Democrats always like to stake claim to societal victories they either had little to do with or actually opposed. They bank on the idea that the public’s memory is so limited to the immediate that no one bothers to fact-check their claims to other people’s hard work. A perfect example of this comes in the idea that Democrats fought for the black vote in the United States.
U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) intimated just as much in his speech at the 2016 Democrat National Convention. However, the truth of the matter is that Democrats en masse opposed the 15th Amendment and filibustered the Civil Rights Act, as per the Federalist Papers Project.
The history of progressive-Democrat systemic racism is long and storied. In fact, the Ku Klux Klan was an organization started by Southern Democrats after the Civil War.
The Democrats’ rewriting of history to claim the “champion” mantle of the black community in America is nothing less than a grand lie. It falsely takes credit for many of the painful and long fought-for societal evolutions actually brought about by conservatives and Republican politicians.
Cummings, in his convention speech, said, “It was our Democrat party that pushed open the opportunities for me and millions of children across this great country. It was our party that…championed affirmative actions and school desegregation…that fought for veterans back home…Yes, it still is our Democrat Party—civil rights and voting rights – and voting rights!”
On many of Cummings’s assertions, he is simply and unequivocally wrong.
It was the Republican Party, under the leadership of President Abraham Lincoln that committed itself to war, in part, to affect an end to slavery in the United States. During this effort, the Emancipation Proclamation was codified. This societal evolution came at the cost of almost 700,000 American lives.
In the aftermath of this giant leap forward for our nation, Southern Democrats, through their creation of the Ku Klux Klan, sought to overthrow Republican state governments, especially by instituting violence against newly freed black leaders. The KKK flourished across the South. It wasn’t until the Republican-led federal government suppressed the group around 1871 that the stage was even set for the Civil Rights movement.
The 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which secured the vote for all regardless of skin color, was ratified in a party-line vote in both the House and the Senate. The idea that Democrats championed black Americans’ right to vote is shattered in this piece of history.
The House voted 144 to 44, with 35 not voting. No Democrats supported the bill. Only three Republicans voted against it because they thought the measures did not go far enough in its protections. The final vote in the Senate was 39 to 13, with 14 not voting. The Senate passed the amendment with a vote of 39 Republican votes of “Yea.” Again, not one Democrat voted to ratify the amendment that would give black Americans the right to vote. There were five Republican votes of “Nay,” including Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner, because the amendment did not prohibit literacy tests and poll taxes.
In the Civil Rights Era, it was Southern Democrat governors who opposed the desegregation of schools in the south. It was Southern Democrat governors who used water cannons and attack dogs on peaceful black protesters in the streets of Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia. In fact, it was Democrat Alabama Governor George Wallace who said, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!”
During the effort to pass the Civil Rights Act, Democrats in Congress filibustered the measure in an attempt to derail it. The figurehead for the Democrats’ opposition to the Civil Rights Act, Sen. Strom Thurmond (D-SC), said, “This so-called Civil Rights Proposals, which the president has sent to Capitol Hill for enactment into law, are unconstitutional, unnecessary, unwise, and extend beyond the realm of reason. This is the worst civil-rights package ever presented to the Congress and is reminiscent of the Reconstruction proposals and actions of the radical Republican Congress.”
Throughout history, the examples of Democrat anti-black sentiment have been many. From the Eugenics of Planned Parenthood to the economic re-enslavement of urban black Americans, from Jim Crow laws to the establishment of tenement housing, progressive-Democrats have sought to marginalize and “bring them to heel” ever since black Americans were freed…by Republicans.
So, I respectfully have to disagree with Cummings’s horrible historical recall.
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