Why Did Parties Switch Platforms And Members
The common thread of each major switch, aside from war, was civil rights. Or maybe we could more fairly say, state-enforced social and economic justice versus individual liberty;as is illustrated by;the charts on this page.
Civil rights aside, since before the first party was formed, our founding fathers have fought each other tooth and nail over the direction of the country. The biggest issues have been:;big business versus small business, big government;versus small government , big government versus small government , whether or not to have;a central bank, and;how much;local and foreign credit and debt was the right amount.
We can see how some of the above;values are consistent for a given quadrant of the political sphere, but not for a specific party in a two party system or even a faction or member of a party at a given time!;We can also see how specific groups have shifted their interpretation of these things over time, and how some groups simply pay lip-service to the overarching ideals.
The;planks and platforms of each opposing group have;changed over time, as specific stances on these issues were taken, and as public opinion changed with the times.
Y Switching In The United States
In the politics of the United States, party switching is any change in party affiliation of a partisan public figure, usually one who is currently holding elected office. Use of the term “party switch” can also connote a transfer of holding power in an elected governmental body from one party to another.
Better Understanding The Changes In American Politics
Above we summarized the switching of ideologies and platforms;between the parties by looking at the party systems and Presidents.
Below we explore;details, clarify semantics, answer questions, present curated videos, and illustrate some of the key telling moments regarding the changes described above.
Please consider sharing your insight below, our summing up of the history of American politics is an ongoing effort, see the videos for supplemental content from other authors.
For deeper reading:
- Also, see a breakdown of each party and President and how they would be placed on the left and right.
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A General Summary Of The Party Switching And Party Systems
Above I offered summaries in the for of bullet; pointed lists. Below Ill try to weave everything together into a story to offer another perspective:
As America became increasingly progressive over time, from 1776 forward, different socially conservative and socially liberal movements banded together to create the parties of each of the 6-7;Party Systems;.
This caused different;social-minded factions to align with different business-minded factions over time , and this changed the parties .
Oddly enough, this resulted in the previously Small Government Populist Democratic Party becoming the party of Big Government, Neoliberalism, Progressivism, Globalization, and Social Liberalism, and the previously Big Government Aristocratic party Republican Party becoming the party of;Small Government , Nativism, and Social Conservatism. Oddly again, despite the changes the Republicans have always been Protectionist, Nationalist, and Stricter on immigration . On that note, it is very important to understand that immigration changed the Democratic Party as they embraced new non-Anglo Protestant immigrants over time.
The tricky thing to grasp is that some conservatives want to conserve back to a time that they feel they had more freedom and that progressive social liberalism requires Big Government to implement.
How the Republican Party went from Lincoln to Trump.
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 progressives 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
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President Truman Integrates The Troops: 1948
Fast forward about sixty shitty years. Black people are still living in segregation under Jim Crow. Nonetheless, African Americans agree to serve in World War II.
At wars end, President Harry Truman, a Democrat, used an Executive Order to integrate the troops.
These racist Southern Democrats got so mad that their chief goblin, Senator Strom Thurmond, decided to run for President against Truman. They called themselves the Dixiecrats.
Of course, he lost. Thurmond remained a Democrat until 1964. He continued to oppose civil rights as a Democrat. He gave the longest filibuster in Senate history speaking for 24 hours against the 1957 Civil Rights Act.
Choosing Who To Vote For
Douglas was right. 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. 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.
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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.
The Claim: The Democratic Party Started The Civil War To Preserve Slavery And Later The Kkk
As America marks a month of protests against systemic racism and many people;draw comparisons between current events and the;Civil Rights Movement, an oversimplified trope about the Democratic Partys racist past has been resurrected;online.
Friendly reminder that if you support the Democrat Party, you support the party that founded the KKK and start a civil war to keep their slaves, claims an;image of a tweet;Instagram user @snowflake.tears shared June 19.
Many Instagram users read between the lines for the tweets implication about the modern Democratic and Republican parties. Some argued this past action discredited current liberal policies, while others said it did not matter.
Historians agree that although factions of the Democratic Party did majorly contribute to the Civil Wars start and the KKKs founding, it is inaccurate to say the party is;responsible for either.
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The Fourth Party Progressive Era
The aptly named;Progressive Era or;Fourth Party System;can then be understood best by examining the events leading up to the;1912 elections. Here we can compare;the;northeastern social liberal Republican Teddy Roosevelts New Nationalism plan; to;Woodrow;Wilsons progressive southern Democrat mixed-market;New Freedom plan;.
Ending the;progressive era in the 1920s, with Teddys progressives now largely absent from the Republican party, we we can see a changing Republican party under Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover . The changes can be seen both in their favoring of classical liberal Cleveland-like Gilded Age economics to big government social justice, and in;their related reaction to;the Red Scare;which had resulted in anti-Communism becoming;a major voting issue for a growing base of Republican conservatives;in post-WWI and;Prohibition era;America.
Notable American Politicians Who Switched Parties
When a prominent public figure switches parties today, it becomes a national affair. In most cases, renowned;people switched political parties before becoming famous.
Party switch became more frequent after the Republicans displaced the Whigs in 1856.; Here are ten politicians;that switched political parties at some point in their lives.
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The Tension Between Rural Regions And City Regions Is As Old As The Federalists And Anti
With the above covered,;there is a reason the Northern Coasts and Cities are in one party and the Rural South and Mid-West are;in the other party in almost any era , with this being;true even when the parties switch.
This;is because a;major divide is between the political, economic, and social interests of rural regions;and citied regions .
Learn more about How the Tension Between City Interests and Rural Interests Affects Politics, not just on a national level, but on a state and regional level;too .
The better you understand this tension, the better youll understand that age-old Federalists / Anti-Federalist, Republican / Democrat, or North / South split in any era .
We are all Democrats, we are all Republicans, we are all Federalists, and we all love liberty.
We are all Americans.
We simply;disagree on specifics , and thus we form factions and voting blocs around those differences .
The changing factions responding to newly arising voter issues is;the main thing that changed the parties.
Still, not everything changed . That is explained in excessive detail below.
Now that you know about the rural vs. city split, and the big changes like those of Lincolns time, those of Teddys time, and the shifting Solid South ,;take a look at the;time-lapse video below which shows the U.S. Presidential election results map, both by state and by county, from 1789 to 2016.
History Of The Democratic And Republican Parties
The Democratic Party was founded in 1828, while the Republican Party was founded in 1854.;
;You can trace the historical backgrounds of these two parties back to their Founding Fathers.
The United States founding fathers had different political beliefs. The contrasting political views eventually led to the formation of two parties.;
The political view of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and John Adams was to have a powerful government. Therefore, they wanted a government with a national bank and a central banking system. Hence, their unique banking system ideas birthed the Federalists party.;
In contrast, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison had different political ideologies. They wanted a political system where they can advocate for a minimal, more decentralized approach. With their decentralized government views, they founded the Democratic-Republicans party.
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James A Haught Says Teddy Roosevelt Was The Last Republican Liberal And Was Shifting By The Time His Democratic Nephew
Strangely, over a century, America’s two major political parties gradually reversed identities, like the magnetic poles of Planet Earth switching direction.
When the Republican Party was formed in 1856, it was fiercely liberal, opposing the expansion of slavery, calling for more spending on public education, seeking more open immigration and the like. Compassionate Abraham Lincoln suited the new party’s progressive agenda.
In that era, Democrats were conservatives, partly dominated by the slave-holding South. Those old-style Democrats generally opposed any government action to create jobs or help underdogs.
Through the latter half of the 19th century, the pattern of Republicans as liberals, Democrats as conservatives, generally held true. In 1888, the GOP elected President Benjamin Harrison on a liberal platform seeking more social services.
Then in 1896, a reversal began when Democrats nominated populist firebrand William Jennings Bryan , “the Great Commoner.”
“He was the first liberal to win the Democratic Party presidential nomination,” political scholar Rich Rubino wrote. “This represented a radical departure from the conservative roots of the Democratic Party.”
The Progressive platform attacked big-money influence in politics, vowing “to destroy this invisible government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics.”
Did The American Political Parties Switch Clarifying The Semantics
People often ask,;did the American political parties switch?, but this question is semantically wrong, and thus we should address it before moving on.
- People can switch parties;.
- Parties can switch general platforms and ideologies .
- Voters can switch parties .
- However,;the parties themselves only switch when they hang-up their hat to become a new party;.
Where US Politics Came From: Crash Course US History #9. This is one of many videos from CrashCourse. American history is long and complex; if you want to really understand things, I suggest watching the CrashCourse series on U.S. politics.
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An Overview Of The Platform Switching By Party System And President From The Founders To Eisenhower
The First and Second Party Systems included some important changes and debates. Examples included the argument;over the Federalist favored Constitution, and the Anti-Federalist favored Articles of Confederation;and Bill of Rights;and debates over slavery, modernization, and;banking.;Major;changes began;at the end of the Second Party System.
The Second Party system ended with the;Whig Party dissolving;in 1854. They were critically divided by the;Kansas-Nebraska Act;and the related debate over;manifest destiny and popular sovereignty;. The heated battle;over whether;Kansas should be a slave state, and the debate over whether the south could keep expanding southward creating slave states,;resulted in the country being split.;This had happened in the Mexican-American war.;One;faction became the Northern Republicans and their;allies the Union, who wanted to hold together the Union under a strong central government. The other became the Southern ex-Democrats and their allies the Confederacy, who wanted independence;and wanted to expand southward, to for instance Cuba, creating new slave states. By the time;Lincoln took;office in 1861, the division was inescapable
FACT: The tension was so great the Democratic party ceased to exist from 1861 1865 as the Confederacy rejected the;concept of party systems; which is why we refer to;them ex-Democrats above.
The Bottom Line On The Party Switch
The parties changed over time as platform planks, party leaders, factions, and voter bases essentially switched between parties.
Third parties aside, the Democratic Party used to be favored in the rural south and had a small government platform , and the Republican party used to be favored in the citied north and had a big government platform .
You can see evidence of it by looking at;the electoral map over time;. Or, you can see it by comparing which congressional seats were controlled by which parties over time . Or, you can see the big switch specifically by looking at the electoral map of the solid south over time. Or, you can dig through;the historic party platforms.
With that in mind, we can sum up the history of the switches that created the modern party system as:
The old southern conservative Democrats, a big faction of voters called the solid south who were in Jeffersons anti-Federalist coalition, have essentially today changed parties and teamed up with the old Republican party of Lincoln .
Meanwhile, Teddys progressive faction essentially switched as well starting after Teddys run as a Bull Moose in 1912.
Generally then, the Democratic party started moving toward progressivism and the Republican party starting shifting more toward the conservative right from Harding forward, and this in turn changed the parties .
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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 .