(by Larry Elder, HumanEventsOnline.com) – So much for the Republican “outreach” to black voters, with only 2% of blacks “approving” of the president’s performance.
If only blacks knew of the true history of the Democratic Party.
“Black History Month” has been observed for 29 years, yet many blacks know little to nothing about the parties’ respective roles in advancing or hindering the civil rights of blacks. How many blacks know that following the Civil War, 23 blacks — 13 of them ex-slaves – were elected to Congress, all as Republicans? The first black Democrat was not elected to Congress until 1935, from the state of Illinois. The first black congressional Democrat from a Southern state was not elected until 1973.
Democrats, in 1854, passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act. This overturned the Missouri Compromise and allowed for the importation of slaves into the territories. Disgusted with the passage of this Act, free-soilers and anti-slavery members of the Whig and Democratic parties founded the Republican Party – not just to stop the spread of slavery, but to eventually abolish it.
How many blacks know that blacks founded the Texas Republican Party? On July 4, 1867, in Houston, Texas, 150 blacks and 20 whites formed the party. No, not the Black Texas Republican Party, they founded the Texas Republican Party. Blacks across Southern states also founded the Republican parties in their states.
Fugitive slave laws? In 1850, Democrats passed the Fugitive Slave Law. If merely accused of being a slave, even if the person enjoyed freedom all of his or her life (as approximately 11% of blacks did just before the Civil War), the person lost the right to representation by an attorney, the right to trial by jury, and the right to habeas corpus.
Emancipation? Republican President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation during the Civil War. In 1865, the 13th Amendment emancipating the slaves was passed with 100 percent of Republicans (88 of 88 in the House, 30 of 30 in the Senate) voting for it. Only 23% of Democrats (16 of 66 in the House, three of eight in the Senate) voted for it.
Civil rights laws? In 1868, the 14th Amendment was passed giving the newly emancipated blacks full civil rights and federal guarantee of those rights, superseding any state laws. Every single voting Republican (128 of 134 – with six not voting in the House, and 30 of 32 – with two not voting in the Senate) voted for the 14th Amendment. Not a single Democrat (zero of 36 in the House, zero of six in the Senate) voted for it.
Right to vote? When Southern states balked at implementing the 14th Amendment, Congress came back and passed the 15th Amendment in 1870, guaranteeing blacks the right to vote. Every single Republican voted for it, with every Democrat voting against it.
Ku Klux Klan? In 1872 congressional investigations, Democrats admitted beginning the Klan as an effort to stop the spread of the Republican Party and to re-establish Democratic control in Southern states. As PBS’ “American Experience” notes, “In outright defiance of the Republican-led federal government, Southern Democrats formed organizations that violently intimidated blacks and Republicans who tried to win political power. The most prominent of these, the Ku Klux Klan, was formed in Pulaski, Tenn., in 1865.” Blacks, who were all Republican at that time, became the primary targets of violence.
Jim Crow laws? Between 1870 and 1875, the Republican Congress passed many pro-black civil rights laws. But in 1876, Democrats took control of the House, and no further race-based civil rights laws passed until 1957. In 1892, Democrats gained control of the House, the Senate and the White House, and repealed all the Republican-passed civil rights laws. That enabled the Southern Democrats to pass the Jim Crow laws, poll taxes, literacy tests, and so on, in their individual states.
Civil rights in the ’60s? Only 64% of Democrats in Congress voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act (153 for, 91 against in the House; and 46 for, 21 against in the Senate). But 80% of Republicans (136 for, 35 against in the House; and 27 for, six against in the Senate) voted for the 1964 Act.
What about the reviled, allegedly anti-black, Republican “Southern strategy”? Pat Buchanan, writing for Richard Nixon (who became the Republican Party candidate two years later) coined the term “Southern strategy.” They expected the “strategy” to ultimately result in the complete marginalization of racist Southern Democrats. “We would build our Republican Party on a foundation of states’ rights, human rights, small government, and a strong national defense,” said Buchanan, “and leave it to the ‘party of [Democratic Georgia Gov. Lester] Maddox, [1966 Democratic challenger against Spiro Agnew for Maryland governor George] Mahoney, and [Democratic Alabama Gov. George] Wallace to squeeze the last ounces of political juice out of the rotting fruit of racial injustice.'” And President Richard Nixon, Republican, implemented the first federal affirmative action (race-based preference) laws with goals and timetables.
So next “Black History Month,” pass some of this stuff along.
1. When was the Republican Party founded? Who founded the Republican party? For what reason did they do so?
2. List the facts about how the Democrat Party and the Republican Party handled each of the following issues:
- Fugitive slave laws
- Civil rights laws
- Right to vote
- Ku Klux Klan
- Jim Crow laws
- Civil Rights in the 60’s
3. How does Mr. Elder explain the Republican “Southern Strategy”? Do a search for “Southern Strategy” What is the contrasting explanation? Which explanation makes more sense to you? Why?
4. Are you, or do you know any black Republicans? Is it ok to call a black Republican an “Uncle Tom”? (For an article on what some black Democrats think, click here.)
5. Before reading this article, what did you think about the Republican Party’s record on civil rights? Has reading this article changed your view? Explain your answer.