Meade wrote:But the 13th Amendment is also in the constitution. Who passed the 13th Amendment? Not the Democrat Party.
And Article 1, Section 2 Clause 3 of the constitution time-limited the importation of slaves. As soon as the date arrived, January 1, 1808 - as per the constitution - Congress passed a law outlawing the slave trade.
Of course, it was members of the Democrat Party, in 1850, who moved, with all deliberate speed, to pass the Fugitive Slave Law, requiring non slave states to capture, jail, and return escaped slaves to their slave state owners. Thanks to Wisconsin's newly formed political party, the GOP, in 1854, the Wisconsin Supreme Court declared the Fugitive Slave Act unconstitutional - to the dismay of many in the Wisconsin Democrat Party.
This is all quite true, as far as it goes. It does contain the interesting phrase "with all deliberate speed" which I assume is a reference to 1954 Brown v Board which contains the same phrase. Besides being an anachronism I'm not sure the point unless some sort of awkwardly implied criticism of the Brown ruling.
But repeating the point from my last post, Meade is apparently suggesting that these events - the GOP's role passing the 13th (not to mention 14th and 15th) Amendment, and the Dem's opposition to the same - is somehow relevant in relation to the US party system as it exist in 2012.
Perhaps it does, to a degree. There's nothing wrong with an institution claiming credit for notable accomplishments in the past - even if the passage of time has transpired to change that institution. So, it's fair for the GOP to claim some credit in advancing the issue of abolition and civil rights in the early years of emancipation.
But, of course, some historical water has passed under the bridge since then. US political parties realign every so often. Sometimes these realignments are quite considerable - such as in the 1960s after LBJ supported the Civil Rights Act 1964 and began enforcing desegregation in the South. The result was a major geographic realignment - with the South largely abandoning the Democrats and by the 1970s (for sure by 1980) squarely at home in the GOP.
So - I repeat - both the GOP (in the 1860s) and the Democrats (in the 1960s) in turns supported civil rights and both the GOP (in the 1960s) and the Democrats (in the 1850s-1930s) in turns supported segregation. The only consistency here is that the seat of slavery, segregation, etc, was, geographically, the South (although not exclusively).
So, BOTH parties can justifiably claim a portion of the legacy of civil rights - and both have to live down their turns opposing civil rights.