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Appeal of the Westphalian Secessionists (1893)

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Our modest wishes to nominate farmers as representatives for an additional two electoral districts in the upcoming Reichstag elections, so that 4 of the 9 electoral districts would be represented by their kind, have now been rejected by the assembly of the representatives [Vertrauensmänner] of the Westphalian Center Party on May 24 when it moved onto the agenda.

This has given expression to the non-recognition of our justified wishes, the subordination of those concerns regarding the basic subsistence of Westphalian agriculture to a lopsided party position.

As Catholics, we stood and stand by the program of the Center Party on religio-political and Christian-social questions with continuing firmness and loyalty, and we also continue to follow the banner that Mallinckrodt, Reichensperger, Windthorst, Schorlemer, Franckenstein, and Ballestrem have planted and held high. As free German citizens, we want to be able to freely exercise our Catholic faith and demand the abolition of all laws that still impede this. But as Westphalian farmers, we also wish, like our ancestors, to remain in possession of our inherited farms, and we will not let our threatened property be taken from us without the fiercest struggle. We therefore demand that the delegates to whom we give our vote:

1. hold fast to the time-tested program of the Center in all religio-political and social questions;
2. advocate the protection of the productive estates – farmers, artisans, and small trade – by rejecting
any reduction of tariffs on our products, closing our borders to the importation of livestock from
disease-ridden countries, advocate limitations on stock market speculation with the most important
foodstuffs, an international regulation of the currency issue, the introduction of the certificate of competence
and obligatory guilds, restrictions on the peddling trade, and restrictions on military artisan jobs and
prison work;
3. advocate the reduction of the oppressive military burden through the introduction of a two-year service
period, exemptions for older militia men [Landwehrmänner] in case of war, and the imposition of a
corresponding military tax on the wealthy who are exempt from active service;
4. guarantee the peace by maintaining an army that is sufficiently strong to defend our borders and protect
our Fatherland. We therefore expect from our delegates that, as free men, in keeping with the time-tested
principles of the Center Party, they do not commit themselves before the election to certain promises and do
not allow themselves to be committed, but reserve for themselves the free decision of what they consider to
be good and appropriate in the interest of the true welfare of the Fatherland.

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