- “…virtually every significant racist in American political history was a Democrat.”
~ Bruce Bartlett, Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party’s Buried Past (New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan, 2008), ix;
- “…not every Democrat was a KKK’er, but every KKK’er was a Democrat.”
~ Ann Coulter, Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama (New York, NY: Sentinel [Penguin], 2012), 19.
Did you know that the Democratic Party defended slavery, started the Civil War, founded the KKK, and fought against every major civil rights act in U.S. history? Watch as Carol Swain, professor of political science at Vanderbilt University, shares the inconvenient history of the Democratic Party. [See my larger page addressing many of these issues.]
Some GOP Milestones
1854 – First Republican Party Meeting In Ripon, Wisconsin.
1854 – Under The Oaks Convention.
- Formal organization of the GOP took place in July, 1854 at a convention in Jackson, Michigan. Thousands of anti-slavery activists were present and two years later, in 1856, the first Republican National Convention took place in Philadelphia, at which the party’s Constitution was written.
1863 – President Abraham Lincoln Issues Emancipation Proclamation.
- Less than a decade later, on January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation which followed, in 1864, by the Republican National Convention’s call for the abolition of slavery.
1865 – Republican-Controlled 38th Congress Passes The 13th Amendment Abolishing Slavery.
- In 1865, Congressional Republicans passed the 13th Amendment which abolished slavery–unanimously, with only a few Democrat votes. The 13 Amendment conferred U.S. citizenship on all black Americans and afforded them “full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of person and property as is enjoyed by white citizens.”
1866 – With Unanimous Republican Support And Against Intense Democrat Opposition, Congress Passes The 14th Amendment.
The 14 Amendment, passed on June 13, 1866, also garnered unanimous support from Republicans and vehement opposition from Democrats. Section 1 of the amendment states:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Following the Civil War, much of the work towards civil rights for blacks was initiated by the wing of the Republican party known as the Radical Republicans. They were referred to as “radical” because of their strong stance on these and other issues. The right that provoked the greatest controversy concerned black male suffrage.
1867 – Congress passed a law requiring the former Confederate states to include black male suffrage in their new state constitutions. Ironically, even though black men began voting in the South after 1867, the majority of Northern states continued to deny them this basic right.
1869 – Finally, at the end of February 1869, Congress approved a compromise amendment that didn’t specifically mention black men:
Section 1: The right of citizens of the United States vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Section 2: The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Once approved by the required two-thirds majorities in the House and Senate, the 15th Amendment had to be ratified by 28, or three-fourths, of the states. Due to reconstruction laws, black male suffrage already existed in 11 Southern states. While Congress debated the 15th Amendment early in 1869, 150 black men from 17 states assembled for a convention in Washington, D.C. This was the first national meeting of black Americans in the history of the United States. Frederick Douglass was elected president of the convention.
Despite Democratic opposition, the Republican party secured ratification victories throughout 1869. Ironically, it was a Southern state, Georgia that clinched the ratification of the 15th Amendment on February 2, 1870.
On March 30, President Grant officially proclaimed the 15th Amendment as part of the Constitution. Washington and many other American cities celebrated. More than 10,000 blacks paraded through Baltimore. In a speech on May 5, 1870, Frederick Douglass rejoiced. “What a country — fortunate in its institutions, in its 15th Amendment, in its future.”
1872 – Republican-Controlled 42nd Congress Establishes Yellowstone As First National Park.
1872 – First African-American Governor, Pinckney Pinchback (R-La), Inaugurated.
It was during this period of time,
1875 – landmark legislation was introduced—The Civil Rights Act of 1875. Introduced by Radical Republican Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, it “guaranteed all citizens, regardless of color, access to accommodations, theatres, public schools, churches, and cemeteries. The bill further forbid the barring of any person from jury service on account of race, and provided that all lawsuits brought under the new law would be tried in federal, not state, courts.” Unfortunately, Sumner died before the passage of his bill. The senator died of a heart attack in 1874 and as he lay dying, he said: “Don’t let the bill fail.” He exhorted Frederick Douglass and the others at his bedside to take care of his civil rights bill.
In the years following the turn of the century, the women’s rights movement began to gain some steam and was solidly Republican. Most suffragists, including Susan B. Anthony, favored the GOP.
1917 – First Woman In Congress, Rep. Jeannette Rankin (R-Mt), Sworn In.
1919 – Republican Controlled 66th Congress Passes The 19th Amendment Guaranteeing Women The Right To Vote.
- The 19th Amendment was written by a Republican senator and received greater support from Republicans than from Democrats. It was passed by Congress on June 4, 1919 and ratified on August 18, 1920. It guarantees American women the right to vote. Prior to the passage and ratification of the 19th Amendment, in 1917 the first woman was elected to Congress. Rep. Jeannette Rankin (R-MT) was sworn in on June 4, 1919.
1924 – the Republican-controlled 68th Congress and President Calvin Coolidge granted citizenship to Native Americans with the Indian Citizenship Act.
1928 – Sen. Octaviano Larrazolo (R-NM) was sworn in as the first Hispanic U.S. Senator.
1949 – Margaret Chase Smith (R-Me) Becomes The First Woman To Serve In Both The Senate And The House Of Representatives.
1954 – Brown V Board Of Education Strikes Down Racial Segregation In Public Schools; Majority Decision Written By Chief Justice Earl Warren, Former Governor (R-Ca) And Vice Presidential Nominee.
1957 – President Eisenhower, who appointed Justice Warren, sent Congress a proposal for civil rights legislation. The end result was the Civil Rights Act of 1957 which established the Civil Rights Section of the Justice Department and enabled federal prosecutors to obtain court injunctions against interference with the right to vote. It also established the Civil Rights Commission which was given the authority to investigate discriminatory conditions and recommend corrective measures. In the end, however, the final act was weakened by Congress due to lack of support from Democrats. President Eisenhower was also responsible for sending U.S. troops to Arkansas to desegregate schools.
1959 – The Republican party also produced the first Asian-American U.S. Senator, Hiram Fong (R-HI).
1964 – Senate Passes The 1964 Civil Rights Act in which the Republican leader, Everett Dirksen (R-IL), defeated a Democrat filibuster.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964:
“…is the nation’s benchmark civil rights legislation, and it continues to resonate in America. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Passage of the Act ended the application of ‘Jim Crow’ laws, which had been upheld by the Supreme Court in the 1896 case Plessy v. Ferguson, in which the Court held that racial segregation purported to be ‘separate but equal’ was constitutional. The Civil Rights Act was eventually expanded by Congress to strengthen enforcement of these fundamental civil rights.”
According to the Michael Zak, in his book, Back to Basics for the Republican Party:
“On this day in 1964, Everett Dirksen (R-IL), the Republican Leader in the U.S. Senate, condemned the Democrats’ 57-day filibuster against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Leading the Democrats in their opposition to civil rights for African-Americans was Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV). Byrd, who got into politics as a recruiter for the Ku Klux Klan, spoke against the bill for fourteen straight hours. Democrats still call Robert Byrd ‘the conscience of the Senate.’”
In addition to that, the House version of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was supported by only 61 percent of that Chamber’s Democrats while 80 percent of Republicans embraced the act. In the final Senate vote on the Act, it received 82 percent of the Republican vote and was opposed by 69 percent of Democrats.
Similarly, 94 percent of Senate Republicans voted in favor of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 versus 73 percent of Democrats. The final vote on the House’s version was even more stark as only one Senate Republican voted against it while seventeen Democrats opposed it. In the House, 82 percent of Republicans supported the bill versus 78 percent of Democrats.
1980 Election of Reagan:
1981 – Sandra Day O’connor, Appointed By President Reagan, Becomes First Woman On The Supreme Court.
1987 – President Ronald Reagan Calls For Liberation Of East Europeans From Communism With “Tear Down This Wall” Speech.