THE PLATFORM: Rights of Man--1960 Style

My promises are in the platform.

—John F. Kennedy I accept . . . the happy privilege of campaigning on your platform.

—Lyndon B. Johnson

Party platforms have traditionally been ramshackle structures—ill-assorted odds and ends of lumber loosely nailed together by cautious, compromise-minded committees. By comparison, the 1960 Democratic platform, grandly entitled "The Rights of Man," is a well-made document: straightforward, clear, brief and—as platforms go—probably the most coherent blueprint for Utopia ever to come out of a convention. As such, it reflected not only the promises of the candidate but the leanings of its principal architect: Platform Committee Chairman Chester...

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