Monday, July 14, 2008

The Secret History of the Republican Party

ARRA News Service - Mike LaRoche, South Texian shares some amazing history of the Republican Party. I have extracted a few points but to get the full gist of his article drop by and read the completed post:
To understand the long-standing Republican commitment to civil rights, it is best to begin with the post-Civil War Reconstruction era. In April 1866, Congressional Republicans (against the strong opposition of President Andrew Johnson, a Unionist Democrat), introduced the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. This amendment entailed the following:
All native-born or naturalized persons in America were officially made American citizens, and states were prohibited from depriving citizens of their life, liberty, or property without the due process of law.

States were compelled to extend voting rights to blacks, for the amendment stipulated that state representation in Congress could be reduced if some citizens were unjustly barred from voting.
Congress passed the Fourteenth Amendment in June 1866, and it was forwarded to the states for ratification. Johnson fought hard against the ratification of this amendment throughout the summer and fall of 1866, but his efforts were futile as state after state outside the South approved it (all of the Southern states, except Tennessee, voted it down).

In February 1869, the Republican Congress passed the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which was subsequently ratified by the requisite number of states. This Amendment guaranteed voting rights to all citizens regardless of their race, color, or former slave status.

During Ulysses S. Grant's presidency, more measures were taken by Congress to protect blacks against harassment. One significant piece of legislation, the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, made it a felony to interfere with voting rights and authorized the use of the army for the law's enforcement. A similarly strong law passed was the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which broadly outlawed public racial discrimination. . . .

It should also be remembered that the Republican Party's commitment to civil rights was alive and well during the twentieth century, for it was President Dwight D. Eisenhower who used federal troops to force the state of Arkansas to admit black students to Little Rock's Central High School. . . . Sen. Everett Dirksen (R-IL) was instrumental in pushing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through Congress.

Regarding women's rights, Republican support for female suffrage was evident as early as the 1860s, when the very Republican territory of Wyoming became the first to allow women to vote . . . The first woman elected to Congress was also a Republican: Rep. Jeanette Rankin (R-MT) of Missoula, . . . Also, it was a Republican Congress that in 1919 passed the 19th Amendment, granting women nationwide the right to vote. This was done over the loud objections of then-President Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat. . . .
LaRoche completes his post with this insightful comment: "Although I titled this entry "The Secret History of the Republican Party," there really is nothing secret about what I have discussed. The facts are easily available but have been consistently ignored (if not distorted) for years by many so-called professional educators across the country – due to either ideological bias or just plain ignorance. Oftentimes in the pursuit of historical truth, the most critical step is to unlearn what you have previously learned." . . . [Read More]

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