Maine: An Encyclopedia

Republican Party Platform 1920

The Republican party of Maine in convention assembled at Bangor, Me., March 23, 1920, reaffirms its adherence to the Constitution of the U. S. and to the guarantees of representative government and civil and religious liberty, wherein contained.

It will resist all efforts to overthrow this government or to weaken its fundamental principles or destroy its ideals. It insists on a government of laws to preserve the rights of property, of persons and of institutions.

To this end the delegates here assembled adopt the following general statement of policy and purpose:

Peace Treaty

The Covenant of the League of Nations as presented by the President to the Senate disregarded the spirit of the Constitution and abandoned the traditional and long es­tablished policies of the United States.

It sacrificed Americanism to internationalism. Twice the President, through his followers in the Senate, has held up and prevented ratification because reservations guarding the American rights and principles were adopted by a decisive majority of the Senate.

These reservations protected the interests and independence of the United States. They relieved the country from the monstrous obligation imposed by Article X which would have put American boys and American resources into every war in the future, regardless of the justice of the cause which they would be obligated to defend.

We fully and heartily approve the refusal of the Senate to ratify this alliance with foreign powers called the League of Nations without those reservations designed to protect the safety, sovereignty and independence of the United States which received the undivided support of the Republican senators.

We are entirely ready to meet the issue which the President by his unyielding attitude, has forced upon the country to submit this question of a League of Nations to the people for their final decision.


We are opposed to Government ownership and operation of railroads; their operation by the Government during the last two years has cost the American people more than one billion dollars, and greatly injured the efficiency of the services.

We believe that the railroads can be better operated through private enterprise, free from bureaucratic inefficiency, but with strict federal regulation.

The Merchant Marine

We stand unequivocally for a broad national interest in ship owning and navigation under the American flag and for the formation of a permanent constructive merchant marine policy for the United States.

Of all our great national industries, American ship owning and shipbuilding for overseas commerce have been left without aid and encouragement from the government, other industries, as we all know, having long been protected in some degree or other by national tariff laws. We submit that it must be acknowledged that ocean shipbuilding and navigation are as much entitled as any other industries to some form of national aid against foreign competition.

We believe that the government should enact special legislation for a revision of our navigation laws and the removal therefrom of certain very burdensome and entirely unnecessary restrictions, and for some sort of national aid to American ship owners and shipbuilders to enable them to overcome the extra cost of building and operating vessels in this country over the cost in foreign countries.

We believe that the outstanding lessons of the world war has taught the American people the national danger of the lack of one adequate merchant marine and shipbuilding facilities, and we feel confident that a large merchant marine and many American shipyards, it for the expansion of our commerce and for the national defense, is what is rightly desired by all Americans.

The Republicans of Maine for years have favored a broad and liberal policy for the creation of a large merchant a marine and their representatives in Congress have for years fought for such policies. Once again the Republican party of Maine takes a stand for such legislation as will give the United States a merchant fleet in keeping with its needs as a great world power.

Federal Taxation

We believe in a vigorous and determined effort to reduce federal taxation and to that end we favor reduction in the expenses of government by the dis­charge of useless government employee, abolition of all possible bureaus and departments, sale of the huge quantities of material and supplies on hand and the institution of a sound and economical business policy in the operations of government. We believe in the refunding of the war debt over a longer period and the return in the matter of governmental expenditure and taxation to a pre-war basis so far as is consistent with the legitimate expansion of strictly governmental activities.

Woman Suffrage

We approve the action of our State Legislature in promptly ratifying the so-called suffrage amendment and welcome the expected participation of women on equal terms with men in the [next?] election.


We recommend the immediate establishment of a Federal Budget for the purpose of coordinating governmental activities, and to aid in preventing the waste of public money which under the present administration is unparalleled in the history of our country. A Federal Budget will place upon the administrative officers of the Government a direct responsibility for expenditures under their control.


Nothing contributes more to the social, industrial, military and moral welfare of the country than good roads. Their construction and maintenance have been long neglected. Fortunately the whole country seems to be awakening to this neglect. The Federal government has embarked upon highway work. It should confine every dollar it appropriates from the federal treasury for good roads to National Highways. A National System serving the whole country and connecting all the states should be adopted and followed by Congress. Only roads of a permanent nature should be constructed and when constructed they should be efficiently maintained. It is a criminal waste of public money to spend it either for temporary roads or for those which do not have the large purpose of serving the general welfare. The States and counties should build purely state and local roads. The Federal Government should construct and maintain the national highways.

Military Policy

The expanding maritime and commercial interests of the country as well as its defense require that the navy, as our first line of defense, should not be allowed to fall below its present relative position among the nations and that its efficiency and fighting power shall be always maintained at the highest point.

We are opposed to a large army of professional soldiers. We favor the policy of a small standing army, with a trained citizen reserve, subject to call for service only in case of declaration of war by the Congress.

The State Administration

We heartily endorse the Republican administration of the State of Maine since 1917 for its wise economy, its establishment of greatly improved business system, its honesty, diligence and good faith, and for its consistent course of far sighted legislation, for the home, for the welfare of mothers and children and for the upbuilding of a higher type of American citizenship. We assert that the statutory law enacted to these ends by the Maine legislatures of 1917 and 1919 and endorsed by the Governor has not been surpassed in wise initiative and practical excellence by that of any other state in this nation.

We confidently appeal to every voter in Maine for an endorsement at the polls in September 1920 of the following elements of this public administration of the affairs of Maine.

First, the establishment of the budget system and the economical and wise expenditure of all public monies.

Second, the elimination from the four great departments of administrative service, namely the highway department, sea and shore fisheries, the fish and game department and the forestry department, of every vestige of partisanship in the choice of men and the institution of a policy in which efficiency on the job is the only absolute requisite of each employee.

Third, the enactment of the Mothers aid law, in 1917, and its liberalization in 1919, whereby the State shall hereafter, as long as this law endures, stand as guardian to fatherless or dependent childhood and by a practical method of assistance through the intelligent cooperation of the mother ensure to childhood what the State properly owes to it and what society itself requires for its own safety and perpetuation. This body of laws to which other states are turning as a model is, we assert, as important a claim in its evidence of good intent toward citizenship, its high purpose and its appreciation of the value that lies in the virtue and comfort of the home, as any that can he advanced.

Fourth, for the wise and devoted consideration of the claims of rural life upon the attention of the State. Ever since the installation of the Republican administration in 1917 a far-reaching policy has been enacted and followed to improve the condition of the rural schools and to make life upon the farm of such interest and attractiveness that no one may feel that any mission in life can be essentially superior to this. Legislation has been consistently instituted along what may be called the gospel of rural life. To this end the schools of both city and country have been fostered by legislation, the pay of teachers has been advanced by means of State aid and every effort has been made to bring about a condition in which the opportunity in rural communities shall be considered more inviting.

Fifth, for its effort to end the acknowledged inequity of taxation.

Sixth, for its prompt attention of every patriotic duty during the great war and its effort toward a practical Americanization of the citizenship of Maine and the adoption of laws tending to a more general use of the English language in the schools, in the homes and in the shops.

State Issues

Be it therefore resolved:

That the Republican party in convention assembled proposes following statement of principles and policies to the electorate of the State of Maine in respect to affairs especially relating to Maine.

1. We reaffirm the position of the Republican party in regard to prohibition as expressed in previous platforms and we stand for the strict enforcement of the national prohibitory law so far as Maine is concerned therein.

2. We declare in favor of the passage of an amendment to the constitution of Maine in favor of a bonus of $100 a piece to the service men and nurses of the great War [later approved], as the most speedy method of securing the necessary amount of money for the same, and as being in accordance with the bill proposed to the legislature by the American Legion in Maine.

3. Recognizing the necessity of equalizing the burdens of taxation by imposing of intangible property, now escaping taxation and believing that a State income tax affords the fairest available method of accomplishing this result, we advocate the adoption at the September election of 1920 of the constitutional amendment, proposed at the special session of 1919, authorizing the enactment of a State income tax.

4. We reaffirm our policy as expressed in the platform of 1918 in regard to the Water Powers of Maine which constitute so great an asset of our State, and we commend the action of the legislature of 1919, which created a commission to study the whole question and to submit a plan for the conservation and development of these water powers. We reiterate all of the essentials of the Republican platform of 1918 in regard to Waterpowers and again insist [that] the charters of all water power corporations shall contain a provision that electricity developed from waterpower under these charters shall not be transmitted beyond the borders of the State.

5. We declare for a continuance of the policy of Good Roads on the general lines approved by the Public and already so productive of great benefit to business, to the farm and to summer travel in Maine.

6. We commend the action of the legislature of 1919 in its liberalization of the Workmen’s Compensation Law and the passage of such other laws as have benefited the employee. Organized labor in Maine has been patriotic during the period of unrest that has swept the country. It has kept aloof from radicalism and class struggle. We advocate a vigorous support of measures tending to support the conservative element of labor against the spread of undemocratic and dangerous doctrines and pledge our support to all measures tending to ameliorate the condition of labor and bring added comfort and wider opportunities to employees of Maine industries.

Voted: We realize that the abolishing of the school district system has given rise to a condition making necessary the transportation of scholars in our rural districts at public expense, and that, the law as now existing has lodged the determination of the necessity of such transportation in the hands of the local school committees; we further realize that arbitrary action on the part of such committees has often resulted in injustice to scholars especially in rural communities; we therefore recommend and favor the enactment of an amendment to the present school law, which will provide for the speedy review of the action of a school committee denying transportation to any scholar by a court of competent jurisdiction.

State Forest Preserves

Resolved: Whereas there are within the State of Maine large areas of waste, burned over, denuded and unproductive forest lands, which if acquired by the State upon reasonable terms could be used for reforestation, for the establishment of State parks or forest reserves, for the protection of water sheds, for refuges for wild game for agricultural purposes or for the establishment of national parks in connection with the United States.

We believe that the State of Maine should establish the policy of acquiring such of these forest lands as may be suitable for the purposes herein enumerated.

We pledge our Support to the fundamental doctrines of Republicanism in the preservation of the integrity of American institutions, in the fostering of education and the development of a better type of American citizenship and in the bringing about of a clearer understanding of the duty of the individual to the preservation of our republic.

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