Republican Party Platform of 1976



To you, an American citizen:

You are about to read the 1976 Republican Platform. We hope you will also find time to read the Democrats’ Platform. Compare. You will see basic differences in how the two parties propose to represent you.

"The Platform is the Party’s contract with the people." This is what it says on the cover of the official printing of the Democrat Platform. So it should be. The Democrats’ Platform repeats the same thing on every page: more government, more spending, more inflation. Compare. This Republican Platform says exactly the opposite—less government, less spending, less inflation. In other words, we want you to retain more of your own money, money that represents the worth of your labors, to use as you see fit for the necessities and conveniences of life.

No matter how many statements to the contrary that Mr. Carter makes, he is firmly attached to a contract with you to increase vastly the powers of government. Is bigger government in Washington really what you want?

Make no mistake: you cannot have bigger programs in Washington and less government by Washington. You must choose.

What is the cost of these added or expanded programs? The Democrats’ Platform is deliberately vague. When they tell you, as they do time after time, that they will "expand federal support," you are left to guess the cost. The price tag of five major Democrat Platform promises could add as much as $100 billion to the annual cost of government. But the Democrats’ Platform proposes over 60 new or expanded spending programs and the expansion or creation of some 22 Washington agencies, offices or bureaus. In fact, the total of all Democrat proposals can be as high as $200 billion a year. While this must be a rough estimate, it does give you a clue to the magnitude and direction of these commitments. The Democrats’ Platform can increase federal spending by 50 percent. If a Democrat Congress passes the Democrat Platform and it is signed by a Democrat President, what happens then? The Democrats could raise your taxes by 50 percent to pay for the new programs. Or the Democrats could not raise taxes and the result would be a runaway inflation. Of course, contract or no contract, the Democrats may not honor their promises. Are you prepared to risk it?

In stark contrast to the Democrats’ Platform, we offer you a responsive and moderate alternative based on these principles:

We believe that liberty can be measured by how much freedom you have to make your own decisions—even your own mistakes. Government must step in when your liberties impinge on your neighbor’s. Government must protect your constitutional rights. Government must deal with other governments and protect you from aggressors. Government must assure equal opportunity. And government must be compassionate in caring for those citizens who are unable to care for themselves.

Our federal system of local-state-national government is designed to sort out on what level these actions should be taken. Those concerns of a national character—such as air and water pollution that do not respect state boundaries or the national transportation system or efforts to safeguard your civil liberties—must, of course, be handled on the national level.

As a general rule, however, we believe that government action should be taken first by the government that resides as close to you as possible. Governments tend to become less responsive to your needs the farther away they are from you. Thus, we prefer local and state government to national government, and decentralized national government wherever possible.

We also believe that you, often acting through voluntary organizations, should have the opportunity to solve many of the social problems of your community. This spirit of freely helping others is uniquely American and should be encouraged in every way by government.

Every dollar spent by government is a dollar earned by you. Government must always ask: Are your dollars being wisely spent? Can we afford it? Is it not better for the country to leave your dollars in your pocket?

Your elected officials, their appointees, and government workers are expected to perform their public acts with honesty, openness, diligence, and special integrity. At the heart of our system must be confidence that these people are always working for you.

We believe that your initiative and energy create jobs, our standard of living and the underlying economic strength of the country. Government must work for the goal of justice and the elimination of unfair practices, but no government has yet designed a more productive economic system or one which benefits as many people.

The beauty of our land is our legacy to our children. It must be protected by us so that they can pass it on intact to their children.

The United States must always stand for peace and liberty in the world and the rights of the individual. We must form sturdy partnerships with our allies for the preservation of freedom. We must be ever willing to negotiate differences, but equally mindful that there are American ideals that cannot be compromised. Given that there are other nations with potentially hostile designs, we recognize that we can reach our goals only while maintaining a superior national defense.

We support these principles because they are right, knowing full well that they will not be easy to achieve. Acting with restraint is most difficult when confronted by an opposition Congress that is determined to promise everything to everybody. And this is what the Democrat Congress has been doing. A document, such as this Platform, which refuses to knuckle under to special interest groups, will be accused of being "uncaring." Yet it is exactly because we do care about your basic freedom to manage your own life with a minimum of government interference, because we do care about encouraging permanent and meaningful jobs, because we do care about your getting paid in sound dollars, because we do care about resisting the use of your tax dollars for wasteful or unproven programs—it is for these reasons that we are proposing only actions that the nation can afford and are opposing excessive tinkering with an economic system that works better than any other in the world.

Our great American Republic was founded on the principle: "one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all." This bicentennial year marks the anniversary of the greatest secular experiment in history: That of seeking to determine that a people are truly capable of self-government. It was our "Declaration" which put the world and posterity on notice "that Men are…endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights" and that those rights must not be taken from those to whom God has given them.

Recently, Peggy Pinder, a 23-year-old student from Grinnell, Iowa, who is a delegate to this convention, said that she joined our party "because Republicans understand the place of government in the people’s lives better than the Democrats. Republicans try to find ways to take care of needs through the private sector first while it seems automatic for Democrats to take care of them through the governmental system."

The perception of Peggy Pinder governs this Platform. Aren’t these the principles that you want your elected representatives to have?


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Chicago: "Preamble," Republican Party Platform of 1976 in Donald B. Johnson, Ed. National Party Platforms, 1840–1976. Supplement 1980. (Champaign-Urbana: University of Illinois), Pp.2-3 3. Original Sources, accessed July 20, 2024,

MLA: . "Preamble." Republican Party Platform of 1976, in Donald B. Johnson, Ed. National Party Platforms, 1840–1976. Supplement 1980. (Champaign-Urbana: University of Illinois), Pp.2-3, page 3. Original Sources. 20 Jul. 2024.

Harvard: , 'Preamble' in Republican Party Platform of 1976. cited in , Donald B. Johnson, Ed. National Party Platforms, 1840–1976. Supplement 1980. (Champaign-Urbana: University of Illinois), Pp.2-3, pp.3. Original Sources, retrieved 20 July 2024, from