THE BLACK CAUCUS AND HISTORICAL AMNESIA
By Dr. Samuel Blumenfeld
January 17, 2003
Now that Trent Lott has been duly punished for his silly remarks at Strom Thurmond’s birthday party, the attempt of the Black Caucus to smear the Republican party as racist is nothing but crude political demogoguery. Apparently, the Black Caucus has forgotten that the Democrat party traditionally was the party of slavery, segregation and Jim Crow. It was the Republican party that championed the cause of freedom and equality.
This is what Stephen Douglas, Democrat candidate for the Senate, said in 1858:
I am opposed to taking any step that recognizes the negro man or the Indian as the equal of the white man. I am opposed to giving him a voice in the administration of the government. I would extend to the negro, and the Indian, and to all dependent races every right, every privilege, and every immunity consistent with the safety and welfare of the white races; but equality they never should have, either political or social, or in any other respect whatever.
That statement was made during the famous Lincoln-Douglas
Debates in which Lincoln represented the views of the abolitionists. Douglas strongly backed the Dred Scott decision that held that a slave was property and that therefore the owner of that property could take it into a Territory as he would with any other piece of property. That was the position of the Democratic party then.
Linclon made it quite clear that he was opposed to Dred Scott and favored an end to slavery. He said:
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved. I do not expect the house to fall; but I do expect it to cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the spread of it and place it where the public mind shall rest, in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it forward until it shall become alike lawful in all the States, North as well as South.
That statement, which foresaw the mighty struggle to come, was made at Springfield, Illinois, June 17, 1858. It was Lincoln who understood that the nation had reached the point where the issue of slavery had to be decided one way or another. The Dred Scott decision made a showdown inevitable.
The Republican party had been formed in 1856 because neither the Whigs nor the Democrats would confront the essential evil of slavery. Douglas said on October 13, 1858:
Thus you see that James Buchanan [Democrat] accepted the nomination at Cincinnati on the conditions that the people of a Territory, like those of a State, should be left to decide for themselves whether slavery should or should not exist within their limits….I hold that if they want a slave State, they have a right under the Constitution of the United States to make it so, and if they want a free State, it is their right to have it….If we will stand by that principle, then Mr. Lincoln will find that this Republic can exist forever divided into free and slave states.
I insist that our fathers did not make the nation half slave and half free, or part slave and part free. I insist that they found the institution of slavery existing here. They did not make it so, but they left it so because they knew of no way to get rid of it at the time.
There is no reason in the world why the negro is not entitled to all the national rights enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I hold that he is as much entitled to these as the white man.
The platform of the Republican party had pledged never to admit another slave state into the Union, pledged to prohibit slavery in all the Territories of the United States, pledged to repeal the Fugitive Slave law, and pledged to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia. The party had become the political force of the abolition movement, and it reflected Lincoln’s sentiment when he said:
I have always hated slavery, I think, as much as any Abolitionist—I have been an Old Line Whig—I have always hated it, but I have always been quiet about it until this new era of the introduction of the Nebraska bill began. I always believed that everybody was against it, and that it was in course of ultimate extinction.
The Democratic party not only tolerated slavery, but was not opposed to its spread into the Territories. And it took a civil war to change all of that. But today’s Black Caucus seems to have forgotten what happened back then. It is suffering from historical amnesia.
Although the Democratic party was the party of segregation and Jim Crow, it has now become the party of the Black Caucus liberals, many of whom belong to the socialist Progressive Congressional Caucus, which would like to enslave us all. The Republican party was founded as the party of freedom and still is. Somehow that fact should resonate among black voters in America whose ancestors were liberated by the determination of Abraham Lincoln and the Republican party.
© 2003 Samuel Blumenfeld - All Rights Reserved
Samuel L. Blumenfeld is the author of eight books on education, including “Is Public Education Necessary?” and “The Whole Language/OBE Fraud,” published by The Paradigm Company, 208-322-4440. His reading instruction program, “Alpha-Phonics,” is available by writing The Tutoring Company, P.O. Box 540111, Waltham, MA 02454-0111. www.alpha-phonics.com www.howtotutor.com