Issues & Insights
Mark Thomas (

Never Forget: Republicans Ended Democrat-Backed Slavery And Segregation

Black Lives Matter and Antifa are not organizations of “protestors” seeking justice for Black people. They are defacing and seeking to overturn monuments to the very historical leaders who fought and ended slavery, former U.S. Presidents Abraham Lincoln and General Ulysses S. Grant.

The Republican Party was formed in 1854 to abolish slavery. By the 1850s, Lincoln  was a rising leader of the National Abolitionist movement, and the new Republican Party.

In 1858, Lincoln challenged the re-election of Illinois Democrat Senator Stephen Douglas, spawning the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates.  Douglas argued for “popular sovereignty”, with each new state to decide the issue of slavery by popular vote.  Lincoln argued against this expansion of slavery, proclaiming “all men are created equal” as set forth in our Declaration of Independence.

Douglas won the election, but Lincoln won the debate. In 1860, Lincoln ran for president, nominated by the anti-slavery Republicans, winning in a four-way race.  Even before his inauguration, Democrat southern states began to secede from the Union, creating the Confederate States of America.

War began in April 1861, when Confederate artillery fired on the U.S. Army at Fort Sumter, South Carolina.  The Civil War involved southern Democrats shooting and killing northern Republicans, and visa versa, a much more partisan affair than currently recognized and remembered.

General Robert E. Lee fought the north to a standstill in Virginia, trying to assault Washington while defending the Confederate Capitol at Richmond. President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, freeing slaves across the South.

General Grant led important victories along the Mississippi from New Orleans to Vicksburg, and very bloody battles in Tennessee. Lincoln promoted Grant to fight Lee in Virginia. General Sherman carried on the Western Campaign to burn down Atlanta, then famously burn Old Dixie down, marching through Georgia to the sea. Sherman then turned northward to burn through South and North Carolina, joining Grant in Virginia.

Lee realized then he had no chance to win the war. He surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse in central Virginia in April, 1865. Nearly one million Americans died in the Civil War.

After the War, Lincoln led his Republicans to enact the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery, and the 14th Amendment recognizing due process of law and equal protection under the law for all Americans, including Blacks.

Despite their Civil War defeat, southern Democrats maintained their power over Blacks for another 100 years, with Jim Crow segregation imposed across the south.  Democrats denied blacks the right to vote and denied black children equal education. 

Southern Democrats founded the Ku Klux Klan, a Democrat militia. That militia burned crosses on Black homes and lynched innocent Blacks.

Klan leaders were elected to Congress, often rising to senior positions, such as long time Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd.  These Democrat congressional leaders defended segregation before Congress, even as the Civil Rights Movement rose in the 1950s to challenge Democrat apartheid across the south.

The Democrat south was part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal coalition, and even part of President Kennedy’s coalition, as Texas Senator Lyndon Johnson served as his Vice President.

It was not until the 1950’s that Republican President Dwight Eisenhower forced integration of schools in the south over the opposition of Democrat Governor George Wallace and other Democrats. This history was why Martin Luther King first rose in the 1950s as a Republican, as Blacks were part of the Republican Party base until the 1960s.

As late as 1964, Democrats were filibustering the Civil Rights Act following Kennedy’s assassination in Texas.  Republican votes broke that filibuster, and passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, overcoming divided Democrats.

With the passage of this landmark legislation in the 1960’s, Blacks finally seemed to achieve legal equality.  But ironically it was at just that time that President Lyndon Johnson concocted the so-called “War on Poverty”, which seemed to return Blacks and other minorities to a “plantation mentality,” maximizing their dependency on government.

Until the 1960’s, Black families had remained largely intact, with families, married mothers and fathers, raising their children together.  But with the War on Poverty, many poor mothers effectively “married the government,” which provided for their children.  The family role of Black fathers was diminished, with many Black young men turning to lives of drugs and crime.

Can Joe Biden, a senator since 1972, collaborating with southern segregationists, and these Democrats be trusted with power in America again?  Or will they follow Biden’s lead to repeal the 2017 Tax Reform Act, which brought record low unemployment to Blacks and other minorities? Biden’s nearly $4 trillion tax increase would crash the American economy into long-term poverty.

Lewis Uhler is the Founder and Chairman of the National Tax Limitation Committee and the National Tax Limitation Foundation (NTLF). He was contemporary and collaborator with Ronald Reagan and Milton Friedman in California and across the country.

Peter Ferrara is a Senior Fellow at NTLF and formerly the Dunn Liberty Fellow in Economics at the King’s College in New York. He served in the White House Office of Policy Development under President Reagan and as Associate Deputy General of the United States under President George H.W. Bush.

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