“I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861.
The Party of Lincoln
I often hear Republican’s these days calling themselves “The Party of Lincoln.” It is a defense I think, against charges that their party is racist. Despite the number of policies they promote that are racist in effect without regard to intent. The claim while historically correct is quite misleading in that a total upheaval in the party has made it far less the Party of Lincoln than it is the Party of Trump or even David Duke.
One thing I’d like to get straight is that even Lincoln was ambivalent about slavery. I don’t doubt his claim that he was personally opposed to it but he had no intention of ending it. Even saying specifically in his 1861 Inauguration Speech that he didn’t intend to interfere with slavery, thought he had no right to do so nor the inclination. The Party of Lincoln.
A second thing is that the Emancipation Proclamation itself was less about freeing slaves than it was about weakening the Southern economy which with slavery had some inherent advantages and to keep Britain and France from siding with the Confederacy. It only freed slaves in the states in conflict with the Union and left slavery intact in several states including Kentucky and Missouri.
At war’s end, the Republicans did lead the South into the Reconstruction Era which led to many Black elected officials. Reconstruction was highly dependent on the Federal troops still located throughout the South that kept the peace. This lasted until 1877 where Republicans agreed to withdraw the troops to resolve a dispute over the 1876 Presidential election. In other words, Republicans sold out the former slaves for political expediency. This opened the door to the era of Jim Crow. The Party of Lincoln.
In 1920 a Republican-controlled Senate refused to pass an anti-lynching bill that had already passed the House. Midwestern and Western Republican Senators joined with Southern Democrats to kill the bill. In the 1960’s. Democrats passed Civil Rights and Voting Right’sbillswhich sent the most racist Southern Democrats (Dixiecrats) scurrying to the Republican Party. The Party began to look then as it does today. The Party ofLincoln.
We got from Republicans after that the “Southern Strategy” courtesy of Lee Atwater. All you need to know is “Willie Horton” to understand what that strategy was/is.We next got the “Tea Party” and now we have Trump. The Party of Lincoln.
Even with Lincoln, the Republican Party was no panacea for Black people. Since Lincoln, the Party has gotten progressively worse and they would rather suppress your vote than earn it. Last week Trump began his alleged appeal to African-American voters by speaking to 95% White audiences and refraining from his comments of the week before calling for “more police”in the inner-cities.
So when Republicans call themselves “The Party of Lincoln.” It was never that great an honor to begin with. It serves only as a response to those who point out their racist behavior, while they steadfastly engage in it.