The Democratic Party released a platform late Monday night that makes just three direct references to the U.S. Constitution, in contrast to the Republican platform from last week that cites the founding document more than two dozen times.

Unlike the GOP platform, the Democratic platform makes no mention of the "Founding Fathers," nor does it mention Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson or George Washington. The GOP platform refers to the Founding Fathers twice, and mentions Washington three times, Jefferson twice and Franklin once.


The Republican platform includes six full pages on the need to restore constitutional government.

These differences between the two platforms reflect the ongoing argument between the two parties for the last few years. During that time, Republicans have increasingly leaned on the Constitution to justify their effort to scale back what they say is an overgrown federal government, while Democrats have largely dismissed these GOP arguments and have said their policy prescriptions are in line with the Constitution.

A related difference can be seen in the use of the word "God" in the two platforms. The GOP platform mentions "God" or "God-given" rights in the context of the Constitution about a dozen times, but the Democratic platform makes no mention of "God," although it twice notes the freedom of religion in the United States.

The Democratic platform makes three references to "our Constitution." First, it includes a section on faith that concludes by saying there is "no conflict between supporting faith-based institutions and respecting our Constitution."

Secondly, it says Democrats pledge to nominate judges who will "demonstrate their faithfulness to our law and our Constitution." And last, on the topic of "advancing universal values," it says Democrats believe the United States must ensure activities such as fighting terrorism "must always be in line with our Constitution, preserve our people's privacy and civil liberties, and withstand the checks and balances that have served us so well."

The platform also makes three references to "constitutional" issues, one of which reiterates support for "constitutionally sound, evidence-based partnerships" with faith-based organizations." Another says Democrats oppose constitutional amendments that deny equal protection to same-sex couples, and the last says Democrats "support campaign finance reform, by constitutional amendment if necessary."

While the Democrats make no further mention of the founding document, Republicans clearly see a more dire emergency in how the modern federal government has expanded. The GOP platform starts with a dedication to "The wisdom of the Framers of the United States Constitution, who gave us a Republic, as Benjamin Franklin cautioned, if we can keep it."

It calls the Constitution "sacred" and "the greatest political document ever written," and after a section on restoring the economy, it includes a six-page section calling for a "Restoration of Constitutional Government." Among other things, that section argues that the Obama administration has violated the rules of the Constitution with policy "czars" and heavy handed regulation.

The GOP platform mentions the "Constitution" more than two dozen times, and makes about 20 references to "constitutional" issues in the context of judicial rulings that violate the Constitution, support for traditional marriage, the need for a balanced budget and giving more deference to states' rights under the Constitution.

It says Republicans will fight to uphold several amendments in the Bill of Rights, and calls for a 10th Amendment litmus test for all federal spending to ensure that the federal government is performing duties that would be better performed by the states.

— This story was updated at 11:13 a.m.