Civil Rights and the History of Party Platforms. And Ann Coulter.

My rather long Monday column covers the ideological and platform shifts of the parties from 1860 to present day, and how Republicans like Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck are lying about it.

While I was reviewing some of my Civil War volumes about the latter half of 1862 and the Emancipation Proclamation, I happened to check out a clip from Sunday's edition of This Week with George Stephanopoulos. For the sake of manufacturing sensationalism and balance, I suppose, they invited Ann Coulter to be a panelist and, predictably, she screeched, lied and generally went bananas.

But one thing in particular grabbed my attention given Saturday's historical connection: she reiterated a common fallacy on the far-right that conservatives were responsible for freeing the slaves. You've probably heard this from other pundits like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

It's a big myth. Of course.

Yes, a Republican president freed the slaves. Yes, Democrats from the South were the instigators of secession in the name of slavery. So, in a broad sense, the Republican Party can ballyhoo the fact that its first president, Lincoln, issued the Emancipation Proclamation. However, conservatives had little or nothing to do with it... Continue reading here.

  • bphoon

    Thanks for the history lesson. I see dim-witted Tea Party types trying like hell to drag us back to the Gilded Age, for example, like allowing business to do whatever it wants and restricting workers’ rights is a new idea. Edmund Burke said, “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” This should include, too, those who, knowing history, choose to conflate it with their ideology for political ends.

  • mikecz

    Lincoln was indifferent towards slavery, cases could be made for him actually supporting it. His emancipation was a last ditch effort to get slaves in the south to revolt, for fear of a union loss in the civil war. Most slaves, including those in the northern states, were not impacted by the proclamation. The real Lincoln, DiLorenzo. People of the time called it out for the joke it was, purely political.

    Lincoln also was a supporter of Henry Clay, a whig, who strongly supported centralized gov’t, increased taxes, and indeed, slavery. It’s comical to see conservatives rally behind Lincoln, without any knowledge whatsoever of his political stances.

    The main reason for the war was to hold together the union, because of threat of secession.

    • bphoon

      But–and there’s no way around this no matter how one tries to spin it–the main reason for the war from the Southern perspective was to preserve slavery.

  • margietalks

    My husband and I watched that show on Sunday. A thing I noticed about Ann C. was that when she started talking/screeching, all the other commentators just looked at her like she was toxic gas. It would be interesting to watch that same show with the sound on mute, just as a study in body languge. She says stuff just to get a reaction and to make news, still, I thought it odd that she would say that civil rights are for blacks. In my view, civil rights are for all humans. As far as slant editing history, Romney is doing that all the time. He does not let any time pass before the re-write. So he jumps right in there and takes credit for the auto industry turn around. A person almost has to write this stuff down just to keep up with Romney’s shifting sands.

  • GrafZeppelin127

    It’s always amusing to hear GOP fans claim credit for ending slavery, for the Civil Rights movement, and attributing all the worst excesses of American racism from 1860 onward to Democrats. They love to point to Sen. Robert Byrd as proof-positive, by himself, that Democrats are the hood-wearing cross-burning tree-hanging lynch mob racists and Republicans are the decent, noble champions of equality and civil rights.

    Forget the post-1964 ideological shift, the Southern Strategy™, Willie Horton, Birtherism, and all that. The questions they can’t answer is this:

    If you’re a hard-core, dyed-in-the-wool, White Power, KKK/Neo-Nazi/Neo-Confederate/&c., full-bore white racist (think Edward Norton or Stacey Keach in American History X) in the year 2012, which party are you voting for on election day 2012?

    If you’re a hard-core, dyed-in-the-wool, White Power, KKK/Neo-Nazi/Neo-Confederate/&c., full-bore white racist in the year 2012, why would you vote for the Democrats? What is it about the Democrats of 2012, and the Democratic party platform/agenda of 2012, that appeals to you in 2012?