National Party Platforms and the Constitution

I decided recently that I should read all of the major party platforms going back to 1840 to see what I would learn.  From time to time I will post about what I find.  (Though you can read them at this link if you are so inclined.)  Party platforms used to be very important and fairly concise, though today they are unimportant and full of blather.  The 2012 GOP Platform, for example, is 62 pages long and I doubt anybody bothered to read it.  I suppose the decline of party platforms can be traced to the disastrous 1968 Democratic National Convention, though I am not sure if that hypothesis is correct.

What have I learned so far?

1.  Puerto Rican statehood used to be mentioned often in the platforms of the two parties.  Why this stopped is unclear to me.

2.  The ante-bellum Democratic platforms repeated (until 1856) President Jackson’s position that the Bank of the United States was unconstitutional, and also referred every time to the Alien and Sedition Acts as an example of an unjust law.  I thought the latter point was notable since this continued long after 1800.

3.  The first reference to the Bill of Rights came in the 1936 Republican platform.

More later.

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5 Responses

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