Republican Party symbol picture

Republican Party Platform of 1948

June 21, 1948

I Declaration of Principles

To establish and maintain peace, to build a country in which every citizen can earn a good living with the promise of real progress for himself and his family, and to uphold as a beacon light for mankind everywhere, the inspiring American tradition of liberty, opportunity and justice for all—that is the Republican platform.

To this end we propose as a guide to definite action the following principles:

Maximum voluntary cooperation between citizens and minimum dependence on law; never, however, declining courageous recourse to law if necessary.

Our competitive system furnishes vital opportunity for youth and for all enterprising citizens; it makes possible the productive power which is the unique weapon of our national defense; and is the mainspring of material well-being and political freedom.

Government, as the servant of such a system, should take all needed steps to strengthen and develop public health, to promote scientific research, to provide security for the aged, and to promote a stable economy so that men and women need not fear the loss of their jobs or the threat of economic hardships through no fault of their own.

The rights and obligations of workers are commensurate with the rights and obligations of employers and they are interdependent; these rights should be protected against coercion and exploitation from whatever quarter and with due regard for the general welfare of all.

The soil as our basic natural resource must be conserved with increased effectiveness; and farm prices should be supported on a just basis.

Development of the priceless national heritage which is in our West is vital to our nation.

Administration of government must be economical and effective.

Faulty governmental policies share an important responsibility for the present cruelly high cost of living. We pledge prompt action to correct these policies. There must be decent living at decent wages.

Our common defense must be strengthened and unified.

Our foreign policy is dedicated to preserving a free America in a free world of free men. This calls for strengthening the United Nations and primary recognition of America's self-interest in the liberty of other peoples. Prudently conserving our own resources, we shall cooperate on a self-help basis with other peace-loving nations.

Constant and effective insistence on the personal dignity of the individual, and his right to complete justice without regard to race, creed or color, is a fundamental American principle.

We aim always to unite and to strengthen; never to weaken or divide. In such a brotherhood will we Americans get results. Thus we will overcome all obstacles.


In the past eighteen months, the Republican Congress, in the face of frequent obstruction from the Executive Branch, made a record of solid achievement. Here are some of the accomplishments of this Republican Congress:

The long trend of extravagant and ill-advised Executive action reversed;

the budget balanced;

taxes reduced;

limitation of Presidential tenure to two terms passed;

assistance to veterans, their widows and orphans provided;

assistance to agriculture and business enacted;

elimination of the poll tax as a requisite to soldier voting;

a sensible reform of the labor law, protecting all rights of Labor while safeguarding the entire community against those breakdowns in essential industries which endanger the health and livelihood of all;

a long-range farm program enacted;

unification of the armed services launched;

a military manpower law enacted;

the United Nations fostered;

a haven for displaced persons provided;

the most far-reaching measures in history adopted to aid the recovery of the free world on a basis of self-help and with prudent regard for our own resources;

and, finally, the development of intelligent plans and party teamwork for the day when the American people entrust the Executive as well as the Legislative branch of our National Government to the Republican Party.

We shall waste few words on the tragic lack of foresight and general inadequacy of those now in charge of the Executive Branch of the National Government; they have lost the confidence of citizens of all parties.


Present cruelly high prices are due in large part to the fact that the government has not effectively used the powers it possesses to combat inflation, but has deliberately encouraged higher prices.

We pledge an attack upon the basic causes of inflation, including the following measures:

progressive reduction of the cost of government through elimination of waste;

stimulation of production as the surest way to lower prices;

fiscal policies to provide increased incentives for production and thrift;

a sound currency;

reduction of the public debt.

We pledge further, that in the management of our National Government, we shall achieve the abolition of overlapping, duplication, extravagance, and excessive centralization;

the more efficient assignment of functions within the government;

and the rooting out of Communism wherever found.

These things are fundamental.


We must, however, do more.

The Constitution gives us the affirmative mandate "to establish justice."

In Lincoln's words: The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.

The tragic experience of Europe tells us that popular government disappears when it is ineffective and no longer can translate into action the aims and the aspirations of the people.

Therefore, in domestic affairs, we propose:

The maintenance of armed services for air, land and sea, to a degree which will insure our national security; and the achievement of effective unity in the Department of National Defense so as to insure maximum economy in money and manpower, and maximum effectiveness in case of war. We favor sustained effective action to procure sufficient manpower for the services, recognizing the American principle that every citizen has an obligation of service to his country.

An adequate privately operated merchant marine, the continued development of our harbors and waterways, and the expansion of privately operated air transportation and communication systems.

The maintenance of Federal finances in a healthy condition and continuation of the efforts so well started by the Republican Congress to reduce the enormous burden of taxation in order to provide incentives for the creation of new industries and new jobs, and to bring relief from inflation. We favor intelligent integration of Federal-State taxing and spending policies designed to eliminate wasteful duplication, and in order that the State and local governments may be able to assume their separate responsibilities, the Federal government shall as soon as practicable withdraw or reduce those taxes which can be best administered by local governments, with particular consideration of excise and inheritance taxes; and we favor restoring to America a working federalism.

Small business, the bulwark of American enterprise, must be encouraged through aggressive anti-monopoly action, elimination of unnecessary controls, protection against discrimination, correction of tax abuses, and limitation of competition by governmental organizations.

Collective bargaining is an obligation as well as a right, applying equally to workers and employers; and the fundamental right to strike is subordinate only to paramount considerations of public health and safety. Government's chief function in this field is to promote good will, encourage cooperation, and where resort is had to intervention, to be impartial, preventing violence and requiring obedience to all law by all parties involved. We pledge continuing study to improve labor-management legislation in the light of experience and changing conditions.

There must be a long-term program in the interest of agriculture and the consumer which should include: An accelerated program of sounder soil conservation; effective protection of reasonable market prices through flexible support prices, commodity loans, marketing agreements, together with such other means as may be necessary, and the development of sound farm credit; encouragement of family-size farms; intensified research to discover new crops, new uses for existing crops, and control of hoof and mouth and other animal diseases and crop pests; support of the principle of bona fide farmer-owned and farmer-operated co-operatives, and sound rural electrification.

We favor progressive development of the Nation's water resources for navigation, flood control and power, with immediate action in critical areas.

We favor conservation of all our natural resources and believe that conservation and stock-piling of strategic and critical raw materials is indispensable to the security of the United States.

We urge the full development of our forests on the basis of cropping and sustained yield with co-operation of States and private owners for conservation and fire protection.

We favor a comprehensive reclamation program for arid and semi-arid areas with full protection of the rights and interests of the States in the use and control of water for irrigation, power development incidental thereto and other beneficial uses; withdrawal or acquisition of lands for public purposes only by Act of Congress and after due consideration of local problems; development of processes for the extraction of oil and other substances from oil shale and coal; adequate representation of the West in the National Administration.

Recognizing the Nation's solemn obligation to all veterans, we propose a realistic and adequate adjustment of benefits on a cost-of-living basis for service-connected disabled veterans and their dependents, and for the widows, orphans and dependents of veterans who died in the service of their country. All disabled veterans should have ample opportunity for suitable, self-sustaining employment. We demand good-faith compliance with veterans preference in Federal service with simplification and codification of the hundreds of piecemeal Federal laws affecting veterans, and efficient and businesslike management of the Veterans Administration. We pledge the highest possible standards of medical care and hospitalization.

Housing can best be supplied and financed by private enterprise; but government can and should encourage the building of better homes at less cost. We recommend Federal aid to the States for local slum clearance and low-rental housing programs only where there is a need that cannot be met either by private enterprise or by the States and localities.

Consistent with the vigorous existence of our competitive economy, we urge: extension of the Federal Old Age and Survivors' Insurance program and increase of the benefits to a more realistic level; strengthening of Federal-State programs designed to provide more adequate hospital facilities, too improve methods of treatment for the mentally ill, to advance maternal and child health and generally to foster a healthy America.

Lynching or any other form of mob violence anywhere is a disgrace to any civilized state, and we favor the prompt enactment of legislation to end this infamy.

One of the basic principles of this Republic is the equality of all individuals in their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This principle is enunciated in the Declaration of Independence and embodied in the Constitution of the United States; it was vindicated on the field of battle and became the cornerstone of this Republic. This right of equal opportunity to work and to advance in life should never be limited in any individual because of race, religion, color, or country of origin. We favor the enactment and just enforcement of such Federal legislation as may be necessary to maintain this right at all times in every part of this Republic.

We favor the abolition of the poll tax as a requisite to voting.

We are opposed to the idea of racial segregation in the armed services of the United States.


We pledge a vigorous enforcement of existing laws against Communists and enactment of such new legislation as may be necessary to expose the treasonable activities of Communists and defeat their objective of establishing here a godless dictatorship controlled from abroad.

We favor a revision of the procedure for the election of the President and Vice President which will more exactly reflect the popular vote.

We recommend to Congress the submission of a constitutional amendment providing equal rights for women.

We favor equal pay for equal work regardless of sex.

We propose a well-paid and efficient Federal career service.

We favor the elimination of unnecessary Federal bureaus and of the duplication of the functions of necessary governmental agencies.

We favor equality of educational opportunity for all and the promotion of education and educational facilities.

We favor restoration to the States of their historic rights to the tide and submerged lands, tributary waters, lakes, and streams.

We favor eventual statehood for Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico. We urge development of Alaskan land communications and natural resources.

We favor self-government for the residents of the nation's capital.


We dedicate our foreign policy to the preservation of a free America in a free world of free men. With neither malice nor desire for conquest, we shall strive for a just peace with all nations.

America is deeply interested in the stability, security and liberty of other independent peoples. Within the prudent limits of our own economic welfare, we shall cooperate, on a basis of self-help and mutual aid, to assist other peace-loping nations to restore their economic independence and the human rights and fundamental freedoms for which we fought two wars and upon which dependable peace must build. We shall insist on businesslike and efficient administration of all foreign aid.

We welcome and encourage the sturdy progress toward unity in Western Europe.

We shall erect our foreign policy on the basis of friendly firmness which welcomes co-operation but spurns appeasement. We shall pursue a consistent foreign policy which invites steadiness and reliance and which thus avoids the misunderstandings from which wars result. We shall protect the future against the errors of the Democrat Administration, which has too often lacked clarity, competence or consistency in our vital international relationships and has too often abandoned justice.

We believe in collective security against aggression and in behalf of justice and freedom. We shall support the United Nations as the world's best hope in this direction, striving to strengthen it and promote its effective evolution and use. The United Nations should progressively establish international law, be freed of any veto in the peaceful settlement of international disputes, and be provided with the armed forces contemplated by the Charter. We particularly commend the value of regional arrangements as prescribed by the Charter; and we cite the Western Hemispheric Defense Pact as a useful model.

We shall nourish these Pan-American agreements in the new spirit of co-operation which implements the Monroe Doctrine.

We welcome Israel into the family of nations and take pride in the fact that the Republican Party was the first to call for the establishment of a free and independent Jewish Commonwealth. The vacillation of the Democrat Administration on this question has undermined the prestige of the United Nations. Subject to the letter and spirit of the United Nations Charter, we pledge to Israel full recognition, with its boundaries as sanctioned by the United Nations and aid in developing its economy.

We will foster and cherish our historic policy of friendship with China and assert our deep interest in the maintenance of its integrity and freedom.

We shall seek to restore autonomy and self-sufficiency as rapidly as possible in our post-war occupied areas, guarding always against any rebirth of aggression.

We shall relentlessly pursue our aims for the universal limitation and control of arms and implements of war on a basis of reliable disciplines against bad faith.

At all times safeguarding our own industry and agriculture, and under efficient administrative procedures for the legitimate consideration of domestic needs, we shall support the system of reciprocal trade and encourage international commerce.

We pledge that under a Republican Administration all foreign commitments shall be made public and subject to constitutional ratification. We shall say what we mean and mean what we say. In all of these things we shall primarily consult the national security and welfare of our own United States. In all of these things we shall welcome the world's co-operation. But in none of these things shall we surrender our ideals or our free institutions.

We are proud of the part that Republicans have taken in those limited areas of foreign policy in which they have been permitted to participate. We shall invite the Minority Party to join us under the next Republican Administration in stopping partisan politics at the water's edge.

We faithfully dedicate ourselves to peace with justice.


Guided by these principles, with continuing faith in Almighty God; united in the spirit of brotherhood; and using to the full the skills, resources and blessings of liberty with which we are endowed; we, the American people, will courageously advance to meet the challenge of the future.

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 1948 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

Simple Search of Our Archives