In a desperate attempt to revive his presidential campaign, Newt Gingrich is about to unveil his “21st Century Contract with America.” He claims that his ideas will be “very big, and they’re exactly what Abraham Lincoln would have campaigned on.”
Eric Kleefeld decided to read the 1860 and 1864 Republican party platform. (These were the years that Lincoln ran for President). Maybe Kleefeld want to get a quick sense of what Newt’s new “Contract in America” might look like.
Here is a bit of what he found out:
This does cause one to wonder how Gingrich’s platform will compare to the Republican platforms of 1860 and 1864, the elections in which Lincoln was elected and then re-elected. Those platforms focused heavily, of course, on the issues of slavery and the Civil War — matters that do not directly apply in our modern times.
But beyond that, those platforms inherited the Whig tradition of what were known at the time as “internal improvements” — government investment in infrastructure. For example, the platforms called for government to aid in the large project of constructing a transcontinental railroad, to improve rivers and harbors, and to have “a vigorous and just system of taxation” in order to ensure the payment of the national debt.
The 1864 platform also declared: “Resolved, That foreign immigration, which in the past has added so much to the wealth, development of resources and increase of power to the nation, the asylum of the oppressed of all nations, should be fostered and encouraged by a liberal and just policy.”