Log Cabin

Whig Party Platform of 1852

June 17, 1852

The Whigs of the United States, in Convention assembled, firmly adhering to the great conservative principles by which they are controlled and governed, and now as ever relying upon the intelligence of the American people, with an abiding confidence in their capacity for self-government, and their devotion to the Constitution and the Union, do proclaim the following as the political sentiments and determination for the establishment and maintenance of which their national organization as a party was effected:

First: The Government of the United States is of a limited character, and it is confined to the exercise of powers expressly granted by the Constitution, and such as may be necessary and proper for carrying the granted powers into full execution, and that all powers not thus granted or necessarily implied are expressly reserved to the States respectively and to the people.

Second: The State Governments should be held secure in their reserved rights, and the General Government sustained on its constitutional powers, and that the Union should be revered and watched over as the palladium of our liberties.

Third: That while struggling freedom everywhere enlists the warmest sympathy of the Whig party, we still adhere to the doctrines of the Father of his Country, as announced in his Farewell Address, of keeping ourselves free from all entangling alliances with foreign countries, and of never quitting our own to stand upon foreign ground, that our mission as a republic is not to propagate our opinions, or impose on other countries our form of government by artifice or force; but to teach, by example, and show by our success, moderation and justice, the blessings of self-government, and the advantages of free institutions.

Fourth: That where the people make and control the Government, they should obey its constitution, laws and treaties, as they would retain their self-respect, and the respect which they claim and will enforce from foreign powers.

Fifth: Government should be conducted upon principles of the strictest economy, and revenue sufficient for the expenses of an economical administration of the Government in time of peace ought to be derived from a duty on imports, and not from direct taxes;  and in laying such duties, sound policy requires a just discrimination and protection from fraud by specific duties when practicable, whereby suitable encouragement may be afforded to American industry, equally to all classes, and to all parts of the country.

Sixth: The Constitution vests in Congress the power to open and repair harbors, and remove obstructions from navigable rivers, and it is expedient that Congress shall exercise that power whenever such improvements are for the protection and facility of commerce with foreign nations, or among the States--such improvements being, in every instance, National and general in their character.

Seventh: The Federal and State Governments are parts of one system, alike necessary for the common prosperity, peace and security, and ought to be regarded alike with a cordial, habitual and immovable attachment. Respect for the authority of each and acquiescence in the just constitutional measures of each, are duties required by the plainest considerations of National, State, and individual welfare.

Eighth: That the series of acts of the Thirty-first Congress, commonly known as the Compromise or Adjustment (the act for the recovery of fugitive slaves from labor included,) are received and acquiesced in by the Whigs of the United States as a final settlement, in principle and in substance, of the subjects to which they relate; and, so far as these acts are concerned, we will maintain them, and insist upon their strict enforcement, until time and experience shall demonstrate the necessity of further legislation to guard against the evasion of the law, on one hand, and the abuse of their powers on the other--not impairing their present efficiency to carry out the requirements of the Constitution; and we deprecate all further agitation of the questions thus settled, as dangerous to our peace; and will discountenance all efforts to continue or renew such agitation, whenever, wherever, or however made; and we will maintain this settlement as essential to the nationality of the Whig party and of the Union.

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.  The text we use here is drawn from the New York Daily Times, June 25, 1852, p. 1, "Scott Ratification Meeting."  At this meeting of New York Whigs, the "declaration of Whig principles" that is published here was "presented and read."  This is the earliest text we have thus far located.

Whig Party Platform, Whig Party Platform of 1852 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/273461

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