1912 Democratic Party Platform
The courts of justice are the bulwarks of our liberties, and we yield to none in our purpose to maintain their dignity. Our party
has given to the bench a long line of distinguished justices who have added to the respect and confidence in which this department
must be jealously maintained. We resent the attempt of the Republican party to raise a false issue respecting the judiciary. It is
an unjust reflection upon a great body of our citizens to assume that they lack respect for the courts.
It is the function of the courts to interpret the laws which the people enact, and if the laws appear to work economic, social or
political injustice, it is our duty to change them. The only basis upon which the integrity of our courts can stand is that of
unswerving justice and protection of life, personal liberty, and property. As judicial processes may be abused, we should guard them
Experience has proved the necessity of a modification of the present law relating to injunction, and we reiterate the pledges of our
platforms of 1896 and 1904 in favor of a measure which passed the United States Senate in 1898, relating to contempt in Federal
Courts, and providing for trial by jury in cases of indirect contempt.
Questions of judicial practice have arisen especially in connection with industrial disputes. We believe that the parties to all
judicial proceedings should be treated with rigid impartiality, and that injunctions should not be issued in any case in which an
injunction would not issue if no industrial dispute were involved.
The expanding organization of industry makes it essential that there should be no abridgment of the right of the wage earners and
producers to organize for the protection of wages and the improvement of labor conditions, to the end that such labor organizations
and their members should not be regarded as illegal combinations in restraint of trade.
We pledge the Democratic party to the enactment of a law creating a department of labor, represented separately in the President's
cabinet in which department shall be included the subject of mines and mining."
We pledge the Democratic party, so far as the Federal jurisdiction extends, to an employees' compensation law providing adequate
indemnity for injury to body or loss of life.
Income Taxes and the Popular Election of Senators
We congratulate the country upon the triumph of two important reforms demanded in the last national platform, namely, the amendment
of the Federal Constitution authorizing an income tax, and the amendment providing for the popular election of senators, and we call
upon the people of all the States to rally to the support of the pending propositions and secure their ratification.
The movement toward more popular government should be promoted through legislation in each State which will permit the expression of
the preference of the electors for national candidates at presidential primaries.
We direct that the National Committee incorporate in the call for the next nominating convention a requirement that all expressions
of preference for Presidential candidates shall be given and the selection of delegates and alternates made through a primary
election conducted by the party organization in each State where such expression and election are not provided for by State law.
Committeemen who are hereafter to constitute the membership of the Democratic National Committee, and whose election is not provided
for by law, shall be chosen in each State at such primary elections, and the service and authority of committeemen, however chosen,
shall begin immediately upon the receipt of their credentials, respectively.
We declare it to be a fundamental principle of the Democratic party that the Federal government, under the Constitution, has no
right or power to impose or collect tariff duties, except for the purpose of revenue, and we demand that the collection of such
taxes shall be limited to the necessities of government honestly and economically administered.
The high Republican tariff is the principal cause of the unequal distribution of wealth; it is a system of taxation which makes the
rich richer and the poor poorer; under its operations the American farmer and laboring man are the chief sufferers; it raises the
cost of the necessaries of life to them, but does not protect their product or wages. The farmer sells largely in free markets and
buys almost entirely in the protected markets. In the most highly protected industries, such as cotton and wool, steel and iron, the
wages of the laborers are the lowest paid in any of our industries. We denounce the Republican pretense on that subject and assert
that American wages are established by competitive conditions, and not by the tariff.
We favor the immediate downward revision of the existing high and in many cases prohibitive tariff duties, insisting that material
reductions be speedily made upon the necessaries of life. Articles entering into competition with trust-controlled products and
articles of American manufacture which are sold abroad more cheaply than at home should be put upon the free list.
We recognize that our system of tariff taxation is intimately connected with the business of the country, and we favor the ultimate
attainment of the principles we advocate by legislation that will not injure or destroy the legitimate industry.
We denounce the action of President Taft in vetoing the bills to reduce the tariff in the cotton, woolen, metals, and chemical
schedules and the Farmers' free bill, all of which were designed to give immediate relief to the masses from the exactions of the
The Republican party, while promising tariff revision, has shown by its tariff legislation that such revision is not to be in the
people's interest, and having been faithless to its pledges of 1908, it should not longer enjoy the confidence of the nation. We
appeal to the American people to support us in our demand for a tariff for revenue only.
908, it should not longer enjoy the confidence of the nation. We appeal to the American people to support us in our demand for a
tariff for revenue only.
A private monopoly is indefensible and intolerable. We therefore favor the vigorous enforcement of the criminal as well as the civil
law against trusts and trust officials, and demand the enactment of such additional legislation as may be necessary to make it
impossible for a private monopoly to exist in the United States.
We favor the declamation by law of the conditions upon which corporations shall be permitted to engage in interstate trade,
including, among others, the prevention of holding companies, of interlocking directors, of stock watering, of discrimination in
price, and the control by any one corporation of so large a proportion of any industry as to make it a menace to competitive
We condemn the action of the Republican administration in compromising with the Standard Oil Company and the tobacco trust and its
failure to invoke the criminal provisions of the anti-trust law against the officers of those corporations after the court had
declared that from the undisputed provisions of the law.
We regret that the Sherman anti-trust law has received a judicial construction depriving it of much of its efficiency and we favor
the enactment of legislation which will restore to the statute the strength of which it has been deprived by such interpretation.