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The Republican Party has historically supported equality

2014-03-30T00:00:00Z 2014-03-31T09:34:21Z The Republican Party has historically supported equality The Billings Gazette
March 30, 2014 12:00 am

When we post an opinion, let's at least get the facts straight. As a student of American history with a degree in 19th century U.S. history, I speak with a little authority.

The Republican Party, heretofore known as the GOP, was started in the 1850s with John Charles Fremont as its first presidential candidate in 1856 on an antislavery platform; the Democratic party supported slavery in the majority of the states.

Abraham Lincoln emancipated the slaves. He, too, was a Republican. A Republican-controlled Congress passed the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, overriding the veto of President Andrew Johnson, a Democrat. The Ku Klux Klan was founded by ex-Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest, a life-long Democrat.

In the 20th century, the first African American invited to the White House was Booker T. Washington by President Theodore Roosevelt of the GOP. The most anti-black president was probably Woodrow Wllson, a Democrat. Although African-Americans voted solidly for Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat, after 1936 and thereafter it was his wife, Eleanor, who by and large befriended them.

Kudos to President Harry Truman, a Democrat, who ended segregation in the military after World War II. Boo to Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson who watered down the Civil Rights bill of the 1950s that was championed by the GOP. Kudos to President Johnson for passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 with strong GOP support as Johnson had to beg and bully his fellow Democrats to support it.

Michael S. Emett


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