19 September 2012

From the Republican Party platform (1956)

On its Centennial, the Republican Party again calls to the minds of all Americans the great truth first spoken by Abraham Lincoln: "The legitimate object of Government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done but cannot do at all, or cannot so well do, for themselves in their separate and individual capacities. But in all that people can individually do as well for themselves, Government ought not to interfere."

Our great President Dwight D. Eisenhower has counseled us further: "In all those things which deal with people, be liberal, be human. In all those things which deal with people's money, or their economy, or their form of government, be conservative."

While jealously guarding the free institutions and preserving the principles upon which our Republic was founded and has flourished, the purpose of the Republican Party is to establish and maintain a peaceful world and build at home a dynamic prosperity in which every citizen fairly shares.

We shall ever build anew, that our children and their children, without distinction because of race, creed or color, may know the blessings of our free land.

We believe that basic to governmental integrity are unimpeachable ethical standards and irreproachable personal conduct by all people in government. We shall continue our insistence on honesty as an indispensable requirement of public service. We shall continue to root out corruption whenever and wherever it appears.

We are proud of and shall continue our far-reaching and sound advances in matters of basic human needs—expansion of social security—broadened coverage in unemployment insurance —improved housing—and better health protection for all our people. We are determined that our government remain warmly responsive to the urgent social and economic problems of our people.

To these beliefs we commit ourselves as we present this record and declare our goals for the future. 

Excerpted from the complete document.


  1. That was back before the end of the Cold War and the new Robber Barons no longer felt the need to make our system look competitive to "matters of basic human needs".

  2. Yup. I campaigned for Eisenhower as a teenager. That's the kind of Republican I was. Somewhere along the line, the party left me and other like-minded Republicans. I think it had to do with the massive desertion of racist Democrats (Dixiecrats) when Lyndon Johnson's government enacted Civil Rights legislation. They all became Republicans, and there went the party. It was good for the Democrats, though.

  3. Wrong, wrong wrong! Somewhere along the line, social entitlement programs took on a life of their own. Eisenhower would never have imagined that a person could be born, live and die all on the public dole. It wasn't even considered that someone would not WANT to work, but prefer to suck the government teat, meager though it may be. Multiple years' unemployment benefits - reduction in work requirements for welfare? Incomprehensible, even in a post-war economy flooded by returning veterans. Free birth control - being treated as a minor until you're 25 years old? Good lord, the men who won the war and came home were still younger than that. They would have ridiculed and humiliated any able bodied man who accepted that type of diminution.

    To enable that subjugation to government is not compassion, that's condemnation.

    Your Repbulican Party's principles haven't changed. The depth and scope of what the public considers "basic human needs" sure the hell has.

    1. Remember that even Mitt Romneys father was on welfare when he came to this country from Mexico and was having a hard time.

  4. In all countries it is always the same: You seemingly can only be in favor of ever expanding social welfare or absolutely against social welfare.

    I have never met a social democrat, leftist or liberal who would be able to define a level of social welfare that he/she would find just right and from which no further expansion would be needed.
    The same on the right/conservative/libertarian side. Never met anyone who could define exactly to which amount of social welfare he would want the status quo cut - but then cut no further.

    And that my friends is politics: When you no longer want the optimum, but just more and more of what what you always wanted and the others don't want.

    Having said that, one could argue that the Republicans did exactly what Eisenhower said they would do ("and shall continue our far-reaching and sound advances in matters of basic human needs") until the point when the optimum would be reached. At which point the Democrats took over and now the Republicans fight to cut back to that optimal point.

    Now, I am not saying that's the truth. But it is one of a few consistent positions regarding the content of the blog post.


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