Republicans consistently voted in higher percentages for civil rights bills from the 1860s to the 1960s. The following is a history of civil rights legislation showing how both parties have voted.
Civil Rights Legislation
Congressional Party Comparison
|1866||Civil Rights Act||118/120||32/36||96%||0/33||0/11||0%|
|1875||Civil Rights Act||162/177||38/45||90%||0/85||0/18||0%|
|1924||Indian Citizenship Act||Unrecorded, passed by GOP President/Congress|
|1957||Civil Rights Act||167/186||43/43||92%||118/225||29/47||54%|
|1960||Civil Rights Act||123/135||29/29||93%||165/248||42/60||67%|
|1963||Equal Pay Act||160/160||34/34||100%||201/210||65/65||96%|
|1964||Civil Rights Act||136/171||27/34||80%||152/243||46/66||64%|
|1965||Voting Rights Act||109/129||30/31||87%||218/272||49/65||79%|
|1965||Immigration and Nationality Act||117/127||24/27||92%||202/262||52/66||77%|
|1991||Civil Rights Act||128/161||38/43||81%||252/257||55/55||98%|
|1996||Adoption Promotion and Stability Act||219/220||-||100%||170/184||-||92%|
|1998||International Religious Freedom Act||206/220||55/55||95%||167/195||43/43||88%|
|2002||Born-Alive Infants Protection Act||200/220||47/49||92%||179/210||50/50||88%|
|2003||Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act||218/229||47/51||95%||63/205||17/48||32%|
As a general rule, Democratic Presidents have been overwhelmingly racist, and Republican Presidents have supported civil rights.
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.
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." Johnson spent his first 20 years as a lawmaker voting against civil rights legislation, and weakened the civil rights reforms sought by Eisenhower.
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.
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." If the word white were substituted for the word black, such a system becomes obviously racist.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
George H.W. Bush
George W. Bush
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.
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Tauberer, J., & Poole, K. (1919, June 1). To Pass HJR 1. GovTrack.us.
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Equal Pay Act for Women Enacted. CQ Almanac 1963, 19th ed.(pp. 511-13).
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Tauberer, J., & Poole, K. (1965, August 4). To Agree to the Conference Report on S. 1564, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. GovTrack.us.
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Tauberer, J., & Poole, K. (1965, September 22). To Pass H.R. 2580, Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments. GovTrack.us.
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