Democrats constantly claim to be the party of civil rights but that’s historically inaccurate. The truth is that Democrats have stood in the way of civil rights multiple times while Republicans have fought for them.
In the video below, Professor Carol Swain of Vanderbilt University puts it all in perspective.
Here’s a partial transcript:
The Inconvenient Truth About the Democratic Party
When you think about racial equality and civil rights, which political party comes to mind? The Republicans? Or, the Democrats? Most people would probably say the Democrats. But this answer is incorrect. Since its founding in 1829, the Democratic Party has fought against every major civil rights initiative, and has a long history of discrimination. The Democratic Party defended slavery, started the Civil War, opposed Reconstruction, founded the Ku Klux Klan, imposed segregation, perpetrated lynchings, and fought against the civil rights acts of the 1950s and 1960s. In contrast, the Republican Party was founded in 1854 as an anti-slavery party. Its mission was to stop the spread of slavery into the new western territories with the aim of abolishing it entirely.
This effort, however, was dealt a major blow by the Supreme Court. In the 1857 case Dred Scott v. Sandford, the court ruled that slaves aren’t citizens; they’re property. The seven justices who voted in favor of slavery? All Democrats. The two justices who dissented? Both Republicans.
The slavery question was, of course, ultimately resolved by a bloody civil war. The commander-in-chief during that war was the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln – the man who freed the slaves. Six days after the Confederate army surrendered, John Wilkes Booth, a Democrat, assassinated President Lincoln.
Lincoln’s vice president, a Democrat named Andrew Johnson, assumed the presidency. But Johnson adamantly opposed Lincoln’s plan to integrate the newly freed slaves into the South’s economic and social order. Johnson and the Democratic Party were unified in their opposition to the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery; the 14th Amendment, which gave blacks citizenship; and the 15th Amendment, which gave blacks the vote. All three passed only because of universal Republican support. During the era of Reconstruction, federal troops stationed in the south helped secure rights for the newly freed slaves. Hundreds of black men were elected to southern state legislatures as Republicans.