Saturday, July 20, 2013


Democrats Supported Slavery and Were Anti-Black for Most of American History

The Democrats were the pro-slavery party. The Whigs did not oppose slavery and this main stream party opposed to the Democrats split up and failed and were consigned to the dust bin of history. Meanwhile, the new anti-slavery Republican party was formed and, in its second try, elected its candidate for president, Abraham Lincoln. At the end of the terrible conflict Lincoln's election and the Democrats' opposition to abolition caused (which conflict cost us 620,000 American lives, just under the number of American dead in all the other wars we've fought combined), Lincoln helped spearhead through Congress the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery. Lincoln obviously did not get any support for this amendment from the pro-slavery Democrats in the South, who were in open rebellion and had formed another nation at the time. But he just as obviously (to anyone who actually bothers to learn American History) did not get much support from the Northern Democrats either. In 1865, the 13th Amendment emancipating the slaves was passed with 100 percent of Republicans (88 of 88 in the House, 30 of 30 in the Senate) voting for it. Only 23 percent of Democrats (16 of 66 in the House, 3 of 8 in the Senate) voted for it.

These are facts, historical facts, not schoolbook history, not Mr. Wells' history, but history nevertheless. That's from the remake of the Maltese Falcon in 1941. Actually, Mr. Wells' history does contain these facts.

Of course that was so long ago and everything has changed now. The Republicans switched fundamental principles with the Democrats and became the pro-slavery, anti-black party. Everyone knows that. /sarcasm

I have come in my advanced age to believe that people and parties do not fundamentally change. Perhaps that's the conservative in me. There can be progress. The abolition of slavery in most of the world in the mid-19th Century is an example of that. Slavery had existed for hundreds of thousands of years. It was everywhere in the World and thought to be the normal order of things. The African slave trade to South America, the Caribbean and North America was not out of the ordinary for the times. It certainly was no worse a crime against humanity than the Muslim enslavement of Christians, for example. Then it all came to an end. That's progress. But ideas about the different races persisted even after the slaves were freed, especially in the former slave states in America. This persistence of racism in American resulted, in areas where Democrats were in power, in new laws to circumvent the 13th through 15th Amendments and keep the former slaves and their free progeny in second class status. The Democrats also founded a terrorist militia called the Ku Klux Klan whose most serious purpose was to murder blacks who vocally opposed the Jim Crow laws (although the KKK might have been a continuation of one of the branches of the Confederate intelligence service, sometimes thought to be called the Kuklos, Greek for circle or ring).

Then, everything changed in 1964 and all the Democrats voted to end the Jim Crow discrimination and institutional racism they had engendered and the Republicans all voted to deny equality before the law to black Americans.

I'm kidding, of course. The split in voting between Democrat and Republican in 1964 was not so one sided as it had been for the 13th through 15th Amendments a century before, but it was at least reminiscent. In 1964, in the Senate, the Democrats had 67 members and the Republicans a mere 33. In the House at the time, the Democrats held 244 seats and the Republicans held 171. Because the Democrats controlled both House and Senate, just looking at the raw numbers of votes doesn't tell the real story. You have to look at the ratio to representation.The Democrats voted for the '64 Civil Rights Act in the Senate 46 for and 21 against (that's 69% for and 31% against). In the Senate Republicans voted for the bill  27 for and 6 against (that's 82% for and 18% against). The Republicans voted for the measure at a higher percentage of representation than the Democrats. In the House, the Democrats voted for the final bill (Senate version) 153 for and 91 against (that's 63% for and 37% against). The Republicans voted 136 for and 35 against (that's 80% for and 20% against). Again the Republicans voted for the measure at a higher percentage of representation than the Democrats. So not much had really changed in a century except the numbers of Democrats and Republicans in each chamber.

Next time I'll bring this discussion up to date and talk about the death of the Segregationists in the South and the fact that Democrats still support a form of slavery.

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