Platform of the Alabama Democracy
Adopted at Montgomery, January, 1860
Source: Dwight Lowell Dumond, Southern Editorials on Secession (New York, 1931), appendix I, pp. 517-18. My thanks to Steven Miller for sending me the etext.
1. Resolved by the Democracy of the State of Alabama, in Convention assembled, That holding all issues and principles upon which they have heretofore affiliated and acted with the National Democratic party to be inferior in dignity and importance to the great question of slavery, they content themselves with a general re-affirmance of the Cincinnati Platform as to such issues, and also endorse said platform as to slavery, together with the following resolutions:
2. Resolved further, That we re-affirm so much of the first resolution of the Platform adopted in Convention by the Democracy of this State, on the 8th of January, 1856, as relates to the subject of slavery, to wit: "The unqualified right of the people of the slaveholding States to the Protection of their property in the States, in the Territories, and in the wilderness in which Territorial Governments are as yet unorganized."
3. Resolved further, That in order to meet and clear away all obstacles to a full enjoyment of this right in the Territories, we re-affirm the principle of the 9th resolution of the Platform adopted in Convention by the Democracy of this State on the 14th of February, 1848, to wit: "That it is the duty of the General Government, by all proper legislation, to secure an entry into those Territories to all the citizens of the United States, together with their property of every description, and that the same should remain protected by the United States while the Territories are under its authority."
4. Resolved further, That the Constitution of the United States is a compact between sovereign and co-equal states, united upon the basis of perfect equality of rights and privileges.
5. Resolved further, That the Territories of the United States are common property, in which the States have equal rights, and to which the citizens of every State may rightfully emigrate with their slaves or other property, recognised as such in any of the States of the Union, or by the Constitution of the United States.
6. Resolved further, That the Congress of the United States has no power to abolish slavery in the Territories, or to prohibit its introduction into any of them.
7. Resolved further, That the Territorial Legislatures, created by the legislation of Congress, have no power to abolish slavery, or to prohibit the introduction of the same, or to impair, by unfriendly legislation, the security and full enjoyment of the same within the Territories; and such constitutional power certainly does not belong to the people of the Territories in any capacity, before, in the exercise of a lawful authority, they form a Constitution preparatory to admission as a State into the Union; and their action in the exercise of such lawful authority certainly cannot operate or take effect before their actual admission as a State into the Union.
8. Resolved further, That the principles enunciated by Chief Justice Taney, in his opinion in the Dred Scott case, deny to the Territorial Legislature the power to destroy or impair, by any legislation whatever, the right of property in slaves, and maintain it to be the duty of Federal Government, in all of its departments, to protect the rights of the owner of such property in the Territories; and the principles so declared are hereby asserted to be the rights of the South, and the South should maintain them.
9. Resolved further, That we hold all of the foregoing propositions to contain cardinal principles -- true in themselves, and just and proper, and necessary for the safety of all that is dear to us, and we do hereby instruct our Delegates to the Charleston Convention to present them for the calm consideration and approval of that body -- from whose justice and patriotism we anticipate their adoption.
10. Resolved further, That our Delegates to the Charleston Convention are hereby expressly instructed to insist that said Convention shall adopt a platform of principles, recognising distinctly the rights of the South as asserted in the foregoing resolutions; and if the said National Convention shall refuse to adopt, in substance, the propositions embraced in the preceding resolutions, prior to nominating candidates, our Delegates to said Convention are hereby positively instructed to withdraw therefrom.
11. Resolved further, That our Delegates to the Charleston Convention shall cast the vote of Alabama as a unit, and a majority of our Delegates shall determine how the vote of this State shall be given.
12. Resolved further, That an Executive Committee, to consist of one from each Congressional district, be appointed, whose duty it shall be, in the event that our Delegates withdraw from the Charleston Convention, in obedience to the 10th resolution, to call a Convention of the Democracy of Alabama, to meet at an early day to consider what is best to be done.