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1863 October 10: State Party Platforms

October 12, 2013

Following are the political platforms of the Wisconsin State Union Party and the “War Democrats” Party.  They appeared in the October 10, 1863, issue of The Prescott Journal, and the October 17, 1863, issue of The Polk County Press.  What is transcribed here is from the Journal.

The Union “Loyal Platform” is a little bit longer than what appears here, but since this is already so lengthy we left out a few of the “Resolved” clauses that did not deal with the War.  The are several missing words; the newspaper print was difficult to read, even enlarged as big it would go.

A LOYAL PLATFORM.

Resolutions adopted by the War Democrats in Convention at Janesville, on the 17th ult.

RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED BY THE UNION STATE CONVENTION! Let every man in Polk county Read them.
THE REBEL ISSUE FAIRLY PRESENTED.

Resolved, That this convention cordially approves the following propositions, contained in the call under which it assembles; That the Union be preserved in its integrity; That the constitution and laws of the United States be enforced throughout the whole national domain; That the rebellion be suppressed, not by compromises with or concessions to traitors, but by the sword, whose agency they have themselves invoked; That the national administration sho’d by heartily and generously supported in its efforts to put down the rebellion.

Resolved, That the dignified, courteous and patriotic manner in which the Hon. Edward Salomon has discharged the duties of the office of Governor— devolved upon him by the decease of Gov. Harvey, at a most important period in our political history, meets our cordial approval;Resolved, That this convention, following the example of the Union Conventions of Ohio and other States, present to the loyal voters of Wisconsin the names of the persons this day nominated, as Union men, not as partisans, without reference to their political antecedents, and ask for them the support of all loyal men without distinction of party.

Resolved, That we deplore the partizan [sic] hostility which has been and is being awakened against the Government by interested politicians and designing demagogues of the North, believing that it can only tend, by encouraging rebels, to protract the war; and instead of kindling the patriotism, to arouse the animosities of our people, and to occasion elsewhere the same riotous, diabolical, and anarchial [sic] scenes, which have already disgraced the commercial metropolis of the nation.

Resolved, That the warmest thanks of the loyal people are due, and are hereby tendered to the brave and devoted soldiers who have rallied to the defense of the old flag, and nobly and persistently fought the battles of the country, and met and vanquished on so many fields the hosts of rebellion, seeking to destroy our national life, and that we pledge ourselves, before Heaven, to sustain them, by filling up their thinned ranks in the most expeditious manner, until the end of this rebellion shall come, and peace be restored to the land.

Resolved, That we admire and reverence the steadfast loyalty of the Union men of the South, which amid so many temptations and persecutions, has kept them faithful to the old flag; that in their sufferings they have our profound sympathy, and that it is the duty of the Government at the earliest possible moment, to deliver them from rebel oppression.

Resolved, that we recommend to the loyal people of the several districts and counties of the State such a re-organization of the committees as will ensure a more perfect Union organization between loyal Republicans and Democrats in political action.

Resolved, That the loyal people of Wisconsin, friendly to the maintenance of Republican institutions upon the North American continent, cannot look with indifference upon armed intervention by European powers, and the establishment of an empire upon the ruins of our sister Republic of the United States, growing out of such intervention, Wisconsin will be ready to bear her full share.

Resolved, That the constitutione [sic] [___] in the President “the Executive power” of government, creates him “Commander in chief of the Army and navy of the United States, and of the Militin [sic] of the several States when called into the actual service of the United States” and commands him to ‘take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” without defining the manner in which any of these enacted powers shall be exerted; it becomes his duty under the responsibilities to Heaven, to the People whom he represents, and to the laws of civilized nations, “to judge,” in times war and of great national peril, “what degree of force the crisis demands;” and to select from the known usages of civilized warfare, such means as he deems most efficacious; and it becomes the corresponding duty of all loyal citizens,  to yield to all such measures their ready and hearty support.

Resolved, That the present Rebellion was commenced and is prosecuted for the dismemberment of the National Union, and the destruction of the Constitution and government of the united states; that in view of the vast armies now arrayed by the Rebels for the commission of this national murder, no individual and no party can stand indifferently by, and witness the perpetration of the crimes, without being a participator in the bloody treason.

Resolved, That this is not the time to theorize upon what will be the “status” of the Rebel States after they shall again acknowledge their allegiance to the constitution and laws of the union. the great mission or our army is to defeat the army of rebellion; this accomplished, the rebellion must fall to the ground; when the bow of Peace shall again span our political horizon, stretching its golden arch over every State and Territory of the Union, we confide in the magnanimity of the people of America, and in the constitutional tribunals of the country, to assign and secure the Rebel States, their proper position, and to the rebels themselves every constitutional right.

Resolved, That, as Democrats, we support the Government in this war, prosecuted against it by the Rebel States, with no purpose either to protect or to destroy the institution of slavery; but as the slaveholding [sic] States have causelessly [sic] and recklessly attempted the subversion of our common government, if, in the foray, that government is unable to protect either their lives or their property, upon their own heads rest the blame.

Yet, as citizens of a free State, we are utterly opposed to the admission or the black population of the South among us, so as to disturb our domestic peace, or create competition with white labor.

Resolved, that we look to our gallant soldiers in the field as the nation’s tower of strength, against which treason at the South, and selfishness, cowardice and unchastened [sic] ambition, at the North, will continue the war, as they have warred in vain.

That their achievements have filled the world with admiration, and most ever fill the hearts of their loyal countrymen with gratitude, we look to a just and generous government hereafter to reward them, as the government only can, by a provision commensurate with their services.

That we consecrate to the gallant dead our tears and our perpetual remembrance.

To their afflicted families we pledge our sympathy and our friendly offices; and to the heroic living we promise, at all times and under all circumstances, our devotion, our aid, our sympathy and our gratitude.

Resolved, That we cordially incite all Democrats, who cherish the principles which bound together our political Fathers,—all whose patriotism rises above private interest and partisan prejudice; all, in fine, who love their country and hate treason, to unite with us in our effort to maintain the party in its true and ancient faith, as the peerless exemplar of loyality [sic], the stern defender of right, and the fast friend of civil and religious liberty.

Resolved, That we gratefully recognize the infinite goodness, which inspired our fathers with patriotism and wisdom, to achieve by their arms, the blessing of national liberty and to secure by a Constitutional Government, the enjoyment of those blessings ‘for themselves and their posterity forever,’ and, as sons of such sires’ we deem it our first and holiest duty, to defend that Government and preserve that liberty, by every means; which intelligent freemen can or may exert.

Resolved, That a Constitutional Republican Government, established by a free and sovereign people, for the safety and welfare of themselves and their prosperity, is a work next in sublimity, to the creations of the divinity; and that this offspring of human wisdom and patriotism is endowed, like the creatures of god, with the inherent and inalienable right of self preservation.

Resolved, that the present rebellion was commenced and is prosecuted for the dismemberment of the National Union, and the destruction of the Constitution and government of the United States; that in view of the cast armies now arrayed by the rebels for the commission of this national murder no individual and no party can stand indifferently by, and witness the perpetration of the crime, without becoming a participator in the bloody treason.

Resolved, That, as the inherent element of Democracy is the rule of the People, its first principle of action is a prompt submission to the lawfully expressed will of the majority: that the democratic party, now finding an administration of the General government, constitutionally placed in power , though without its aid and against its wishes, is bound, upon all questions affecting the National safety, to yield to it the same cordial and unconditional support, which it would have yielded to an administration of its own choice.

Resolved, That we recur with undiminished pride to the past  history of the Democratic Party— a history interwoven alike with the triumph of popular liberty, and the defense and glory of the Government; that we cannot forget, that the opponents of this ever-loyal party, in the war of 1812, refused to support the measures of the national administration, and burned blue lights along the coast as beacons of our enemies; and in the Mexican war factiously [sic] withhold supplies from our brave troops in the field, commending them to the “bloody hands and hospitable graves” of the foe; that we have no wish now, amid the bloodiest and most unprovoked war that ever imperilled [sic] the Government, to imitate these bad examples, and, by denouncing the measures and motives of the administration, by discouraging enlistments into the army, and decrying its victories, by spreading throughout the loyal states the fire brands of faction, and by giving aid and comfort to traitors in arms, thus to sink the Democratic Party to the odious level, and fasten upon it the endless shame of Hartford Convention Federalism.

Resolved, That we believe a vigorous and uncompromising prosecution of the war is the shortest and surest road to peace. We, therefore, call upon the Resident of the United States to exert the whole power of the government, and exhaust, if need be, the entire resources of he country, in crushing the rebellion; and we pledge to him for this object, our cordial and unconditional support.

Resolved, That this is not the time to theorize upon what will be the “status” of the rebel states after they shall again acknowledge their allegiance to the constitution and laws of the Union. The great mission of our army is to defeat the army of the rebellion; this event accomplished, the rebellion must fall to the ground; and when the bow of Peace shall again span our political horizon, streching [sic] its golden arch over every State and Territory of the Union, we confide in the magnanimity of the loyal people of America and in the constitutional tribunals of the country, to assign and secure to the Rebel States, their proper position, and to the rebels themselves, every constitutional right.

Resolved, That, as Democrats, we support the Government, in this war, prosecuted against it by the Revel States, with no purpose, either to protect or destroy the institution of slavery: but, as the slave holding States have causelessly [sic] and reeklessly [sic] attempted the subversion of our common government, if, in the foray, that government is unable to protect either their lives or their property, upon their own heads must rest the blame. Yet as citizens of a free State, we are utterly opposed to the admission of the black population of the south among us, so as to disturb our domestic peace, or create competition with white labor.

Resolved, That the Platform, adopted at Madison, by the late so-called “Democratic Convention” is an artfully contrived and cunningly drawn, but cold and factious attempt to array the people of the loyal States against the constitutional head of the Government; to repress their vent their support of the army, and to expose the army itself to disaster and destruction: that its real effect is to inculcate lawlessness, provoke violence and insure sympathy with treason, with no higher purpose than to accomplish a political revolution, and secure the spoils of office. That we reject it, as Democrats, as Patriots we denounce it.

Resolved, That in the midst of their domestic difficulties, the loyal people of the Union, are not unmindful of the cowardly and covert hostilities of professedly friendly nations across the Atlantic, nor of their own traditional continental policy; but having set their own house in order, they will speedily sweep “neutral iron-clads” from the Ocean, and extend the “Monroe Platform” over redeemed and independent Mexico.

Resolved, That we look to our gallant soldiers in the field, as the nation’s tower of strength, against which, treason at the South and selfishness, cowardice and unchastened [sic] ambition, at the north, will continue to war, as they have warred in vain. That while their achievements have filled the world with admiration, and must forever fill the hears of their loyal countrymen with gratitude, we look to a just and generous government hereafter to reward them, as the government only by a provision commensurate with their services.

That we consecrate to the gallant dead, our tears and our perpetual remembrance.

To their afflicted families we pledge our sympathies and our friendly offices; and to the heroic living, we give at all times and under all circumstances our devotion, our aid, our sympathy and our gratitude.

Resolved, That we cordially invite all democrats, who cherish the principles which bound together our political fathers,—all, whose patriotism rises above private interest and partizan prejudice; all who are prepared to stand by the government, by whomsoever constitutionally administered; all, in fine, who love their country and hate treason, to unite with us in our effort to maintain the party in its true and ancient faith, as the peerless exemplar of layality [sic], the stern defender of right, and the fast trend of civil and religious liberty..

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