Civil Rights

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Republicans consistently voted in higher percentages for civil rights bills from the 1860s to the 1960s.[1] The following is a history of civil rights legislation showing how both parties have voted.

Civil Rights Legislation

Year Legislation Republicans Democrats
House Senate Percent House Senate Percent
1865 13th Amendment[2] 86/86 34/34 100% 14/63 3/9 24%
1866 Civil Rights Act[3] 118/120 32/36 96% 0/33 0/11 0%
1866 14th Amendment[4] 128/128 32/35 98% 0/37 0/8 0%
1870 15th Amendment[5] 142/146 39/43 96% 0/39 0/9 0%
1870 Enforcement Act[6] 132/133 48/49 99% 0/54 0/10 0%
1871 Enforcement Act[7] 93/94 36/38 98% 0/73 0/11 0%
1875 Civil Rights Act[8] 162/177 38/45 90% 0/85 0/18 0%
1919 19th Amendment[9] 200/219 36/44 90% 102/172 20/37 58%
1924 Indian Citizenship Act Unrecorded, passed by GOP President/Congress
1957 Civil Rights Act[10] 167/186 43/43 92% 118/225 29/47 54%
1960 Civil Rights Act[11] 123/135 29/29 93% 165/248 42/60 67%
1963 Equal Pay Act[12] 160/160 34/34 100% 201/210 65/65 96%
1964 Civil Rights Act[13] 136/171 27/34 80% 152/243 46/66 64%
1965 Voting Rights Act[14] 109/129 30/31 87% 218/272 49/65 79%
1965 Immigration and Nationality Act[15] 117/127 24/27 92% 202/262 52/66 77%
1991 Civil Rights Act[16] 128/161 38/43 81% 252/257 55/55 98%
1996 Adoption Promotion and Stability Act[17] 219/220 - 100% 170/184 - 92%
1998 International Religious Freedom Act[18] 206/220 55/55 95% 167/195 43/43 88%
2002 Born-Alive Infants Protection Act[19] 200/220 47/49 92% 179/210 50/50 88%
2003 Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act[20] 218/229 47/51 95% 63/205 17/48 32%

History

Christian Origins of U.S. Abolition

The early opponents of slavery in the Americas were not liberals but Christian conservatives. Roger Williams established the openly Christian province of Rhode Island in 1641, whose 1663 charter advocated adherence to "gospel principles... in the true Christian faith and worship of God" as well as the first anti-slavery group in the U.S. Although Rhode Island passed a 1652 law prohibiting slavery, by the end of the 17th century it was no longer enforced.[21]

The radically Christian Quakers would prove the primary opponents of slavery throughout early America, figuring prominently in William Penn's Province of Pennsylvania.

African Slave Trade

African nations, like Native American and European nations (see e.g. the Volga Trade Route and Ottoman Slave Trade), would enslave their conquered enemies in war. Numerous Africans were sold by their enemies into slavery to Americans, but what is not commonly known is that African countries enslaved white Americans for sale in the African slave trade.

Barbary Wars

It was not just whites who enslaved blacks, but blacks who enslaved whites. The Barbary Wars occurred because three North African Muslim nations, Tripoli, Tunis, and Algiers used their navies to hijack U.S. ships at the beginning of American history when it did not have a navy. Treaties with the three Islamic countries made at the time all show how much influence they held in the bargaining process. Nonetheless, the treaties were broken, resulting in the First and Second Barbary Wars to stop the enslavement of white Americans for the African slave trade.[22]

Moroccan Treaty

A notable exception was Morocco which, unlike the other three nations, acknowledged the right of the fledgling U.S. government to exist. The U.S. treaty with Morocco is one of the United States' oldest unbroken treaties.[23]

Early Mexican Abolition

It is little-known that the Mexican-American War occurred because Mexico outlawed slavery. As Frederick Douglass pointed out in his address at Belfast Ireland, Mexico originally opened its borders to modern-day Texas (then part of Mexico) because it had too much land and not enough settlers. Numerous Americans came in, many of them bringing their slaves. However, Mexico then outlawed slavery in 1829. The ex-American slaveholders attempted to circumvent this by declaring slaves indentured servants, but this too was outlawed by Mexico. Furious, the settlers, led by Sam Austin, petitioned the U.S. government, claiming that Texas wanted to cede from Mexico. U.S. President James Polk, along with the Democratic Party, acceded to the request, knowing that more slave states were needed to protect the institution of slavery at a time when free states were beginning to outnumber the slave states. Thus the U.S. started a war with Mexico to create more slave states out of the captured territory (Texas, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Colorado).

Polk sent U.S. troops to the border between the U.S. and Texas to start a war, and then falsely claimed that Mexican troops attacked first. As a result, three U.S. Presidents all condemned the Mexican-American War because of Democrats' dishonesty in starting a war on false pretenses in the name of slavery, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and John Quincy Adams.[24] Ulysses S. Grant even expressed the view that the Civil War was God's divine punishment upon America for its unjust actions in the Mexican-American War, stating, "Nations, like individuals, are punished for their transgressions. We got our punishment in the most sanguinary and expensive war of modern times."[25]

To quote Frederick Douglass:

They accordingly took their families and slaves to Texas, from the blighted and blasted fields of Virginia—fields once fertile as any under Heaven—(hear)—and which would have still remained so had they not been cursed by the infernal spirit of slavery. We do not hear of much confusion in Texas, until 1828 or 1829, when Mexico after having erected herself into a separate government and declared herself free, with a consistency which puts to the blush the boasted “land of freedom,” proclaimed the deliverance of every captive on her soil. Unlike the boasted republic of America, she did this at an immense cost to her own slaveholders—not proclaiming liberty with her lips, while she fastened chains on the slave—not securing liberty for her own children but also for the degraded bondsman of Africa. This act of the Mexican government was resisted at once by the settlers who had carried their slaves into Texas, though they were bound by a solemn agreement to submit to the laws of Mexico. They remonstrated with the government. They said their slaves were too ignorant and degraded to be emancipated. The Mexican government, desirous to treat amicably with those whom it had welcomed to its bosom, listened to this remonstrance, and consented that the Texian slaves should be only gradually emancipated under a system of indentured apprenticeship. Even this restriction was evaded by the Texians, making the indentures binding for 99 years. In fact they showed themselves to be a set of swindlers.
Well, Mexico attempted an enforcement of her law, making it impossible for any man to hold an apprentice more than ten years. This was resisted on the plea that the slaves would not be fit for freedom even then. One would think ten years long enough to teach them the value of liberty, but these wise Americans could not understand how that could be the case. The Texians still persisted in holding their slaves, contrary to the express declaration of their legislature—contrary to the law of the land—to drive them before the biting lash to their hard tasks, day after day, without wages. Again, the Mexican Government attempted to enforce its law, but then Texas revolts—defies the law—and calls upon the people of the United States to aid her in, what they termed their struggle for religious liberty! Yes, they said they could not worship God according to the dictates of their conscience, alluding to the contract entered into by them as professing Roman Catholics. I am not prepared to say whether that contract was a righteous one or not, but, I do say, that after possessing themselves of the land, on the faith of their being Roman Catholics, they should be the last to complain on that score. If they had been honest, they would have said, in regard to their religious opinions, “We have changed our minds; we feel we cannot longer belong to the Church of Rome; we cannot, according to our contract, worship God as our conscience dictates; many of us are Methodists—many are Presbyterians; if you will allow us to worship God as we think right, we will stay in the soil; if not, we feel compelled to abandon it, and seek some other place.” That is the way that common honesty would force them to act, but the people of the United States—and here is one of the darkest acts of their whole history—understanding the terms upon which the Texians had obtained the territory, and well-knowing the exact nature of the contract—offered them the means of successfully resisting Mexico—afforded them arms and ammunition, and even the men who. at San Jacinto, wrested the territory from the rightful owners. Here was an act of national robbery perpetrated, and for what? For the re-establishment of slavery on a soil which had been washed pure from its polluting influence by the generous act of a “semibarbarous” people!
The man who goes into your ship on the high seas, puts out the captain, takes down the ensign and declares himself the owner—is no greater robber than the people of the United States. And what are their excuses, their apologies, their reasons—for they always give reasons for what they do? One of them is, that Mexico is unable to defend her territory, and that therefore they have a right to take it! What do you think of a great heavy-fisted fellow pouncing on every little man he meets, and giving as his reason that the little man is unable to take care of himself? We don’t see this pretext made use of in the case of Canada. Mexico, nevertheless, is a sister republic, which has taken that of the United States for a model. But Mexico is a weak government, and that is the reason America falls on her—the British territories are safe because England is strong.
Oh, how superlatively base—how mean—how dastardly—do the American people appear in the light of justice—of reason—of liberty—when this particular point of her conduct is exposed! But here there was a double point to be gained—on the part of the Southern planters to establish and cultivate large plantations in the South—and on that of the Northern ones, to support what Daniel O’Connell says should not be called the internal, but the infernal, slave-trade, which is said to be worse than the foreign slave-trade, for it allows men to seize upon those who have sported with them on the hills, and played with them at school, and are associated with them in so many ways and under so many interesting circumstances. This is more horrible still than to prowl along the African shore and carry off thence men with whose faces at least we are unfamiliar, and to whose characters we are strangers. Still the chief object of the Annexation of Texas was the quickening of the foreign slave-trade, which is the very jugular vein of slavery, and of which, if kept within narrow limits, we would soon be rid. But the cry of slavery is ever “Give, give, give!” That cry is heard from New England to Virginia. It goes on, leaving a blighted soil behind—leaving the fields which it found fertile and luxuriant, covered with stunted pines. From Virginia it has gone to North Carolina, and from that to South Carolina, leaving ruin in its train, and now it seizes on the fertile regions of Texas, where it had been previously abolished by a people whom we are wont to call semi-civilized. They say they only want to increase their commerce, and add to their security. Oh what a reason to give for plunder! The pirate of the high seas might make the same excuse.
-Frederick Douglass, 1846[26]

Nazism and Fascism, Left-Wing Concepts

Despite the attempts of liberals in academia to portray Nazism and Fascism as right-wing, in reality they always were left-wing in origin. The German word for Nazi is Nationalsozialismus which literally translates as National Socialist Party.[27] The Nazi platform included nationalized healthcare, retirement, and education even as they opposed capitalism. Scientists like Josef Mengele practiced the Nazi doctrine of Social Darwinism in committing heinous war crimes. The Nazis, like other Socialist and Communist nations, opposed religious freedom and Christianity. The leader of the Confessing Church, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was arrested and executed, 800 German Protestant pastors were arrested and sent to concentration camps, and 400 Catholic priests were similarly sent to concentration camps.[28]

And Mussolini's Fascists? Benito Mussolini started out as a publisher of several Socialist newspapers like Avante! (Forward) and L’Avvenire del Lavoratore (The Worker’s Future).[29] Mussolini was an atheist who praised Karl Marx.[30] Even in his later years Mussolini continued advocating Socialism and claimed that he had attempted to nationalize property but had to delay doing so for wartime purposes.[31]

Eisenhower's Role

Republican President Dwight Eisenhower, perhaps more than anyone else except Martin Luther King Jr., was strongly responsible for sparking the 1960s Civil Rights revolution. Eisenhower as early as 1945 desegregated the armed forces while a five-star general in World War II's Battle of the Bulge. Not content to stop there, Eisenhower then as President desegregated schools, sending in the National Guard to enforce the Supreme Court's ruling in Brown v. Board of Education.[32] Eisenhower then urged Congress to pass the first major civil rights legislation in decades, the 1957 Civil Rights Act, which was originally proposed by his Republican Attorney General Herbert Brownell. Lyndon B. Johnson, a renowned racist who boasted of opposing anti-lynching legislation,[33] would ultimately take credit for Eisenhower's reforms, even though Johnson weakened the reforms that Eisenhower sought.[34]

Southern Strategy

I am reserving a broader discussion of "Southern Strategy" for my book. My arguments against the parties switching sides will be detailed there. Needless to say though, Democrats remain the same party of socialism they were in 1935 when they created Social Security and in 1965 when they created Medicare. For just a few examples of the Democrats' link to their racist past, see Al Gore Jr., whose father Al Gore Sr. voted as a U.S. Senator against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Bill Clinton's mentor James William Fulbright, another Senator to vote against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and of course, Hillary Clinton's mentor Robert Byrd, a former Ku Klux Klan leader and yet another U.S. Senator who not only opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act but delivered a record-breaking 14 hour and 13 minute speech attempting to filibuster the Civil Rights Act to stop its passage.

Sources

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    Andrews, E. (2014, December 16). “8 Things You May Not Know About the Battle of the Bulge.” History Channel.
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  34. Nichols, David A (2007, September 12). “Ike Liked Civil Rights.” New York Times.