Third Party Part : The Industrial Revolution To The Progressive Era
The string of Presidents between Lincoln and Grover Cleveland includes some important stories of know-nothing parties and populist parties , but we cant cover everything here.
Importantly, this era ends with Clevelands second presidency and the Panic of 1893 . Cleveland is a right-wing President, who was very popular and supported by the South, ultimately his downfall, the height of the industrial revolution, and an upcoming war set the stage for more changes in American politics.
TIP: Cleveland is a great example of a true Conservative, he is a Democrat by name, but this Bourbon Democrat is great like an Eisenhower, he should be a model for todays Libertarian who sometimes gets side-tracked by their cousins on the right. The end of his Presidency is arguably more about the changing times than the man.
Gilded Age Politics:Crash Course US History #26. The corruption pointed out in this video starts after Lincoln and continues into the late 1800s and, of course, some of the arguement hasnt gone away. At the very, least figures like Cleveland and Roosevelt do a bit to get politics back on the right track before the upcoming Progressive era .The Progressive Era: Crash Course US History #27. The Progressive era, named due to all the parties embracing progressivism to some extent.
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Everything noted so far leads up to one other thing that needs to be discussed on its own .
After Voting Rights 1965 it wasnt just a matter of switching the South, it was a matter of taking that 1930s conservative coalition to the next level and the Republicans switching themselves .
No social conservative faction was strong enough on its own to win an election, not after Voting Rights, but together, under a strategically planned big tent, the social conservatives and establishment conservatives could create a siren-like Frankensteins monster to push for free-enterprise and socially conservative values against the progressive state an increasingly progressive Democratic Party .
This story involves:
The Powell memo, the southern strategy, the John Birch Society, the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, Goldwater, Nixon, Reagan, Norquist, Roger Aisle, Lee Atwater, Karl Rove, Fox News, Reagan, Right-Wing Radio, Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, and a vast right-wing conspiracy aimed at getting the many different social conservative and establishment conservative factions to adopt each others ideology .
Essentially, the Conservative Coalition in their fight against Communism and liberal democrats since WWI, but especially when their hand was forced post 1965, have created the modern right-wing populist political machine to counter the lefts own political machine .
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Republicans benefited last year as suburban parents grew increasingly frustrated with prolonged pandemic-related schools closures. And as inflation intensifies, the Republican National Committee has been hosting voter registration events at gas stations in suburban areas across swing states such as Arizona, Michigan, Nevada and Pennsylvania to link the Biden administration to record-high gas prices. The GOP has also linked Biden to an ongoing baby formula shortage.
Biden and Democrats are woefully out of touch with the American people, and thats why voters are flocking to the Republican Party in droves, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel told the AP. She predicted that American suburbs will trend red for cycles to come because of Bidens gas hike, the open border crisis, baby formula shortage and rising crime.
The Democratic National Committee declined to comment when asked about the recent surge in voters switching to the GOP.
And while Republican officials are quick to take credit for the shift, the phenomenon gained momentum shortly after Trump left the White House. Still, the specific reason or reasons for the shift remain unclear.
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But the scope and breadth of the party-switching suggests something much bigger at play.
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Moving On And Notes For Skeptics
With the above said, any shorthand way to describe how changing factions led to what we can call changing parties it is bound to leave out key details, as the full story is as complex as American history.
Below we tell the long and complicated history of the American parties and party systems in order to illustrate the changing platforms, parties, members, and factions and to find out what did or didnt change. The idea is to prove a point , it is to accurately portray our history.
I would say to the skeptics: we can have a real conversation here about what did or didnt change in each party, but the history presented here, the changing Congressional seats over time, the changing voter base of the parties over time, and more show that there are many very real and important changes to discuss.
Sure today we all want to identify with Lincoln the First Republican President, but does this not do a disservice to the half of the nation that succeeded in the name of States Rights and small government in response to that Republican won election?
Of course, if there is one bonus in everyone trying to appropriate Lincoln, it is that perhaps we will all heed his advice that a house divided against itself cannot stand .
To see a visual of how this all results in the red and blue states switching, simply watch the video below. For an alternative viewpoint, check out the story of William Jennings Bryan, the father of modern American left-wing and right-wing populism .
The Great Switch: How The Republican & Democratic Parties Flipped Ideologies
The Democratic and Republican Parties of have not always had the same ideals that they have today. In fact, America’s two dominant political parties have essentially flipped ideologies in the time since they were founded. The Democratic Party was founded in 1828 while the Republican Party dates back to 1854.
In its early years, the Republican Party was considered quite liberal, while the Democrats were known for staunch conservatism. This is the exact opposite of how each party would be described today. This change did not happen overnight, however. Instead, it was a slow set of changes and policies that caused the great switch.
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When Republicans Were Blue And Democrats Were Red
The era of color-coded political parties is more recent than you might think
Televisions first dynamic, color-coded presidential map, standing two stories high in the studio best known as the home to Saturday Night Live, was melting.
It was early October, 1976, the month before the map was to debutliveon election night. At the urging of anchor John Chancellor, NBC had constructed the behemoth map to illustrate, in vivid blue and red, which states supported Republican incumbent Gerald Ford and which backed Democratic challenger Jimmy Carter.
The test run didnt go well. Although the map was buttressed by a sturdy wood frame, the front of each state was plastic.
There were thousands of bulbs, recalled Roy Wetzel, then the newly minted general manager of NBCs election unit. The thing started to melt when we turned all the lights on. We then had to bring in gigantic interior air conditioning and fans to put behind the thing to cool it.
That solved the problem. And when election results flowed in Tuesday night, Nov. 2, Studio 8-H at 30 Rockefeller Center lit up. Light bulbs on each state changed from undecided white to Republican blue and Democratic red. NBC declared Carter the winner at 3:30 a.m. EST, when Mississippi turned red.
There are theories, some likely, some just plain weird, to explain the shifting palette.
The reasoning was simple, he said: Great Britain.
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The Dixie Democrats seceding from the Democratic Party. The rump convention, called after the Democrats had attached President Trumans civil rights program to the party platform, placed Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and Governor Fielding L. Wright of Mississippi in nomination.
Up until the post-World War II period, the partys hold on the region was so entrenched that Southern politicians usually couldnt get elected unless they were Democrats. But when President Harry S. Truman, a Democratic Southerner, introduced a pro-civil rights platform at the partys 1948 convention, a faction walked out.
These defectors, known as the Dixiecrats, held a separate convention in Birmingham, Alabama. There, they nominated South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond, a staunch opposer of civil rights, to run for president on their States Rights ticket. Although Thurmond lost the election to Truman, he still won over a million popular votes.
It was the first time since before the Civil War that the South was not solidly Democratic, Goldfield says. And that began the erosion of the southern influence in the Democratic party.
After that, the majority of the South still continued to vote Democratic because it thought of the Republican party as the party of Abraham Lincoln and Reconstruction. The big break didnt come until President Johnson, another Southern Democrat, signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965.
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Republicans And Democrats Did Not Switch Sides On Racism
NOTE: Below is a summary article byFrances Rice and further below is a more extensive article by Kevin D.Williamson.____________________________________Republicans And Democrats DidNot Switch Sides On RacismThese Negroes, theyâre getting pretty uppity thesedays and thatâs a problem for us since theyâve got something now they never hadbefore, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now, weâve got to dosomething about this weâve got to give them a little something, just enough toquiet them down, not enough to make a difference.~~ President Lyndon B. JohnsonLeftists Become Incandescent When Reminded of theSocialist Roots in Nazism.I would rather die a thousand times and seeold glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again than see this beloved landof ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimenof the wilds.These Negroes, theyre getting uppity thesedays. Thats a problem for us, since they got something now they neverhad before. The political pull to back up their upityness. Now,weve got to do something about this. Weve got to give them a littlesomething. Just enough to quiet them down, but not enough to make adifference. If we dont move at all, their allies will line up againstus. And therell be no way to stop them. Itll be Reconstructionall over again._______________________________From the May 28, 2012, issue of National Review.
Did The Democrats And Republicans Switch Parties
The US political parties, now called Democrats and Republicans, switched platform planks, ideologies, and members many times in American history. These switches were typically spurred on by major legislative changes and events, such as the Civil War in the 1860s, and Civil Rights in the 1960s. The changes then unfolded over the course of decades to create what historians call the Party Systems.
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Why Did The Democratic And Republican Parties Switch Platforms
The Republican and Democratic parties of the United States didnt always stand for what they do today.
During the 1860s, Republicans, who dominated northern states, orchestrated an ambitious expansion of federal power, helping to fund the transcontinental railroad, the state university system and the settlement of the West by homesteaders, and instating a national currency and protective tariff. Democrats, who dominated the South, opposed those measures.
After the Civil War, Republicans passed laws that granted protections for Black Americans and advanced social justice. And again, Democrats largely opposed these apparent expansions of federal power.
Sound like an alternate universe? Fast forward to 1936.
Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt won reelection that year on the strength of the New Deal, a set of Depression-remedying reforms including regulation of financial institutions, the founding of welfare and pension programs, infrastructure development and more. Roosevelt won in a landslide against Republican Alf Landon, who opposed these exercises of federal power.
So, sometime between the 1860s and 1936, the party of small government became the party of big government, and the party of big government became rhetorically committed to curbing federal power.
The First Party System: The Federalist Party And The Democratic
To start, the founding fathers can be put into two groups: the Federalist Party and the Democratic-Republican Party .
Alexander Hamilton favored central Government and had ties to Britain, and wanted centralized banking. He favored national power over state power. He is todays Washington Liberal/Conservative. Hamilton wanted free-market capitalism and globalization with Britain/America, as a world leader hundreds of years before his time. He is an impressive character.
The Democratic-Republican Party, headed by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, generally opposed Hamilton and his views . In simple terms, they are todays Social-Libertarians . They are more in-line with what people think when they think rebelling from the authority of the King to be free.
In this scenario we can say the big government aspect of the current American left is with the Federalists, and the socially liberal of left, and anti-big government of the right, part is with the Democratic-Republicans. But remember, the who far-right thing simply doesnt exist yet. So the divisive politics of today arent anywhere to be found .
The duality of the Federalist Party and the Democratic-Republican Party is well displayed in the clip below in a discussion between Hamilton and Jefferson .
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This Isnt Just About The Solid South
This is to say, I want to jump right in and explain that in Lincolns day there were four parties , and that Lincoln was no Know-Nothing AND no Southern Democrat
Still, I get that this is about first and foremost debunking the Big Switch, so lets split the difference.
First, well offer a quick summary in the form of an introduction .
Then well tell the full history of both major parties, noting each switch, each President, and major events.
First, a bit more on the Solid South .
The Republican Party Was Founded To Halt Slavery
Before you talk about whether the republicans and democrats switched platforms, you must understand their early positions. The Republican Party formed in 1854 in Exeter, New Hampshire. The Republican Partys main purpose was to stop or halt the expansion of slavery in the United States.
During the 1860s, Republicans dominated the Northern states. They planned an ambitious expansion of federal power, helping to fund the transcontinental railroad, the state university system and the settlement of the West by homesteaders, and instating a national currency and protective tariff. Democrats, who dominated the South, opposed these measures. Alexander Hamilton would be very proud. After the Civil War, Republicans passed laws that granted additional protections for African Americans. Southern Democrats largely opposed these expansions of power.
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The Myth Of The Republican
When faced with the sobering reality that Democrats supported slavery, started the Civil War when the abolitionist Republican Party won the Presidency, established the Ku Klux Klan to brutalize newly freed slaves and keep them from voting, opposed the Civil Rights Movement, modern-day liberals reflexively perpetuate rather pernicious myth–that the racist southern Democrats of the 1950s and 1960s became Republicans, leading to the so-called “switch” of the parties.
This is as ridiculous as it is easily debunked.
The Republican Party, of course, was founded in 1848 with the abolition of slavery as its core mission. Almost immediately after its second presidential candidate, Abraham Lincoln, won the 1860 election, Democrat-controlled southern states seceded on the assumption that Lincoln would destroy their slave-based economies.
Once the Civil War ended, the newly freed slaves as expected flocked to the Republican Party, but Democrat control of the South from Reconstruction until the Civil Rights Era was near total. In 1960, Democrats held every Senate seat south of the Mason-Dixon line. In the 13 states that made up the Confederacy a century earlier, Democrats held a staggering 117-8 advantage in the House of Representatives. The Democratic Party was so strong in the south that those 117 House members made up a full 41% of Democrats’ 283-153 advantage in the Chamber.
So how did this myth of a sudden “switch” get started?
It would not be the last time they used it.
How Did This Switch Happen
Eric Rauchway , professor of American history at the University of California , Davis, pins the transition to the turn of the 20th century, when a highly influential Democrat named William Jennings Bryan blurred party lines by emphasizing the government’s role in ensuring social justice through expansions of federal power traditionally, a Republican stance.
But Republicans didn’t immediately adopt the opposite position of favoring limited government.
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“Instead, for a couple of decades, both parties are promising an augmented federal government devoted in various ways to the cause of social justice,” Rauchway wrote in an archived 2010 blog post for the Chronicles of Higher Education . Only gradually did Republican rhetoric drift toward the counterarguments. The party’s small-government platform cemented in the 1930s with its heated opposition to Roosevelts New Deal.
But why did Bryan and other turn-of-the-century Democrats start advocating for big government?
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Summarizing The Party Systems As A Two
Current events and complexities aside, there has almost always been a two-party system in the United States. The mentality of each party can be expressed as northern interests and southern interests, although I strongly prefer city interests and rural interests . Sometimes we see both interests in the same party, as with Humphrey and LBJ, and sometimes it is less clear cut, but we can always spot it in any era.
Thus, we can use a simple two party answer as to which factions held which interests over time, which I hope will be seen as helpful, and not divisive. Remember the U.S. is a diverse Union of 50 sovereign states and commonwealths where the need to get a majority divides us into red states and blue states as a matter of custom, not as enemies, but as a United Republic with a democratic spirit.
- Northern City Interests: Federalists, Whigs, Third Party Republicans, Fourth Party Progressive era Republicans , Fifth Party Democrats , Modern Democrats.
- Southern Rural Interests: Anti-Federalists, Democratic-Republicans, Third Party Democrats, Fourth Party Progressive Era Democrats , Fifth Party Republicans , Modern Republicans.
TIP: One way to summarize all of this is by saying the changes happened under, or as a result of, key figures including Jefferson and Hamilton, Adams and Jackson, Lincoln, Grant, Cleveland, Bryan, the Roosevelts, Wilson, Hoover, LBJ, and Clinton. See a comparison of the political ideology of each President from Washington to Obama.