you know, guys
not all republicans
The only political thing I’ve agreed with on tumblr.
Alright, going to get some history nerd cred down here…
I’m not saying that all Republicans are evil, that would be hyperbole to the extreme— but one thing people need to understand is that the Republican Party of Lincoln was not the Republican Party of Teddy was not the Republican party of Mitt Romney.
It’s a little thing called realignment.
Realignment is a period where a party’s ideology, platform, and target audience shifts. There has been many periods of realignment, from early on in our history. The shift from the Federalist party to the Democratic-Republican party, the split of the Democratic-Republicans to the Democratic Party and the Whig Party, and the dissolution of the Whigs in 1852 and the founding of the Republican party of 1858- leaving us with the Democrat vs. Republican split we have today.
But the parties were not the same as they are now. The Democratic party was very much the party of the South at this point- states rights, anti-abolitionist and pro-slavery. Likewise, this early Republican party rose as the anti-slavery party, with Lincoln being the first Republican president under this platform (Their slogan was free labor, free land, and free men).
Eventually, as America moved away from the Civil War and into its industrial revolution, the Republican party began to shift towards industrial interests and the interests of “Big Business,” increasing tariffs and so on.
With the realigning election of 1896, electing William McKinley, the Republican party shifted to becoming the party of Big Business.
Moving on to the example of Roosevelt. When Roosevelt was made McKinley’s Vice President, NOBODY WANTED HIM TO EVER BECOME PRESIDENT. Especially the Republican Party. Good old Teddy was trying to dismantle the political machine of Tammamy Hall, local political bosses made sure he was nominated as the Vice Presidential candidate, to get him into what was widely viewed as a completely ineffectual position and out of their hair.
However, McKinley was shot, and Roosevelt became president for two terms. However, when he demanded to be nominated by the Republican party after the presidency of Taft, they refused— his political stance was not the same as the Republican party’s, and they renominated Taft.
At this point the Democrats were realigning too, to become the party of worker’s rights, as well as the party of the South.
Eventually, more and more African American voters broke from the Republican party and started to vote Democrat, because the Democratic party’s new stated aim of 1948 was civil rights. The so-called “Dixiecrats,” the Southern Democrats, didn’t like this one bit- which led to our next realignment period, signaled by the election of this man:
The Southern Strategy, pioneered first by Nixon, sought to realign these Dixiecrats with the Republican party, some analysts claim trying to appeal to their racist tendencies. Bob Herbert wrote in the New York Times:
“The truth is that there was very little that was subconscious about the G.O.P.’s relentless appeal to racist whites. Tired of losing elections, it saw an opportunity to renew itself by opening its arms wide to white voters who could never forgive the Democratic Party for its support of civil rights and voting rights for blacks.”
Analysts also claim that the South, with its new growing middle class, sought to vote with the party that more closely identified with its values. Whichever is the case, the predominantly WASP middle-class Americans of the South aligned with the Republican party during what was known as the neoconservative movement.
The neoconservative movement defined the modern Republican party, and the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s (especially under the work of President Lyndon B. Johnson) began to define the modern Democratic party.
So, now we have the Democrats and Republicans of today. Solid Republicans, tend to have deeply sincere religious beliefs and favor state’s rights and hands-off Government (i.e. Mitt Romney), while the Democrats tend to be the party of civil rights and strong government intervention.
The point of this post is not to call either side morally just or injust. It’s merely my attempt at a clarification about the nature of US political history that many people forget about, including Ann Coulter in her latest book, Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama.
If you read this, congratulations! I know not many people are going to want to bother with this wall of text, but it’s a really common misconception that I’ve been seeing thrown around a lot lately.
Also, let’s not forget that neither of those presidents are without their own faults; Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of Habeas corpus during his presidency, and Teddy Roosevelt was a HUGE ole imperialist, and supported the forced sterilization of criminals and ‘feeble-minded persons’