The Party of Lincoln

Something that struck me as absolutely outrageous (more than other things that I’ve seen this week) was the connection of the roots of the Republican party to the modern Republican party.

While it never hurts to be proud of where the party comes from, it is completely unreasonable to claim that the modern-day party stands for the same things it did when it was founded.

The Republican party was founded in 1854 on an anti-slavery platform, where it filled in the power gap in the north left by the collapsed Whig party. It saw strong support in the north of the US, where Republicans fought to end slavery. Abraham Lincoln was elected as the first Republican president in 1860.

When Lincoln ended slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation, Democrats in the south resisted, sometimes violently, and sometimes with laws, known as Jim Crow laws.

Eventually, northern Republicans made rich by civil war industry grew tired of supporting the rights of freed slaves in the south. These rich white men became party officials and did not want to give up any of their power. The aimed to protect their own interests. In this manner, the Republican party became the party of big business.

The parties as we know them today were solidified in the ’80s.

It’s entirely inaccurate to claim that the Republican party of today resembles in any way the Republican party at the time of its founding.

I was inspired to write this article by mention of this idea at the convention, as well as this Vox video.


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