Who’s to blame? Who gets credit?
Why are so many Americans convinced the Democratic Party is the party of compassion, women, minorities and the environment?
In 1854 the Republican Party was founded by 50 men, three women and one child (womenshistory.org). Six years later we elected the first Republican president – Abraham Lincoln. We all know what happened after that.
What many don’t know are the important things the Republican Party has done since then.
The Republican Party was the first “anti-slavery” party.
Republicans elected the first black to the United States Senate in 1870, Hiram Rhodes Revels, senator from Mississippi. (“Setting the Record: Straight American History in Black & White,” by David Barton)
After the end of the Civil War, the first 23 black members of Congress were all Republicans. Democrats didn’t elect their first black congressman until 1935, their first senator in 1993.
Republicans fought “for” civil rights while Democrats fought “against” them. The vote on the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to abolish slavery was voted 137 for, 63 against (118 Republicans (100%) for; 19 Democrats (23%) for; 63 Democrats voted to keep slavery).
Republicans elected the first woman to Congress in 1916, Jeanette Ranking, from Montana.
That isn’t surprising when you learn Republican Montana Gov. John Campbell defeated the Democrats attempt to prevent women from voting in Montana by vetoing legislation. He is credited with helping women win their right to vote there in 1869.
Year after year Democrats kept defeating legislation on a woman’s right to vote. The 19th Amendment finally passed the House in 1919 by a vote of 304-89 (91% Republican’s for vs. 59% of Democrats for).
It passed the Senate 56-25 (82% of Republicans for versus 41% of Democrats for).
Eight million women voted in their first presidential election in November 1920. Republican Warren G. Harding won by a huge 26.2 percentage points. He took 37 of 48 states. Women wanted Mr. Harding. Perhaps that’s why Democrats fought so hard to prevent them from voting?
Republican Teddy Roosevelt was the first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize (1906). He was the first president to make the environment an issue – in 1901. He’s responsible for today’s National Park system. He is also credited with having the first blacks dine as guests in the White House.
The first woman of the Jewish faith elected to Congress was Florence Khan, a Republican. The first Asian senator was Hiram L. Fong, a Republican.
The list of minority firsts being elected and serving in positions of power is long. That said, Republicans aren’t an “identity” based party. Republicans believe in the “quality of one’s character,” just like another famous registered Republican, Martin Luther King, Jr. (CNN).
America is at a crossroads. Political parties have moved so far left, I’m not sure how many “Republicans” exist. It’s time to remember what being a “Republican” means.
Republicans come from a proud history of fighters for the causes of good. We Americans gotten lazy and forgotten that freedom needs constant tending. We have trusted too much and questioned too little. Courage is a muscle we have forgotten to exercise.
We have a Constitutional Republic to restore. Let’s get on it.