1880 Prohibition Party Platform
The Prohibition Reform Party of the United States, organized in the name of the people to revive, enforce and perpetuate in the Government the doctrines of the Declaration of Independence, submit for the suffrages of all good citizens the following platform of national reforms and measures:
1. In the examination and discussion of the temperance question it has been proven, and is an accepted truth, that alcoholic drinks, whether fermented, brewed or distilled, are poisonous to the healthy human body, the drinking of which is not only needless but hurtful, necessarily tending to form intemperate habits, increasing greatly in number, severity and fatal termination of diseases, weakening and deranging the intellect, polluting the affections, hardening the heart and corrupting the morals, depriving many of reason and still more of its healthful exercise, and annually bringing down large numbers to untimely graves, producing in the children of many who drink a predisposition to intemperance, insanity and various bodily and mental diseases, causing a diminution of strength, feebleness of vision, fickleness of purpose and premature old age, and producing to all future generations a deterioration of moral and physical character. The legalized importation, manufacture and sale of intoxicating drinks minister to their uses and teach the erroneous and destructive sentiment that such use is right, thus tending to produce and perpetuate the above-mentioned evils. Alcoholic drinks are thus the implacable enemy of man as an individual.
2. That the liquor traffic is to the home equally an enemy, providing a disturber and a destroyer of its peace, prosperity and happiness, taking from it the earnings of the husband, depriving the dependent wife and children of essential food, clothing and education, bringing into it profanity and abuse, setting at naught the vows of the marriage altar, breaking up the family and sundering the children from parents, and thus destroying one of the most beneficent institutions of our Creator, and removing the sure foundation for good government, national prosperity and welfare.
3. That to the community it is equally an enemy, producing demoralization, vice and wickedness; its places of sale being often resorts for gambling, lewdness and debauchery, and the hiding places of those who prey upon society, counteracting the efficacy of religious effort and of all means for the intellectual elevation, moral purity, social happiness and the eternal good of mankind, without rendering any counteracting or compensating benefits, being in its influence and effect evil and only evil, and that continually.
4. That to the State it is equally an enemy, legislative inquiry, judicial investigation and the official reports of all penal, reformatory and dependent institutions showing that the manufacture and sale of such beverages is the promoting cause of intemperance, crime and pauperism, of demands upon public and private charity, imposing the larger part of taxation, thus paralyzing thrift, industry, manufacture and commercial life, which but for it would be unnecessary; disturbing the peace of the streets and highways; filling prisons and poorhouses; corrupting politics, legislation and the execution of the laws; shortening lives, diminishing health, industry and productive power in manufacture and art; and is manifestly unjust as well as injurious to the community upon which it is imposed, and contrary to all just views of civil liberty, as well as a violation of a fundamental maxim of our common laws to use your own property or liberty so as not to injure others.
5. That is is neither right nor politic for the State to afford legal protection to any traffic or system which tends to waste the resources, to corrupt the social habits and to destroy the health and lives of the people; that the importation, manufacture and sale of intoxicating beverages is proven to be inimical to the true interests of the individual, the home, the community, the State, and destructive to the order and welfare of society, and ought, therefore, to be classed among crimes to be prohibited.
6. That in this time of profound peace at home and abroad the entire separation of the general Government from the drink traffic, and its Prohibition in the District of Columbia, the Territories and in all places and ways over which (under the Constitution) Congress has control or power, is a political issue of first importance to the peace and prosperity of the nation. There can be no stable peace and protection to personal liberty, life or property until secured by National and State Constitutional Prohibition enforced by adequate laws.
7. That all legitimate industries require deliverance from taxation and loss which the liquor traffic imposes upon them, and financial or other legislation cannot accomplish so much to increase production and cause demand for labor, and as a result, for the comfort of living, as the suppression of this traffic would bring to thousands of homes as one of its blessings.
8. That the administration of Government and the execution of laws being by and through political parties, we arraign the Republican party, which has been in continuous power in the nation for 20 years, as being false to its duty, as false to its loudly-proclaimed principles of `equal justice to all and special favors to none,' and of protection to the weak and dependent; and that through moral cowardice it has been and is unable to correct the mischief which the trade in liquor has constantly inflicted upon the industrial interests, commerce and social happiness of the people. On the contrary, its subjection to and complicity with the liquor interest appears: (1) By the facts that 5,652 distilleries, 2,830 breweries, and 175,266 places of sale of the poisonous liquors, involving an annual waste, direct and indirect, to the nation of $1,500,000,000, and a sacrifice of 100,000 lives, have under its legislation grown up and been fostered as a legitimate source of revenue; (2) That during its history six Territories have been organized and five States admitted into the Union with Constitutions provided and approved by Congress, but the Prohibition of this debasing and destructive traffic has not been provided for, nor even the people given at the time of admission the power to forbid it in any one of them; (3) That its history further shows that not in a single instance has an original Prohibitory law been enacted in any State controlled by it, while in four States so governed the laws found on its advent to power have been repealed; (4) That at its National Convention in 1872 it declared as a part of its party faith that `it disapproves of a resort to unconstitutional laws for the purpose of removing evils by interference with the right not surrendered by the people to either State or National Government,' which the author of this plank says was adopted by the Platform Committee with the full and explicit understanding that its purpose was the discountenancing of all so-called temperance (Prohibitory) and Sunday laws;' (5) That nothwithstanding the deep interest felt by the people during the last quadrennium in the legal suppression of the drink curse, shown by many forms of public expression, this party at its last National Convention, held in Chicago during the present month, in making new promises by its platform, says not one word on this question, nor holds out any hope of relief.
9. That we arraign also the Democratic party as unfaithful and unworthy of reliance on this question; for although not clothed with power, but occupying the relation of the oposition party during 20 years past, strong in number and organization, it has allied itself with the liquor-traffickers and has become in all States of the Union their special political defenders. In its National Convention of 1876, as an article of its political faith, it declared against Prohibition and just laws in restraint of the trade in drink by saying it was opposed to what it was pleased to call `all sumptuary laws.' The National party has been dumb on the question.
10.That the drink-traffickers, realizing that history and experience, in all ages, climes and conditions of men declare their business destructive to all good, and finding no support from the Bible, morals or reason, appeal to misapplied law for their justification, and entrench themselves behind the evil elements of political party for defense, party tactics and party inertia having become the battling forces protecting this evil.
11. That in view of the foregoing facts and history, we cordially invite all voters, without regard to former party affiliation, to unite with us in the use of the ballot for the abolition of the drink system now existing under the authority of our National and State Governments. We also demand as a right that women, having in other respects the privileges of citizens, shall be clothed with the ballot for their protection, and as a rightful means for a proper settlement of the liquor question.
12. That to remove the apprehensions of some who allege that loss of public revenue would follow the suppression of the drink trade, we confidently point to the experience of government abroad and at home, which shows that thrift and revenue from consumption of legitimate manufactures and commerce have so largely followed the abolition of the drink as to fully supply all loss of liquor taxes.
13. That we recognize the good providence of Almighty God, who has preserved and prospered us as a nation, and, asking for his spirit to guide us to ultimate success, we will look for it, relying upon his omnipotent arm.