網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

2

the State convention of the party. This body, consisting sometimes of several hundred men, passes resolutions expressing the political views of the party in the State, names its choice for presidential candidate -if it happens to have a choice and elects delegates to a National Convention, the number of delegates allotted to each State being twice the number of its representatives in both Houses of Congress. Sometimes it also selects candidates for presidential electors. Although the men in this convention are several degrees removed from the voting mass, yet if the sentiment at the primaries is pronounced and definite it will find expression in the State convention. If, on the other hand, the voters at the primaries give no direct indication of their will the delegates in the higher conventions must act according to their judgment.

IV. The National Convention. In June or July, all the State conventions having been held, the delegates from the States and Territories) assemble as the great National Convention. This body, consisting of more than a thousand men, meets in some convenient city, and after several days of discussion, expresses the views of the party upon public quesIn some States the delegates elected at the city primaries go straight to the State convention or to a congressional district convention.

2 In most of the States the State convention elects only four delegates (called delegates at large) to the National Convention, the other delegates being elected at congressional district conventions, two delegates being chosen from each district. Where this is the practice the district convention selects a candidate for presidential elector.

[ocr errors]

tions in the shape of a platform and chooses candidates for President and Vice-President.

After all the political parties have named their candidates the struggle for election begins. Political meetings are held, the claims of the candidates are urged, the platforms are explained and defended, and everything that can be done to influence voters is done.

The campaign, with all its faults, is a most wholesome element in our public life. It is the school-time of democracy. By it, men's attention is strongly attracted to public affairs, civic spirit is awakened, and voters are educated. The greatest objection to lengthening the presidential term is that to do so would be to deprive the people of the great educational advantage of frequent presidential campaigns.

The campaign continues until the election day, the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, when the voters render their decision. They do not vote for a President directly, but for electors as the Constitution provides (146). Since these electors are nominated and elected by a party they are morally bound to vote for the candidate of the party which elected them, and no elector has ever proved unfaithful to the party that elected him. The President is, therefore, really elected at the polls.

The electors chosen in November meet in their respective States on the second Wednesday in January and vote for President and Vice-President. The results of this vote are despatched from the several States to the President of the Senate at Washington and on the second Wednesday in February Congress meets to count the votes. The person receiving the majority of the votes cast for President is declared to be elected, and the person receiving the majority of the votes cast for Vice-President is declared to be elected. When no person receives a majority of all the electoral votes, the Constitution provides that the House of Representatives shall choose a President and the Senate a Vice-President, and states precisely how the election shall be conducted (148).

CHAPTER XIII

POLITICAL PARTY PLATFORMS

DIFFERENCES of opinion on national issues have caused the organization of a number of political parties in the United States. Of the parties now in existence the Democratic is the oldest, dating back to the time of Jefferson. It was first known as the Democratic Republican party. In 1824 there came a split and the Democratic party as organized in 18281831 is stated by some authorities as the real beginning of the present Democratic party.

As a direct result of the passage of the KansasNebraska bill, making slavery possible in the north, the Republican party came into being in 1854.

Actuated by a desire for national and State legislation to stop the liquor traffic, the Prohibition party was organized in 1869 and nominated its first national ticket in 1872.

The Socialist-Labor party, organized as a propaganda society in 1877, decided in 1890 on permanent independent political action. It differs from the Socialist party in advocating a complete reconstruction of government, replacing Congress by a parliament elected by industries or occupations instead of by localities, and direct democratic control of industry by the workers employed therein.

In 1888 a faction which believed in political action as a working class party left the Social Democracy and in 1890 with a group of the Socialist Labor party organized the present Socialist party.

The organization of the Progressive party in 1912 was caused by discontent in the Republican party.

A statement of reform principles has been announced by the National party, formed in 1917.

Party Principles. Each political party, at its national and state conventions, adopts a platform declaring its principles. Before affiliating with a party, the citizen should not only study carefully the principles outlined in the platforms, but should note whether the parties through their elected candidates put these policies into effect.

At their 1916 conventions, both Republican and Democratic parties declared for the protection of the American citizen and for the enforcement of the Monroe doctrine, although they differed as to the methods by which these ends may be attained. Both platforms approved friendly and helpful inter-relations of Pan-American countries, the conservation of natural resources, provision for national defense, economy in government and the budget system, upholding the civil service regulations and the extension of suffrage to women.

Democratic Platform. The Democratic party reaffirmed its belief in tariff for revenue and endorsed the Underwood tariff bill as exemplifying that doctrine. It endorsed the pending shipping bill. It commended the current administration (Demo

« 上一頁繼續 »