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The State of American Politics Since Reconstruction


Guest anonymous50

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Guest anonymous50

 Every since the end of the Civil War/Reconstruction, political parties have always have had to make the choice between egalitarian interests(civil rights) and states rights (exclusive rights).

 

This is something that both Democrats and Republicans have always been aware of this at different points in their history.
  
Today, the Democratic Party is the progressive pro equal rights party. But, this has not always been the case.  From Andrew Jackson to Woodrow Wilson, the Democrats were pro states rights, pro slavery, pro Civil War, and pro Jim Crow. From Reconstruction to 1960's Civil Rights Movement most Southerners voted Democrat because they blamed the Republican party for the Civil War, the end of slavery, and Reconstruction. The region became know as the Democratic "Solid South." This lasted for the better part of 100 years from 1877 to 1964.   Most racists politicians at that time were  segregationist Southern Democrats.  They voted against subsequent civil rights bills(after the 14th amendment was nullified by Jim Crow) and anti lynching laws.  Additional Jim Crow laws were signed under Woodrow Wilson, who praised the film Birth of A Nation(1915).  Even FDR refused to support civil rights because he would lose Southern support for the New Deal.


The present day Republican party is known for its right wing rhetoric, limited government, and alienation of marginalized groups; but, even they started out differently. The Republican Party was founded  to limit the expansion of slavery. Most abolitionist from the North identified with the Party. They were the egalitarians of their time. Personally speaking, Abraham Lincoln was deeply opposed to slavery even though it did not always align with some of his policies during the Civil War(1861-1865). During Reconstruction(1865-1877), the Republicans passed the first Civil Rights Act of 1868( the 14 amendment) and gave black people the right to vote. Former slaves were voted to congress. Later, Republicans passed the 19th amendment which gave women the right to vote. From the end of that era to the beginning to the Great Depression, black people consistently voted GOP(even after the Hays Tilden Compromised that ended Reconstruction). It was not so much because the Republicans were doing so much for blacks. It was because voting for a pro Southern  Democratic Party at that time was unimaginable(kind of like voting for Republicans today). But, even during the Jim Crow era most civil rights bill that died in congress were passed by the party of the elephant!! The regional strength of the GOP was in the egalitarian North.

 

 

But when did the parties began to flip on certain issues?

 

Northern Democrats started supporting civil rights during the mid 20th century after World War II. Harry Truman signed a law that desegregated the military in 1948. This enraged a lot of Southern Democrats and prompted Strom Thurman to run against him in the presidential primaries that year. In the 1960's as the party was becoming more liberal(egalitarian), John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson supported desegregation, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This totally turned white people in the South against the Democratic party and solidified the black vote which had been growing since the Depression. Today over 90 percent of African Americans vote Democrat. The regional base of the Democrats is liberal West Coast and Northwest.


Also during the same period, with the right leaning pro states rights stance of the Republican Party, Barry Goldwater ran for president in 1964 opposing the Civil Rights Act of the same year. This caused Strom Thurman to become a Republican.  As a result, Southern states that had not voted Republican since the Hays Tilden compromise supported Goldwater over Johnson. In 1968, when Richard Nixon ran for president, he devised the "Southern Strategy" which greatly appealed to Southerners by opposing civil rights gains. As a result of this political move, the overwhelming majority of the Southern states voted for Nixon, except those who voted for George Wallace. Republicans increased Southern gains under future GOP administrations including Reagan and Bush. This was due to massive party changes from Democrat to Republican. Today, most politicians  below the Mason Dixon line are Republicans.  The GOP gets less than 10 percent of the black vote. Their regional base is primarily the South.

 

 As I write this, the Republican party of Texas is about sign some of the most oppressive voters laws since Jim Crow  and the national Republican party voted against the John Lewis Voting Act in congress.


The egalitarian Democrats(now known as social progressives) have expanded the movement beyond race to include women, sexual orientation, abortion, climate change, gun control, and now masks/vaccines.

 

Most right wing states rights Republicans take the opposite reactionary stance on these issues.

 

Notice the political parties have changed on the issues but the regions of the country have not.  The South still supports states rights, especially when it comes to abortion, gun laws, and voting rights; and the liberal West Coast and Northeast supports civil rights, climate change, and LGBTQ rights.

What do you think about my commentary.

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I think your comments are very insightful and correct up to a certain point in history. However I wouldn't overstate the liberal or progressive nature of the current Democratic Party when it comes to social equality or economic fairness. While there is a vocal left in the party concerned about these things the Democrats are dominated by moderate centrists who are " Republican lite " on  economic issues. When it comes to social issues they often pay lip service to race, gender, and LGBTQ rights. Much of the progress on social issues like LGBTQ issues has been made at the local levels with the exception of same sex marriage and the Supreme Court. When it comes to gender Democrats have done little to counter the assault on Reproductive Freedom. The same is true about race especially voting rights. 

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Just like there is a difference between REPUBLICAN and CONSERVATIVE.....there is a difference between DEMOCRAT and PRORESSIVE.

While the Republican Party is a right-wing party that can rightly be called a Conservative Party because most of it's politicians are Conservatives.....the same can't be said of the Democrats.


Most Democrat politicians are moderate and many are actually Conservative.  Less than 25% are truly Progressive.

Another problem is there is no set solid Progressive Agenda.


I consider myself an AfroAmerican Progressive and many of my values are differnt than most Caucasians who call themselves Progressive also.  We find ourselves disagreeing quite often on which issues we should focus on.
 

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On 9/4/2021 at 7:35 PM, Pioneer1 said:

Just like there is a difference between REPUBLICAN and CONSERVATIVE.....there is a difference between DEMOCRAT and PRORESSIVE.

While the Republican Party is a right-wing party that can rightly be called a Conservative Party because most of it's politicians are Conservatives.....the same can't be said of the Democrats.


Most Democrat politicians are moderate and many are actually Conservative.  Less than 25% are truly Progressive.

Another problem is there is no set solid Progressive Agenda.


I consider myself an AfroAmerican Progressive and many of my values are differnt than most Caucasians who call themselves Progressive also.  We find ourselves disagreeing quite often on which issues we should focus on.
 

 

Thanks for this...it's a needed clarification

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