I realize this is a heated discussion, but I think everyone is missing a key point: Other than the 1860 election, was there ever a legal, officially constituted Political party called the Southern Democratic Party? To my knowledge, the answer to that question is no. Other than the 1860 election, we have only had one Democratic party. Even during the 1860 election both Northern and Southern Democrats supported slavery (the vast majority of Northern Democrats voted against the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments). Furthermore, after 1877 when the Jim Crow laws were passed and Reconstruction ended the Democratic party uniformly opposed every civil rights bill brought to the Senate until 1965. The Republicans overwhelmingly supported Civil Rights legislation (they had a higher percentage of positive votes than the democrats even in 1965) so were there a Democrat-schism at any previous time this would have hastened the victory of the civil rights movement. The 1965 abolition of the Jim Crow laws was possible only because the majority of Democrats reversed their previous position, not because a schism formed in the Democratic party. While racial equality had been the goal of Republicans like Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas, the Democrats immediately went to redistribute wealth in the name of 'reverse discrimination'(a philosophically absurd phrase). This lead to a superficial re-polarization, where Republicans were supporting the liberty of free people to succeed on their own merit, just like Harriet Beecher Stowe and Frederick Doublas, against Democrats who believe that man was either to be held down by the state, or to be held up by the state. The state was still to be the arbiter of individual success, but now it would be to African American's benefit, instead of their detriment. The political Party that once told African Americans which water fountain to drink out of, who to marry, and which restaurant to go to was the party of big government. The American Democratic Party, even under President Obama, increased the amount of money given to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which were created by Democrats during the Jim Crow era to satisfy the 'Separate but Equal' finding of a Democrat appointed Supreme Court in the Plessy vs. Ferguson Case in 1896.
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