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Current time:0:00Total duration:11:27

Video transcript

hey Kim hi David so with the Republican National Convention coming up in just a couple of weeks as we're recording this you thought it would be like a really good idea to sit down and examine the history of the Republican Party so what's what's going on in the country in 1854 that leads to this party forming well there are growing discussions over slavery and whether slavery should expand to the west now all throughout the 19th century the citizens of the United States had been kind of compromising on the issue of slavery first they had a line between North and South said only slave states could be below this line now the kansas-nebraska act overturns that compromise the kansas-nebraska Act which says that the citizens of a territory when applying for statehood can themselves decide whether or not that state should have slavery so even though Kansas and Nebraska are north of this parallel in Missouri above which slavery couldn't exist this new law kind of overturns that that agreement exactly so a number of US citizens who are anti-slavery which means that they don't want slavery to spread into western territories mainly because they want those territories free for white farmers to not have to compete with wealthy slaveholders who have free labor to farm and ship their goods and sell their crops what about people that hate slavery and think it's immoral and want to abolish it those people are called abolitionists that's a convenient name yes and the abolitionists really before the 1850s they were kind of considered the lunatic fringe only those sorts of people would imagine that you would want to end slavery right now everywhere that exists in the United States so they don't want to just not have slavery out in the West they want slavery to be ended where it exists already in the South right so those who believed in abolition those who believed in anti-slavery went to a new party the Republican Party so even in within the Republican Party abolitionism was still on the the fringe of the party plank yeah I would say so so the new Republican Party which really comes out to an extremely strong start they run their first candidate in 1856 he gets second place in national election which is amazing but their second candidate for president is Abraham Lincoln and Lincoln himself is actually kind of considered a moderate because he is anti-slavery he's not an abolitionist but nonetheless the South perceives Lincoln to be an abolitionist and white Southerners revolt and start the Civil War so because he's perceived as an abolitionist because he is a Republican that's why South Carolina secedes exactly so the Civil War in Sue's this is a four year long battle six hundred and twenty thousand Americans die and at the end of the day the north the United States of America led by the Republican Party is victorious so the victory of the United States in the Civil War kind of assures dominion of the Republican Party for a generation right yeah I would say even more than that so for the rest of the 19th century and really into the early 20th century the Republican Party is the stronger political party in the United States so from the end of the end of the Civil War from 1865 until about when would you say let's say the Great Depression so it's it's an almost unbroken string of Republican presidency yeah there are only three Democratic presidents in this time period so it's 72 years of pretty much uninterrupted Republican rule and the Republican Party is the party of anti-slavery during the Civil War they're the party of the Emancipation Proclamation under Lincoln so it's during their rule that the 13th amendment abolishing slavery is past the 14th amendment which guarantees equal citizenship to African Americans is passed and the 15th amendment guaranteeing the right to vote for African Americans is passed so in the period immediately following the Civil War called reconstructions when we see the election of some of the first African American senators and representatives to the Congress exactly so during this time period quite a few African American men were are elected to US Congress and many more served in appointed roles like postmaster so this is when we get the election of Senator Hiram revels from Mississippi exactly so Hiram revels was one of the first two african-american senators so after the Civil War the Republican Party was really kind of this party of the Gilded Age they believed in modernizing the infrastructure of the United States they build lots of railroads they enacted policies that would protect American business and it's really in this early period of the turn of the century that the Republican Party becomes associated with protections of business there does that is that what the elephants about ah kind of yes so the elephant was popularized in an 1870 cartoon by Thomas Nast what the same guy that gave us Santa Claus right yes and and Nast depicted the Republican Party as an elephant because it was a party of strength right a really big consequential party that's so fascinating to have gone from this like insurgency party to this like to being perceived as the elephant of electoral politics in 30 years yeah it's amazing unfortunately it kind of all comes crashing down with the Great Depression sure so the pro-business policies the lack of regulation in the 1920s leads to the stock market crash of 1929 and it was a Republican President Herbert Hoover who was in the presidency at the time of the crash and so in 1932 Democrat Franklin Roosevelt is elected president and the following 40 years more or less are going to be the time of Democratic ascendancy but in the meantime there is one notable Republican president I like like you like everybody like for president so we're recording one of Ike's campaign commercials who's Ike Kim and Ike was General Dwight Eisenhower who was a world war ii hero he was so popular he would have been elected had his could have been from the martian party right yes any party except the communist party would have propelled eisenhower to the presidency yes exactly and you're right that one of the you know key themes of this time period was anti-communism and both republicans and democrats had an anti-communist bent but eisenhower was elected in 1952 and he was really the first president to use commercial spots to get elected he had these cute little jingles that were very memorable and he really used medium of television well so he's kind of the the father of TV ads yeah it's interesting because I think we think of Kennedy as being the first television president but I would I think we could both make the claim that it's it's really Eisenhower that is a great point so Eisenhower is kind of a Republican moment in a much larger Democratic era and this is the era when the civil rights movement happens this is the era of the Great Society programs which were Lyndon Johnson's programs to try to attack poverty and New Deal programs so this is really the birth of the welfare state so in this time period the Republicans begin to experience a demographic shift so first they had been the party that was most known for representing african-americans because they were the party of Lincoln but during the New Deal when most people really needed economic help the African American constituency moved over to the Democrats they actually had a campaign saying to African Americans turn your picture of Abraham Lincoln to the wall so that he can't see you change parties but this is really the time period when the Democratic Party begins to pick up the votes of African Americans and so over the course of the 1930s through the 1960s as the Democratic Party begins to advocate bigger and bigger government a larger welfare state and more and more social progress the Republicans develop a conservative response to that and in the 1970s and 1980s in the aftermath of the civil rights movement many whites in the South felt that the social chaos of the civil rights movement had gone too far and so they left the Democratic Party which had been traditionally a party in the south and joined the Republican Party which was presenting a more conservative face toward social change and so in the 1980s this new conservative movement really came together in the person of Ronald Reagan and Ronald Reagan brought together a number of constituencies he brought together business interests who wanted less government regulation of business he also brought together Christian evangelicals who wanted a more conservative social value program in government and he also brought together anti-communists who felt that the Democratic presidents had been too soft on communism during their tenure so this is interesting to me because it seems to be around the era of Reagan that we start to see the beginnings of ideological polarization within the parties I would say that's kind of been around since the beginning more or less you know the two original political parties in the United States the Federalists and the anti-federalists or the Democratic Republicans this is the party led by Thomas Jefferson versus the party led by Alexander Hamilton you know they had this same idea of the sort of large central government versus the small central government in many ways we're still debating the same issues that Hamilton and Jefferson were debating in 1800 so okay so we're seeing this conservative coalition coalesce around the election of Reagan and his election was like a sweep right yes yeah he deregulates a lot of industries um he defends conservative social family values like prayer in school for example and he takes a very hard line against communism and george w bush who was the most recent looking president had a fairly similar agenda although less emphasis on anti-communism and instead an emphasis on anti-terrorism so we're seeing the shift over the last 150 years of party priorities for the Republicans as the country changes and as its demographics change and we'll find out how the story of the Republican Party continues in this election