Political Parties


“However, let no misconception arise. The Church holds itself aloof from propagandists or parties. In politics, for example, it is neither Republican, Democrat nor 'mugwamp.' It tests and measures every man-made policy by the eternal, unchanging principles of the gospel. If a proposed policy is in harmony with these principes, it is approved by the Church, if in opposition to gospel principles it is dissaproved. The ax hews at untruth no matter where the chips may fall. Whether Democrats wail or Republicans weep is of no consequence. The Church is not in politics, but up to the shoulders in the fight for truth, which is the battle for humanity's welfare.” (John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconcilliations, p. 280. 1943.)

“The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy” (Georgetown University Professor Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope, 1966.)

Then John Adams gave this prophetic observation: “We shall very soon have parties formed; a court and country, and those parties will have names given them. One party in the house of representatives will support the president and his measures and ministers; the other will oppose them. A similar party will be in the senate; these parties will study with all their arts, perhaps with intrigue, perhaps with corruption, at every election to increase their own friends and diminish their opposers. Suppose such parties formed in the senate and then consider what factious divisions we shall have there upon every nomination.” (John Adams, The Founders Constitution, Vol. 4, p. 107. July 1789.)

“Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the Spirit of Party.…

“It exists under different shapes in all Governments…but in those of the popular form it is seen in its greatest rankness and is truly their worst enemy.—

“The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.— But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism.— The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.

“Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.—” (George Washington, Farewell Address, The Independent Chronicle, September 17, 1796.)

“[The Spirit of Party] serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. — It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.” (George Washington, Farewell Address, The Independent Chronicle, September 17, 1796.)

“There is an opinion, that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the Government, and serve to keep alive the spirit of Liberty. — This within certain limits is probably true; and in Governments of a Monarchical cast, Patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in Governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. — From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And, there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be, by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. — A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.” (George Washington, Farewell Address, The Independent Chronicle, September 17, 1796.)

“Unity is power; and when I reflect on the importance of it to the stability of all governments, I am astounded at the silly moves of persons and parties to foment discord in order to ride into power on the current of popular excitement.” (Joseph Smith, Views of the Powers and Policy of the Government of the United States, 1844.)

“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” (James Madison, The Federalist Papers, No. 47.)

“In considering the desirability of political parties, it should be borne in mind that to a very real extent political parties militate against the principle of separation of powers by undermining the system of checks and balances. They do this by weakening the motivation of government official’s to resist encroachment. Under the party system a government official’s ambition is best served by maintaining his standing with other members of his party. Hence, when persons influential in his party are involved in encroaching upon the authority of his department, his personal interest in remaining in their good graces is stronger than his personal interest in resisting their encroachment. In fact, if he resists them at all, it is likely to involve a sacrifice of his personal interests rather than a furtherance of them. In other words, unity in support of party is likely to supersede unity in support of the Constitution.

“In considering political parties in the context of separation of powers and checks and balances, due concern should be given the possibility that all branches of the government maybe controlled by a single party. The danger to our freedom system inherent in that possibility was indicated by James Madison in the following words: ‘The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.’” (Jerome Horowitz, The Elders of Israel and the Constitution, p. 41. 1970.)

“Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, to plainly prove a deliberate systematical plan of reducing us to slavery.” (Thomas Jefferson, Rights of British America, ME 1:193, Papers 1:125. July 1774.)

“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” (John Quincy Adams)

“…we shall have the satisfaction of knowing that we have acted conscientiously, and have used our best judgement. And if we have to throw away our votes, we had better do so upon a worthy rather than an unworthy individual who might make use of the weapon we put in his hand to destroy us.” (Cited in Roberts, Comprehensive History, vol. II, p. 208-209 and Times and Seasons, vol. 5, p. 441. February 15, 1844.)