Just a random thought about political history....

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Discus: College Confidential Café: 2004 Archive: Just a random thought about political history....
By Thermodude (Thermodude) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 08:48 pm: Edit

I just find it interesting, if one thinks back to the mid 1850's...the Republican Party was actually the liberal party and the Democractic Party was actually the conservative one. After all, prior to 1850, the liberal Whig party (named after the Whigs of England) was replaced by the Reps. for not taking a strong enough stand against slavery. Funny too that the Republicans had most of their support from the urban cities, while the Democratics consisted mainly of Southerners. It seems that compared to modern times, the two parties have swaped both sides on the political spectrum as well as constituencies.

I guess the compromise of 1877, the gilded age, the middle class progressive movement of 1900, as well as the great depression caused the two parties to swap supporters.

This is quite the contrast from English politics; the conservative party in England today is still the same Tory party of the 1700's, and the labour party has simply replaced the Whig party of the past.

Anyways, just a random thought....though I bet if you told someone in the 1850's that Republicans would be conservative and Democrats would be liberal...they would flat out refuse to believe you.

By Riflesforwatie (Riflesforwatie) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 09:00 pm: Edit

"Funny too that the Republicans had most of their support from the urban cities"

That's not really true. You are probably thinking of that as it applies to African-Americans, but in fact Democrats have ALWAYS been the party of inner-city immigrants. I'd also say your examples for the party's changing is refuted by the granddaddy of all liberal movements: the New Deal. That's when the Democrats began to attract blacks and also when blacks became the inner-city demographic. Although Woodrow Wilson (a Democrat) was a Progressive, many of the Congressional movers behind it (LaFollette) were Republican... as was T. Roosevelt.

But before that the Democrats had always gotten the inner-city European immigrant vote (i.e. Al Smith's run in 1928).

But of course the real switch in regional constituencies was LBJ's Presidency and his civil rights support.

By Thermodude (Thermodude) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 09:08 pm: Edit

Actually, I stated above that the changing really began with the compromise of 1877 and the gilded age. That was when the Republican Party abandoned reconstruction, and Grant did a rather poor job as president, leading to the Gilded Age. The gilded age lead to the progressive movement, which really changed American politics.

Anyways, my initial point was that in the 1850's, the Republican's were the liberal anti-slavery party, and had support from northerners (i.e Yankee's), and the Democracts were the conservatives and had support from Southerners.

By Riflesforwatie (Riflesforwatie) on Monday, August 30, 2004 - 09:15 pm: Edit

Yeah it was a good post... I understand what you are saying, but I think liberal tendencies were present in the GOP at least through 1920. I'd just move your date forward a few dacades.

But yeah, I agree totally about the 1850s.

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