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1863 October 17: What Pierce County’s Democrats Stood For

October 21, 2013

This list of the Pierce County Democratic Club’s resolutions comes from The Prescott Journal of October 17, 1863.


Passed by the Pierce County Democratic Club, at a meeting held at Ellsworth, March 21, 1862.

WHEREAS;—A Government based upon the wishes of the people, as expressed at the ballot box, is in every sense of the word the only truly liberal form of Government; and whereas; In all past ages as the present time, questions of National policy have arisen, wherein the interests of the people are concerned; and whereas; In the great and loyal Democratic party, upon the platform laid down by Jefferson [Thomas Jefferson], and handed down to this generation by such good and wise men as Jackson [Andrew Jackson], Douglas [Stephen A. Douglas], and others we might mention is, and ever has been, a party whose first great cardinal principle has been a strict and unwavering adherence to the principles of the Constitution, and as a party, have ever deprecated any attempt to violate any of the many compacts of that instrument, believing any departure from the principles there laid down to be the harbinger of sectional difficulties and if persisted in to any great extent would produce civil war ;  Therefore

Resolved,  That we believe it to the duty of every loyal man, in this day of great national calamities, to unhesitatingly and without faltering, attach himself to that party whose principles through long decades have but added to the intelligence, wealth and greatness of the Nation.

Resolved,  That these principles we find embodied in the cardinal principles of the Democratic party, therefore we pledge ourselves to labor for the advancement of these principles by seeking once again to place our bleeding and distractde [sic] country beneath the guidance of Democratic statesman, which hope can not be realized except it be through the ballot box.

Resolved,  That in Montgomery M. Cothren, the Democratic nominee for Chief Justice of the Supreme court, we find a man of rare combinations. Preeminently qualifying him for that position, and we pledge ourselves to spare no effort that shall tend to secure his election to that high position.

Resolved,  That we pledge our undivided support to the Administration in all endeavors to restore the country to its original standing, upon the basis of the “Union as it was” under “the Constitution as it is,” and that when that is accomplished, we believe this war ought decease.

Resolved,  That the maintainance [sic] inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions.  According to its own judgment ex[___]ely, is essential to that ballance [sic] of power on which the perfection and indurance [?] of our political fabric depends.

Resolved,  That the people justly view with alarm the recless [sic] extravagance which pervades every department of the federal Government ;  that a return to a right ____ and responsibility is indispensable to arrest the systematic plunder of the public treasury by favorable partisans, while the recent startling developments of frauds and corruptions at the Federal metropolis, show that an entire change of administration is imperatively demanded.

Resolved,  That the history of the present National Administration is a history of repeated wrongs and usurpation, tending directly to overthrow the Union, subvert the powers of the States, and to enslave the people ;  and that its present policy is fast di_ggi_g  the nation into, First, a consolidation of the Federal powers on a spurious pretext of “military necessity,” and Second, to a military despotism, more intolerable than that inaugurated by the House of Hapsburg ;  to prove which, let a few historical facts be submitted to a candid world.

The President has without excuse or legal authority suspended the sacred writ of habeas corpus, in the loyal States, thus striking down the Right of the people.

He has caused citizens to be arrested, transported to distant States, and incarcerated in loathsome prisons, without charges or accusations against them, and even keeping them in duress until the event of a popular election, has ordered them to be “honorably discharged: without consolation or redress.

He has denied the citizens thus arrested and imprisoned, a trial by jury, or any trial, and has withheld from them all knowledge or information as to who were their accusers or the cause of their arrest.

He has attempted to destroy the freedom of the press and compel that Palladium of our liberties to silence by unlawful seizures and pretended confiscations, without warrant of law, charges or trial of any kind.

He has attempted to suppress the freedom of speech, by arresting citizens who have animaverted [sic: animadverted] upon the measures and policy of the Administration.

He has caused to be arrested persons engaged in circulating petitions for the removal of officers for incompetency, thus striking down the sacred American right of petition.

He has wholly disregarded the right of the people to “be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and property, aginst [sic] unreasonable searches and seizures.”

He has given his assent to an act of Congress, which in effect, compels poor men to enter war’s service, while it gives a cheap immunity to the man of means, thus making patriotism a matter of dollars and cents ;  Therefore

Resolved,  That the Democracy of Pierce County, yielding to no party of persons in their devotion to the Constitution as it is, and the Union as our fathers made it, will resist, by all loyal, peaceful and constitutional means, a further repetition of the above enumerated wrongs, and we recognize the ballot box as the best means to accomplish this result.

Resolved,  That secession is too vile a monstrosity to merit a respectful consideration, and deserves the execration of every lover of this Union ;  and that secession is not the only wrong that has crept into the world, to fester society and destroy government.

Resolved,  That the accusation made against us as Democrats, as the advocates of an unconstitutional peace with the rebels in arms against the government, is a foul slander upon our courage and patriotism—a libel on the brave men who have fell upon every battle field fighting in the defense of the glory and honor of their country—a libel on the name of Jackson and his illustrious coadjutors—a foul and develish [sic] lie upon the memories of the gailant [sic] men whose blood has redened [sic] every field of strife since this war began—a lie, foul and unnatural, against the loyal sons of Erin, who fell in heaps within twenty rods of the enemy’s guns at Fredricksburg [sic], and whose blood the rains of winter have scarce yet washed from the soil where they fell, and who sleep in bloody graves, a monument of devotion to the country of their adoption.

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