Question: Resolved, That Mugwump politics are commendable.
Brief for the affirmative:A. E. BURR and F. W. BURLINGHAM.
Best general references: Bryce's American Commonweath, II, 1-236; Forum IX, 126, 430; Nation, XXXVIII, 201, XXXIX, 21 and 41, XLVII, 4, 62.
I. Mugwump politics are the politics of those who refuse to vote always in accordance with party ties; Nation XXXVIII 201, XXXIX, 21, 41; Bryce, II. 43, 44.
II. The present system of party administration is unsatisfactory. a. It leaves the government in the hands of bosses; Bryce II, 96, 98, 102, 118; Forum II, 532; IX, 117. b. Offices are sought merely for the salaries attached; Bryce II, 56, 126-134. c. By corrupt party measures men of conspicuous unfitness are appointed, e. g.; Tweed, Carter Harrison, Judge Reilly O'Dyvver; Bryce II, 117. d. Parties have become an end and not a means; Bryce II, 20; Forum IX. 430-436. e. There are no vital differences between the parties; Bryce II, 15-28.
III. It is impossible to bring about permanent reforms by action within a party; Bryce II, 83, 108; American, 1890, p. 436. a. Case of Roosevelt. b. Hill and Quay hold absolute control in their respective parties.
IV. Mugwump politics offer the only opportunity for men of independent judgment to influence politics. Saturday Review LVIII, 658; Nation XLVII, 4; Andover Review I, 659. a. It prevents abstention. b. It gives a balance of power; Forum IX, 434. c. Compels better nominations from both parties, and thus helps to purify politics; Nation XX, 308; XLIV, 264, 281.
Brief for the negative:G. MORTON and L. B. WILLIAMS.
Best general reference: Speech by Roscoe Conkling, Rochester Convention, 1876; Life and Letters of Roscoe Conkling, by A. R. Conkling, p. 538; Speech by William M. Evarts, Brooklyn Academy, Oct. 23, 1884. (N. Y. papers.)
I. Party government is necessary under our institutions. Macy, Our Government, ch. XXXIV.
II. Great parties divided by broad and general lines are more beneficial and practical in their workings than numerous small parties which can govern only by combinations. E. U. S. and England vs. Germany and France.
III. Great parties cannot present at each election exactly the combinations of principles agreeable to each voter, and either he must compromise and join one side or the other on the issues as a whole or he must waste his vote.
IV. The great American parties do not interchange positions on most of the great issues, but are in general consistent with their former selves.
V. Hence voters cannot afford to be independent of parties and to change their party vote on single issues. a. If they ever believed in the general principles of their old party they are unlikely to find themselves in as full accord with its opponents, though heartily with them in some particular. b. They loose their political influence by exerting it in too many directions. c. They eventually gain the enmity of both parties and are tolerated only in the times of necessity. d. They way to reform a party is to stay in it and help it to correct its mistakes. Pamphlets on campaign of 1884, Vol, II, pam. 7.
VI. The mugwump is no more likely to force a good measure upon a party by holding the balance of power than he is to force a bad one upon it.