Kevin M. Kruse @KevinMKruse Historian. Author/editor of White Flight; The New Suburban History; Spaces of the Modern City; Fog of War; One Nation Under God; Fault Lines. Feb. 02, 2019 1 min read

As someone who teaches US History in school, it looks like you slept through a lot of the later classes in the semester.

Yes, Republicans are a reason slavery was abolished, though one of many.

Abolitionists and African-Americans themselves deserve some credit too, but politically speaking, yes, the Republicans were key. This is sort of a major theme in courses on the Civil War.

But the suggestion that it was the GOP who "passed civil rights legislation" is ludicrous if we're talking about the landmark laws of the 1960s.


Yes, yes, A Higher Percentage of Republicans Voted For the Civil Rights Act™

But "Republicans have ALWAYS cared" about civil rights legislation?

Well, you had this much right: 🙄

In 1964, GOP presidential candidate Barry Goldwater -- whose vote against the Civil Rights Act that summer drew white southerners to the GOP -- urged the party to "go hunting where the ducks are" and pursue the vote of disaffected white Democrats in the South.

When he became president in 1969, Nixon told the nation he'd pursue no new civil rights laws; moreover, in 1970, his attorney general testified before Congress to argue that the Voting Rights Act of 1965 didn't need to be renewed.

Nixon aides called the policy "benign neglect"

Look, we could go on here in this vein, but I'm afraid @KatrinaPierson would just fall asleep again.

It's odd for a historian to say this, but it's not just that this history of the civil rights era doesn't resemble the myths she's advancing, but that it's also a bit irrelevant.

Forget 1865 or 1965, what's going on right now?

Which party is working to expand voting rights, and which is fighting that?

Which party backs BLM protests, and which one doesn't?

Which party is working to tear down Confederate memorials, and which is fighting to keep them up?

The past certainly matters, but given how much the parties have changed over the last 150 years, the present is much more relevant to this discussion.

In closing, I'll invite more hate mail from PBR fans:

You can follow @KevinMKruse.


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