Democrats Began To Bring Down The Barriers
Trumans civil rights efforts were significant. The website for the Democratic National Party properly acknowledges Trumans important contributions. In fact, in their section called, A Brief History of the Democratic Party Democrats declare, With the election of Harry Truman Democrats began the fight to bring down the barriers of race and gender.
Notice the word, began, that is an accurate description. Starting with Harry Truman, Democrats began, that is, they made their first serious efforts to fight against the barriers of race. Yet, as already noted, Trumans efforts were largely unsuccessful because of his own party.
Look a little more closely at the Democrats history of their party. On their official website, after noting that Thomas Jefferson founded the Democratic Party in 1792, they list a number of years in which they highlighted significant Democratic achievements. 1798, 1800, 1808, 1812, 1816, 1824, 1828, 1832, 1844, and 1848, a long flurry of Democratic activity. Yet, after 1848 what is the next date mentioned? It skips from 1848 to the beginning of the twentieth century.
Why would Democrats skip over their own history from 1848 to 1900? Perhaps, because its not the kind of civil rights history they want to talk about. Perhaps, because its not the kind of civil rights history they want to have on their website.
When Did The Democratic And Republican Platforms Switch
As noted above, the planks, platforms, ideologies and even the names of the American political parties switched often, and at many different points. We call these changes: the first party system, second party system, third party system, fourth party system, and todays fifth party system .
Some changes stick out like a sore thumb, but most of the changes between party systems happened slowly over time. Its hard to summarize or detail every issue, but the keys are names like Free Soil, Free Silver, Bourbon Democrats, anti-slavery Republicans, Stalwarts, Half-Breeds, American Independent, and other telling titles of factions or third parties whose members inevitably have gravitated toward a major party over time.
When we cant cut through the rhetoric, we can look at voting records to see which party favored what.
Its important to note, that the current parties werent established until the 1850s . From this point forward is when the major switching happens, but it is also when issues we consider important today take center stage for the first time. When Lincoln takes office, the Republican party is only a few years old, prior to this the ideology is roughly the same and they are called Federalists, and then Whigs. The same is true for anti-Federalists, Democratic-Republicans, and Jacksonian Democrats.
Perhaps the best answer to, when did the platforms switch, is: under Lincoln, the Roosevelts, and LBJ.
With That Said It Is More Complex Than We Can Just Say
With everything thus far said, we have only skimmed the surface.
The truth is, be we talking about the South or not, not every faction changes, and we have to account for more history than can fit in any essay. We have to account for changing platforms, changing voter bases, congressional changes over decades, battles between factions within states and parties, the changing ideologies of factions and parties, technological changes of automation and modernization, business interested elites in both parties who tend to organize better and dominate, populists in both parties who cant always agree on divisive social issues, the general rift between key voter issues and social issues vs. economic issues, arguments over the size of state within parties, voter issues taking on new importances, single issue third parties, global politics, and so much else to fully tell this story.
This is to say, the history of the major U.S. political parties if of course more complex than can just be said which is why we use like parties switched and party systems to preface this long in depth essay.
Chuck Cooper Becomes First African American Selected In Nba Draft
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.
Neither Party Is Completely Blameless
The political history of African-Americans is often proved Douglas right. Yet, no one from any background whether a political, religious, or racial background should ever love any political party above principle. Although, history is clear that there have been major differences in how political parties treated black Americans. Neither party is completely blameless in all of its actions, nor have all the leaders in a party always been good or always been bad.
Understanding this truth, Representative Robert Brown Elliot, even though he was a strong Republican leader in his day, wisely advised, I am a slave to principles. I call no political party master. I have ever most sincerely embraced the democratic and representative ideal. Not indeed, as represented or professed by any political party but by its true significance, as transfigured in the Declaration of Independence and in the injunctions of Christianity.
Elliots admonition is wise. A line with political candidates that conform to what he called, The Injunctions of Christianity.
The Founding Federalists And Anti
To see how the parties have evolved properly from the founders to 2016, we can start by comparing pre-Civil War factions such as the founding Federalists and Anti-Federalists in the First Party System.
Here we can compare figures like the North Eastern Federalists Alexander Hamilton and John Adams to the Virginian Anti-Federalists Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry to get a sense of the two general types of ideologies that color Americas future parties and factions .
Here we can see the roots of progressivism and states rights populism in the Democratic party and the roots of traditional pro-business conservatism in the Federalists. Here we can also note that, despite none of the founders supporting slavery, it is the small government mentality to Democrats that allows for slavery, while the Whig-like conservatism of the Federalists is more geared toward global trade and banking and less tolerant of the nefarious institution.
Although we can put the founders in two big tents and understand American history that way, looking at the nuanced views of the founders allows us to better understand the roots of the different types of liberal and conservative / elite and populist positions that we find in each party system.
Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties.Thomas Jefferson
National debt, if it is not excessive, will be to us a national blessing.Alexander Hamilton
Huge Differences Between Democratic And Republican 2020 Platforms
President Donald Trump, left, and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, right.
Americas two major political parties view the world in different ways. In fact, its not an exaggeration to describe the Democrats and Republicans as 180 degrees apart on many issues.
In fact, the parties took different paths over whether to adopt new platforms describing what the believe in as they planned remote conventions due to the . The Democrats drafted a new statement of principles while the Republicansdecided to keep the 2016 platform for another four years.
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Republicans Change Their Minds But Did They Switch Platforms
But Republicans didnt immediately favor limited government. Instead, for a couple of decades, both parties are promising an augmented federal government Rauchway wrote in a 2010 blog post for the Chronicles of Higher Education. Republican rhetoric drifted to a small-government platform cemented in the 1930s with its opposition to the New Deal.
But why did Democrats start advocating for big government? According to Rauchway, both parties were trying to win the new Western states. The admission of new western states to the union in the post-Civil War era created a new voting bloc. Both parties competed for them to control Washington D.C.
How The Republicans Became Socially Conservative
The Fourth Party Republicans began to change when the Progressive Republican Theodore Teddy Roosevelt broke from the party in 1912 . Following the break, the Republicans increasingly embraced social conservatism and opposed social progressivism . From Harding to Hoover, to Nixon, to Bush they increasingly favored classical liberalism regarding individual and states rights over central authority. This attracted some socially conservative Democrats like states rights Dixiecrat Strom Thurmon. It resulted in a of the Republican party and drove some progressive Republicans from the party over time.
Southernization Urbanization And Big Government Vs Small Government
Today the Republican party doesnt have a notable progressive left-wing and the Democratic Party doesnt have a notable socially conservative right-wing.
Instead both parties have establishment and populist wings and the parties are divided by stances on social issues.
In other words, regional interests and the basic political identities of liberal and conservative didnt change as much as factions changed parties as party platforms changed along with America.
The modern split is expressed well by the left-right paradigm Big Government Progressivism vs. Small Government Social Conservatism, where socially conservative and pro-business conservative factions banded together against socially liberal and pro business liberal factions, to push back against an increasingly progressive Democratic Party and America .
This tension largely created the modern parties of our two-party system, resulting in two Big Tents who disagree on the purposes of government and social issues. This tension is then magnified by the current influence of media and lobbyists, and can be understood by examining what I call the Sixth Party Strategy and by a tactic called Dog Whistle Politics).
The result is that today the Democratic Party is dominated by liberal Democrats and Progressives.
Meanwhile, most of those who would have been the old socially conservative Democrats now have a R next to their name.
Just look at the 115th United States Congress under Trump .
Looking To The Classics And Factions For Proof
One good and not-so-divisive way to explain history is to look at the classics, especially those who focus on state-based political factions over political parties.
Classic works of this sort of political history, like V.O. Keys Southern Politics in State and Nation , make it very clear that the Solid South had historically always voted lock-step for the Democratic Party . Of course, the voting map over time, actual recorded history, and so much else tell this story too, but a well respected book like this is a great secondary source!
Today the Solid South is with the Republican Party and today old Socially Progressive Republicans like Teddy arent in the party .
This isnt to say that some of the more progressive Dixies, Bryan followers, and even economically minded Southern Bourbons arent in the Democratic Party, they obviously are, just look at Carter, Clinton, Gore, and Bernie .
Likewise, the GOP have their constants. The conservative Federalist pro-business faction, the neocons be they switched Bourbons, Gilded Age post-Reconstruction Republicans, or traditional Federalists, and the Federalist War Hawks are still in the Republican Party, as are the nativists of the north Know-Nothings.
However, despite what didnt change, a ton did, including the party platforms, key factions, and a large swath of the voter base.
Modern Democrats know this well, they lost the 2016 election and didnt get one state in the Southern Bloc for Hillary .
Adams And The Revolution Of 1800
Shortly after Adams took office, he dispatched a group of envoys to seek peaceful relations with France, which had begun attacking American shipping after the ratification of the Jay Treaty. The failure of talks, and the French demand for bribes in what became known as the XYZ Affair, outraged the American public and led to the , an undeclared naval war between France and the United States. The Federalist-controlled Congress passed measures to expand the army and navy and also pushed through the Alien and Sedition Acts. The Alien and Sedition Acts restricted speech that was critical of the government, while also implementing stricter naturalization requirements. Numerous journalists and other individuals aligned with the Democratic-Republicans were prosecuted under the Sedition Act, sparking a backlash against the Federalists. Meanwhile, Jefferson and Madison drafted the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions, which held that state legislatures could determine the constitutionality of federal laws.
Three Factions Of Modern Republicans To Oppose This
Although conservatism is complex, it is defined well as an opposition philosophy to liberalism. Through this lens, there is a type of conservatism that stands against for brand of liberalism. Modern American conservatism wants to conserve, which means not being progressive on a given issue and which by its nature is not conservative. Thus we get modern social conservatism which says no to social programs and federal power, except when it upholds conservative social values. There is also a more liberal version that we call libertarianism. It is against all uses of state power for any reason and is a form of radical classical liberalism, combined with traditional classical conservatism, which is willing to use federal power to keep order, but not inherently against social programs. These factions can be said to become allies the conservative coalition mentioned above, although the establishment of both parties tends to favor aspects of traditional classical conservatism.
TIP: When either party uses government power, they are traditional conservatives, when either party deregulates and lets the private market and individuals handle it, they are classically liberal. More than one ideology uses classical liberalism, and more than one uses classical conservatism, as all political ideologies grow out of these foundational ideologies.
Did The Democrats And Republicans Switch Parties
The US political parties, now called and , switched platform planks, , and 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.
Summary Of Platform Shifting An Issues
The platform switching, evidenced in the above sections, can be explained a few ways. Below we summarize it by contrasting key platforms of each major party in the First to Third Party Systems with the Fifth Party systems onward:
- Federalists/Whigs/Third Party Republicans: Strict on immigration, pro-tradition, anti-slavery, no need to separate church and state or offer a bill of rights, pro-globalization, and trade, a central bank, big government, big business, pro-foreign-military-policy. Regulated economy based on the finance industry and global economy.
- Anti-Federalists/Democratic-Republicans/Third Party Democrats: Pro-immigration, anti-tradition, separate church and state, want bill of rights, limited government, no central bank, pro states rights , pro-farmer, and anti-war. An unregulated economy based on production at home and farming.
- Modern Post 64 Democrats: Pro-immigration, anti-segregation, separation of church and state, want bill of rights , big government, pro central bank, pro subsidization , and anti-war in sentiment . Regulated economy based on finance industry and global economy.
- Modern Post 64 Republicans: Strict on immigration, pro-tradition, no need to separate church and state or offer bill of rights, pro-farmer and certain big businesses, small government, pro-south, and pro-strong military. Unregulated economy based on production at home and farming.
If we make the above summary into one simple chart, it might look something like this:
Hold Firmly To Righteousness
Leaders for generations have wisely recognized that the quality of our government depends more upon the quality and character of our leaders than about any other factor. And they also understood that we were responsible for choosing leaders of character and righteousness. Just as Frederick Douglass reminded voters of this truth based on Proverbs 14:34, so too did the Rev. Francis Grimke.
Francis Grimke was born to a slave mother in 1850 in South Carolina and served as a valet in the Confederate army until Emancipation. After the war he attended Lincoln University, Howard University, and Princeton Theological Seminary, then became minister of the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., the same church earlier pastored by the Reverend Henry Allen Garnett.
Grimke was also one of the forces behind the formation of the NAACP. And in a sermon delivered on Sunday, March 7, 1909, Reverend Grimke admonished his hearers on their civic responsibilities based on Gods righteousness.
Political Parties Platforms And Planks
Political parties are key players in American politics. But the Constitution does not mention political parties. In fact, many of the founders, including George Washington, distrusted permanent political parties, fearing that they would become too powerful. The first two political factions to appear were the Federalists, who supported ratification of the Constitution, and the Anti-Federalists, who opposed ratification. These factions disappeared once the Constitution was ratified. Yet, early in Washington’s first administration as president, two new factions formed: the Federalists, who supported Alexander Hamilton and a group that gathered around Thomas Jefferson, called the Democratic Republicans. They were the first real parties.
Third parties have never received high percentages of votes at election time, but they still serve important functions in the American political system. They give citizens who vote for them a forum for dissent. They also give those promoting reform a chance to air their ideas. For example, many of the ideas of the Progressives eventually were adopted by the major parties.
American political parties differ from those in many countries, where parties are often organized to promote a particular political or economic ideology such as socialism, communism, fascism, or capitalism. Others may represent a given economic interest such as labor or farmers. Some have been organized to promote a religious group or interest.
The First Party System: The Federalist Party And The Democratic
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 .
The Fifth Party System And The The New Deal And Conservative Coalitions
Now that we have clearly illustrated the above factions and ideologies, we can move on to the last round of changes which happened from roughly the 1930s, to WWII, to the 1960s, to the 1990s as the FDR supporting Progressive Social Liberal New Deal Coalition faced off against the Socially Conservative anti-New Deal Conservative Coalition .
From the 1930s to the 1990s, from Hoover to Goldwater, to Nixon, to Reagan, to Bush, the Conservative Coalition drew southern solid southDixiecrat conservative Democrats out of the Democratic Party via their southern strategy. By the 1990s, this resulted in the modern American social conservative and sometimes classical liberal Republican party. Likewise, the New Deal coalition, which opposed the conservative coalition, drew into the Democratic Party and out of the Republican party under FDRs New Deal, LBJs Great Society program, and Clintons New Democrats. This resulted in the modern American social liberal, and thus necessarily traditionally classically conservative in terms of authority party during the same time.
Although the tension between these two factions starts in the 1930s with the New Deal, it comes to a boiling point over issues like States Rights, the Second Red Scare, and Brown v. the Board of Education following WWII in the late 40s and 50s.
We have undertaken a new order of things; yet we progress to it under the framework and in the spirit and intent of the American Constitution. FDR
Fourth Party System: The Progressive Era Mckinley And Teddy 1896 1932
The election between Theodore Roosevelt William McKinley was pretty heated over social issues, but the parties stay the same. Republican Theodore Teddy Roosevelt is arguably the last of the left wing Republicans. Roosevelt is a very progressive president, and he even started his own progressive party after breaking away from the Republicans. The parties are more or less still the same as they were since the split over reconstruction, but the lines are much less clear due to the changing tides of the time.
The Big Switch And The Big Tents Of The Two Party System
THE CONCPT OF THE BIG TENT: Each party is a big tent of different political who agree on a single platform . It is a mistake to assume each faction holds the same stances on a given . With that in mind, one of the main things that changes over time is that factions switch parties . One of the most notable factions in history is the Solid South. As the Democratic Party platform became more progressive and as the Republican platform became more conservative, this ideological faction switched along with its voter base . If you think of parties as coalitions of factions, then the historic switches will make more sense. TIP: Check out the map from Lincolns election to get a quick visual of the factions of the third party system .
TIP: The South didnt switch, the socially conservative party leadership and their voter base did . This recolored the electoral map, but the South is still a diverse place just like it has always been.
Visual Proof the parties switched. Today the Democratic Party is dominated by liberal Democrats and Progressives from the North and South like FDR, LBJ, MLK, and Kennedy. Meanwhile, most of those who would have been the old socially conservative Democrats now have a R next to their name. Dont try to oversimplify this to what Strom did or what Robert Byrd didnt do, most of the changes happened over time from the 1960s to 2000. Today things are still changing!
Choosing Who To Vote For
Douglas was right. Â As citizens we must vote righteously. And by the way, this first assumes that we are voting. This responsibility to vote and to vote righteously has been made clear from generation to generation.
Once such a voice heralding this responsibility was that of Charles Finney. Â Finney was a famous American revivalist, a leader in the American revival movement called the Second Great Awakening.
He was also the president of a college that even decades before the Civil War admitted both black and white students as equals. In fact, the students from the college where Reverend Finney was president not only became some of the most active conductors of the underground railroad but also started several of Americas black colleges and universities.
Reverend Finney wisely admonished, The time has come that Christians must vote for honest men and take consistent ground in politics. Christians have been exceedingly guilty in this manner but the time has come when they must act differently. Christians seem to act as if they think God does not see what they do in politics but I tell you, he does see it. And he will bless or curse this nation according to the course Christians take in politics.