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The Democratic party of the Union, through its representatives in National Convention assembled, recognizes that, as the nation grows older, new issues are born of time and progress, and old issues perish. But the fundamental principles of the Democracy, approved by the united voice of the people, remain, and will ever remain, as the best and only security for the continuance of free government. The preservation of personal rights; the equality of all citizens before the law ; the reserved rights of the States; and the supremacy of the Federal Government within the limits of the Constitution, will ever form the true basis of our liberties, and can never be surrendered without destroying that balance of rights and powers which enables a continent to be developed in peace, and social order to be maintained by means of local self-government.
But it is indispensable for the practical application and enforcement of these fundamental principles, that the Government should not always be controlled by one political party. Frequent change of administration is as necessary as constant recurrence to the popular will. Otherwise abuses grow, and the Government, instead of being carried on for the general welfare, becomes an instrumentality for imposing heavy burdens on the many who are governed, for the benefit of the few who govern. Public servants thus become arbitrary rulers.
This is now the condition of the country. Hence a change is demanded. The Republican party, so far as principle is concerned, is a reminiscence; in practice, it is an organization for enriching those who control its machinery. The frauds and jobbery which have been brought to light in every department of the Government, are sufficient to have called for reform within the Republican party; yet those in authority, made reckless by the long possession of power, have succumbed to its corrupting influence, and have placed in nomination a ticket against which the independent portion of the party are in open revolt.
Therefore a change is demanded. Such a change was alike necessary in 1876, but the will of the people was then defeated by a fraud which can never be forgotten, nor condoned. Again, in 1880, the change demanded by the people was defeated by the lavish use of money contributed by unscrupulous contractors and shameless jobbers who had bargained for unlawful profits, or for high office.
The Republican party during its legal, its stolen, and its bought tenures of power, has steadily decayed in moral character and political capacity.
Its platform promises are now a list of its past failures.
It demands the restoration of our Navy. It has squandered hundreds of millions to create a navy that does not exist.
It calls upon Congress to remove the burdens under which American shipping has been depressed. It imposed and has continued those burdens.
It professes the policy of reserving the public lands for small holdings by actual settlers. It has given away the people's heritage till now a few railroads,