizens on and near our border, and to those in Mexico, wherever they may
be found, adequate and absolute protection in their lives, liberty, and property.
We reaffirm our approval of the Monroe Doctrine, and declare its maintenance to
be a policy of this country essential to its present and future peace and safety and
to the achievement of its manifest destiny.
We favor the continuance of Republican policies which will result in drawing more
and more closely the commercial, financial and social relations between this
country and the countries of Latin America.
We renew our allegiance to the Philippine policy inaugurated by McKinley,
approved by Congress, and consistently carried out by Roosevelt and Taft. Even in
this short time it has enormously improved the material and social conditions of the
Islands, given the Philippine people a constantly increasing participation in their
government, and if persisted in will bring still greater benefits in the future.
We accepted the responsibility of the Islands as a duty to civilization and the
Filipino people. To leave with our task half done would break our pledges, injure
our prestige among nations, and imperil what has already been accomplished.
We condemn the Democratic administration for its attempt to abandon the
Philippines, which was prevented only by the vigorous opposition of Republican
members of Congress, aided by a few patriotic Democrats.
Right of Expatriation
We reiterate the unqualified approval of the action taken in December, 1911, by
the President and Congress to secure with Russia, as with other countries, a treaty
that will recognize the absolute right of expatriation and prevent all discrimination
of whatever kind between American citizens whether native-born or alien, and
regardless of race, religion or previous political allegiance. We renew the pledge to
observe this principle and to maintain the right of asylum, which is neither to be
surrendered nor restricted, and we unite in the cherished hope that the war which
is now desolating the world may speedily end, with a complete and lasting
restoration of brotherhood among the nations of the earth and the assurance of full
equal rights, civil and religious, to all men in every land.
Protection of the Country
In order to maintain our peace and make certain the security of our people within
our own borders the country must have not only adequate but thorough and
complete national defence ready for any emergency. We must have a sufficient and
effective Regular Army and a provision for ample reserves, already drilled and
disciplined, who can be called at once to the colors when the hour of danger comes.
We must have a Navy so strong and so well proportioned and equipped, so
thoroughly ready and prepared, that no enemy can gain command of the sea and
effect a landing in force on either our Western or our Eastern coast. To secure
these results we must have a coherent continuous policy of national defence, which
even in these perilous days the Democratic party has utterly failed to develop, but
which we promise to give to the country.
The Republican party stands now, as always, in the fullest sense for the policy of
tariff protection to American industries and American labor and does not regard an
anti-dumping provision as an adequate substitute.
Such protection should be reasonable in amount but sufficient to protect
adequately American industries and American labor and so adjusted as to prevent
undue exactions by monopolies or trusts. It should, moreover, give special
attention to securing the industrial independence of the United States as in the
case of dye-stuffs.
Through wise tariff and industrial legislation our industries can be so organized that
they will become not only a commercial bulwark but a powerful aid to national
The Underwood tariff act is a complete failure in every respect. Under its
administration imports have enormously increased in spite of the fact that
intercourse with foreign countries has been largely cut off by reason of the war,
while the revenues of which we stand in such dire need have been greatly reduced.
Under the normal conditions which prevailed prior to the war it was clearly
demonstrated that this Act deprived the American producer and the American wage
earner of that protection which enabled them to meet their foreign competitors,
and but for the adventitious conditions created by the war, would long since have
paralyzed all forms of American industry and deprived American labor of its just
It has not in the least degree reduced the cost of living, which has constantly
advanced from the date of its enactment. The welfare of our people demands its
repeal and its substitution of a measure which in peace as well as in war will
produce ample revenue and give reasonable protection to all forms of American
production in mine, forest, field and factory.
We favor the creation of a tariff commission with complete power to gather and
compile information for the use of Congress in all matters relating to the tariff.
The Republican party has long believed in the rigid supervision and strict regulation
of the transportation and of the great corporations of the country. It has put its
creed into its deeds, and all really effective laws regulating the railroads and the
great industrial corporations are the work of Republican Congresses and Presidents.
For this policy of regulation and supervision the Democrats, in a stumbling and
piecemeal way, are within the sphere of private enterprise and in direct
competition with its own citizens, a policy which is sure to result in waste, great
expense to the taxpayer and in an inferior product.
The Republican party firmly believes that all who violate the laws in regulation of
business, should be individually punished. But prosecution is very different from
persecution, and business success, no matter how honestly attained, is apparently
regarded by the Democratic party as in itself a crime. Such doctrines and beliefs
choke enterprise and stifle prosperity. The Republican party believes in
encouraging American business as it believes in and will seek to advance all
We favor an effective system of Rural Credits as opposed to the ineffective law
proposed by the present Democratic Administration.
Rural Free Delivery
We favor the extension of the Rural Free Delivery system and condemn the
Democratic administration for curtailing and crippling it.
In view of the policies adopted by all the maritime nations to encourage their
shipping interest, and in order to enable us to compete with them for the ocean-
carrying trade, we favor the payment to ships engaged in the foreign trade of
liberal compensation for services actually rendered in carrying the mails, and such
further legislation as will build up an adequate American Merchant Marine and give
us ships which may be requisitioned by the Government in time of national
We are utterly opposed to the Government ownership of vessels as proposed by the
Democratic party, because Government-owned ships, while effectively preventing
the development of the American Merchant Marine by private capital, will be
entirely unable to provide for the vast volume of American freights and will leave
us more helpless than ever in the hard grip of foreign syndicates.
Interstate and intrastate transportation have become so interwoven that the
attempt to apply two and often several sets of laws to its regulation has produced
conflicts of authority, embarrassment in operation and inconvenience and expense
to the public.
The entire transportation system of the country has become essentially national.
We, therefore, favor such action by legislation, or, if necessary, through an
amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as will result in placing it
under complete Federal control.
Economy and a National Budget
The increasing cost of the national government and the need for the greatest
economy of its resources in order to meet the growing demands of the people for
government service call for the severest condemnation of the wasteful
appropriations of this democratic administration, of its shameless raids on the
treasury, and of its opposition to and rejection of President Taft's oft-repeated
proposals and earnest efforts to secure economy and efficiency through the
establishment of a simple businesslike budget system to which we pledge our
support and which we hold to be
necessary to effect a real reform in the administration of national finance.
We believe in a careful husbandry of all the natural resources of the nation—a
husbandry which means development without waste; use without abuse.
Civil Service Reform
The Civil Service Law has always been sustained by the Republican party, and we
renew our repeated declarations that it shall be thoroughly and honestly enforced
and extended wherever practicable. The Democratic party has created since March
4, 1913, thirty thousand offices outside of the Civil Service Law at an annual cost of
forty-four million dollars to the taxpayers of the country.
We condemn the gross abuse and the misuse of the law by the present Democratic
Administration and pledge ourselves to a reorganization of this service along lines
of efficiency and economy.
Reaffirming the attitude long maintained by the Republican party, we hold that
officials appointed to administer the government of any territory should be bona-
fide residents of the territory in which their duties are to be performed.
We pledge the Republican party to the faithful enforcement of all Federal laws
passed for the protection of labor. We favor vocational education, the enactment
and rigid enforcement of a Federal child labor law; the enactment of a generous
and comprehensive workmen's compensation law, within the commerce power of
Congress, and an accident compensation law covering all Government employees.
We favor the collection and collation, under the direction of the Department of
Labor, of complete data relating to industrial hazards for the information of
Congress, to the end that such legislation may be adopted as may be calculated to
secure the safety, conservation and protection of labor from the dangers incident
to industry and transportation.
The Republican party, reaffirming its faith in government of the people, by the
people, for the people, as a measure of justice to one-half the adult people of this
country, favors the extension of the suffrage to women, but recognizes the right of
each state to settle this question for itself.
Such are our principles, such are our "purposes and policies." We close as we began.
The times are dangerous and the future is fraught with peril. The great issues of the
day have been confused by words and phrases. The American spirit, which made the
country and saved the union, has been forgotten by those charged with the
responsibility of power. We appeal to all Americans, whether naturalized or native-
born, to prove to the world that we are Americans in thought and in deed, with one
loyalty, one hope, one aspiration. We call on all Americans to be true to the spirit
of America, to the great traditions of their common country, and above all things,
to keep the faith.