Posted by Bruce Kahl on February 12, 2002

In Reply to: Planks posted by R. Berg on February 12, 2002

: : In history class we are studying the birth of the populist party and this incorporates the use of the phrase "plank in the party platform." I am curious about the origin of the phrase. Anyone who can shed some light on this is welcome to reply

: The Oxford English Dictionary gives this as one (figurative) meaning of "plank":
: An item or article of a political or other program. Orig. and chiefly U.S.
: [Quotations illustrating this use:] They kin' o' slipt the planks frum out th' ole platform one by one.
: Every subject of the platform is spoken of as one of its planks; thus we read of 'the slavery plank', 'the tariff plank'.
: Another 'plank' is the restriction of Chinese immigration.

This is the way I always thought of a political party's "Plank":
A "plank" is any ONE of the MANY stated principles or objectives comprising the political platform of a party campaigning for election.

The "platform" of a political party consists of a SERIES of principles and policies adopted by a political party or a candidate.
A wooden plank is a long, flat piece of timber, thicker than a board.

A wooden platform is something to stand on or to cling to for support and is comprised of a series of wooden planks nailed or fastened together just like a political platform is unified on various issues or "planks".