The Democratic Stand on the Issues
If the Democrats had one theme in 1884, it was the need for reform and change, especially after 24 years of Republican rule in the White House. To quote from the preamble of the platform itself:
"The Democratic party of the Union, through its representatives in National Convention assembled, recognizes that, as the nation grows older, new issues are born of time and progress, and old issues perish. But the fundamental principles of the Democracy, approved by the united voice of the people, remain, and will ever remain, as the best and only security for the continuance of free government The preservation of personal rights; the equality of all citizens before the law; the reserved rights of the States; and the supremacy of the Federal Government within the limits of the Constitution, will ever form the true basis of our liberties, and can never be surrendered without destroying that balance of rights and powers which enables a continent to be developed in peace, and social order to be maintained by means of local self-government.
"But it is indispensable for the practical application and enforcement of these fundamental principles, that the Government should not always be controlled by one political party. Frequent change of administration is as necessary as constant recurrence to the popular will. Otherwise abuses grow, and the Government, instead of being carried on for the general welfare, becomes an instrumentality for imposing heavy burdens on the many who are governed, for the benefit of the few who govern. Public servants thus become arbitrary rulers."