Republican Platform of 1800

Adopted in Congressional Caucus, Philadelphia

Also available in .mp3.

  1. An inviolable preservation of the federal constitution, according to the true sense in which it was adopted by the states, that in which it was advocated by its friends, and not that which its enemies apprehended, who, therefore, became its enemies.
  2. Opposition to monarchising its features by the forms of its administration, with a view to conciliate a transition, first, to a president and senate for life, and secondly, to an hereditary tenure of those offices, and thus to worm out the elective principle.
  3. Preservation to the states of the powers not yielded by them to the Union, and to the legislature of the Union its constitutional share in the division of powers; and resistance, therefore, to existing movements for transferring all the powers of the states to the general government, and all of those of that government to the executive branch.
  4. A rigorously frugal administration of the government and the application of all the possible savings of the public revenue to the liquidation of the public debt; and resistance, therefore, to all measures looking to a multiplication of officers and salaries, merely to create partisans and to augment the public debt, on the principle of its being a public blessing.
  5. Reliance for internal defense solely upon the militia, till actual invasion, and for such a naval force only, as may be sufficient to protect our coasts and harbors from depredations; and opposition, therefore, to the policy of a standing army in time of peace which may overawe the public sentiment, and to a navy, which, by its own expenses, and the wars in which it will implicate us, will grind us with public burdens and sink us under them.
  6. Free commerce with all nations, political connection with none, and little or no diplomatic establishment.
  7. Opposition to linking ourselves by new treaties with the quarrels of Europe, entering their fields of slaughter to preserve their balance, or joining in the confederacy of kings to war against the principles of liberty.
  8. Freedom of religion and opposition to all maneuvers to bring about a legal ascendency of one sect over another.
  9. Freedom of speech and of the press; and opposition, therefore, to all violations of the constitution to silence, by force, and not by reason, the complaints or criticisms, just or unjust, of our citizens against the conduct of their public agents.
  10. Liberal naturalization laws, under which the well disposed of all nations who may desire to embark their fortunes with us and share with us the public burdens may have that opportunity, under moderate restrictions for the development of honest intention, and severe ones to guard against the usurpation of our flag.
  11. Encouragement of science and the arts in all their branches, to the end that the American people may perfect their independence of all foreign monopolies, institutions, and influences.

While this was officially adopted by the Republican party’s in 1800 as its platform, much of the prose comes directly from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to Elbridge Gerry on 26 January 1799.  Said letter was widely printed prior to the adoption of this platform.  The party never held a national convention, but rather named candidates and adopted platforms through its congressional caucus.