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October 01, 2020, 02:48:07 pm
News: First US presidential debate discussion thread link:

https://talkelections.org/FORUM/index.php?topic=400306.0

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  More proof that Republicans were not more pro-civil rights than the Democrats pre-1964
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Author Topic: More proof that Republicans were not more pro-civil rights than the Democrats pre-1964  (Read 1056 times)
Alcibiades
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« on: September 15, 2020, 11:21:18 am »

Pursuant to this thread (https://talkelections.org/FORUM/index.php?topic=394214.msg7577879#msg7577879), I was browsing some old California opinion polls, and this one from July 1948 on civil rights jumped out at me: https://web.archive.org/web/20100705152438if_/http://ucdata.berkeley.edu/pubs/CalPolls/81.pdf

Democrats:
Leave South alone: 38%
Pass federal laws: 52%


Republicans:
Leave South alone: 49%
Pass federal laws: 43%


For reference, Democrats made up 60% of California registered voters.

So while both parties were divided, California Democrats were clearly more pro-civil rights on the whole than Republicans in 1948. I imagine this situation would have been reflected in most other states outside of the South; a higher percentage of non-Southern Democrats actually voted for the 1964 CRA than non-Southern Republicans.

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Southern Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2020, 03:58:16 pm »

The concept of party flip falls apart when under close scrutiny. This is yet one more example of it.
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Southern Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2020, 06:59:14 pm »

I saw an ad earlier on Youtube, organization name was Truth and facts or something like that.

It listed off all of the accomplishments of Teddy Roosevelt as being "what the Republican Party stood for" 100 years ago.

I cringed throughout the whole video because it belies the issues that TR had with the bosses, the establishment and its business allies. The means by which he became President (the bosses kicking him upstairs to get rid of him, only to accidentally have him become President) and the reluctance of the GOP to go along with this proposals.

There is cartoon that illustrates this rather well and it shows TR essentially force feeding Progressivism to the likes of Nelson Aldrich and Joe Cannon.

Especially if you hinge heavily on the "100 years" aspect, its worth remembering that the GOP candidate 100 years ago was Warren Harding. Not exactly the best example if you want to attack the relationship of the GOP with business and its corruption today and contrast it with the past.

The ad caters to a particular audience of upscale NE professionals who want to cast their ancestors as having always been leaning forward on the progressive scale economically, instead of having been business focused and bottom line centric, which was the case.
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HenryWallaceVP
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« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2020, 09:00:41 pm »
« Edited: September 16, 2020, 08:18:22 pm by HenryWallaceVP »

That's a very interesting statistic and quite a good find. The midcentury California GOP had lots of racist Orange County types (look up John G. Schmitz if you want to lose faith in humanity) for every Earl Warren, so it's not too surprising.

The concept of party flip falls apart when under close scrutiny. This is yet one more example of it.

Nah. Today I watched the movie Lincoln, which I hadn't seen since 2012 when it first opened. I know it's only cinema, but I was really struck by the stark divisions the movie made between "conservative" and "radical" Republicans. The conservative Republicans were more willing to compromise with the Democrats and vote against the 13th Amendment, while the Radicals were bitterly opposed to any form of compromise and supported wealth and land redistribution. Thaddeus Stevens had a great line in the film about the Democrats, "the modern travesty of Thomas Jefferson's political organization has the effrontery to call itself the Democratic Party."

The post-1856 Democrats were no Jeffersonians, nor even Jacksonians (though Andrew Johnson thought himself to be one). They were a quite explicitly racist, antidemocratic, and anti-equality party which during the 1850s, 60s, and 70s heavily campaigned on white supremacy. They didn't represent the common man, but the slave power and the planters. In other words, they were a conservative party, at least in the Civil War period. Post-1876 it's debatable since racial issues receded in importance, but the conservative Bourbon Democrats under Grover Cleveland were just as pro-business if not more so than the Republicans.

They opposed the tariff not because of liberal ideology, but because of sectionalism. Cleveland was a fervent goldbug while Benjamin Harrison supported bimetallism. And before you trot out "muh hard money was a classically liberal position", yes, it may have been in Andrew Jackson's day, but no, it clearly was not in the late 19th century. As you like to say, context matters. Edmund Burke's views may have made him a liberal in 1776, but not in 1789. In just the same way, support for hard money may have been a liberal position to hold in the 1830s, but not in the 1890s. Times change, and sooner or later all classical liberals become conservatives unless they change too.
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Southern Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2020, 10:34:49 pm »
« Edited: September 16, 2020, 10:43:02 am by Southern Senator North Carolina Yankee »

That's a very interesting statistic and quite a good find. The midcentury California GOP had lots of racist Orange County types (look up John G. Schmitz if you want to lose faith in humanity) for every Earl Warren, so it's not too surprising.

The concept of party flip falls apart when under close scrutiny. This is yet one more example of it.

Nah. Today I watched the movie Lincoln, which I hadn't seen since 2012 when it first opened. I know it's only cinema, but I was really struck by the stark divisions the movie made between "conservative" and "radical" Republicans. The conservative Republicans were more willing to compromise with the Democrats and vote against the 13th Amendment, while the Radicals were bitterly opposed to any form of compromise and supported wealth and land redistribution. Thaddeus Stevens had a great line in the film about the Democrats, "the modern travesty of Thomas Jefferson's political organization has the effrontery to call itself the Democratic Party."

The post-1856 Democrats were no Jeffersonians, nor even Jacksonians (though Andrew Johnson considered himself to be one). They were a quite explicitly racist, antidemocratic, and anti-equality party which during the 1850s, 60s, and 70s heavily campaigned on white supremacy. They didn't represent the common man, but the slave power and the planters. In other words, they were a conservative party, at least in the Civil War period. Post-1876 it's debatable since racial issues receded in importance, but the conservative Bourbon Democrats under Grover Cleveland were just as pro-business if not more so than the Republicans.

They opposed the tariff not because of liberal ideology, but because of sectionalism. Cleveland was a fervent goldbug while Benjamin Harrison supported bimetallism. And before you trot out "muh hard money was a classically liberal position", yes, it may have been in Andrew Jackson's day, but no, it clearly was not in the late 19th century. As you like to say, context matters. Edmund Burke's views may have made him a liberal in 1776, but not in 1789. In just the same way, support for hard money may have been a liberal position to hold in the 1830s, but not in the 1890s. Times change, and sooner or later all classical liberals become conservatives unless they change too.

You have twisted what I have said. First off consider the following, Radical Republican does not equal liberalism:


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nathaniel_P._Banks
Quote
On his return to Massachusetts, Banks immediately ran for Congress, for a seat vacated by the resignation of Radical Republican Daniel W. Gooch. The Massachusetts Republican Party, dominated by Radicals, opposed his run, but he prevailed easily at the state convention and in the general election, partially by wooing Radical voters by proclaiming support for Negro suffrage.

Quote
In 1872, Banks joined the Liberal-Republican revolt in support of Horace Greeley. He had to some degree opposed a party trend away from labor reform, a subject that was close to many of his working-class constituents, but not the wealthy businessmen who were coming to dominate the Republican Party. While Banks was campaigning across the North for Greeley, the Radical Daniel W. Gooch successfully gathered enough support to defeat him for reelection; it was Banks' first defeat by Massachusetts voters.

Quote
Seeking a revival of his political fortunes, in 1873 Banks ran successfully for the Massachusetts Senate, supported by a coalition of Liberal Republicans, Democrats, and Labor Reform groups. The latter groups he wooed in particular, adopting support for shorter workdays.

You minimize the trade issue to a sectional as opposed to ideological concern (when it was a primary dividing line between the parties and between monopolist versus anti-monopolist interests at the time) then fail to do the same for radicals when they check their "radical views" about Southern Planters at the door and become bought and paid for shills for Northern Industry.

Schuyler Colfax, who is featured in the movie Lincoln as breaking precedent to vote for the Amendment, was tied up in the Credit Mobilier Scandal and his career ruined. Many other "radical republicans" were likewise or were alleged to have had ties to Railroads, Steel or other business interests at the time.

The Democratic Party tends to drift from its core mission and every time that has happened you have had a revolution of the base bringing the Party back to its roots. 1792, 1828, 1896, 1928/1932, 1968/1972, The Sanders movement today. This is not evidence of a party flip, it is evidence of a party that constantly finds it way back to its core after being corrupted by some influence be it power, prejudice or what have you. That is consistency in pattern and the post Civil War situation fits well within that basic pattern.

But Democrats betraying their base cyclically aside, at no point from 1854 on-wards was the Republican Party promoting economic policies detrimental to the business carters, industrial concerns and monopolists that dominated the economy of the NE and their power would redound to the benefit and success of such firms that would come to define the gilded age. The only exception is when TR was President, and as we have established brutally clearly, he was a rogue agent kicked upstairs to get rid of him and he ended up becoming President accidentally, not really representative of where the party was.  

It is also why you had a "Liberal" Revolt that did in fact align with those "racist" Democrats in 1872, because they were alarmed by the increasing influence of business upon the party. If those Democrats "were just a bunch of racist Conservatives", then why the hell would these "liberal Republican dissidents" ally with them and leave the utopian, progressive, socialist Republican Party? Its because they were nothing of the sort. They were a big government Conservative Party (like most European Conservative Parties at the time) wedded to the promotion of the established business firms against all others, and their policies reflected that interests or the expediency to advance such interest at every stage of the GOP's existence. As long as civil rights and the bloody shirt could give the GOP power and by extension the businesses their gravy train of subsidies, tariffs and the like, it was all the rage. The minute it stopped working for them (1874-1876), they dropped the issue like a hot potato.

The sad reality is that race and civil rights had become a side show and for both the Democrats and these dissident "Liberal" Republicans, an annoying wedge issue deployed by the pro-business Republican Party to get people to vote based on identity and geography rather than based on economic interests, labor reform and opposition to monopolists first and foremost via the trade issue. This is why reductionism on the trade issue ignore the larger picture and why it is misleading to do that.



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HenryWallaceVP
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« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2020, 11:58:07 am »

The Republican Party was founded on the principles of classical liberalism and in opposition to the institution of slavery, and it remained that way for at least the first 20 years of its existence. There was nothing "big government conservative" about the Radicals' support for an entire restructuring of Southern society from the bottom up. Many of them like Thaddeus Stevens were also champions of the Northern working class as well. Karl Marx, of all people, was a huge supporter of the Republican Party and Abraham Lincoln. Nearly all of the revolutionary Forty-Eighter German exiles who got involved in American politics were Republicans. The Radical Republicans were called "Radical" for a reason, that word at the time having a near-exclusive left-wing connotation.

Even when the Radical roots of the party were betrayed in 1876, the Democrats weren't obviously more left or pro-working class. Pre-Bryan, I don't see them advocating for labor reform or antimonopolism any more than the Republicans. Post-Bryan, both parties advocated for those policies in varying degrees, Bryan more so than his Republican opponents and Roosevelt more so than his Democratic ones, and Wilson and Hughes about the same. The previous 20 years, however, were far less ideological. I get the sense that the "Democracy" of the Gilded Age was a plutocratic political machine that relied on corruption, intimidation, and voter suppression to win elections for power's sake. Not altogether unlike today's Republicans.
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« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2020, 02:17:19 pm »

Not directly related to the Republican Party and their base as such, but their 1940 presidential nominee, Businessman Wendell Willkie, was a staunch supporter of Civil Rights throughout his political activities. While a Democrat in the 1920s, he fought the KKK in Akron, Ohio, where he lived at the time. During his presidential campaigns of 1940 and 1944 as a Republican, he called for far reaching civil rights legislation, an end of segregation and said he would appoint African American cabinet secretaries and judges. That brought him support from a number of black leaders such as boxer Joe Louis. He was certainly ready to go much further than Franklin Roosevelt, who tried to help African Americans more through social programs. Willkie biographer Steve Neal wrote that Willkie was actually 20 years ahead of Martin Luther King, Lyndon Johnson and Robert Kennedy. Unfortunately, he didn't live longer and never became president.
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HenryWallaceVP
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« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2020, 02:39:52 pm »
« Edited: September 17, 2020, 12:01:13 pm by HenryWallaceVP »

To expand on my previous post, do you really think Karl Marx would've so strongly supported the Republican Party if they were just a stalking horse for the Northern business class as Yankee is claiming? Of course not. To see what Marx saw in the Republicans, one needn't look any further than the Radicals' plans for Reconstruction. As this passage from Yankee Leviathan lays out, the Radical Republicans sought to fundamentally transform American politics along class lines rather than racial lines, with the result of the poor and working classes, black and white alike, voting for the Republicans against the privileged few of the Democratic Party. Unfortunately, this agenda was violently suppressed by the Democratic ruling class in the South through White Leagues and Conservative Parties, and in the North by Democrats on Capitol Hill and Republicans who were all to willing to work with them. Thus the cause was betrayed in 1876, when conservative pro-business Republicans struck a deal in order to prevent even more right-wing Democrats from taking power.
Republican

Edit: Some articles worth reading about the Lincoln-Marx connection and the influence of socialists in the Republican Party:

https://jacobinmag.com/2012/08/lincoln-and-marx

https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2019/07/27/you-know-who-was-into-karl-marx-no-not-aoc-abraham-lincoln/

https://medium.com/@aronzonijr/the-republican-partys-red-roots-c0ff3155c08b

https://isreview.org/issue/79/reading-karl-marx-abraham-lincoln

https://isreview.org/issue/80/karl-marx-and-american-civil-war

https://www.peoplesworld.org/article/anti-slavery-solidarity-united-abraham-lincoln-karl-marx-and-british-workers/
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2020, 08:33:18 pm »

The Republican Party was founded on the principles of classical liberalism and in opposition to the institution of slavery, and it remained that way for at least the first 20 years of its existence.
The Republican Party was founded on opposition to slavery sure, but not on the principles of Classical Liberalism. Indeed, besides the issue of slavery, it wasn't really founded on much at all. This is why the early Republicans had Jeffersonians like Hannibal Hamlin and John C. Fremont in the same party as Whigs like Abraham Lincoln and John McLean. To my understanding, it wasn't until after the war that the Republicans came into their own ideologically as a Conservative party.

Even when the Radical roots of the party were betrayed in 1876, the Democrats weren't obviously more left or pro-working class. Pre-Bryan, I don't see them advocating for labor reform or antimonopolism any more than the Republicans.
If you wanted to make the arguments the Democrats were not more any more anti-monopoly than the Republicans you shouldn't have brought up their opposition to tariffs a few posts beforehand.

Post-Bryan, both parties advocated for those policies in varying degrees, Bryan more so than his Republican opponents and Roosevelt more so than his Democratic ones, and Wilson and Hughes about the same.
It is true that after Bryan showed up both parties adopted these policies to greater degrees, but that wasn't due to Bryan, it was because the entire nation recognized that the monopolies and big trusts had grown too large and powerful. Even then, there was quite a bit of disagreement over what exactly was to be done (consider how Teddy Roosevelt always went to pains to distinguish between good trusts and bad trusts or how he always focused on those trusts which broke the law as opposed to condemning the entire system ala Bryan or Wilson). Speaking of, when you say that Wilson and Hughes were both opposed to monopoly about the same, that's just not true. If you don't believe me, consider the "Business" section of the 1916 Republican Platform
Quote
The Republican party has long believed in the rigid supervision and strict regulation of the transportation and of the great corporations of the country. It has put its creed into its deeds, and all really effective laws regulating the railroads and the great industrial corporations are the work of Republican Congresses and Presidents. For this policy of regulation and supervision the Democrats, in a stumbling and piecemeal way, are within the sphere of private enterprise and in direct competition with its own citizens, a policy which is sure to result in waste, great expense to the taxpayer and in an inferior product.

The Republican party firmly believes that all who violate the laws in regulation of business, should be individually punished. But prosecution is very different from persecution, and business success, no matter how honestly attained, is apparently regarded by the Democratic party as in itself a crime. Such doctrines and beliefs choke enterprise and stifle prosperity. The Republican party believes in encouraging American business as it believes in and will seek to advance all American interests.

I get the sense that the "Democracy" of the Gilded Age was a plutocratic political machine that relied on corruption, intimidation, and voter suppression to win elections for power's sake. Not altogether unlike today's Republicans.
Sure, but that doesn't mean it was lacking in ideology. You yourself compare the lust for power in the gilded age to the present Republican Party, but would you deny that they are an ideological party?
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HenryWallaceVP
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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2020, 10:05:17 pm »
« Edited: September 16, 2020, 11:37:35 pm by HenryWallaceVP »

The Republican Party was founded on the principles of classical liberalism and in opposition to the institution of slavery, and it remained that way for at least the first 20 years of its existence.
The Republican Party was founded on opposition to slavery sure, but not on the principles of Classical Liberalism. Indeed, besides the issue of slavery, it wasn't really founded on much at all. This is why the early Republicans had Jeffersonians like Hannibal Hamlin and John C. Fremont in the same party as Whigs like Abraham Lincoln and John McLean. To my understanding, it wasn't until after the war that the Republicans came into their own ideologically as a Conservative party.

I hate to cite Wikipedia, but yes it was. It's literally right there in the third sentence of the article on it. Wikipedia aside though, there's plenty of other evidence I can give. To give one example, the 1856 Republican slogan of "Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Speech, Free Men, and Fremont" is a classic expression of, well, classical liberalism. If you look at the articles I linked you'll find that the Republican party was home to a motley crew of dissolute socialists and radicals who were well to the left of even liberals.

There was this great essay I once read by a somewhat famous historian, who for the life of me I cannot remember the name of, which basically argued that every political party in the United States descends from the tradition of classical liberalism; and that we are distinct from Europe in that we have always had a sort of "liberal consensus" but never a real Tory or Labor party. He posits that this stems from American nationality being defined by the liberal Whiggish ideas that inspired the Revolution, like "liberty", "freedom", and all that stuff. Suffice it to say, I found it a very convincing argument.

Anywho, if you're going to argue that the Republicans "came into their own" as capital c Conservatives after the war, why not the Democrats too? Yes, on the immigration issue the Republicans were conservative and the Democrats liberal, point well taken. But I've shown examples of conservative policies supported by Democrats and liberal policies by Republicans. I've demonstrated that there were progressives and conservatives in both parties. So I don't see how you can just brush that all aside, and say "in the spirit of my narrative of continuity, it doesn't matter. The nuance is unimportant; I don't care that the Democrats acted as an oppressive ruling class in the South and did best electorally in that most reactionary region, or that the Republicans passed sweeping progressive legislation in the West and did best electorally in that most egalitarian region." Honestly, just typing this out I think I realized why I feel so strongly about this. Looking at electoral maps I'm unable to accept the fact that those damn Southerners were somehow liberals, or not even liberals but supporters of a liberal political party, because they weren't and everything historical I've ever read contradicts that.

Even when the Radical roots of the party were betrayed in 1876, the Democrats weren't obviously more left or pro-working class. Pre-Bryan, I don't see them advocating for labor reform or antimonopolism any more than the Republicans.
If you wanted to make the arguments the Democrats were not more any more anti-monopoly than the Republicans you shouldn't have brought up their opposition to tariffs a few posts beforehand.

The tariff is a complicated issue and always has been. While protectionism was indeed supported by industrial monopolists, it was also supported by the urban working class. Part of the reason Bryan's 1896 campaign failed so spectacularly in the cities was because McKinley was convincingly able to argue that his trade policies would do a far better job of protecting the jobs of industrial laborers. Free trade, on the other hand, hurt these workers but helped Southerners in the cotton business. If the Democrats' opposition to tariffs hurt Northern monopolists, it helped the often more wealthy Southern planters in equal measure. Increased concentration of wealth, not such a liberal idea. But the Republicans were doing the same thing for their wealthy base in the North, which is again why I call this a sectional rather than ideological issue, even as it may have been more ideological in other countries like say the United Kingdom. Also, who was it that signed the Sherman Antitrust Act? Oh right, President Harrison. He also signed the Sherman Silver Purchase Act against the wishes of the Northern business class, but this was quickly repealed once Cleveland began his second term.

Post-Bryan, both parties advocated for those policies in varying degrees, Bryan more so than his Republican opponents and Roosevelt more so than his Democratic ones, and Wilson and Hughes about the same.
It is true that after Bryan showed up both parties adopted these policies to greater degrees, but that wasn't due to Bryan, it was because the entire nation recognized that the monopolies and big trusts had grown too large and powerful. Even then, there was quite a bit of disagreement over what exactly was to be done (consider how Teddy Roosevelt always went to pains to distinguish between good trusts and bad trusts or how he always focused on those trusts which broke the law as opposed to condemning the entire system ala Bryan or Wilson). Speaking of, when you say that Wilson and Hughes were both opposed to monopoly about the same, that's just not true. If you don't believe me, consider the "Business" section of the 1916 Republican Platform
Quote
The Republican party has long believed in the rigid supervision and strict regulation of the transportation and of the great corporations of the country. It has put its creed into its deeds, and all really effective laws regulating the railroads and the great industrial corporations are the work of Republican Congresses and Presidents. For this policy of regulation and supervision the Democrats, in a stumbling and piecemeal way, are within the sphere of private enterprise and in direct competition with its own citizens, a policy which is sure to result in waste, great expense to the taxpayer and in an inferior product.

The Republican party firmly believes that all who violate the laws in regulation of business, should be individually punished. But prosecution is very different from persecution, and business success, no matter how honestly attained, is apparently regarded by the Democratic party as in itself a crime. Such doctrines and beliefs choke enterprise and stifle prosperity. The Republican party believes in encouraging American business as it believes in and will seek to advance all American interests.

Did Wilson really "condemn the entire system" any more than Teddy Roosevelt? The Bull-Moose Party platform was pretty damn radical. As for the Republicans in 1916, Hughes was a true progressive at heart who said what he had to say to appease a powerful conservative element within his party. I'd take him any day of the week over that reprehensible, racist authoritarian Woodrow Wilson, even if he may have been slightly less progressive or liberal by the standards of the time.

I get the sense that the "Democracy" of the Gilded Age was a plutocratic political machine that relied on corruption, intimidation, and voter suppression to win elections for power's sake. Not altogether unlike today's Republicans.
Sure, but that doesn't mean it was lacking in ideology. You yourself compare the lust for power in the gilded age to the present Republican Party, but would you deny that they are an ideological party?

I would argue that neither the Gilded Age Democrats nor the present-day Republicans are very ideological, though the latter much more so. They're both far more based on identity politics and racism than any coherent political school of thought.
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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2020, 10:55:18 pm »

Meh, Charles Hughes was still to the right of Woodrow, he opposed the income tax amendment, among other stuff I can not remember. Also, Cleveland and many other Democrats believed that a limited government would be less corrupt than a more active one (Especially after the GOP scandals of the 1870's).
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« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2020, 11:54:35 pm »
« Edited: September 17, 2020, 12:09:01 am by Southern Senator North Carolina Yankee »

The Republican Party was founded on the principles of classical liberalism and in opposition to the institution of slavery,

This is blatant historical revisionism.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Charles_Carey
Quote
Henry Charles Carey (December 15, 1793 – October 13, 1879) was the leading[1] 19th-century economist of the American School of capitalism, and chief economic adviser to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.

Quote
Principles is a comprehensive and mature exposition of his views. In it, Carey sought to show that there exists, independently of human wills, a natural system of economic laws, which is essentially beneficent and spontaneously increases prosperity of the whole community, and especially of the working classes, except when it is impeded by the ignorance or perversity of humankind.[2] He bases its economy on Colbert system, system protecting manufactures helping farms with roads.

Colbert was a mercantilist, by the way.

Quote
To British free trade it is, as I have shown, that we stand indebted for the present Civil War.   Had our legislation been of the kind which was needed for giving effect to the Declaration of Independence, that great hill region of the South, one of the richest, if not absolutely the richest in the world, would long since have been filled with furnaces and factories, the laborers in which would have been free men, women, and children, white and black, and the several portions of the Union would have been linked together by hooks of steel that would have set at defiance every effort of the 'wealthy capitalists' of England for bringing about a separation. Such, however, and most unhappily, was not our course of operation. Rebellion, therefore, came, bringing with it an almost entire stoppage of the societary movement, with ruin to a large proportion of those of the men ...

This is the Republican's leading academic on economics linking free trade, the British and slavery in contrast to the Republican Policy of protectionism and abolition. In essence, he blamed both the growth of slavery and the rebellion that resulted from it on the classical liberal economics.

These same protectionist views were common among the minority British Conservatives, with the German Right and it has far more in common since you are so keen to mention Germans, with the German Historical School of Economics then it does with the Austrian School, with lassiez faire or with Classical liberalism (as applied to economics).  

While we are on the subject, the German Historical School incorporated a pro-labor element as well, especially in some of their later works. If you want to follow this rabbit hole even further you have Disraeli's radical dalliances in the 1840s I believe, and the concept of the "red tory" that derives from that.


The Republican Party was founded on the principles of classical liberalism and in opposition to the institution of slavery, and it remained that way for at least the first 20 years of its existence. There was nothing "big government conservative" about the Radicals' support for an entire restructuring of Southern society from the bottom up. Many of them like Thaddeus Stevens were also champions of the Northern working class as well. Karl Marx, of all people, was a huge supporter of the Republican Party and Abraham Lincoln. Nearly all of the revolutionary Forty-Eighter German exiles who got involved in American politics were Republicans. The Radical Republicans were called "Radical" for a reason, that word at the time having a near-exclusive left-wing connotation.

Name one time when these "radicals" pushed a policy harmful to Industrial concerns? They were selectively radical and those who weren't so were isolated and pushed to the wayside. Are you really going to say that Marx is representative of the GOP as a whole? As for those Germans, they constantly found themselves alienated by the GOP on booze and furthermore found themselves less than reliable proponents of civil rights, especially when job competition enters the mix. It also should be pointed out that the descendants of these "German Republicans", were the freaking vanguard of both the fair right in the GOP in the 20th century.

Radical anti-Southern politics, doesn't make one a radical overall. The Republicans functioned as a big gov't conservative party, for the bulk of the 19th century occupying the same relative political space and advancing most of the same positions as their European counterparts relative to their opposition. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck...

 
Even when the Radical roots of the party were betrayed in 1876, the Democrats weren't obviously more left or pro-working class. Pre-Bryan, I don't see them advocating for labor reform or antimonopolism any more than the Republicans.

Its right in front of your face, the damn trade issue that you keep brushing aside for some inexplicable reason. The trade issue functioned as the primary divide between the parties and also was the primary vehicle policy wise by which monopolist versus anti-monopolist politics played out.

Post-Bryan, both parties advocated for those policies in varying degrees, Bryan more so than his Republican opponents and Roosevelt more so than his Democratic ones, and Wilson and Hughes about the same. The previous 20 years, however, were far less ideological. I get the sense that the "Democracy" of the Gilded Age was a plutocratic political machine that relied on corruption, intimidation, and voter suppression to win elections for power's sake. Not altogether unlike today's Republicans.

The difference Wallace, is that one party had a base, a history and a tradition that predisposed it to be opposed to business interests, while another had a base, a tradition and a history that predisposed it to be in the tank for said business interests. The corrupting influence operating on this tradition of a one party state as it existed in the South or free trade/gold benefiting business magnates in New York with their increasingly middle class Catholic voter base, doesn't negate this fact, especially when you consider just how damn important the down market elements of the South (most of it at the time frankly was so) was to Bryan's takeover of the Democratic Party, along with the west. Meanwhile Alton B Parker was from New York and John Davis, while defined as a conservative based on modern considerations, ran on anti-monopolist platform.

We also have a clip of 1916 GOP platform where it speaks out of both sides of its mouth on business regulation and there is an obvious reason for that. The base, the core the one that prevailed in 1912 was where the bread was buttered, and the lip service in the other direction was meant to try and appease TR Voters.
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« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2020, 06:32:15 pm »
« Edited: September 18, 2020, 04:57:51 pm by HenryWallaceVP »

^Did you read any of the articles I linked to about the Republicans/Lincoln and Marx/socialism? They make it quite clear to me that the Republican party was founded in large part by left-liberals. When the main issue is slavery, sh!t like laissez-faire vs. the American System just isn’t that important in determining ideology. Still, I can understand your perspective, especially from a post-1876 viewpoint, even though I disagree. If you read those articles maybe you'll understand my thinking better as well.
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« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2020, 01:20:40 am »
« Edited: September 19, 2020, 01:19:10 pm by Southern Senator North Carolina Yankee »

^Did you read any of the articles I linked to about the Republicans/Lincoln and Marx/socialism?

I read the ones that would actually open on my browser.


I think they are drawing too many conclusions from the fact that some Marxists supported the Republican Party and the fact that Lincoln drop quoted Marx in a speech.


They make it quite clear to me that the Republican party was founded in large part by left-liberals.

It is a narrative that overreaching beyond the facts. The Republican Party was founded by Free Soiler Jacksonian Democrats and anti-slavery Whigs. The economic platform embraced by Lincoln and passed into law was the same policies NE Business interests had been chomping at the bit for, going on 50 years.

At best, this is what is factually supportable.
1. When the Republican Party was founded, it included some socialist and left leaning figures united with the rest of them on opposition to slave power
2. At the initial stages, the economics policies pushed by the Republicans were able to satisfy both these lefties and also the business interests in the NE. This is not unheard of as "conservative" nationalist economic policies tend to create sort of a Con-Labor/Radical versus lib political alignment. I mentioned this in my previous post.
3. Lincoln via Charles Francis Adams and Thomas Haines Dudley had rallied British laboring classes in opposition to the ruling Gov'ts pro-CSA sympathies. I have discussed this endlessly since reading "Lincoln's Spymaster: Thomas Haines Dudley and the Liverpool Network" by David Hepburn Milton.
4. It was thus in Lincoln's interest to keep these elements on side especially because of the large numbers of recruits in the Army (the Germans) and also because of the need to apply pressure on the British and French Gov'ts to keep them out of the war.

When the main issue is slavery, sh!t like laissez-faire vs. the American System just isn’t that important in determining ideology.

You are moving the goal posts as always. The point of the discussion as this originated was proving that the GOP from its outset was benefiting business and over time this came at the expense of laboring interest as I illustrated with Banks defection. Furthermore you love to toss inconvenient facts to the side as being irrelevant issues. First it was trade, now it is economics in general, next it will be what? Issues don't determine ideology? Come on, this is getting ridiculous, especially because the one consistent divide between the parties is entirely defined by economics. When you look at it from that perspective and see the rest as being virtue signaling, identity politics or some combination thereof done for the sake of facilitating one side or the other of that long running economic interest divide, everything falls almost perfectly into place. The Republican embrace of small government, mirroring the shift in desires of business; and the shift to the South and the Southern Strategy a concerted effort to escape the unions and urban politics of the North, to enable a more pro-business political combination. The abandonment of civil rights and reconstruction, because it was becoming politically unsustainable in the North, making it ever more perilous to maintain that gravy train and look out for number one (business).

It should also be noted that there was the economic recession/depression in 1873, and frankly a realistic analysis of the situation and the end of reconstruction has to incorporate that and the weariness it had caused in the North, especially with workers. "Who cares about the South, who is going to get me a job?", becomes the byline for that electorate and the deep loses for the GOP in 1874. It wasn't some business takeover in 1876, the businesses already dominated the GOP (see below on 1872), and they made the conscious decision to dump Grant for a reformer, and abandon the South to get back in the good graces of Northern voters by focusing on an economic nationalist platform that would grow business and restore jobs, relying heavily on the trade issue, while also not being connected to Grant and running someone at least nominally opposed to the corruption.


Most of your linked articles, mentioned Horace Greeley. Greeley, Charles Francis Adams, Carl Schurz, along with Nathaniel Banks rebelled from the Republican Party and ran Greeley as the breakaway Liberal Republican Party. They received the cross endorsement of those "racist, conservative" Democrats. Which gets back to my point, if the Republican Party was founded as a socialist party, why did these people leave it and work with the Democrats?

There is a fundamental flaw in the narrative regarding the Democratic Party in this period and a failure to understand its base, thanks to over emphasis on the Southern elements, those "Conservative Parties" you mention, and which I must point out that in NC, were led by a former Whig just saying; and also the race factor.

Democrats were racist because their base was racist. Poor white farmers in the South and Irish immigrants in NYC hated black people, but that doesn't change the fact that they are poor white farmers and poor immigrants respectively and they voted for their party on that basis. Just because a few Whigs in the South tacked themselves onto this and the social mobility of Irish in the late 19th century caused them to have differing economic interests then the next wave of immigrants, doesn't change the fact that there was indeed a class element to the voting patterns already with the down market elements, laborers and poor farmers already overwhelmingly opting for the Democrats. This remains the case throughout the period of the late 19th century.

Still, I can understand your perspective, especially from a post-1876 viewpoint, even though I disagree. If you read those articles maybe you'll understand my thinking better as well.

The articles don't change anything in them because there is nothing in them that I already didn't know. The correspondence with Lincoln, the spy rings working to rally British and French laboring classes, the influence of Greeley.

They all hinge on a flawed notion of the Democrats as "racist conservatives" because of:
1. Modern application of conservatism to a past context
2. Over reading the Southern factor on the Democratic Party
3. Failing to account for the voting base of the Democrats in the North, which was non-Yankee whites and immigrants. Also the fact that from the early to mid 1870's onwards, Democrats did very well with German voters until WJB nuked them with the group.

They also hinge on 1876 but of the 4 that I read, not one mentioned 1872.

Lastly, as a side note the one that talked about how Marx though that "encircling the South should be scrapped in favor of splitting it in two and Grant came to that same conclusions" just made my brain bleed on so many levels. At this point I get the sense we got a bunch of reds trying to make Marx out to be some kind of military genius and just make the attempt look feeble and ridiculous. The obvious factual problem here is that splitting the South in two was part of the strategy initiated by Winfield Scott, alongside with and part of the attempt to strangle them. Furthermore, strangling the South was never stopped as that article makes it out to be as that continued and is even featured in the movie Lincoln, with the attack on Wilmington, the last domino in that strangulation strategy.
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Unconditional Surrender Truman
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« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2020, 07:45:06 pm »

Constantly bringing up how progressive Western Republicans were when the Western states were less than 16% of Harrison's national pv result in 1888 is a very weak point: the fact is that progressive Republicans were a minority in the party slowly that slowly bled to death after 1876.

Also, yeah, you should really cite some academic sources (not pop history and certainly not Wikipedia) if you want to be taken seriously.

the GOP from its outset was benefiting business and over time this came at the expense of laboring interest as I illustrated with Banks defection.
I've been working through Jean Attie's Patriotic Toil: Northern Women and the American Civil War, and it includes a fascinating analysis of the strategy by conservative nationalists to use the activities of the U.S. Sanitary Commission as a pretext to enact their capitalist economic agenda under the guise of war relief efforts told from the female perspective.
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Southern Senator North Carolina Yankee
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« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2020, 09:09:46 pm »

Also, yeah, you should really cite some academic sources (not pop history and certainly not Wikipedia) if you want to be taken seriously.

This isn't the 2000s, Wikipedia has its issues but I have a great confidence that Henry Charles Carey was an economic nationalist and the Nathanial P. Banks did in fact leave the GOP in 1872, in part because the increasing prioritization of business interests harmed his working class constituents.

But sure let's up the sourcing standards randomly here, so that obvious facts like Lincoln's economic agenda (as implemented) and Bank's political views are dropped from the conversation and we can pine for the days of that great Socialist President Ulysses S. Grant when business was reigned in, wealth was redistributed, corruption was stopped and tycoons didn't make out like literal bandits while the rest of the economy tanked.... Roll Eyes
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« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2020, 09:08:42 am »

The GOP in 1856 was nothing like the GOP by 1880. The GOP in 1856 was a diverse party of both Jacksonians and whigs, of radicals and conservatives, business and workingmen all dedicated to stopping the expansion of slavery, selfishly and selflessly, By 1880, the GOP became a dominant party of Northern business/industrial interests as that is where the most influential power base lied. The democratic party as such became the catchall opposition to such interests.  It's the role that the Democratic Party had filled prior to 1856 as well becoming a catchall opposition to the whig largely Northern business interests.

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« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2020, 11:37:37 am »

The GOP in 1856 was nothing like the GOP by 1880. The GOP in 1856 was a diverse party of both Jacksonians and whigs, of radicals and conservatives, business and workingmen all dedicated to stopping the expansion of slavery, selfishly and selflessly, By 1880, the GOP became a dominant party of Northern business/industrial interests as that is where the most influential power base lied. The democratic party as such became the catchall opposition to such interests.  It's the role that the Democratic Party had filled prior to 1856 as well becoming a catchall opposition to the whig largely Northern business interests.

With the caveat that any sentiments that were hostile to such Northern business interests were already a minority even back in the 1860's and that the later events and the shaking out of such was the result of them realizing this dynamic, absent the unifying opposition to the slave power, as opposed to some more substantial shift in the nature of who was dominating things as some of these posts tend to imply was the case.
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« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2020, 08:12:20 pm »
« Edited: September 20, 2020, 08:16:57 pm by Unconditional Surrender Truman »

Also, yeah, you should really cite some academic sources (not pop history and certainly not Wikipedia) if you want to be taken seriously.

This isn't the 2000s, Wikipedia has its issues but I have a great confidence that Henry Charles Carey was an economic nationalist and the Nathanial P. Banks did in fact leave the GOP in 1872, in part because the increasing prioritization of business interests harmed his working class constituents.

But sure let's up the sourcing standards randomly here, so that obvious facts like Lincoln's economic agenda (as implemented) and Bank's political views are dropped from the conversation and we can pine for the days of that great Socialist President Ulysses S. Grant when business was reigned in, wealth was redistributed, corruption was stopped and tycoons didn't make out like literal bandits while the rest of the economy tanked.... Roll Eyes
I'm getting a defensive vibe here, but that part of my post wasn't a response to you? Henry cited Wikipedia and several articles published by a left-wing news outlet as evidence for his theory, and I suggested that he look to more scholarly sources for qualitative historical analysis. Wikipedia does a fairly good job collecting and organizing facts; it does a generally worse job of interpreting those facts. I am alike confident that they got the details of Banks' party affiliation right; I'm less confident they're in a position to state the GOP was a "Classical Liberal" party in the 1850s (as the article apparently does). I've been right there with you arguing that Grant was anything but a socialist, so I don't know why you're implying that's my position.
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« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2020, 12:19:43 am »

Also, yeah, you should really cite some academic sources (not pop history and certainly not Wikipedia) if you want to be taken seriously.

This isn't the 2000s, Wikipedia has its issues but I have a great confidence that Henry Charles Carey was an economic nationalist and the Nathanial P. Banks did in fact leave the GOP in 1872, in part because the increasing prioritization of business interests harmed his working class constituents.

But sure let's up the sourcing standards randomly here, so that obvious facts like Lincoln's economic agenda (as implemented) and Bank's political views are dropped from the conversation and we can pine for the days of that great Socialist President Ulysses S. Grant when business was reigned in, wealth was redistributed, corruption was stopped and tycoons didn't make out like literal bandits while the rest of the economy tanked.... Roll Eyes
I'm getting a defensive vibe here, but that part of my post wasn't a response to you? Henry cited Wikipedia and several articles published by a left-wing news outlet as evidence for his theory, and I suggested that he look to more scholarly sources for qualitative historical analysis. Wikipedia does a fairly good job collecting and organizing facts; it does a generally worse job of interpreting those facts. I am alike confident that they got the details of Banks' party affiliation right; I'm less confident they're in a position to state the GOP was a "Classical Liberal" party in the 1850s (as the article apparently does). I've been right there with you arguing that Grant was anything but a socialist, so I don't know why you're implying that's my position.

I detected a hedging vibe and interpreted the broadside against wikipedia as the equivalent of a third party party walking up and flipping the table two other people are playing chess on.

Nevertheless, my anger has induced me to splurge and I have now purchased Carey's "How to Outdo Britain Without Fighting Her" on ebay.

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« Reply #20 on: September 21, 2020, 03:42:19 am »

To add another data point to the discussion, David Goodman Croly who was an early journalist and the father of the better known Progressive intellectual Herbert Croly wrote an interesting book called the Glimpses of the Future: Suggestions as to the Drift of Things in 1888:https://archive.org/details/glimpsesoffutur00crol/page/38/mode/2up?q=democratic. The book, despite acknowledging Democratic hypocrisy on slavery and black civil rights, equates the Democrats with the English Liberals and Republicans with the Tories. Most tellingly, it predicts that the Democratic Party will be more likely to adopt quasi-socialistic views in the 20th Century:

Quote
Sir Oracle. — Parties in all free governments should
represent — the one, order ; the other, progress. There
should be a conservative organization, and one that aims
at reform. Political parties represent, in other words,
the centripetal and centrifugal forces in the political
world. Hence you will find that parties are apt to sepa-
rate on a theory as to the functions of government ;
the conservatives holding that the central authority
should be strong and capable of doing many things
for the benefit of the entire community. A democratic
party, on the contrary, favors home rule, local indepen-
dence, and individual initiative. The distinctions I have
made will account for the Tory in England and the Fed-
erals and Whigs in the United States, both of which have
generally been the parties of authority and order. The
English Liberals and the American Democrats have
aimed to satisfy the aspirations of the people for reform
and improvement.

Voter. — Your generalizations are interesting, but I
think not quite accurate. In the slavery controversy
the Democratic party was the conservative one, and bent
all its energies to keep the black men enslaved.

Sir O. — History is full of such inconsistencies. The
old Democratic party was the foe of monopolies ; but its
States-right notions made it the defender of slavery as it
existed under State laws. But the Democratic party did
all it could to make every adult white male a voter, and
it favored equal rights to all except the negro.

Voter. — But in the new combinations of voters will
there not be some changes ? Will there not be other
ideals than those of the past which the great political or-
ganizations of the future will strive to follow

Sir O. — The Democratic party of the future will, I
think, become in a measure socialistic. If it aims to
placate the great wage-receiving class, it must consent
to using the machinery of the government for the benefit
of the mass of the community. This is the aim of the
social democracy of Europe. Kings, nobles, and priests
have heretofore made use of the powers of the State to
further their interests, and the progressive reformers will
insist that hereafter the authority of the general govern-
ment shall be so wielded as to advance the welfare of
the bulk of the people. Common schools, public roads,
government telegraphs, State control of railroads, recre-
ative parks, State and municipal sanitation, — all these
show the spread of State socialism. Indeed, from one
point of view tariff legislation is socialistic. It aims to
create conditions favoring the establishment of industries
beneficial to the community.
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« Reply #21 on: September 21, 2020, 04:45:59 pm »
« Edited: September 21, 2020, 05:09:30 pm by HenryWallaceVP »

That's a fascinating primary source and a great find. Writing in the same year, Frederick Douglass, however, came to a different conclusion regarding the parties:

Quote
One represents the culture, the industry and progressive spirit of the North, and the other affiliates with the South and finds its main support in all that is left of an extinct system of barbarism. It sympathised with rebellion; resisted the abolition of slavery; fought against the enfranchisement of colored citizens, and to-day deprives them by fraud, violence, murder and assassination, of the exercise of that Constitutional right, in most of the old slave states.

For Douglass, the choice couldn't be clearer. It is a frank dichotomy of Northern progress on the one hand versus "all that is left of an extinct system of barbarism" on the other.

Quote
Parnell abandoning Gladstone and going over to Lord Salisbury, or the Irish people deserting the Liberal party of England and giving their support to the Tory party, by which they are oppressed and tormented, would not present a spectacle more grotesque and revolting than a body of negroes in this country calling themselves Democrats and denouncing the Republican party.

Here we see Douglass make a comparison to British politics, equating the Blacks to the Irish, the Republicans to the Liberals, and the Democrats to the Conservatives. From this passage alone, then, we can see that even at the time there was disagreement over the ideological makeup of the parties. Just as we are arguing about it today, so we see the people of the past making the same points and counterpoints. This is why I don't consider the liberal-conservative divide in the Third and Fourth Party Systems to be a partisan one. Unlike in the Jeffersonian or Jacksonian eras where the Whigs and Federalists were clearly the more conservative party, or since Franklin Roosevelt when the Democrats have clearly been the more liberal party, there was no such partisan clarity in the intervening period.

Quote
Geographically and socially and in all its traditions, the Democratic party stands to-day with the men who for two hundred years have bought, sold, and scourged us as they would dumb, driven cattle. That party has never retracted the doctrine that the amendments to the Constitution, making us citizens and investing us with the elective franchise, were revolutionary, unconstitutional, and void [...] The Republican party originated in the Free States. It represents the free schools, the free speech, the free institutions and the humane sentiments that distinguish the North from the South; the civilization of the century, as against the barbarism and race prejudices of by-gone ages.

Have I not made very similar arguments about how it is important to look at the origins of the parties, that they were formed in the West and South respectively and imbibed those regions' values? And yet I have been told that the West and South were too small to matter at the national level, that this was no longer true after 1876 or even earlier, and so on. Would you say the same to Mr. Douglass in 1888?

As a sidenote, Douglass's praise of "free schools, free speech, and free institutions" reminded me of the Southern reactionary George Fitzhugh's attacks on "liberty of the press, liberty of speech, freedom of religion, or rather freedom from religion, and the unlimited right of private judgment" in his polemic against Yankee liberalism.

Quote
Perhaps no argument urged by those who would stampede the colored vote in the North to the Democratic party is less entitled to respect than that the Republican party has failed to protect negro suffrage at the South. The best answer given to this complaint is by our Republican candidate for the Presidency. "Against whom hast the Republican party failed to protect you?" In this question there is a whole volume of wisdom. Who but Democrats have by violence prevented the exercise of negro suffrage? Who but Democrats have employed the shot-gun to deter the negro from voting? We say to negro Democrats in the North, if your indignation against the Republican party is hot, it should be ten-fold hotter against the Democratic party. But it is not true that the Republican party has not endeavored to protect the negro in his right to vote. The whole moral power of the party has been from first to last on the side of justice to the negro and it has only been baffled in its efforts to protect the negro in his vote, by the Democratic party.

Here we see Douglass appealing to the loyalty of Black voters against charges that the Republicans have abandoned them. I was surprised to see that Democrats were already chasing after Black voters with this argument even in the 19th century.

Quote
To vote with the Democratic party is to vote as ballot-box-stuffers, the midnight marauders, and negro murderers of the South, would have us to vote. Is it not plain that every colored man who votes on that side, stabs the cause of his people and makes himself, consciously or unconsciously, a traitor and an enemy to his race? Again we implore you to remember that the whole question of the future of the negro in the South is involved in the election now before you. The negro as a citizen and a voter is not yet beyond question. His title to these rights is not so firmly established as to be out of danger. The Democratic party is controlled by the South. The South is the source of its power. Its policy is dictated by the South.

Throughout these threads I have argued that the Democrats in this period were controlled by the South, and Mr. Douglass would seem to wholeheartedly agree.

Douglass makes similar arguments in these other papers on the 1888 election:

Quote
Two opposite ideas of government and of governmental policy confront us. One was born of slavery and of class dominion, and the other of freedom, the dignity of labor, and the equality of man before the law.

Notice how he contrasts the "class dominion" of the Democrats to the equality promoted by the Republicans.

Quote
Let it be remembered also that, in examining the claim of the respective parties, we are not to look at them as institutions of a day or a year, or as possessing a character very easily changed. They have a past, as well as a present and a future [...] we choose between parties of opposite policies, opposite tendencies, opposite antecedents and histories [...] One of these parties is historically anchored to the past, and is apparently incapable of adjusting itself to the demands of the present and future. The other is the party of progress. It has behind it a long line of beneficent achievements.

So the party of the past vs. the party of progress...Mr. Douglass seems to think that the Democrats are the conservatives here and not the other way around. He is right to look at the past of the parties, as we are doing here in this thread. But to attempt to draw a straight line from "the party of the past" to the current Democrats and "the party of progress" to today's Republicans, and to argue that their ideologies have been largely continuous this whole time, is folly. Clearly, some sort of flip happened, even if it was in the form of a gradual change that took the course of many decades to manifest itself fully.

Quote
I know that the allusion to the past of the Democratic party is very distasteful to the members of that party. They shudder at the mention of it and cry out against it with frantic horror, like beings tormented before their time; and no wonder, for they see behind them a long list of blunders and of flagrant transgressions [...] From first to last the Democratic party has been the chief bulwark of Southern slavery and of Southern pretensions. Today it stands the natural ally of the solid South.
Fellow-citizens:
I would gladly think better of the Democratic party; I would gladly think that the enlightening and softening influences of time and events had created a clean heart and renewed a right spirit within it; but I find it at every turn the same old party, composed of the same elements as 35 years ago, having the same tendencies as at that time. Time and events have made no perceptible change in its character. It is still the party of the old master class; the party of the South. The sheet anchor of its hope is the solid South. On the questions of protection and free trade it stands with the South; on the question of National aid to education, it stands with the South; on the rights of American fisherman, it stands with the South; on the question of State sovereignty, it stands with the South; on the question of pensions to our needy soldiers and widows, it stands with the South; on the question of Constitutional amendment, it stands with the South; on the exercise of the veto power, it stands with the South; in fact, upon all questions of importance, it stands with the South. And why not? The South is the power by which it lives, moves, and has its being.

More proof that the Democrats were still beholden to the South and not in any way a national liberal party. It's hard to abandon the "old master class" when you've been standing with the slave power for so long.

Quote
But after all, these economic questions concern me less than these to which I have already referred. The National obligation to protect, defend and maintain the liberties of the people, and fulfill the guranties of the Constitution, transcends all merely economic considerations. What shall it profit a nation if it gain the whole world and lose its own soul?

Douglass ends his speech, after having talked about the trade issue for a few pages, by stating that the economic issues he has just discussed are less important to him than the defense of liberty and the enforcement of the Constitution. If I have been charged with minimizing the importance of trade and the other economic issues, would you not accuse Douglass of the same thing? I happen to agree with him, and if I lived back then I would like to think that I, too, would consider equal treatment under the law more important than the tariff rates or the price of imports.
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« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2020, 12:19:42 pm »

I decided to respond to this post here since it fits better in this thread and I didn't want to derail the other one:

I miss the Republican Party of Calvin Coolidge in so many ways.

When Yankee Conservatism wasn't an esoteric concept that required 18 full length paragraphs to explain how it wasn't just "Liberals before a party flip at magic x date" and Republican Presidents wouldn't be caught dead praising the opposite side of the "voted as they shot" paradigm. When many people were still alive who had parents who were members of the GAR and its indirect influence could still be felt. Simpler times!

I miss the Whig Party of William Penn in so many ways.

When Yankee Liberalism wasn't an esoteric concept that required 18 full length paragraphs to explain how it wasn't just "Evangelicals before a religion flip at magic x date" and republican commonwealthmen wouldn't be caught dead praising popery. When many people were still alive who had parents who were members of the NMA and its indirect influence could still be felt. Simpler times!

One man's revolutionary is the next guy's establishment to be overthrown.

But what if the liberal ideas advanced by those revolutionaries are still being debated hundreds of years later? To quote this paper on the Reactionary Enlightenment of the Antebellum South, the true conservatives, that is to say the Southerners, will soon find themselves "all the way back to a belief in absolute monarchy and a hatred of the Reformation". In this respect then, the Yankees of the 19th century are still liberals. Furthermore, there's another passage from that paper that I found especially relevant to this discussion:

Quote
The grim fate of the Southern reaction is reflected too in its treatment by historians. I do not refer now to the neglect into which its grandiose social theory fell when it began to be listed in textbooks as merely the "theory of slavery," a neglect which is happily being repaired by the excellent researches of men like Joseph Dorfman, Rollin Osterweiss, and Harvey Wish. I refer to something more devastating even than this: the fact that our familiar historical categories leave no room whatever for the feudalists of the ante-bellum South. Calling "conservative" men who are actually liberal, those categories shove out into the cold the only Western conservatives America has ever had. If John Winthrop is a "conservative," how should Fitzhugh be classified who denied the right of individual conscience altogether? If Daniel Webster is a "conservative," what are we to say about Hughes who wanted a system of authoritarian industry organized around seven different "sovereignties"? If William McKinley and Herbert Hoover are "conservatives," surely there is no place at all for a man like Holmes who cried over the death of feudalism.

But this is logical enough. Our current historical categories reflect but they do not analyze the American political tradition; and if America was destined to forget the reactionary Enlightenment, those categories were destined to forget it too. Since after the Civil War Bryan and McKinley would pick up the classic battle between American democracy and American Whiggery where Jackson and Webster left it off, since Fitzhugh would look as his beloved Disraeli might look had he appeared for a moment in a tradition exhausted by the difference between Brougham and Cobbett, the fate of the Southerner was practically predetermined. The "conservative" label that he cherished more than anything else would be taken away from him; it would be given to William McKinley whom he would have hated with a violent passion, and he himself would be left nameless. History has been cruel to many thinkers after they have died, and historians have conspired in its cruelty, but there are few parallels for this.
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« Reply #23 on: September 24, 2020, 01:37:38 am »

That's a fascinating primary source and a great find. Writing in the same year, Frederick Douglass, however, came to a different conclusion regarding the parties:

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One represents the culture, the industry and progressive spirit of the North, and the other affiliates with the South and finds its main support in all that is left of an extinct system of barbarism. It sympathised with rebellion; resisted the abolition of slavery; fought against the enfranchisement of colored citizens, and to-day deprives them by fraud, violence, murder and assassination, of the exercise of that Constitutional right, in most of the old slave states.

For Douglass, the choice couldn't be clearer. It is a frank dichotomy of Northern progress on the one hand versus "all that is left of an extinct system of barbarism" on the other.

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Parnell abandoning Gladstone and going over to Lord Salisbury, or the Irish people deserting the Liberal party of England and giving their support to the Tory party, by which they are oppressed and tormented, would not present a spectacle more grotesque and revolting than a body of negroes in this country calling themselves Democrats and denouncing the Republican party.

Here we see Douglass make a comparison to British politics, equating the Blacks to the Irish, the Republicans to the Liberals, and the Democrats to the Conservatives. From this passage alone, then, we can see that even at the time there was disagreement over the ideological makeup of the parties. Just as we are arguing about it today, so we see the people of the past making the same points and counterpoints. This is why I don't consider the liberal-conservative divide in the Third and Fourth Party Systems to be a partisan one. Unlike in the Jeffersonian or Jacksonian eras where the Whigs and Federalists were clearly the more conservative party, or since Franklin Roosevelt when the Democrats have clearly been the more liberal party, there was no such partisan clarity in the intervening period.

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Geographically and socially and in all its traditions, the Democratic party stands to-day with the men who for two hundred years have bought, sold, and scourged us as they would dumb, driven cattle. That party has never retracted the doctrine that the amendments to the Constitution, making us citizens and investing us with the elective franchise, were revolutionary, unconstitutional, and void [...] The Republican party originated in the Free States. It represents the free schools, the free speech, the free institutions and the humane sentiments that distinguish the North from the South; the civilization of the century, as against the barbarism and race prejudices of by-gone ages.

Have I not made very similar arguments about how it is important to look at the origins of the parties, that they were formed in the West and South respectively and imbibed those regions' values? And yet I have been told that the West and South were too small to matter at the national level, that this was no longer true after 1876 or even earlier, and so on. Would you say the same to Mr. Douglass in 1888?

As a sidenote, Douglass's praise of "free schools, free speech, and free institutions" reminded me of the Southern reactionary George Fitzhugh's attacks on "liberty of the press, liberty of speech, freedom of religion, or rather freedom from religion, and the unlimited right of private judgment" in his polemic against Yankee liberalism.

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Perhaps no argument urged by those who would stampede the colored vote in the North to the Democratic party is less entitled to respect than that the Republican party has failed to protect negro suffrage at the South. The best answer given to this complaint is by our Republican candidate for the Presidency. "Against whom hast the Republican party failed to protect you?" In this question there is a whole volume of wisdom. Who but Democrats have by violence prevented the exercise of negro suffrage? Who but Democrats have employed the shot-gun to deter the negro from voting? We say to negro Democrats in the North, if your indignation against the Republican party is hot, it should be ten-fold hotter against the Democratic party. But it is not true that the Republican party has not endeavored to protect the negro in his right to vote. The whole moral power of the party has been from first to last on the side of justice to the negro and it has only been baffled in its efforts to protect the negro in his vote, by the Democratic party.

Here we see Douglass appealing to the loyalty of Black voters against charges that the Republicans have abandoned them. I was surprised to see that Democrats were already chasing after Black voters with this argument even in the 19th century.

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To vote with the Democratic party is to vote as ballot-box-stuffers, the midnight marauders, and negro murderers of the South, would have us to vote. Is it not plain that every colored man who votes on that side, stabs the cause of his people and makes himself, consciously or unconsciously, a traitor and an enemy to his race? Again we implore you to remember that the whole question of the future of the negro in the South is involved in the election now before you. The negro as a citizen and a voter is not yet beyond question. His title to these rights is not so firmly established as to be out of danger. The Democratic party is controlled by the South. The South is the source of its power. Its policy is dictated by the South.

Throughout these threads I have argued that the Democrats in this period were controlled by the South, and Mr. Douglass would seem to wholeheartedly agree.

Douglass makes similar arguments in these other papers on the 1888 election:

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Two opposite ideas of government and of governmental policy confront us. One was born of slavery and of class dominion, and the other of freedom, the dignity of labor, and the equality of man before the law.

Notice how he contrasts the "class dominion" of the Democrats to the equality promoted by the Republicans.

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Let it be remembered also that, in examining the claim of the respective parties, we are not to look at them as institutions of a day or a year, or as possessing a character very easily changed. They have a past, as well as a present and a future [...] we choose between parties of opposite policies, opposite tendencies, opposite antecedents and histories [...] One of these parties is historically anchored to the past, and is apparently incapable of adjusting itself to the demands of the present and future. The other is the party of progress. It has behind it a long line of beneficent achievements.

So the party of the past vs. the party of progress...Mr. Douglass seems to think that the Democrats are the conservatives here and not the other way around. He is right to look at the past of the parties, as we are doing here in this thread. But to attempt to draw a straight line from "the party of the past" to the current Democrats and "the party of progress" to today's Republicans, and to argue that their ideologies have been largely continuous this whole time, is folly. Clearly, some sort of flip happened, even if it was in the form of a gradual change that took the course of many decades to manifest itself fully.

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I know that the allusion to the past of the Democratic party is very distasteful to the members of that party. They shudder at the mention of it and cry out against it with frantic horror, like beings tormented before their time; and no wonder, for they see behind them a long list of blunders and of flagrant transgressions [...] From first to last the Democratic party has been the chief bulwark of Southern slavery and of Southern pretensions. Today it stands the natural ally of the solid South.
Fellow-citizens:
I would gladly think better of the Democratic party; I would gladly think that the enlightening and softening influences of time and events had created a clean heart and renewed a right spirit within it; but I find it at every turn the same old party, composed of the same elements as 35 years ago, having the same tendencies as at that time. Time and events have made no perceptible change in its character. It is still the party of the old master class; the party of the South. The sheet anchor of its hope is the solid South. On the questions of protection and free trade it stands with the South; on the question of National aid to education, it stands with the South; on the rights of American fisherman, it stands with the South; on the question of State sovereignty, it stands with the South; on the question of pensions to our needy soldiers and widows, it stands with the South; on the question of Constitutional amendment, it stands with the South; on the exercise of the veto power, it stands with the South; in fact, upon all questions of importance, it stands with the South. And why not? The South is the power by which it lives, moves, and has its being.

More proof that the Democrats were still beholden to the South and not in any way a national liberal party. It's hard to abandon the "old master class" when you've been standing with the slave power for so long.

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But after all, these economic questions concern me less than these to which I have already referred. The National obligation to protect, defend and maintain the liberties of the people, and fulfill the guranties of the Constitution, transcends all merely economic considerations. What shall it profit a nation if it gain the whole world and lose its own soul?

Douglass ends his speech, after having talked about the trade issue for a few pages, by stating that the economic issues he has just discussed are less important to him than the defense of liberty and the enforcement of the Constitution. If I have been charged with minimizing the importance of trade and the other economic issues, would you not accuse Douglass of the same thing? I happen to agree with him, and if I lived back then I would like to think that I, too, would consider equal treatment under the law more important than the tariff rates or the price of imports.

Do you really think Douglass is representative of the average Republican voter, much less of the interests groups the Republican Party was heavily in bed with by the late 1880's?

Of course Douglass is going to frame everything based on the question of slavery and racial equality, but the key point is few others were, otherwise the Republicans would have been far more forceful on the issue. Instead it was concluded in 1876, that an aggressive push on equal rights would be seen by Northern swing voters as a distraction from bread and butter issues and thus hamper the ability of the party to win and serve its business backers.

What Douglass represents here is rather tragic. The failure of the Force Bill and the lose in 1892 will basically mean the end of any tangible efforts by the GOP afterwards. In just 12 years, Republican state parties in the South will go whites only. 28 years after that, Hoover will take that nationally. What Douglass is giving voice to is the African-American community clinging to a legacy that the Republican Party is already in the process of stabbing in the back and kicking under the bus for the sake of their "primary" issue concerns, the very ones you keep downplaying and the very ones on which elections are being won and lost in this period. He is urging his followers to not be disappointed by Republican failures to act, because the Democrats are the cause of all your suffering. By 1934, with the Democrats still very much the Party of the Solid South, of Jim Crow and Segregation, the damn will break and 70% of black voters will start to regularly vote Democratic. They realized that if neither party was going to stand up for their political rights, at least one might look to their economic interests.

In a sense history proved Douglass wrong and the very fact that things turned out as they have since, is emblematic that he had a bad read on the party even then and its priorities at that time. In that sense, the linked article in National Progressive's Post is right in terms of the predictive aspects presented. He concludes the ultimate path for the Democrats and for the Liberals in the UK is via a big gov't approach and while not quite socialism, this is exactly what happens. It is also this very thing that opens the door to the transition of black voters to becoming Democrats even though Democrats are still "the Party of the South... etc". That in turn created the impetus for the Democrats to cease being the Party of the South.

When it comes to the issues that were actually up for grabs, the ones that actually swayed voters and won/lost elections, the Democrats were, on the national scene "a liberal party as defined under the terms of the 19th century". Racial prejudice doesn't negate this, just as the racism across the board in British Imperialism didn't make the Liberal Party, not liberal. It is fine to hold to a legacy support or pick a set of pet issues that doesn't neatly conform to the normal boxes, that happens all the time. It is also fine for you to say you would be have been completely on board with Douglass, and personally so would I. But historical analysis must not subordinate the actual national debate, for the one we wish had occurred in that period.

Also the Republican Party was not founded in the West, it was founded in the Yankee belt, by ex-pat New Englanders and then spread back to New England and that belt became its base region and base demographic.

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« Reply #24 on: September 24, 2020, 02:26:36 am »

I decided to respond to this post here since it fits better in this thread and I didn't want to derail the other one:

I miss the Republican Party of Calvin Coolidge in so many ways.

When Yankee Conservatism wasn't an esoteric concept that required 18 full length paragraphs to explain how it wasn't just "Liberals before a party flip at magic x date" and Republican Presidents wouldn't be caught dead praising the opposite side of the "voted as they shot" paradigm. When many people were still alive who had parents who were members of the GAR and its indirect influence could still be felt. Simpler times!

I miss the Whig Party of William Penn in so many ways.

When Yankee Liberalism wasn't an esoteric concept that required 18 full length paragraphs to explain how it wasn't just "Evangelicals before a religion flip at magic x date" and republican commonwealthmen wouldn't be caught dead praising popery. When many people were still alive who had parents who were members of the NMA and its indirect influence could still be felt. Simpler times!

One man's revolutionary is the next guy's establishment to be overthrown.

But what if the liberal ideas advanced by those revolutionaries are still being debated hundreds of years later? To quote this paper on the Reactionary Enlightenment of the Antebellum South, the true conservatives, that is to say the Southerners, will soon find themselves "all the way back to a belief in absolute monarchy and a hatred of the Reformation". In this respect then, the Yankees of the 19th century are still liberals. Furthermore, there's another passage from that paper that I found especially relevant to this discussion:

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The grim fate of the Southern reaction is reflected too in its treatment by historians. I do not refer now to the neglect into which its grandiose social theory fell when it began to be listed in textbooks as merely the "theory of slavery," a neglect which is happily being repaired by the excellent researches of men like Joseph Dorfman, Rollin Osterweiss, and Harvey Wish. I refer to something more devastating even than this: the fact that our familiar historical categories leave no room whatever for the feudalists of the ante-bellum South. Calling "conservative" men who are actually liberal, those categories shove out into the cold the only Western conservatives America has ever had. If John Winthrop is a "conservative," how should Fitzhugh be classified who denied the right of individual conscience altogether? If Daniel Webster is a "conservative," what are we to say about Hughes who wanted a system of authoritarian industry organized around seven different "sovereignties"? If William McKinley and Herbert Hoover are "conservatives," surely there is no place at all for a man like Holmes who cried over the death of feudalism.

But this is logical enough. Our current historical categories reflect but they do not analyze the American political tradition; and if America was destined to forget the reactionary Enlightenment, those categories were destined to forget it too. Since after the Civil War Bryan and McKinley would pick up the classic battle between American democracy and American Whiggery where Jackson and Webster left it off, since Fitzhugh would look as his beloved Disraeli might look had he appeared for a moment in a tradition exhausted by the difference between Brougham and Cobbett, the fate of the Southerner was practically predetermined. The "conservative" label that he cherished more than anything else would be taken away from him; it would be given to William McKinley whom he would have hated with a violent passion, and he himself would be left nameless. History has been cruel to many thinkers after they have died, and historians have conspired in its cruelty, but there are few parallels for this.

I will say this if there is one thing that "conservatives" love to do with their spare time it is to identify people who are in their eyes, not worthy of the distinction of conservatism because of reasons. You set the criteria yourself, then you set about using that criteria to make these distinctions, it shouldn't be too hard to realize the positive feedback loop this creates.

I frankly do not give much credibility to Southern politicians, authors and philosophers in general terms, particularly from this period as they generally always want to distort the narrative for the sake of boosting relevance and/or making themselves the center of attention. Beyond that, there is of course the aggressive work at justification and cloaking unsavory aspects in ideological and rhetorical terms, when it is typically little more than interest necessitated convenience. The actions undertaken before the Civil War, demonstrate this brutally clearly that the South didn't truly care about state's rights, except when it benefited them.

It also worth pointing out that America had a Revolution. This Revolution means that all the revolutionaries are thus liberals or even radicals by definition, but that cannot hold up long. The needs of the time create new divisions and the way that divide played out was a cosmopolitan elite concerned about commerce and business versus an agrarian mass of people concerned about the common man. This naturally means that demographically speaking, the people who are in the dominant positions in terms of that elite will by definition become the "right" in this equation even if those said demographics are historically in the context of England on the left, they become on the right here because they are in a position of control so to speak or at least perceived control.

This is why I emphasize whenever I used my categories for determining 18th and 19th century conservative versus liberal that I am keen to say things like "support for the dominant religious group versus religious tolerance". This thus accounts for the fact that Calvinists are to some extent in the driver's seat, especially in the North, (especially in the Republican era, the North will dominate the country) would thus be that dominant group unlike in England where they are not and are the dissenters etc.

I have generally stated my view that the commercial/Industrial elite, largely centered in the North in this period, is the primary core constituency for the right in America and has been for 200 years. In opposition to this is various concentrations of poor people who are shut out or left by this power group and for the most part, in that time this was poor farmers, and they thus formed the core constituency of the left in America. It is worth noting that a large number of plantation owners were Federalists in alliance with that northern commercial elite, furthermore the Whigs in the South certainly did dominate among planters and slave traders, and were again on economic and class matters, allied with the Northern Commercial/Industrial elites.

The Civil War period breaks this alliance and puts them on the outs in terms of power nationally, leading them to align with the Democratic Party, which is an easy marriage to make since as I said before the Democrats racism stems from their poor farmer/immigration base being racist, and likewise 19th century liberalism and its policies are very much in line with southern business types and their desires policy wise. This is where the confusion comes and leads to statements such as the parties not having much differences, but that is a false narrative and the Democratic Party is still a liberal party even in this period, and the fact that expedience driven elites (who as I have stated earlier cared little for consistency or avoidance of hypocrisy) tacked themselves onto this group doesn't change that fact and the consideration that they couldn't stop WJB or the New Deal illustrates their weak position.

The story of the unraveling of the Solid South, is for the early period a divorce of this unhappy marriage and a restoration of this auld alliance (similar to the Feds and Whigs) between the planter or planter equivalent with their class equivalents across the country under the Republican Party.

It is no accident that writers are aghast that the country is leaving them behind in the dust and they are having to process the reality that the Southern Planter class, having been able to influence and/or dominate both parties nationally is now an after thought in national politics and hanging on to the back of the bus in a party that doesn't really suit them long term but it at least it ain't the damn Yankee party that burned down Grand Pap's barn. That would be a rather jarring shift and thus why you see a desire to reject Winthrop to McKinley as "not being Conservatives" because it begs the question "what about me and my politics", well to put it bluntly said tradition is at such point dead and his political philosophy is burning in hell where it belongs in a country whose politics have left him behind. Sure they don't match his criteria, but his criteria carry no more legitimacy then he does and frankly, if he is dismayed at the destruction of his worldview, one would tend to think he doesn't have much in that regards.

This is not unique to this period. George Wallace wanted to defined himself and his movement as a conservative, and yet Reagan appears to have not given him or his supporters the time of day beyond the well known dog whistles. There is a desire thus by southerners to control the narrative and thus effectuate a hijacking of the politics to obtain relevance and legitimacy and thus my dubiousness in lending much credence to the screed of  writers trying to achieve this same result.

McKinley is a conservative as defined by the relevant criteria of the time, and a writer pining for the days of Feudalism and moaning over his fellow traveler's irrelevance, doesn't possess the authority to say otherwise.
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