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chapter 56: Further Observations on the Parties - Viscount James Bryce, The American Commonwealth, vol. 2 
The American Commonwealth, with an Introduction by Gary L. McDowell (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1995). Vol. 2.
Part of: The American Commonwealth, 2 vols.
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Further Observations on the Parties
Besides the two great parties which have divided America for thirty years, there are two or three lesser organizations or factions needing a word of mention. About 1820–30 there was a period when one of the two great parties having melted away, the other had become split up into minor sections.1 Parties were numerous and unstable, new ones forming, and after a short career uniting with some other, or vanishing altogether from the scene. This was a phenomenon peculiar to that time, and ceased with the building up about 1832 of the Whig party, which lasted till shortly before the Civil War. But De Tocqueville, who visited America in 1831–32, took it for the normal state of a democratic community, and founded upon it some bold generalizations. A stranger who sees how few principles now exist to hold each of the two great modern parties together will be rather surprised that they have not shown more tendency to split up into minor groups and factions.
What constitutes a party? In America there is a simple test. Any section of men who nominate candidates of their own for the presidency and vice-presidency of the United States are deemed a national party. Adopting this test we shall find that there are now two or three national parties in addition to the Republicans and Democrats.
The first minor party was that of the Greenbackers, who arose soon after the end of the Civil War. They demanded a large issue of greenbacks (i.e, paper money, so called from the colour of the notes issued during the war), alleging that this must benefit the poorer classes, who will obviously be richer when there is more money in the country. It may seem incredible that there should still be masses of civilized men who believe that money is value, and that a liberal issue of stamped paper can give the poor more bread or better clothes. If there were a large class of debtors, and the idea was to depreciate the currency and let them then pay their debts in it, one could understand the proposal. Such a depreciation existed during and immediately after the Civil War. As wages and prices had risen enormously, people were receiving more money in wages, or for goods sold, than they had received previously, while they were paying fixed charges, such as interest on mortgage debts, in a depreciated paper currency. Thus the small farmers were on the whole gainers, while creditors and persons with fixed incomes were losers. It is true that both farmers and working men were also paying more for whatever they needed, food, clothes, and lodging; still they seemed to have felt more benefit in receiving larger sums than they felt hardship in paying out larger sums. Those who called for a great increase of paper money did not profess to wish to depreciate the currency; nor were they to any great extent supported by a debtor class to which a depreciated currency would be welcome, as a debased coinage served the momentary occasions of mediæval kings. But the recollections of the war time with its abundant employment and high wages clung to many people, and were coupled with a confused notion that the more money there is in circulation so much the more of it will everybody have, and so much the better off will he be, so much the more employment will capital find for labour, and so much the more copious will be the fertilizing stream of wages diffused among the poor.2
The Greenback party, which at first called itself Independent, held a national nominating convention in 1876, at which nineteen states were represented, and nominated candidates for president and vice-president, issuing an emphatic but ungrammatical denunciation of the financial policy of the Republican and Democratic parties. They again put forward candidates in 1880 and 1884, but made a poor show in the voting and presently melted away, some of those who had supported it presently going to recruit the Populist party.
The various Labour or Socialist parties are composed, not of agriculturists like the Greenbackers, but chiefly of working men in cities and mining districts, including many of the recent immigrants. It is not easy to describe the precise tenets of a Labour party, for it includes persons of very various views, some who would be called in Europe pronounced Collectivists, others who wish to restrain the action of railway and telegraph companies and other so-called “monopolists,” and of course many who, while dissatisfied with existing economic conditions, and desiring to see the working classes receive a larger share of the good things of the world, are not prepared to say in what way these conditions can be mended and this result attained. Speaking generally, the reforms advocated by the leaders of the Labour party have included the “nationalization of the land,” the imposition of a progressive income tax,3 the taking over of railroads and telegraphs by the national government, the prevention of the immigration of Chinese and of any other foreign labourers who may come under contract, the restriction of all so-called monopolies, the forfeiture of railroad land grants, the increase of the currency, the free issue of inconvertible paper, and, above all, the statutory restriction of hours of labour. But it must not be supposed that all the leaders, much less all the followers, adopt all these tenets; nor has it been always easy to say who are to be deemed its leaders. It shows a tendency to split up into factions. Its strength has lain in the trade unions of the operative class, and for a time in the enormous organization or league of trade unions that was known as the Knights of Labour; and it is therefore warmly interested in the administration of the various state laws which affect strikes and the practice of boycotting by which strikes often seek to prevail. It has much support from the recent immigrants who fill the great cities, especially the socialistically inclined sections of the Germans, Jews, Pole, Czechs, and other Austro-Hungarian Slavs.
The Labour party did not run a presidential candidate till 1888, and was then divided, so that its strength could not be well estimated. But it has been wont to put forward candidates in state and city elections when it saw a chance. It ran Mr. Henry George for mayor of New York City in 1886, and obtained the unexpected success of polling 67,000 votes against 90,000 given to the regular Democratic, and 60,000 to the regular Republican candidate;4 but this success was not sustained in the contest for the governorship of the state of New York in 1887, when a vote of only 37,000 was cast by the Labour party in the city. In 1892 one section, calling itself the Socialist Labour Party, ran a presidential candidate, but obtained only 21,164 votes, 17,956 of which came from New York, the rest from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. In 1900 the party which has since called itself Socialist was founded. Both these parties sometimes put forward candidates in state or city elections. The Socialists are a somewhat incalculable force in state and city politics, seldom strong enough to carry their own candidates, but sometimes able to defeat one of the regular parties by drawing away a part of its voters, or to extort a share of the offices for some of their nominees. It is only in some states, chiefly Northern states, that candidates of this complexion appear at all.
The Prohibitionists, or opponents of the sale of intoxicating liquors, have since 1872 regularly held a national convention for the nomination of a presidential candidate, and put out a ticket, i.e., nominated candidates for president and vice-president. The action of this party has been most frequent in the state legislatures, because the whole question of permitting, restricting, or abolishing the sale of intoxicants is a matter for the states and not for Congress. However, the federal government raises a large revenue by its high import duty on wines, spirits, and malt liquors, and also levies an internal excise. As this revenue was for some years before 1890 no longer needed for the expenses of the national government, it was proposed to distribute it among the states, or apply it to some new and useful purpose, or to reduce both customs duties and the excise. The fear of the first or second of these courses, which would give the manufacture and sale of intoxicants a new lease of life, or of the third, which would greatly increase their consumption, was among the causes which induced the Prohibitionists to enter the arena of national politics; and they further justify their conduct in doing so by proposing to amend the federal Constitution for the purposes of prohibition, and to stop the sale of intoxicants in the Territories and in the District of Columbia, which are under the direct control of Congress.5 Their running a candidate for the presidency has been more a demonstration than anything else, as they cast a comparatively weak vote, many even of those who sympathize with them preferring to support one or other of the great parties rather than throw away a vote in the abstract assertion of a principle. One ought indeed to distinguish between the Prohibitionists proper, who wish to stop the sale of intoxicants altogether, and the Temperance men, who are very numerous among Republicans in the North and Democrats in the South, and who, while ready to vote for local option and a high licence law, disappove the attempt to impose absolute prohibition by general legislation.6 The number of persons who are both thoroughgoing Prohibitionists and pure Prohibitionists, that is to say, who are not also Republicans or Democrats, is small, far too small, even when reinforced by a section of the “Temperance men,” and by discontented Republicans or Democrats who may dislike the “regular” candidates of their party, to give the Prohibition ticket a chance of success in any state. The importance of the ticket lies in the fact that in a doubtful state it may draw away enough votes from one of the “regular” candidates to leave him in a minority. Mr. Blaine probably suffered in this way in the election of 1884, most of the votes cast for the Prohibitionist candidate having come from quondam Republicans. On the other hand, a case may be imagined in which the existence of an outlet or safety-valve, such as a Prohibitionist ticket, would prevent the “bolters” from one party from taking the more dangerous course of voting for the candidate of the opposite party. Latterly the party vote has been too small to make much difference.
The strength of the Prohibitionist party lies in the religious and moral earnestness which animates it and makes it for many purposes the successor and representative of the Abolitionists of forty years ago. Clergymen were prominent in its conventions, and women took an active part in its work. Partly from its traditions and temper, partly because it believes that women would be on its side in elections, it advocates the extension to them of the electoral franchise. But it has latterly lost much of its political importance, though temperance has advanced both in the diffusion of its principles and in practice.
A spirit of discontent with the old parties, and vague wish to better by legislation the condition of the agriculturists, caused the growth of what was called at first the Farmers’ Alliance Party, and thereafter the People’s Party, or “Populists.” In 1889 and 1890 it rose suddenly to importance in the West and South, and secured some seats from Western states in the Fifty-second and succeeding Congresses. Its platform agreed in several points with those of the Greenbackers and Labour men, but instead of seeking to “nationalize” the land, it desired to reduce the taxation on real estate and to secure (among other benefits) loans from the public treasury to farmers at low rates of interest. It ran a candidate at the presidential election of 1892 (carrying four states and obtaining one electoral vote in each of two others), but has since then so much declined, that in 1908 only 29,108 votes were cast for the candidate whom it nominated. Although the economic and social conditions of agricultural life in America are likely from time to time to produce similar outbreaks of dissatisfaction, with impatient cries for unpractical remedies, the tendency has of recent years been towards the formation of parties professing views of a more or less Collectivist type. In 1900, 1904, 1908, and 1912 a party calling itself Socialist and another calling itself Socialist Labour ran candidates for the presidency; and in 1908 there also appeared an “Independence Party,” which denounced the Republican and Democratic parties alike. Of these minor new parties the largest vote was in 1912 cast by the Socialist, 901,873. In 1904 its vote had been 402,321. In 1912 the new Progressive party ran its candidates.
The advocates of woman suffrage cannot be reckoned a national party, because the question is one for the states, and because women have no vote in presidential elections (save in ten states). In 1884 a woman was nominated, but did not go to the poll.7
Though the group which went by the name of Mugwumps has disappeared, it had a temporary significance which entitles it to the meed of a melodious tear.8 At the presidential election of 1884 a section of the Republican party, more important by the intelligence and social position of the men who composed it than by its numbers, “bolted” (to use the technical term) from their party, and refused to vote for Mr. Blaine. Some simply abstained, some, obeying the impulse to vote which is strong in good citizens in America, voted for Mr. St. John, the Prohibitionist candidate, though well aware that this was practically the same thing as abstention. The majority, however, voted against their party for Mr. Cleveland, the Democratic candidate; and it seems to have been the transference of their vote which turned the balance in New York State, and thereby determined the issue of the whole election in Mr. Cleveland’s favour. They were therefore not to be reckoned as a national party, according to the American use of the term, because they did not run a ticket of their own, but supported a candidate started by one of the regular parties. The only organization they formed consisted of committees which held meetings and distributed literature during the election, but dissolved when it was over. They maintained no permanent party machinery; and did not act as a distinct section, even for the purposes of agitation, at subsequent presidential elections. Some of them have since been absorbed (especially in New England and New York) into the Democratic party, others have returned to their old affiliations. They were not so much a section as a tendency, persons in whom a growing disposition to a detached independence was for the time embodied. The tendency is now chiefly conspicuous in municipal politics, where it has given birth to Good Government Clubs and other civic associations intended to purify the administration of cities.
The Mugwumps bore no resemblance to any British party. The tendency which called them into being is discernible chiefly in New England and in the cities of the Eastern states generally, but it affects some few persons scattered here and there all over the North and West as far as California. In the South (save in such border cities as St. Louis and Louisville) there were none, because the Southern men who would, had they lived in the North, have taken to Mugwumpism, were in the South Democrats. There did not in 1884 seem to be in the Democratic party, either in North or South, as much material for a secession similar to that of the “bolters” of that year as was then shown to exist among the Republicans. In 1893, however, an enormous “swing-over” in New York State of votes usually Democratic to the Republican side, provoked by the nomination of a man deemed tainted to an important judicial office, showed that the Mugwump element or tendency was to be reckoned with, at least in the Northeastern states, by both parties alike, and in 1896 (as already remarked) many of the richer and more influential gold Democrats “bolted” the party ticket and ran a presidential ticket of their own.
The reader must be reminded of one capital difference between the Republican and Democratic parties and the minor ones which have just been mentioned. The two former are absolutely coextensive with the Union. They exist in every state, and in every corner of every state. They exist even in the Territories, though the inhabitants of Territories have no vote in federal elections. But the four minor parties that held conventions in the elections of and since 1900, did not attempt to maintain organizations all over the Union.9 The Populists, though for the moment strong in the West, had no importance in the Atlantic states. Where these minor parties are strong, or where some question has arisen which keenly interests them, they may run their man for state governor or mayor, or will put out a ticket for state senators or assemblymen; or they will take the often more profitable course of fusing for the nonce with one of the regular parties, giving it their vote in return for having the party nominations to one or more of the elective offices assigned to their own nominee.10 This helps to keep the party going, and gives to its vote a practical result otherwise unattainable.
Is there not, then, some European may ask, a Free Trade party? Not in the American sense of the word “party.” The Democratic party used to stand for a “tariff for revenue only,” and there are still more advocates of a low rate of duties in that party than among their opponents. But there is no political organization which devotes itself to the advocacy of free trade by the usual party methods, much less does anyone think of starting candidates either for the presidency or for Congress upon a pure anti-protectionist platform.
Why, considering the reluctant hesitancy which the old parties have been apt to show in taking up a clear and distinctive attitude upon new questions, and formulating definite proposals regarding them, and considering also that in the immense area of the United States, with its endless variety of economic interests and social conditions, we might expect local diversities of aim and view which would here and there crystallize, and so give rise to many local parties—why are not the parties far more numerous? Why, too, are the parties so persistent? In this changeful country one would look for frequent changes in tenets and methods.
One reason is, that there is at present a strong feeling in America against any sentiment or organization which relies on or appeals to one particular region of the country. Such localism or sectionalism is hateful, because, recalling the disunionist spirit of the South which led to the war, it seems anti-national and unpatriotic. By the mere fact of its springing from a local root, and urging a local interest, a party would set all the rest of the country against it. As a separately organized faction seeking to capture the federal government, it could not succeed against the national parties, because the Union as a whole is so vast that it would be outvoted by one or other of them. But if it is content to remain a mere opinion or demand, not attacking either national party, but willing to bestow the votes it can control on whichever will meet its wishes, it is powerful, because the two great parties will bid against one another for its support by flatteries and concessions. For instance, the question which has interested the masses on the Pacific coast is that of excluding Chinese immigrants, and latterly the Japanese also, because they compete for work with the whites and bring down wages. Now if the “anti-Mongolians” of California, Washington, and Oregon were to create a national party, based on this particular issue, they would be insignificant, for they would have little support over five-sixths of the Union. But by showing that the attitude of the two great parties on this issue will determine their own attitude toward these parties, they control both, for as each desires to secure the vote of California, Washington, and Oregon, each vies with the other in promising and voting for anti-Asiatic legislation. The position of the Irish extremists was similar, except of course that they are a racial and not a geographical “section.” Their power, which Congress has sometimes recognized in a way scarcely compatible with its dignity or with international courtesy, lay in the fact that as the Republicans and Democrats are nearly balanced, the congressional leaders of both desired to “placate” this faction, for which neither had a sincere affection. An Irish party, or a German party, or a Roman Catholic party, which should run its candidates on a sectional platform, would stand self-condemned in American eyes as not being genuinely American. But so long as it is content to seek control over parties and candidates, it exerts an influence out of proportion to its numbers, and checked only by the fear that if it demanded too much, native Americans might rebel, as they did in the famous Know-Nothing or “American” party of 1853–58. The same fate would befall a party based upon some trade interest, such as protection to a particular sort of manufactures, or the stimulation of cattle breeding as against sheep. Such a party might succeed for a time in a state, and might dictate its terms to one or both of the national parties; but when it attempted to be a national party it would become ridiculous and fall.
A second cause of the phenomenon which I am endeavouring to explain may be found in the enormous trouble and expense required to found a new national party. To influence the votes, even to reach the ears, of nearly one hundred millions of people, is an undertaking to be entered on only when some really great cause fires the national imagination, disposes the people to listen, persuades the wealthy to spend freely of their substance. It took six years of intense work to build up the Republican party, which might not even then have triumphed in the election of 1860, but for the split in the ranks of its opponents. The attempt made in 1872 to form a new independent party out of the discontented Republicans and the Democrats failed lamentably. The Independent Republicans of 1884 did not venture to start a programme or candidate of their own, but were prudently satisfied with helping the Democratic candidate, whom they deemed more likely than the Republican nominee to give effect to the doctrine of civil service reform which they were advocating.
The case of these Independents, or Mugwumps, is an illustrative one. For many years past there had been complaints that the two old parties were failing to deal with issues that had grown to be of capital importance, such as the tariff, the currency, the improvements of methods of business in Congress, the purification of the civil service and extinction of the so-called Spoils System. These complaints, however, have not come from the men prominent as practical statesmen or politicians in the parties, but from outsiders, and largely from the men of intellectual cultivation and comparatively high social standing. Very few of such men took an active part in “politics,” however interested they might be in public affairs. They were amateurs as regards the practical work of “running” ward meetings and conventions, of framing “tickets,” and bringing up voters to the poll, in fact of working as well as organizing that vast and complicated machinery which an American party needs. Besides, it is a costly machinery, and they did not see where to find the money. Hence they recoiled from the effort, and aimed at creating a sentiment which might take concrete form in a vote, given for whichever of the parties seemed at any particular time most likely to adopt, even if insincerely, the principles, and push forward, even if reluctantly, the measures which the Independents advocate.
Why, however, does it so seldom happen that the professional politicians, who “know the ropes,” and know where to get the necessary funds, more frequently seek to wreck a party in order to found a new one more to their mind? Because they are pretty well satisfied with the sphere which existing parties give them, and comprehend from their practical experience how hazardous such an experiment would be.
These considerations may help to explain the remarkable cohesion of parties in America, and the strength of party loyalty, a phenomenon more natural in Europe, where momentous issues inflame men’s passions, and where the bulk of the adherents are ignorant men, caught by watchwords and readily attracted to a leader, than in a republic where no party has any benefit to promise to the people which it may not as well get from the other, and where the native voter is a keen-witted man, with little reverence for the authority of any individual. There is however another reason flowing from the character of the American people. They are extremely fond of associating themselves, and prone to cling to any organization they have once joined. They are sensitive to any charge of disloyalty. They are gregarious, each man more disposed to go with the multitude and do as they do than to take a line of his own,11 and they enjoy “campaigning” for its own sake. These are characteristics which themselves require to be accounted for, but the discussion of them belongs to later chapters. A European is surprised to see prominent politicians supporting, sometimes effusively, a candidate of their own party whom they are known to dislike, merely because he is the party candidate. There is a sort of military discipline about party life which has its good as well as its bad side, for if it sometimes checks the expression of honest disapproval, it also restrains jealousy, abashes self-seeking, prevents recrimination.
Each of the American parties has usually been less under the control of one or two conspicuous leaders than are British parties. So far as this is due to the absence of men whose power over the people rests on the possession of brilliant oratorical or administrative gifts, it is a part of the question why there are not more such men in American public life, why there are fewer striking figures than in the days of Jefferson and Hamilton, of Webster and Calhoun. It is however also due to the peculiarities of the Constitution. The want of concentration of power in the legal government is reflected in the structure of the party system. The separation of the legislative from the executive department lowers the importance of leadership in parties, as it weakens both these departments. The president, who is presumably among the leading men, cannot properly direct the policy of his party, still less speak for it in public, because he represents the whole nation. His ministers cannot speak to the people through Congress. In neither house of Congress is there necessarily any person recognized as the leader on either side. As neither house has the power over legislation and administration possessed by such an assembly as the French or Italian Chamber, or the English House of Commons, speeches delivered or strategy displayed in it do not tell upon the country with equal force and directness. There remains the stump, and it is more by the stump than in any other way that an American statesman speaks to the people. But what distances to be traversed, what fatigues to be encountered before he can be a living and attractive personality to the electing masses! An English statesman leaves London at two o’clock, and speaks in Birmingham, or Leeds, or Manchester, the same evening. In a few years, every great town knows him like its own mayor, while the active local politicians who frequently run up from their homes to London hear him from the galleries of the House of Commons, wait on him in deputations, are invited to the receptions which his wife gives during the season. Even railways and telegraphs cannot make America a compact country in the same sense that Britain is.
From the Civil War till the end of last century, neither Republicans nor Democrats leaned on and followed any one man as Mr. Gladstone and Lord Beaconsfield, as before them Lords Derby, John Russell, and Palmerston, as still earlier Sir Robert Peel and Lord Melbourne, were followed in England. No one since Mr. Seward exercised even so much authority as Mr. Bright did when out of office, or as Gambetta did in France, or as Mr. Parnell in Ireland, over the sections of opinion which each of these eminent men has represented.
How then are the parties led in Congress and the country? Who directs their policy? Who selects their candidates for the most important posts? These are questions which cannot be adequately answered till the nature of the party machinery has been described. For the moment I must be content to suggest the following as provisional answers:
The most important thing is the selection of candidates. This is done in party meetings called conventions. When a party has any policy, it is settled in such a convention and declared in a document called a platform. When it has no policy, the platform is issued none the less. Party tactics in Congress are decided on by meetings of the party in each house of Congress called caucuses. Leaders have of course much to do with all three processes. But they often efface themselves out of respect to the sentiment of equality, and because power concealed excites less envy.
How do the parties affect social life? At present not very much, at least in the Northern and Middle states, because it is a comparatively slack time in politics. Your dining acquaintances, even your intimate friends, are not necessarily of the same way of voting as yourself, and though of course political views tend to become hereditary, there is nothing to surprise anyone in finding sons belonging to different parties from their fathers. In the South, where the recollections of the great struggle are kept alive by the presence of a Negro voting power which has had to be controlled, things are different; and they were different in the North till the passions of civil strife had abated.
So far, I have spoken of the parties only as national organizations, struggling for and acting on or through the federal government. But it has already been observed (Chapter 46) that they exist also as state and city organizations, contending for the places which states and cities have to give, seeking to control state legislatures and municipal councils. Every circumscription of state and local government, from the state of New York with its nine millions of inhabitants down to the “city” that has just sprung up round a railway junction in the West, has a regular Republican party organization, confronted by a similar Democratic organization, each running its own ticket (i.e., list of candidates) at every election, for any office pertaining to its own circumscription, and each federated, so to speak, to the larger organizations above it, represented in them and working for them in drilling and “energizing” the party within the area which is the sphere of its action.
What have the tenets of such national parties as the Republicans and Democrats to do with the politics of states and cities? Very little with those of states, because a matter for federal legislation is seldom also a matter for state legislation. Still less with those of cities or counties. Cities and counties have not strictly speaking any political questions to deal with; their business is to pave and light, to keep the streets clean, maintain an efficient police and well-barred prisons, administer the poor law and charitable institutions with integrity, judgment, and economy. The laws regulating these matters have been already made by the state, and the city or county authority has nothing to do but administer them. Hence at city and county elections the main objects ought to be to choose honest and careful men of business. It need make no difference to the action of a mayor or school trustee in any concrete question whether he holds Democratic or Republican views.
However, the habit of party warfare has been so strong as to draw all elections into its vortex; nor would either party feel safe if it neglected the means of rallying and drilling its supporters, which state and local contests supply. There is this advantage in the system, that it stimulates the political interest of the people, which is kept alive by this perpetual agitation. But the multiplicity of contests has the effect of making politics too absorbing an occupation for the ordinary citizen who has his profession or business to attend to; while the result claimed by those who in England defend the practice of fighting municipal elections on party lines, viz., that good men are induced to stand for local office for the sake of their party, is the last result desired by the politicians, or expected by anyone. It is this constant labour which the business of politics involves, this ramification of party into all the nooks and corners of local government, that has produced the class of professional politicians, of whom it is now time to speak.
 The same phenomenon reappeared at the break-up of the Whigs between 1852 and 1857, and from a like cause.
 The matter is further complicated by the fact that the national banknotes issued by the national banks are guaranteed by government bonds deposited with the U.S. Treasury, bonds on which the national government pays interest. The Greenbackers desired to substitute greenbacks, or so-called “fiat money,” for these banknotes as a circulating medium.
 This was demanded by the Greenback national convention in its platforms of 1880 and 1884, and by the Farmers’ Alliance in 1890; but less than might be expected has been heard of it in America. Its adoption in the Canton of Vaud in Switzerland caused some of the wealthier inhabitants to quit the canton, and in Zürich after it has been raised to a pretty high figure people found that any further rise would be deleterious, so the increase stopped.
 In 1874 when a Labour candidate was first run for the New York mayoralty he obtained only between 3,000 and 4,000 votes.
 The Prohibitionist platform of 1892, issued by their national convention, contained the following passage:
“The liquor traffic is a foe to civilization, the arch enemy of popular government, and a public nuisance. It is the citadel of the forces that corrupt politics, promote poverty and crime, degrade the nation’s home life, thwart the will of the people, and deliver our country into the hands of rapacious class interests. All laws that under the guise of regulation legalize and protect this traffic, or make the government share in its ill-gotten gains, are ‘vicious in principle and powerless as a remedy.’ We declare anew for the entire suppression of the manufacture, sale, importation, exportation, and transportation of alcoholic liquors as a beverage by Federal and State legislation, and the full powers of the government should be exerted to secure this result.” In 1908 their convention declared one of its principles to be “the submission by congress to the several States of an amendment to the Constitution prohibiting the manufacture, sale, importation, exportation, or transportation of alcoholic liquors for beverage purposes.”
One might have expected the Prohibitionists to advocate the repeal of the protective tariff on manufactured goods so as to make it necessary to maintain customs duties and an excise on intoxicants for the purposes of the National government. But this would imply that these beverages might still be consumed, which is just what the more ardent spirits in the temperance party refuse to contemplate. In 1892 they said: “Tariff should be levied only as a defence against foreign governments which lay tariff upon or bar out our products from their markets, revenue being incidental.”
 Many state legislatures have “placated” the Temperance men by enacting that “the hygienics of alcohol and its action upon the human body” shall be a regular subject of instruction in the public schools. Whether this instruction does more good or harm is a controverted point, as to which see the report for 1890 of the U.S. Commissioner of Education.
 See further as to women’s suffrage, Chapter 99.
 The name is said to be formed from an Indian word denoting a chief or aged wise man, and was applied by the “straight-out” Republicans to their bolting brethren as a term of ridicule. It was then taken up by the latter as a term of compliment; though the description they used formally in 1884 was that of “Independent Republicans.”
 In 1912 the Socialist party was the only minor party for which votes were cast in every state. The Prohibitionists obtained votes in forty states, and the Socialist Labour in twenty.
 That is to say, they respect the authority of the mass, to which they themselves belong, though seldom that of individual leaders. See post, Chapter 85, “The Fatalism of the Multitude.”