Democratic Party Platform of 1964


Freedom and Well Being

There can be full freedom only when all of our people have opportunity for education to the full extent of their ability to learn, followed by the opportunity to employ their learning in the creation of something of value to themselves and to the nation.

The Individual

Our task is to make the national purpose serve the human purpose: that every person shall have the opportunity to become all that he or she is capable of becoming.

We believe that knowledge is essential to individual freedom and to the conduct of a free society. We believe that education is the surest and most profitable investment a nation can make.

Regardless of family financial status, therefore, education should be open to every boy or girl in America up to the highest level which he or she is able to master.

In an economy which will offer fewer and fewer places for the unskilled, there must be a wide variety of educational opportunities so that every young American, on leaving school, will have acquired the training to take a useful and rewarding place in our society.

It is increasingly clear that more of our educational resources must be directed to pre-school training as well as to junior college, college and post-graduate study.

The demands on the already inadequate sources of state and local revenues place a serious limitation on education. New methods of financial aid must be explored, including the channeling of federally collected revenues to all levels of education, and, to the extent permitted by the Constitution, to all schools. Only in this way can our educational programs achieve excellence throughout the nation, a goal that must be achieved without interfering with local control and direction of education.

In order to insure that all students who can meet the requirements for college entrance can continue their education, we propose an expanded program of public scholarships, guaranteed loans, and work-study grants.

We shall develop the potential of the Armed Forces for training young men who might otherwise be rejected for military service because their work skills are underdeveloped.

The health of the people is important to the strength and purpose of our country and is a proper part of our common concern.

In a nation that lacks neither compassion nor resources, the needless suffering of people who cannot afford adequate medical care is intolerable:

We will continue to fight until we have succeeded in including hospital care for older Americans in the Social Security program, and have insured adequate assistance to those elderly people suffering from mental illness and mental retardation.

We will go forward with research into the causes and cures of disease, accidents, mental illness and mental retardation.

We will further expand our health facilities, especially medical schools, hospitals, and research laboratories.

America’s veterans who served their Nation so well must, in turn, be served fairly by a grateful Nation. First-rate hospitals and medical care must be provided veterans with service-connected injuries and disabilities, and their compensation rates must insure an adequate standard of living. The National Service Life Insurance program should be reopened for those who have lost their insurance coverage, and an equitable and just pension system must help meet the need of those disabled veterans and their survivors who require financial assistance.

Democracy of Opportunity

The variety of our people is the source of our strength and ought not to be a cause of disunity or discord. The rights of all our citizens must be protected and all the laws of our land obeyed if America is to he safe for democracy.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 deserves and requires full observance by every American and fair, effective enforcement if there is any default.

Resting upon a national consensus expressed by the overwhelming support of both parties, this newlaw impairs the rights of no American; it affirms the rights of all Americans. Its purpose is not to divide, but to end division; not to curtail the opportunities of any, but to increase opportunities for all; not to punish, but to promote further our commitment to freedom, the pursuit of justice, and a deeper respect for human dignity.

We reaffirm our belief that lawless disregard for the rights of others is wrong—whether used to deny equal rights or to obtain equal rights.

We cannot and will not tolerate lawlessness. We can and will seek to eliminate its economic and social causes.

True democracy of opportunity will not be served by establishing quotas based on the same false distinctions we seek to erase, nor can the effects of prejudice be neutralized by the expedient of preferential practices.

The immigration laws must be revised to permit families to be reunited, to welcome the persecuted and oppressed, and to eliminate the discriminatory provisions which base admission upon national origins.

We will support legislation to carry forward the progress already made toward full equality of opportunity for women as well as men.

We will strive to eliminate discrimination against older Americans, especially in their employment.

Ending discrimination based on race, age, sex, or national origin demands not only equal opportunity but the opportunity to be equal. We are concerned not only with people’s right to be free, but also with their ability to use their freedom. We will:

Carry the War on Poverty forward as a total war against the causes of human want.

Move forward with programs to restore those areas, such as Appalachia, which the Nation’s progress has by-passed.

Help the physically handicapped and mentally disadvantaged develop to the full limit of their capabilities.

Enhance the security of older Americans by encouraging private retirement and welfare programs, offering opportunities like those provided for the young under the Economic Opportunities Act of 1964, and expanding decent housing which older citizens can afford.

Assist our Indian people to improve their standard of living and attain self-sufficiency, the privileges of equal citizenship, and full participation in American life.

The Social Security program, initiated and developed under the National leadership of the Democratic Party and in the face of ceaseless partisan opposition, contributes greatly to the strength of the Nation. We must insure that those who have contributed to the system shall share in the steady increase in our standard of living by adjusting benefit levels.

We hold firmly to the conviction, long embraced by Democratic Administrations, that the advancing years of life should bring not fear and loneliness, but security, meaning, and satisfaction.

We will encourage further support for the arts, giving people a better chance to use increased leisure and recognizing that the achievements of art are an index of the greatness of a civilization.

We will encourage the advance of science and technology—for its material rewards, and for its contribution to an understanding of the universe and ourselves.

The Economy

The American free enterprise system is one of the great achievements of the human mind and spirit. It has developed by a combination of the energetic efforts of working men and women, bold private initiative, the profit motive and wise public policy, until it is now the productive marvel of mankind.

In spite of this, at the outset of 1961, America was in the depths of the fourth postwar recession.

Since then, in 42 months of uninterrupted expansion under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, we have achieved the longest and strongest peace-time prosperity in modern history:

Almost four million jobs have been added to the economy—almost 1 1/2 million since last December.

Workers’ earnings and corporate profits are at the highest level in history.

Prices have been more stable than in any other industrial nation in the free world.

This did not just happen. It has come about because we have wisely and prudently used our increasing understanding of how the economy works.

It is the national purpose, and our commitment, to continue this expansion of the American economy toward its potential, without a recession, withcontinued stability, and with an extension of the benefits of this growth and prosperity to those who have not fully shared in them.

This will require continuation of flexible and innovative fiscal, monetary, and debt management policies, recognizing the importance of low interest rates.

We will seek further tax reduction—and in the process we need to remove inequities in our present tax laws. In particular we should carefully review all our excise taxes and eliminate those that are obsolete. Consideration should be given to the development of fiscal policies which would provide revenue sources to hard-pressed state and local governments to assist them with their responsibilities.

Every penny of Federal spending must be accounted for in terms of the strictest economy, efficiency and integrity. We pledge to continue a frugal government, getting a dollar’s value for a dollar spent, and a government worthy of the citizen’s confidence.

Our goal is a balanced budget in a balanced economy.

Our enviable record of price stability must be maintained—through sound fiscal and monetary policies and the encouragement of responsible private wage and price policies. Stability is essential to protect our citizens—particularly the retired and handicapped—from the ravages of inflation. It is also essential to maintain confidence in the American dollar; this confidence has been restored in the past four years through sound policies.

Radical changes in technology and automation contribute to increased productivity and a higher standard of living. They must not penalize the few while benefiting the many. We maintain that any man or woman displaced by a machine or by technological change should have the opportunity, without penalty, to another job. Our common responsibility is to see that this right is fulfilled.

Full employment is an end in itself and must be insisted upon as a priority objective.

It is the national purpose, and our commitment, that every man or woman who is willing and able to work is entitled to a job and to a fair wage for doing it.

The coverage of the Fair Labor Standards Act must be extended to all workers employed in industries affecting interstate commerce, and the minimum wage level and coverage increased to assure those at the bottom of the economic scale a fairer share in the benefits of an ever-rising standard of American living.

Overtime payment requirements must be increased to assure maximum employment consistent with business efficiency. The matter of the length of work periods should be given continuing consideration.

The unemployment insurance program must be basically revised to meet the needs of the unemployed and of the economy, and to assure that this program meets the standards the nation’s experience dictates.

Agricultural and migratory workers must be given legal protection and economic encouragement.

We must develop fully our most precious resource—our manpower. Training and retraining programs must be expanded. A broad-gauge manpower program must be developed which will not only satisfy the needs of the economy but will also give work its maximum meaning in the pattern of human life.

We will stimulate as well as protect small business, the seedbed of free enterprise and a major source of employment in our economy.

The antitrust laws must be vigorously enforced. Our population, which is growing rapidly and becoming increasingly mobile, and our expanding economy are placing greater demands upon our transportation system than ever before. We must have fast, safe, and economic modes of transportation. Each mode should be encouraged to develop in accordance with its maximum utility, available at the lowest cost under the principles of fair competition. A strong and efficient American Flag merchant marine is essential to peace-time commerce and defense emergencies.

The industrial democracy of free, private collective bargaining and the security of American trade unions must be strengthened by repealing Section 14(b) of the Taft-Hartley Act. The present inequitable restrictions on the right to organize and to strike and picket peaceably must also be eliminated.

In order to protect the hard earned dollars of American consumers, as well as promote their basic consumer rights, we will make full use of existing authority, and continue to promote efforts on behalf of consumers by industry, voluntary organizations,and state and local governments. Where protection is essential, we will enact legislation to protect the safety of consumers and to provide them with essential information. We will continue to insist that our drugs and medicines are safe and effective, that our food and cosmetics are free from harm, that merchandise is labeled and packaged honestly and that the true cost of credit is disclosed.

It is the national purpose, and our commitment to increase the freedom and effectiveness of the essential private forces and processes in the economy.


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Chicago: "Freedom and Well Being," Democratic Party Platform of 1964 in Donald B. Johnson, Ed. National Party Platforms, 1840–1976. Supplement 1980. (Champaign-Urbana: University of Illinois), Pp.644-647 645–647. Original Sources, accessed December 7, 2022,

MLA: . "Freedom and Well Being." Democratic Party Platform of 1964, in Donald B. Johnson, Ed. National Party Platforms, 1840–1976. Supplement 1980. (Champaign-Urbana: University of Illinois), Pp.644-647, pp. 645–647. Original Sources. 7 Dec. 2022.

Harvard: , 'Freedom and Well Being' in Democratic Party Platform of 1964. cited in , Donald B. Johnson, Ed. National Party Platforms, 1840–1976. Supplement 1980. (Champaign-Urbana: University of Illinois), Pp.644-647, pp.645–647. Original Sources, retrieved 7 December 2022, from