Republicans are fond of emphasizing that the party was founded by Lincoln, who freed the slaves. But the GOP’s role in the history of civil rights is even richer than the Great Emancipator. If Republicans can remember this legacy, perhaps there is some hope that the party might again attract the black voters who have felt unwelcome in its ranks for decades.
It’s also worth recalling that, until recently, the history of the Democratic Party was overwhelmingly pro-slavery and pro-segregation. Lincoln’s successor, Democrat Andrew Johnson, vetoed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and strongly resisted the passage of the 14th Amendment, which ensured equal rights and protections under the law, and was championed by Republicans. The subsequent Republican administration of Ulysses S. Grant implemented the Enforcement Acts of 1870 and 1871, which helped dismantle the KKK and protect black voting rights. This was followed by the Civil Rights Act of 1875.
In contrast, the next Democratic president, Grover Cleveland, was returned to office in 1892 by campaigning against the Republican-sponsored Federal Elections Bill of 1890, which would have strengthened Grant’s civil rights legislation. Not only did Cleveland successfully kill that bill, he helped launch a movement to repeal and undermine civil rights legislation across the country. (theamericanconservative.com –
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