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The Triple Demand

for

Financial Independence

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We demand the free and unlimited coinage of both silver and gold at the present legal ratio of 16 to 1, without wait

Consent

the aid

or

ing for

of any

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We demand the immediate return to the constitutional standard of gold and cilver, by the restoration this government, independent

by by of any foreign power, of the unrestricted commage of goed and silver as the standard

money, at

the ratio of
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16 to 1,

and upon terms of exact equality, they wisted prior to 1873.

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National Film Party Platform,
Adopted July 24th, 1896,

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We demand the free and unrestricted coinage of silver and gold at the present

16 to 1, withoux.

the consut of

legal ratio of
waiting for
foreign nations.

Peoples Party Platform,
Adopted July 24 th 1896,

CHAPTER XVI.

THE TRIPLE DEMAND.

HAVE called special attention to the platforms which demanded the opening of the mints of the United States to the free and unlimited coinage of silver at 16 to 1, without waiting for the aid or consent of any other nation, because they mark an epoch in the fight for the restoration of bimetallism.

As soon as the fact of the demonetization of silver by this country was discovered, agitation for the restoration of bimetallism began, and for years no political party had the temerity to adopt a platform defending the favoritism shown to gold by the act of 1873, but the financiers, by keeping control of at least one branch of the Government, were

able to prevent the enactment of any free coinage legislation. Fighting all the time under cover, they compelled the bimetallists to compromise on the Bland-Allison act in 1878, and then began to scheme for the repeal of that act. In 1884, the Democrats in National Convention said: "We believe in honest money, the gold and silver coinage of the Constitution, and a circulating medium convertible into such money without loss;" but Mr. Cleveland, after his election and before the beginning of his administration, expressed a desire for the suspension of the Bland-Allison act, and prophesied financial catastrophe unless this was done. The silver sentiment was strong enough, however, to prevent the carrying out of the President's recommendation. In 1888, the Democrats reiterated their declaration of 1884, while the Republicans denounced the Democratic administration for its effort to demonetize silver. The money question did not, however, enter prominently into either the campaign of 1884 or the campaign of 1888.

By 1890, the Senate, which in 1878 was opposed to free silver, had become its champion, while the House by this time contained a majority against the white metal. The Sherman act was the result of another compromise. It was voted for by many advocates of free coinage who believed that it would create a demand for all the surplus silver, and thus restore the bullion price to $1.29 per ounce. The immediate effect was to raise silver to about $1.20 an ounce, but as soon as it became apparent that the law did not absorb all the silver upon the market, the price of silver bullion began to decline.

By 1892, the silver Republicans had commenced to assert themselves, and they succeeded in securing in the Minneapolis platform a sentence declaring that "the American people, from tradition and interest, favor bimetallism." In the Democratic party, also, the silver sentiment was growing, but the friends of Mr. Cleveland, controlling the convention by a large majority, succeeded in evading an express declaration in favor of free coinage. The platform read:

We hold to the use of both gold and silver as the standard money of the country, and to the coinage of both gold and silver without discrimination against either metal or charge for coinage.

There were qualifying words, which in the East were construed to support the gold standard, while the words above quoted were emphasized in the West and South. Subsequent events, in my judgment, justify the conclusion that Mr. Cleveland was, before his election, personally committed to unconditional repeal, although a reasonable con

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