Civil Rights

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Republicans consistently voted in higher percentages for civil rights bills from the 1860s to the 1960s.[1] The following is a history of civil rights legislation showing how both parties have voted.

Civil Rights Legislation

Congressional Party Comparison

Year Legislation Republicans Democrats
House Senate Percent House Senate Percent
1865 13th Amendment[2] 86/86 34/34 100% 14/63 3/9 24%
1866 Civil Rights Act[3] 118/120 32/36 96% 0/33 0/11 0%
1866 14th Amendment[4] 128/128 32/35 98% 0/37 0/8 0%
1870 15th Amendment[5] 142/146 39/43 96% 0/39 0/9 0%
1870 Enforcement Act[6] 132/133 48/49 99% 0/54 0/10 0%
1871 Enforcement Act[7] 93/94 36/38 98% 0/73 0/11 0%
1875 Civil Rights Act[8] 162/177 38/45 90% 0/85 0/18 0%
1919 19th Amendment[9] 200/219 36/44 90% 102/172 20/37 58%
1924 Indian Citizenship Act Unrecorded, passed by GOP President/Congress
1957 Civil Rights Act[10] 167/186 43/43 92% 118/225 29/47 54%
1960 Civil Rights Act[11] 123/135 29/29 93% 165/248 42/60 67%
1963 Equal Pay Act[12] 160/160 34/34 100% 201/210 65/65 96%
1964 Civil Rights Act[13] 136/171 27/34 80% 152/243 46/66 64%
1965 Voting Rights Act[14] 109/129 30/31 87% 218/272 49/65 79%
1965 Immigration and Nationality Act[15] 117/127 24/27 92% 202/262 52/66 77%
1991 Civil Rights Act[16] 128/161 38/43 81% 252/257 55/55 98%
1996 Adoption Promotion and Stability Act[17] 219/220 - 100% 170/184 - 92%
1998 International Religious Freedom Act[18] 206/220 55/55 95% 167/195 43/43 88%
2002 Born-Alive Infants Protection Act[19] 200/220 47/49 92% 179/210 50/50 88%
2003 Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act[20] 218/229 47/51 95% 63/205 17/48 32%

Presidential Comparison

As a general rule, Democratic Presidents have been overwhelmingly racist, and Republican Presidents have supported civil rights.

Democrats

Andrew Jackson: Racist

'Old Hickory' was a racist slaveowner who implemented perhaps the worst genocide in U.S. history, a mass forced march of Native Americans that resulted in thousands of deaths. See the 'Trail of Tears.' Jackson was not only a slave owner but a slave trader.

Martin Van Buren: Racist

Another racist, Van Buren supported the Missouri Compromise which expanded slavery into the Louisiana Purchase, and assisted in Jackson's murder of Native Americans per the Trail of Tears.

James K. Polk: Racist

A racist who falsely started war with Mexico per the Mexican-American War to expand slavery, and was condemned for doing so by Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and John Quincy Adams.

Franklin Pierce: Racist

Pierce was a racist who opposed abolitionism and enforced the Fugitive Slave Act. He was a Brigadier General in the Mexican-American War which was started on false grounds to seize states from Mexico for the purpose of expanding slavery.

James Buchanan: Racist

A racist who lobbied the Supreme Court for passage of the infamous Dred Scott decision protecting slavery and fought to have Kansas admitted as a slave state under the LeCompton Constitution.

Andrew Johnson: Racist

An abhorrent racist who opposed civil rights reforms including the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, he is widely denounced as one of the worst presidents in history for good reason. The Republican Congress came within one vote of impeaching him after his racist opposition to civil rights obstructed civil rights progress.

Grover Cleveland: Racist

Cleveland opposed the Lodge Bill and voting rights protections for African-Americans. He also succeeded in repealing the Enforcement Act of 1871 that had protected African-American voting rights.

Woodrow Wilson: Racist

As President, Wilson implemented racial segregation throughout the entire federal government and as President of Princeton University had discouraged African-Americans from applying for admission.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first Democratic President to not blatantly demonstrate racism, and created a Black Cabinet. He had African-Americans and Jews in his administration. He passed Executive Order 8802 prohibiting discriminatory hiring. Nonetheless, he also oversaw the mass internment of Japanese Americans in camps during World War II and issued Executive Order 9066 enforcing their internment. As such, there are arguments to be made both for and against FDR being a racist President.

Harry Truman: Racist

In a 1911 letter to his future wife Bess Wallace, Truman openly disparaged African-Americans and Asian-Americans while advocating Freemasonry.[21]

John F. Kennedy

Kennedy took historic action, repeatedly, to protect and advance civil rights, appointing Thurgood Marshall to the federal bench, who would go on to become the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, and signing executive orders to stop discrimination. He had the National Guard mobilized to enforce desegregation and played a key role in passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Lyndon B. Johnson: Racist

LBJ was a notorious racist who bragged that he would have African-Americans, whom he called a derogatory slur, voting Democrat for the next 200 years, and further said Truman's civil rights program "is a farce and a sham—an effort to set up a police state in the guise of liberty. I am opposed to that program. I have voted against the so-called poll tax repeal bill ... I have voted against the so-called anti-lynching bill."[22] Johnson spent his first 20 years as a lawmaker voting against civil rights legislation[23], and weakened the civil rights reforms sought by Eisenhower.[24]

Jimmy Carter

Carter is one of only two Democratic Presidents in history whose records on civil and human rights are unblemished, the other being John F. Kennedy.

Bill Clinton: Racist

Bill Clinton's mentor James William Fulbright, while a U.S. Senator, voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. As President Bill Clinton passed the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act which resulted in vastly inequal imprisonment of minorities across the United States.[25]

Barack Obama: Racist

Barack Obama attended Trinity United Church of Christ for 20 years under its leadership of Jeremiah Wright. The church's "Black Value System" is openly racist, and requires members to "pledge allegiance to all black leadership," "pledge to Make the Fruits of All Developing and Acquired Skills Available to the Black Community," and "Pledge to Allocate Regularly, a Portion of Personal Resources for Strengthening and Supporting Black Institutions."[26] If the word white were substituted for the word black, such a system becomes obviously racist.

Republicans

Abraham Lincoln

The Great Emancipator, Lincoln freed African-Americans from slavery and led America through a Civil War to stop the abhorrent practice.

Ulysses S. Grant

A war general during the Civil War, Grant personally led the fight to stop slavery in literal fashion, and as President opposed anti-semitism and discrimination. Grant as President took numerous steps to stop voter intimidation of African-Americans including creation of the Justice Department; he also pushed Congress to pass the 15th Amendment protecting their right to vote.

Rutherford B. Hayes

A Major General in the Civil War, Hayes fought to free African-Americans from slavery before becoming President. As a Congressman he helped pass the 14th Amendment protecting civil rights. As Governor of Ohio he helped ratify the 15th Amendment. As President he vetoed legislation which would have curtailed civil rights reforms.

James A. Garfield

A Major General during the Civil War, Garfield also fought on the battlefield for civil rights to stop slavery. Garfield openly supported abolition and pushed for civil rights reforms in education.

Chester A. Arthur

A former lawyer who had fought for civil rights reform in the courts, achieving legal victories for desegregation, Arthur would go on to play a role in the Civil War as a Brigadier General before becoming President.

Benjamin Harrison

Brevetted a Brigadier General in the Civil War, Harrison had fought to further civil rights on the battlefield. As President he repeatedly advocated civil rights legislation to protect African-American voting rights.

William McKinley

Brevetted a Major in the Civil War, McKinley like his previous five Republican predecessors had served in the Civil War to protect civil rights. While he did appoint some African-Americans to his administration, it was to a lesser extent than prior Republican administrations, and he did little to minimize racial violence.

Theodore Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt, after a good start to his presidency when he invited Booker T. Washington to the White House, backed down after a national uproar resulted, by doing little to confront civil rights. While he did appoint some African-Americans to patronage positions in the South, he did little to fight the political battles necessary for their appointments, and at one point dismissed a large number of African-American soldiers from the military without a trial.[27]

William Howard Taft: Racist

Taft as President removed African Americans from federal jobs if any protests were made against their appointments, making him the worst Republican President on Civil Rights to that point.

Warren G. Harding

Despite publicly calling for anti-lynching legislation and speaking in support of equal rights while asking cabinet officers to appoint African-Americans to his administration, Harding did little to further concrete reforms. Despite initially supporting anti-lynching legislation, when it was filibustered he backed down and abandoned it.

Calvin Coolidge

Coolidge marked a return to civil rights by Republican Presidents, advocating for anti-lynching legislation and refusing to appoint Ku Klux Klansmen to office. He also signed the Indian Citizenship Act giving U.S. citizenship to Native Americans.

Herbert Hoover

Hoover's record is mixed. Although he opposed anti-lynching legislation while offering only verbal condemnation of lynching, he did invite Oscar DePriest, the only African-American member of Congress, to the White House, and his Vice President Charles Curtis was the nation's first Native American Vice President. Hoover did take action to protect the rights of Native Americans. As such there are arguments to be made for and against him on civil rights.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Eisenhower as a 5-star General during World War II desegregated the armed forces during the Battle of the Bulge, and as President used the National Guard to forcibly desegregate southern schools to protect African-American students. He passed the 1957 Civil Rights Act to usher in the Civil Rights Movement and the first civil rights protections of African-Americans in decades.

Richard Nixon: Racist

Nixon oversaw a period of desegregation and his administration took serious steps to implement busing of black students to stop segregation in the south. Although Nixon disagreed to some extent with busing itself, he nonetheless did a lot to bring about desegregation. However, new tapes have revealed that Nixon had racist disregard for those of other ethnic groups, including African-Americans.[28]

Gerald Ford

Ford appointed the first African-American Secretary of Transportation and extended the Voting Rights Act by 5 years. He refused to give in to critics of school busing programs.[29]

Ronald Reagan

George H.W. Bush

George W. Bush

Donald Trump

Southern Strategy

I am reserving a discussion of "Southern Strategy" for my book, "Defending Conservatism." My arguments against the parties switching sides will be detailed there. However, the facts clearly show the parties did not switch sides, and that the racist Democrats remained in the Democratic Party. Furthermore, the parties share much the same stances they did at the time of the Civil War over 150 years ago, whereas Democrats remain inextricably linked to the entitlement programs and big government spending of predecessors such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, even though decades later Republicans were still voting in higher percentages for civil rights legislation like the 1957 Civil Rights Act, 1960 Civil Rights, and 1964 Civil Rights Act. The next generation of young southerners who'd accepted the civil rights movement became Republicans, while racist Democrats like Robert Byrd, Al Gore Sr., and James William Fulbright remained in the Democratic Party.

Sources

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  5. Tauberer, J., & Poole, K. (1869, February 25). To Agree to the Conference Committee Report on S.J. Res. 8. GovTrack.us.
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  6. Tauberer, J., & Poole, K. (1870, May 27). To Agree to the Conference Report on H.R. 1293, a Bill to Enforce the Right of Citizens to Vote. (P. 3853-3) GovTrack.us.
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