Republican Party Platform of 1944
The tragedy of the war is upon our country as we meet to consider the problems of government and our people. We take this opportunity to render homage and enduring gratitude to those brave members of our armed forces who have already made the supreme sacrifice, and to those who stand ready to make the same sacrifice that the American course of life may be secure.
Mindful of this solemn hour and humbly conscious of our heavy responsibilities, the Republican Party in convention assembled presents herewith its principles and makes these covenants with the people of our Nation.
The War and the Peace
We pledge prosecution of the war to total victory against our enemies in full cooperation with the United Nations and all-out support of our Armies and the maintenance of our Navy under the competent and trained direction of our General Staff and Office of Naval Operations without civilian interference and with every civilian resource. At the earliest possible time after the cessation of hostilities we will bring home all members of our armed forces who do not have unexpired enlistments and who do not volunteer for further overseas duty.
We declare our relentless aim to win the war against all our enemies: (1) for our own American security and welfare; (2) to make and keep the Axis powers impotent to renew tyranny and attack; (3) for the attainment of peace and freedom based on justice and security.
We shall seek to achieve such aims through organized international cooperation and not by joining a World State.
We favor responsible participation by the United States in post-war co-operative organization among sovereign nations to prevent military aggression and to attain permanent peace with organized justice in a free world.
Such organization should develop effective co-operative means to direct peace forces to prevent or repel military aggression. Pending this, we pledge continuing collaboration with the United Nations to assure these ultimate objectives.
We believe, however, that peace and security do not depend upon the sanction of force alone, but should prevail by virtue of reciprocal interests and spiritual values recognized in these security agreements. The treaties of peace should be just; the nations which are the victims of aggression should be restored to sovereignty and self-government; and the organized cooperation of the nations should concern itself with basic causes of world disorder. It should promote a world opinion to influence the nations to right conduct, develop international law and maintain an international tribunal to deal with justiciable disputes.
We shall seek, in our relations with other nations, conditions calculated to promote world-wide economic stability, not only for the sake of the world, but also to the end that our own people may enjoy a high level of employment in an increasingly prosperous world.
We shall keep the American people informed concerning all agreements with foreign nations. In all of these undertakings we favor the widest consultation of the gallant men and women in our armed forces who have a special right to speak with authority in behalf of the security and liberty for which they fight. We shall sustain the Constitution of the United States in the attainment of our international aims; and pursuant to the Constitution of the United States any treaty or agreement to attain such aims made on behalf of the United States with any other nation or any association of nations, shall be made only by and with the advice and consent of the Senate of the United States provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur.
We shall at all times protect the essential interests and resources of the United States.
Western Hemisphere Relations
We shall develop Pan-American solidarity. The citizens of our neighboring nations in the Western Hemisphere are, like ourselves, Americans. Cooperation with them shall be achieved through mutual agreement and without interference in the internal affairs of any nation. Our policy should be a genuine Good Neighbor policy, commanding their respect, and not one based on the reckless squandering of American funds by overlapping agencies.
We favor the maintenance of postwar military forces and establishments of ample strength for the successful defense and the safety of the United States, its possessions and outposts, for the maintenance of the Monroe Doctrine, and for meeting any military commitments determined by Congress. We favor the peacetime maintenance and strengthening of the National Guards under State control with the Federal training and equipment as now provided in the National Defense Act.
We shall devote ourselves to re-establishing liberty at home.
We shall adopt a program to put men to work in peace industry as promptly as possible and with special attention to those who have made sacrifice by serving in the armed forces. We shall take government out of competition with private industry and terminate rationing, price fixing and all other emergency powers. We shall promote the fullest stable employment through private enterprise.
The measures we propose shall avoid federalization of government activities, to the end that our States, schools and cities shall be freed; shall avoid delegation of legislative and judicial power to administrative agencies, to the end that the people's representatives in Congress shall be independent and in full control of legislative policy; and shall avoid, subject to war necessities, detailed regulation of farmers, workers, businessmen and consumers, to the end that the individual shall be free. The remedies we propose shall be based on intelligent cooperation between the Federal Government, the States and local government and the initiative of civic groups—not on the panacea of Federal cash.
Four more years of New Deal policy would centralize all power in the President, and would daily subject every act of every citizen to regulation by his henchmen; and this country could remain a Republic only in name. No problem exists which cannot be solved by American methods. We have no need of either the communistic or the fascist technique.
Our goal is to prevent hardship and poverty in America. That goal is attainable by reason of the productive ability of free American labor, industry and agriculture, if supplemented by a system of social security on sound principles.
We pledge our support of the following:
1. Extension of the existing old-age insurance and unemployment insurance systems to all employees not already covered.
2. The return of the public employment-office system to the States at the earliest possible time, financed as before Pearl Harbor.
3. A careful study of Federal-State programs for maternal and child health, dependent children, and assistance to the blind, with a view to strengthening these programs.
4. The continuation of these and other programs relating to health, and the stimulation by Federal aid of State plans to make medical and hospital service available to those in need without disturbing doctor-patient relationships or socializing medicine.
5. The stimulation of State and local plans to provide decent low-cost housing properly financed by the Federal Housing Administration, or otherwise, when such housing cannot be supplied or financed by private sources.
The Republican Party is the historical champion of free labor. Under Republican administrations American manufacturing developed, and American workers attained the most progressive standards of living of any workers in the world. Now the Nation owes those workers a debt of gratitude for their magnificent productive effort in support of the war.
Regardless of the professed friendship of the New Deal for the workingman, the fact remains that under the New Deal American economic life is being destroyed.
The New Deal has usurped selfish and partisan control over the functions of Government agencies where labor relationships are concerned. The continued perversion of the Wagner Act by the New Deal menaces the purposes of the law and threatens to destroy collective bargaining completely and permanently.
The long series of Executive orders and bureaucratic decrees reveal a deliberate purpose to substitute for contractual agreements of employers and employees the political edicts of a New Deal bureaucracy. Labor would thus remain organized only for the convenience of the New Deal in enforcing its orders and inflicting its whims upon labor and industry.
We condemn the conversion of administrative boards, ostensibly set up to settle industrial disputes, into instruments for putting into effect the financial and economic theories of the New Deal.
We condemn the freezing of wage rates at arbitrary levels and the binding of men to their jobs as destructive to the advancement of a free people. We condemn the repeal by Executive order of the laws secured by the Republican party to abolish "contract labor" and peonage. We condemn the gradual but effective creation of a Labor Front as but one of the New Deal's steps toward a totalitarian state.
We pledge an end to political trickery in the administration of labor laws and the handling of labor disputes; and equal benefits on the basis of equality to all labor in the administration of labor controls and laws, regardless of political affiliation.
The Department of Labor has been emasculated by the New Deal. Labor bureaus, agencies and committees are scattered far and wide, in Washington and throughout the country, and have no semblance of systematic or responsible organization. All governmental labor activities must be placed under the direct authority and responsibility of the Secretary of Labor. Such labor bureaus as are not performing a substantial and definite service in the interest of labor must be abolished.
The Secretary of Labor should be a representative of labor. The office of the Secretary of Labor was created under a Republican President, William Howard Taft. It was intended that a representative of labor should occupy this Cabinet office. The present administration is the first to disregard this intention.
The Republican Party accepts the purposes of the National Labor Relations Act, the Wage and Hour Act, the Social Security Act and all other Federal statutes designed to promote and protect the welfare of American working men and women, and we promise a fair and just administration of these laws.
American well-being is indivisible. Any national program which injures the national economy inevitably injures the wage-earner. The American labor movement and the Republican Party, while continuously striving for the betterment of labor's status, reject the communistic and New Deal concept that a single group can benefit while the general economy suffers.
We commend the American farmers, their wives and families for their magnificent job of wartime production and their contribution to the war effort, without which victory could not be assured. They have accomplished this in spite of labor shortages, a bungled and inexcusable machinery program and confused, unreliable, impractical price and production administration.
Abundant production is the best security against inflation. Governmental policies in war and in peace must be practical and efficient with freedom from regimentation by an impractical Washington bureaucracy in order to assure independence of operation and bountiful production, fair and equitable market prices for farm products, and a sound program for conservation and use of our soil and natural resources. Educational progress and the social and economic stability and well-being of the farm family must be a prime national purpose.
For the establishment of such a program we propose the following:
1. A Department of Agriculture under practical and experienced administration, free from regimentation and confusing government manipulation and control of farm programs.
2. An American market price to the American farmer and the protection of such price by means of support prices, commodity loans, or a combination thereof, together with such other economic means as will assure an income to agriculture that is fair and equitable in comparison with labor, business and industry. We oppose subsidies as a substitute for fair markets.
3. Disposition of surplus war commodities in an orderly manner without destroying markets or continued production and without benefit to speculative profiteers.
4. The control and disposition of future surpluses by means of (a) new uses developed through constant research, (b) vigorous development of foreign markets, (c) efficient domestic distribution to meet all domestic requirements, and (d) arrangements which will enable farmers to make necessary adjustments in production of any given basic crop only if domestic surpluses should become abnormal and exceed manageable proportions.
5. Intensified research to discover new crops, and new and profitable uses for existing crops.
6. Support of the principle of bona fide farmer-owned and farmer-operated co-operatives.
7. Consolidation of all government farm credit under a non-partisan board.
8. To make life more attractive on the family type farm through development of rural roads, sound extension of rural electrification service to the farm and elimination of basic evils of tenancy wherever they exist.
9. Serious study of and search for a sound program of crop insurance with emphasis upon establishing a self-supporting program.
10. A comprehensive program of soil, forest, water and wildlife conservation and development, and sound irrigation projects, administered as far as possible at State and regional levels.
Business and Industry
We give assurance now to restore peacetime industry at the earliest possible time, using every care to avoid discrimination between different sections of the country, (a) by prompt settlement of war contracts with early payment of government obligations and disposal of surplus inventories, and (h) by disposal of surplus government plants, equipment, and supplies, with due consideration to small buyers and with care to prevent monopoly and injury to existing agriculture and industry.
Small business is the basis of American enterprise. It must be preserved. If protected against discrimination and afforded equality of opportunity throughout the Nation, it will become the most potent factor in providing employment. It must also be aided by changes in taxation, by eliminating excessive and repressive regulation and government competition, by the enforcement of laws against monopoly and unfair competition, and by providing simpler and cheaper methods for obtaining venture capital necessary for growth and expansion.
For the protection of the public, and for the security of millions of holders of policies of insurance in mutual and private companies, we insist upon strict and exclusive regulation and supervision of the business of insurance by the several States where local conditions are best known and where local needs can best be met.
We favor the re-establishment and maintenance, as early as military considerations will permit, of a sound and adequate American Merchant Marine under private ownership and management.
The Republican Party pledges itself to foster the development of such strong privately owned air transportation systems and communications systems as will best serve the interests of the American people.
The Federal Government should plan a program for flood control, inland waterways and other economically justifiable public works, and prepare the necessary plans in advance so that construction may proceed rapidly in emergency and in times of reduced employment. We urge that States and local governments pursue the same policy with reference to highways and other public works within their jurisdiction.
Taxation and Finance
As soon as the war ends the present rates of taxation on individual incomes, on corporations, and on consumption should be reduced as far as is consistent with the payment of the normal expenditures of government in the postwar period. We reject the theory of restoring prosperity through government spending and deficit financing.
We shall eliminate from the budget all wasteful and unnecessary expenditures and exercise the most rigid economy.
It is essential that Federal and State tax structures be more effectively coordinated to the end that State tax sources be not unduly impaired.
We shall maintain the value of the American dollar and regard the payment of government debt as an obligation of honor which prohibits any policy leading to the depreciation of the currency. We shall reduce that debt as soon as economic conditions make such reduction possible.
Control of the currency must be restored to Congress by repeal of existing legislation which gives the President unnecessary powers over our currency.
We assure American farmers, livestock producers, workers and industry that we will establish and maintain a fair protective tariff on competitive products so that the standards of living of our people shall not be impaired through the importation of commodities produced abroad by labor or producers functioning upon lower standards than our own.
If the postwar world is to be properly organized, a great extension of world trade will be necessary to repair the wastes of war and build an enduring peace. The Republican Party, always remembering that its primary obligation, which must be fulfilled, is to our own workers, our own farmers and our own industry, pledges that it will join with others in leadership in every co-operative effort to remove unnecessary and destructive barriers to international trade. We will always bear in mind that the domestic market is America's greatest market and that tariffs which protect it against foreign competition should be modified only by reciprocal bilateral trade agreements approved by Congress.
Relief and Rehabilitation
We favor the prompt extension of relief and emergency assistance to the peoples of the liberated countries without duplication and conflict between government agencies.
We favor immediate feeding of the starving children of our Allies and friends in the Nazi-dominated countries and we condemn the New Deal administration for its failure, in the face of humanitarian demands, to make any effort to do this.
We favor assistance by direct credits in reasonable amounts to liberated countries to enable them to buy from this country the goods necessary to revive their economic systems.
The National Administration has become a sprawling, overlapping bureaucracy. It is undermined by executive abuse of power, confused lines of authority, duplication of effort, inadequate fiscal controls, loose personnel practices and an attitude of arrogance previously unknown in our history.
The times cry out for the restoration of harmony in government, for a balance of legislative and executive responsibility, for efficiency and economy, for priming and abolishing unnecessary agencies and personnel, for effective fiscal and personnel controls, and for an entirely new spirit in our Federal Government.
We pledge an administration wherein the President, acting in harmony with Congress, will effect these necessary reforms and raise the Federal service to a high level of efficiency and competence.
We insist that limitations must be placed upon spending by government corporations of vast sums never appropriated by Congress but made available by directives, and that their accounts should be subject to audit by the General Accounting Office.
Two-Term Limit for President
We favor an amendment to the Constitution providing that no person shall be President of the United States for more than two terms of four years each.
We favor submission by Congress to the States of an amendment to the Constitution providing for equal rights for men and women. We favor job opportunities in the postwar world open to men and women alike without discrimination in rate of pay because of sex.
The Republican Party has always supported suitable measures to reflect the Nation's gratitude and to discharge its duty toward the veterans of all wars.
We approve, have supported and have aided in the enactment of laws which provide for re-employment of veterans of this war in their old positions, for mustering-out-pay, for pensions for widows and orphans of such veterans killed or disabled, for rehabilitation of disabled veterans, for temporary unemployment benefits, for education and vocational training, and for assisting veterans in acquiring homes and farms and in establishing themselves in business.
We shall be diligent in remedying defects in veterans' legislation and shall insist upon efficient administration of all measures for the veteran's benefit.
Racial and Religious Intolerance
We unreservedly condemn the injection into American life of appeals to racial or religious prejudice.
We pledge an immediate Congressional inquiry to ascertain the extent to which mistreatment, segregation and discrimination against Negroes who are in our armed forces are impairing morale and efficiency, and the adoption of corrective legislation.
We pledge the establishment by Federal legislation of a permanent Fair Employment Practice Commission.
The payment of any poll tax should not be a condition of voting in Federal elections and we favor immediate submission of a Constitutional amendment for its abolition.
We favor legislation against lynching and pledge our sincere efforts in behalf of its early enactment.
We pledge an immediate, just and final settlement of all Indian claims between the Government and the Indian citizenship of the Nation. We will take politics out of the administration of Indian affairs.
Problems of the West
We favor a comprehensive program of reclamation projects for our arid and semi-arid States, with recognition and full protection of the rights and interests of those States in the use and control of water for present and future irrigation and other beneficial consumptive uses.
We favor (a) exclusion from this country of livestock and fresh and chilled meat from countries harboring foot and mouth disease or Rinderpest; (b) full protection of our fisheries whether by domestic regulation or treaties; (c) consistent with military needs, the prompt return to private ownership of lands acquired for war purposes; (d) withdrawal or acquisition of lands for establishment of national parks, monuments, and wildlife refuges, only after due regard to local problems and under closer controls to be established by the Congress; (e) restoration of the long established public land policy which provides opportunity of ownership by citizens to promote the highest land use; (f) full development of our forests on the basis of cropping and sustained yield; cooperation with private owners for conservation and fire protection; (g) the prompt reopening of mines which can be operated by miners and workers not subject to military service and which have been closed by bureaucratic denial of labor or material; (h) adequate stock-piling of war minerals and metals for possible future emergencies; (i) continuance, for tax purposes, of adequate depletion allowances on oil, gas and minerals; (j) administration of laws relating to oil and gas on the public domain to encourage exploratory operations to meet the public need; (k) continuance of present Federal laws on mining claims on the public domain, good faith administration thereof, and we state our opposition to the plans of the Secretary of the Interior to substitute a leasing system; and (l) larger representation in the Federal Government of men and women especially familiar with Western problems,
Hawaii, which shares the Nation's obligations equally with the several States, is entitled to the fullest measure of home rule looking toward statehood; and to equality with the several States in the rights of her citizens and in the application of all our national laws.
Alaska is entitled to the fullest measure of home rule looking toward statehood.
Statehood is a logical aspiration of the people of Puerto Rico who were made citizens of the United States by Congress in 1917; legislation affecting Puerto Rico, in so far as feasible, should be in harmony with the realization of that aspiration.
In order to give refuge to millions of distressed Jewish men, women and children driven from their homes by tyranny, we call for the opening of Palestine to their unrestricted immigration and land ownership, so that in accordance with the full intent and purpose of the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the Resolution of a Republican Congress in 1922, Palestine may be constituted as a free and democratic Commonwealth. We condemn the failure of the President to insist that the mandatory of Palestine carry out the provision of the Balfour Declaration and of the mandate while he pretends to support them.
Free Press and Radio
In times like these, when whole peoples have found themselves shackled by governments which denied the truth, or, worse, dealt in half-truths or withheld the facts from the public, it is imperative to the maintenance of a free America that the press and radio be free and that full and complete information be available to Americans. There must be no censorship except to the extent required by war necessity.
We insistently condemn any tendency to regard the press or the radio as instruments of the Administration and the use of government publicity agencies for partisan ends. We need a new radio law which will define, in clear and unmistakable language, the role of the Federal Communications Commission.
All channels of news must be kept open with equality of access to information at the source. If agreement can be achieved with foreign nations to establish the same principles, it will be a valuable contribution to future peace.
Vital facts must not be withheld.
We want no more Pearl Harbor reports.
The acceptance of the nominations made by this Convention carries with it, as a matter of private honor and public faith, an undertaking by each candidate to be true to the principles and program herein set forth.
The essential question at trial in this nation is whether men can organize together in a highly industrialized society, succeed, and still be free. That is the essential question at trial throughout the world today.
In this time of confusion and strife, when moral values are being crushed on every side, we pledge ourselves to uphold with all our strength the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and the law of the land. We so pledge ourselves that the American tradition may stand forever as the beacon light of civilization.
APP Note: The American Presidency Project used the first day of the national nominating convention as the "date" of this platform since the original document is undated.
Republican Party Platforms, Republican Party Platform of 1944 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/273390