1852 Free Soil Party Platform
Having assembled in national convention as the Free Democracy of the United States, united by a common resolve to maintain right against wrong, and freedom against slavery; confiding in the intelligence, patriotism, and discriminating justice of the American people; putting our trust in God for the triumph of our cause, and invoking his guidance in our endeavors to advance it, we now submit to the candid judgment of all men, the following declaration of principles and measures:
First. That governments deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed are instituted among men to secure to all those inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness with which they are endowed by their Creator, and of which none can be deprived by valid legislation, except, for rcrime.
Second. That the true mission of American Democracy is to maintain the liberties of the people, the sovereignty of the states, and the perpetuity of the Union, by the impartial application to public affairs, without sectional discrimination, of the fundamental principles of human rights, strict justice, and an economical administration.
Third. That the federal government is one of the limited powers derived solely from the Constitution, and the grants of powers therein ought to be strictly construed by all the departments and agents of the government, and it is inexpedient and dangerous to exercise doubtful constitutional powers.
Fourth. That the Constitution of the United States, ordained to form a more perfect Union, to establish justice, and secure the blessings of liberty, expressly denies to the general government all power to deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; and therefore the Government, having no more power to make a slave than to make a king, and no more power to establish slavery than to establish a monarchy, should at once proceed to relieve itself from all responsibility for the existence of slavery, wherever it possesses constitutional Power to legislate for its extinction.
Fifth. That to the persevering and importunate demands of the slave power for more slave states, new slave territories, and the nationalization of slavery, our distinct and final, the answer is: No more slave states, no slave territory, no Nationalized slavery, and no national legislation for the extradition of slaves.
Sixth. That slavery is a sin against God and a crime against man, which no human enactment nor usage can make right; and that Christianity, humanity, and patriotism alike demand Its abolition.
Seventh. That the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 is pertinent to the Constitution, to the principles of the common law, to the spirit of Christianity, and to the sentiments of the civilized World. We, therefore, deny its binding force on the American people and demand its immediate and total repeal.
Eighth. That the doctrine that any human law is a finality, and not subject to modification or repeal, is not in accordance with the Creed of the founders of our government and is desirous to the liberties of the people.
Ninth. That the acts of Congress renown as the "compromise" measures of 1850,--by making the admission of a sovereign state contingent upon the adoption of other measures demanded by the special interests of slavery; by their omission to guarantee freedom in the free territories; by their attempt to impose unconstitutional limitations on the powers of Congress, and the people to admit new states; by their provisions for the assumption of five millions of the state debt of Texas. and for the payment of five millions more, and the cession of large territory to the same state under menace, as an inducement to their relinquishment of a groundless claim;, and by their invasion of the sovereignty of the states and the liberties of the people, through the enactment of an unjust, oppressive, and unconstitutional fugitive slave law,-are proved to be inconsistent with all the principles and maxims of Democracy, and wholly inadequate to the settlement of the questions of which they are claimed to be an adjustment.
Tenth. That no permanent settlement of the slavery quest-'ton can be looked for except in the practical recognition of the truth that slavery is sectional and freedom national; by the total separation of the general government from slavery, and the exercise of its legitimate and constitutional influence on the side of freedom; and by leaving to the states the whole subject of slavery and the extradition of fugitives from service.
Eleventh. That all men have a natural right to a portion of the soil; and that as the use of the soil is indispensable to life, the right of all men to the soil is as sacred as their right to life itself.
Twelfth. That the public lands of the United States belong to the people, and should not be sold to individuals, nor granted to corporations, but should be held as a sacred trust for the benefit of the people, and should be granted in limited quantities, free of cost, to landless settlers.
Thirteenth. That a due regard for the federal Constitution and a sound administrative policy demand that the funds of the general government be kept separate from banking institutions; that inland and ocean postage should be reduced to the lowest possible point; that no more revenue should be raised than is required to defray the strictly necessary expenses of the public service and to pay off the public debt; and that the power and patronage of the government should be diminished by the abolition of all unnecessary offices, salaries, and privileges, and by the election by the people of all civil officers in the service of the United States, so far as may be consistent with the prompt and efficient transaction of the public business.
Fourteenth. That river and harbor improvements, necessary to the safety and convenience of commerce with foreign nations or among the several states, are objects of national concern, and it is the duty of Congress, in the exercise of its constitutional powers, to provide for the same
Fifteenth. That emigrants and exiles from the Old World should find a cordial welcome to homes of and fields of enterprise in the New World, and every attempt to abridge their privilege of becoming citizens and owners of soil among us ought to be resisted with infallible determination.
Sixteenth. That every nation has a clear right to alter or change its own government, and to administer its own concerns in such manner as may best secure the rights and promote the happiness of the people; and foreign interference with that right is a dangerous violation of the law of nations, against which all independent governments should protest, and endeavor by all proper means to prevent; and especially A is it the duty of the American government, representing the chief republic of the world, to protest against, and by all proper means to prevent, the intervention of kings and emperors against nations seeking to establish for themselves republican or constitutional governments.
Seventeenth. That the independence of Haiti ought to be recognized by our government, and our commercial relations with it placed on the footing of the most favored nations.
Eighteenth. That as, by the Constitution, "the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens of the several states," the practice of imprisoning colored seamen of other states while the vessels to which they belong lie in port, and refusing the exercise of the right to bring such cases before the Supreme Court of the United States, to test the legality of such proceedings, is a flagrant violation of the Constitution and an invasion of the rights of the citizens of other states, utterly inconsistent with the professions made by the slaveholders that they wish the provisions of the Constitution faithfully observed by every state in the Union.
Nineteenth. That we recommend the introduction into all treaties hereafter to be negotiated between the United States and foreign nations, of some provision for the amicable settlement of difficulties by a resort to decisive arbitration.
Twentieth. That the Free Democratic party is not organized to aid either the Whig or Democratic wing of the great slave compromise party of the nation, but to defeat them both; and that, repudiating and renouncing both as hopelessly corrupt and utterly unworthy of confidence, the purpose of the Free Democracy is to take possession of the federal government and administer it for the better protection of the rights and Interests of the whole people.
Twenty-first. That we inscribe on our banner Free Soil, Free Speech, Free Labor, and Free Men, and under it will fight on and fight ever until a triumphant victory shall reward our exertions.
Twenty-second. That upon this platform the convention presents to the American people as a candidate for the office of President of the United States, John P. Hale, of New Hampshire, and as a candidate for the office of Vice-President of the United States, George W. Julian, of Indiana, and earnestly commends them to the support of all free men and all parties.