Debate of April 30, 1896.Question: "Resolved, That President Cleveland should be re-elected next fall."
Brief for the Affirmative.H. L. BELISLE and M. G. SEELIG.
Best general references: McMaster, Hist. of the People of the U. S., II, ch. IX, 245 308; Nation, XXX, 342; XXVIII, 194; LXII, 172-3, (Feb. 27, 1896); LXII, 232-3, (March 19,1896), Boston Herald, April 3, 1896; Nat. Quar. Mag., LXXX, 377; No. Am. Rev., Vol. 130, p. 117; Harper's Weekly, XL, 218, (March 7, 1896); XL, 266-67, (March 21, 1896).
I. The election of a Democratic government will best serve the interests of the country.- (1) Further tariff legislation would be detrimental to business: Harper's Weekly, XL, 218-(a) Business men desire no change: ibid; Nation, LXII, 232.- (b) A Democratic government will tend to prevent such legislation.- (c) A Republican government would change the tariff.- (x) Republicans are making the tariff their chief campaign issue: Harper's, XL, 218.- (2) A Democratic government gives promise of better currency legislation.- (a) In 1888 the Republican platform denounced Cleveland for his attempts "to demontize silver:" Tribune Almanc, 1889, p. 22.- (b) In 1890 the Republican Sherman Law was passed: ibid, 1891, p. 41-(c) In 1892 the Republican platform "straddled" the currency question: ibid, 1893, p. 32.- (d) The Democratic platform of 1892 was for "sound money": ibid, 1893, p. 35.- (e) In 1893 the Democratic government repealed the disastrous Sherman Law: ibid, 1894. p. 115.- (f) The Democrats alone are working to convert supporters of silver: Harper's XL, 266-7; Louisville Post, quoted in Boston Herald, April 14, 1896.- (x) Hoke Smith in Georgia.- (y) Carlisle in Kentucky.- (z) In Maryland, Tenn., and Alabama.- (3) The Democrats are most likely to give us good government "now our most vital concern."- (a) They are successfully making the most determined fight for honest government: Harper's, XL, 266-7; Nation, LXII, 172-3.- (x) In New York agains Hill.- (w) In Maryland against Gorman.- (y) In Ohio against Brice.- (z) In Kentucky against Blackburn.- (b) The Republicans have failed to achieve any practical results in this line: Harper's, XL, 266-67; Nation, LXII, 245-6.- (x) Quay is a despot in Penn; Beston Herald, April 3, 1896; Nation, LXII, 170.- (y) Platt "most powerful boss the state (i. e. New York) has ever seen": Nation, LXII, 150.- (z) Foraker strong in Ohio.
II. President Cleveland is thoroughly fitted to carry out Democratic principles.- (1) He has made those principles what they are-(a) Committed the party to tariff reform in 1886: Cong. Record, XVIII, 6-7, (Dec. 6, 1886)-(b) Has always positively stood for sound money.
III. He is a man of more definite policy than any one of the probable Republican nominees.- (1) Has always openly defined his attitude on currency questions: Forum, Feb., 1894.- (a) His determination alone secured the repeal of the Sherman law: Ibid.- (2) No prominent Republican aspirant has so definite a record on the currency question.- (a) Reed helped pass the Sherman law.- (b) Harrison signed the Sherman law: Cong. Record, XXI, 7264, (July 14, 1890).- (c) McKinley has "Straddled" and is "straddling": Nation, LXII, 227.- (d) Allison has "a bad record and is speechless now": Harper's, XL, 266.- (3) Cleveland is a most consistent civil service reformer: Nation, LXII, 227.- (a) Began the abolition of the spoils system in 1885: Platforms and Promises by W. D. Foulke.- (b) He has continued his original policy.- (c) Received the support of independent civil service reformers in 1892.
IV. Objections to a third term are not valid.- (1) Absolutely no fear now of monarchical rule or dictatorship.- (a) We have a very small and scattered army.- (2) Washington did not refuse a third term chiefly on political grounds.- (a) Though he did have some fear that monarchical rule might be possible, yet his reasons for refusing were mainly personal: McMaster, II, ch. IX.- (x) Was in bad health at the end of second term, and died before third term would have ended: No. Am. Rev., CXXX, 117.- (y) He was no longer "the idol of the people": Ibid.- (I) "In 1796 in every city and town were men who denounced him: McMaster, II, 289.- (II) Was slandered in the public press: Ibid, 249-50.- (III) In 1796 the House of Representatives intentionally insulted him: Ibid, 259-61.- (IV) Accused of malfeasance in office: Ibid, 249.- (3) Jefferson did not refuse a renomination for political reasons-(a) He refused partly out of respect for the memory of Washington and the precedent established by him: No. Am. Rev., CXXX, 117.- (b) Knew he could not be elected.- (x) States in favor of him had 69 votes, those opposed 94: No. Am. Rev. CXXX, 117.- (4) Grant was not renominated simply on grounds of political expediency.- (a) Was a military leader "made President in a burst of popular gratitude": Nation, XXX, 342.- (b) Was a bad executive.- (w) Administration was full of scandals: Nat. Quar. Rev. XL, 377.- (x) Surrounded himself with men of low character: Nation, XXX, 342.- (y) Was a military executive: Nat. Quar. Rev., XL, 391.- (z) Stood for no definite policy: Nation, XXX, 342.- (I) The choice would have been the supremacy of the man, not of principles.
Brief for the Negative.F. B. Fex and H. F. KNIGHT.
Best general references: John Bach McMaster in Forum, vol. 20, pp. 257 ff. (November, 1895); Judge Black, in North American Beview, vol. 130, pp. 208 ff. (March, 1880), vol. 160, pp. 385 ff.; Nation, vol. 61, p. 337 (November 14, 1895).
A. Cleveland should not be re-elected in 1896.- (I) Because it is not advisable to return the Democratic party to power in 1896-(a) for the Republican party has a better financial policy than the Democratic party.- (1) This is shown by the vote on the repeal of the Sherman law (Forum, May, 1894).- (2) It is shown by recent party plat forms in representative Republican States-(x) Massachusetts, (y) New York.- (3) It is shown by recent votes in Congress.- (b) The tariff policy of the Republican party is at present better for the country than that of the Democratic party.- (1) The Republican party has done all it could to pass the Dingley bill.- (2) This measure would have increased our revenues.- (3) It would have done away with the deficit.- (c) The Republican party is more capable of united action than the Democratic party.- (1) This is shown by their passage of the McKinley bill.- (2) It is shown by their attitude on present bills-(x) the Dingley bill, (y) the Immigration bill, (z) the Bankruptcy bill.- (II) It is inexpedient to elect a president for a third term at the present time.- (a) This would be contrary to established custom. (1) Jefferson refused a third term (North American Review, March, 1880).- (2) Jackson declined a third term.- (b) There is no reason at the present time for departing from our usual policy.- (1) Such a step would be contrary to public opinion-(w) as it existed at the time of the framing of the Constitution (North American Review, March, 1880).- (x) As it existed in 1875 (North American Review, vol. 130, p. 116), (y) as it existed in the time of Grant's struggle for a third term (Forum, vol. 20, pp. 257 ff(, (z) as it exists today.- (2) There are no unusually important measures of foreign policy to be decided.- (3) There are no domestic concerns of vital interest which require completion.