The Democratic Platform.
The platform adopted by the national democratic convention at Chicago is the shortest, and, at the same time, one of the most admirable documents of its kind ever submitted to the people. It challenges criticism. The resolutions are terse, distinct, but comprehensive. There can be no misunderstanding as to their purport, and they embrace everything upon which the verdict of the people is to be passed in November.
They set out with an avowal of the devotion of the democracy to the Union and the constitution — to that constitution which democrats framed, and to that Union which democrats founded and have brought to the pitch of greatness and prosperity it had reached before the evil hour of abolitionism. They declare that that constitution must be upheld, and that Union preserved. This is the foundation of, and key-note to, all the balance. This is genuine "unconditional Unionism" — for there are no conditions — we do not require that slavery or anything else shall be either upheld or "abandoned" as conditional to our support of the Union; we are for the Union first of all.
The second declares that four years of war under abolition management have failed to restore the Union, and that the democracy demand that peaceable and reasonable means, such as all reasonable beings have from time immemorial resorted to, should now be tried, to see if our unhappy difficulties cannot be settled, ON THE BASIS OF A RESTORED UNION. This paramount idea is never lost sight of.
To the third, every patriotic heart, worthy to beat in a free man's bosom, will joyfully respond.
It declares that as our forefathers fought for a secured the right of free elections with their blood, their children will never surrender them; and that a repetition, on the part of the administration, of the means it has heretofore employed to crush free ballot, will be met, if need be, by force, and sternly resisted to the last. Without the right to vote, we can have nothing worth preserving.
There are but three other resolutions in the series, which are in themselves so admirable that we reprint them as they stand. They are so plain as to need no comment:
Resolved, That the aim and object of the democratic party IS TO PRESERVE THE FEDERAL UNION AND RIGHTS OF STATES UNIMPAIRED, and they hereby declare that they consider the administrative usurpation of extraordinary and dangerous powers, not granted by the constitution, the subversion of civil by military laws in states not in insurrection, the arbitrary military arrest, imprisonment, trial and sentence of American citizens in states where civil laws exist in full force, the suppression of freedom of speech and of the press, the denial of the right of asylum, the open and avowed disregard of the state rights, the employment of unusual test oaths and interference with and denial of the right of the people to bear arms in their defense, as calculated to prevent the restoration of the Union and the perpetuation of the government, deriving its just powers from the consent of the governed.
Resolved, That the shameful disregard of the administration to its duty in respect to our fellow citizens, who now and long have been prisoners of war, in a suffering condition, deserves the severest reprobation, on the score alike of public policy and common humanity.
Resolved, That the sympathy of the democratic party is heartily and earnestly extended to the soldiery of our army, who now are and have been in the field under the flag of their country, and in the event of our attaining power they will receive all the care, protection and regard that the brave soldiers of the republic have so nobly earned.
The democratic party proudly submits its platform of principles in the campaign of 1864 to the intelligent consideration of the voters of this nation, whether at home or in the field. It contains no word of buncombe; not a declaration which every patriot will not indorse or maintain. The resolutions sufficiently refute the vile calumnies which the minions of a corrupt administration have so industriously circulated against them. They breathe a spirit of pure and disinterested patriotism which those who persist in supporting Mr. Lincoln are not only incapable of rising to, but comprehending. They are for the whole country, from the first line to the last. They are for "liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable." For the rights of white citizens, and the supremacy of those laws and that constitution which the administration now in power has so unscrupulously violated.
The soldiers in camp will read these resolutions and wonder if they are the authoritative utterances of that party they have habitually heard of denounced as their bitter enemies, as "disloyal," as "rebel sympathizers" and disunionists; and their indignation against the atrocious calumniators who have clamored for abolition policies, and are now busily seeking to fill the army with black hirelings as their substitutes, because they are too cowardly to go themselves, will swell until it shall be difficult to restrain.
It is, then, with pleasure and with pride that we point to our platform for this campaign. Nothing more perfectly adapted to the present crisis in our national affairs could have been devised by man, and the people of this great country have just reason to thank the convention which rose above petty partisan considerations to the level of a broad and enlightened statesmanship.