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THE AMERICAN PARTY SYSTEM BY CHARLEs E. MERRIAM
NATIONAL PARTY PLATFORMS BY KIRK H. PortER
It is not possible for anyone to be sure that he has collected all of the national party platforms. There are at least two very good reasons for this. In the first place no one can say just exactly what a political party is, and no one can discriminate positively between various groups and organizations which call themselves political parties. In the second place, it is not possible to say exactly what a platform is, because all lists of resolutions adopted by political assemblies in presidential years are not necessarily platforms.
Hence it is necessary to arrive at a purely arbitrary standard as to what political parties and platforms really are; and it is very unlikely that all students and observers would agree upon any one standard. It is highly probable, therefore, that some people who use this volume will believe that certain so-called platforms should have been included which nevertheless have been left out. And it is quite possible, though less likely, that other people will believe that certain so-called platforms that have been included might properly have been omitted. The standard of selection has been deliberately arbitrary. It could not be otherwise. But it is desirable here to set forth some of the considerations that have led to this particular selection.
In times past a great many groups of people have assembled in campaign years, have called themselves political parties, have gone through the forms of nominating candidates for president and vice-president, have adopted resolutions which they called platforms, have disbanded, and have never been heard from again. Many of these so-called platforms have been left out of this volume. Sometimes the self-styled party will maintain a meager organization, and possibly appear again in the next campaign. Sometimes it will succeed in getting the party name upon the ballot in one or more states, and poll a few popular votes; though very few minor parties have ever captured any electoral votes. And it has not been