National Party Platforms, 1832–1932

January 13, 1932

Report Outline
The National Committes and the Party Platforms
The Process of Platform Making
Party Platforms in Periods of Depression
Major Issues in Party Platforms of 1928
Proposed Platforms Planks for 1932

The National Committes and the Party Platforms

Prohibiton Fight in Democratic National Committee

Four Years Ago at the Jackson Day dinner of the Democratic party a letter from Alfred E. Smith, prospective presidential nominee of the party, was read in which he recommended that a tentative draft of the 1928 platform be prepared immediately by the Democratic National Committee, to provide a basis for intelligent action by the Democratic national convention in June. He believed the party had erred in the past “by waiting for the national convention to undertake the entire task of preparing a platform.”

In the heat and rush of a convention the platform when finally written is …not sufficiently understandable to the masses of the people. There is too great a tendency to speak of the evils that beset us and to fail to suggest any specific remedy. The party platforms of recent years have been too general in their terms and important questions have been neglected by the platform builders in the spirit of compromise with great principles. We cannot carry water on both shoulders. The Democratic party must talk out to the American people in no uncertain terms.

Smith's recommendation was neglected by the Democratic National Committee, and the 1928 platform was framed and adopted by the national convention in the same old way. The resulting product was not distinguishable from earlier platforms either for the clarity of its expression or for the definiteness of the remedies it proposed for existing conditions.

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