Calls to ban the Confederate Flag due to its association with slavery may lead to calls to ban the Donkey symbol of the Democrat Party and the Islamic Crescent, as those institutions had also been involved in the enslavement of Africans.
Prior to the Civil War there were two major political parties in the United States:
Democrats, who favored freedom of choice to own slaves; and
Whigs, who tried to be a big tent party to stem the loss of members to the Know-Nothing Party.
On February 28, 1854, in Ripon, Wisconsin, anti-slavery activistsmet for the first time, then held their first State Convention in Jackson, Michigan on JULY 6, 1854.
This new political party took a stand against slavery. It also was against an effort in Utah to redefine marriage.
The name of this new political party was “Republican.” The chief plank of the original Republican Party platform was “to prohibit…those twin relics of barbarism: POLYGAMY AND SLAVERY.” America was divided geographically between:
- Radical Republican Northwhich said slavery is wrong, end it now. This included abolitionist societies, the Underground Railroad, anti-slavery preachers and, unfortunately, the fringe John Brown who took guns and killed slave owners.
- Moderate Republican North, which said slavery is wrong, but the country should transition out of it slowly over time.
- Practical Neutral, which cared less about the value of human life, being more interested in jobs, wages, economy and tax-tariff issues.
- Moderate Democratic South, which said slavery may be wrong, but the country has to live with it. Though personally against slavery, they believed the right to own slaves should be protected, just made rare and few, and treat slaves humanely.
- Extreme Democratic South, which said slavery is good and should be expanded into Western states. They tried to justify it by twisting Scriptures, citing that Abraham owned slaves but ignoring Jesus’ teaching to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Extreme Democrats, Speaker Howell Cobb and Senate President William King, pushed through the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 which put the slavery issue squarely in the face of the anti-slavery North, whereas before it had become an out-of-sight and out-of-mind issue occurring on Southern plantations.
The Fugitive Slave Law imposed severe penalties on those who aided escaped slaves with food or shelter in their passage to freedom in Michigan or Canada.
It also made it a crime to interfere with the slave catchers’ recovery of runaway slaves.
A person could be held criminally liable, fined $1000 and imprisoned for six months if they failed to report a neighbor suspected of helping slaves.
The Fugitive Slave Law mandate intensified sectional animosity, provoking the Civil War by requiring citizens who are against slavery to violate their consciences and take part in it.
It was one thing for Northerners to be apathetic toward pro-choice Democrats enslaving people in the South, but it was quite another thing for them to be forced by a federal mandate to dip their hands in the blood of the crime and participate in enforcing slavery.
Congress made the situation worse in 1854 by passing Democratic Sen. Stephen Douglas’ Kansas-Nebraska Bill, which let inhabitants in the territories have the freedom of choice to decide if they wanted to own slaves.
It prescribed “dividing the land into two territories, Kansas and Nebraska, and leaving the question of slavery to be decided by the settlers.” Instead of gradually diminishing, as many founders had hoped, slavery was now expanding.
On March 6, 1857 the Supreme Court, with 7 of the 9 justices being Democrats, rendered the Dred Scott decision.
Hoping to settle the slavery issue once and for all, their efforts to avoid a civil war began one.
Dred Scott was a slave who had been taken by his master to Illinois and Wisconsin, but, as he was not allowed to learn to read, he was unaware that those territories forbade slavery.
When he returned to Missouri, Scott sued for freedom with the help of abolitionist friends, such as Henry Blow, a Republican congressman whose wife started the first kindergarten in the United States.
Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney, appointed by Democrat President Andrew Jackson, rendered the decision that Dred Scott was not a citizen, but property that belonged to his owner, writing that slaves were “so far inferior … that the Negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for their own benefit.”
Leaders rose up in churches, media and politics. Republican President Lincoln said on March 17, 1865, “Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.”
Some states defied the federal government’s Fugitive Slave Law mandate by passing “personal liberty laws,” effectively nullifying it. Communities insisted on jury trials before alleged fugitive slaves could be taken away by federal authorities. Some juries refused to convict those indicted.
Other communities forbade local law enforcement officials from using their jails to hold the accused.
To settle the legality of President Lincoln’s Proclamation, the 13th Amendment was passed officially ending slavery.
Every Republican in the House (86) and Senate (30) voted for it, joined by a few Democrats in the Senate (4) and House (15).
With all this history, it’s long past time to ban the Democrat Party and its symbols since it’s still in the business of enslaving people.