Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
The original targets of the Ku Klux Klan were Republicans, both black and white, according to a new television program and book, which describe how the Democrats started the KKK and for decades harassed the GOP with lynchings and threats.
An estimated 3,446 blacks and 1,297 whites died at the end of KKK ropes from 1882 to 1964.
“Of all forms of violent intimidation, lynchings were by far the most effective,” Barton said in his book. “Republicans often led the efforts to pass federal anti-lynching laws and their platforms consistently called for a ban on lynching. Democrats successfully blocked those bills and their platforms never did condemn lynchings.”
“Although it is relatively unreported today, historical documents are unequivocal that the Klan was established by Democrats and that the Klan played a prominent role in the Democratic Party,” Barton writes in his book. “In fact, a 13-volume set of congressional investigations from 1872 conclusively and irrefutably documents that fact.
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“Contributing to the evidences was the 1871 appearance before Congress of leading South Carolina Democrat E.W. Seibels who testified that ‘they [the Ku Klux Klan] belong to the reform part – [that is, to] our party, the Democratic Party,’” Barton writes.
“The Klan terrorized black Americans through murders and public floggings; relief was granted only if individuals promised not to vote for Republican tickets, and violation of this oath was punishable by death,” he said. “Since the Klan targeted Republicans in general, it did not limit its violence simply to black Republicans; white Republicans were also included.”
Barton told WND his comments are not a condemnation or endorsement of any party or candidate, but rather a warning that voters even today should be aware of what their parties and candidates stand for.
His book outlines the aggressive pro-slavery agenda held by the Democratic Party for generations leading up to the Civil War, and how that did not die with the Union victory in that war of rebellion.
Even as the South was being rebuilt, the votes in Congress consistently revealed a continuing pro-slavery philosophy on the part of the Democrats, the book reveals.
Three years after Appomattox, the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting blacks citizenship in the United States, came before Congress: 94 percent of Republicans endorsed it.
“The records of Congress reveal that not one Democrat – either in the House or the Senate – voted for the 14th Amendment,” Barton wrote. “Three years after the Civil War, and the Democrats from the North as well as the South were still refusing to recognize any rights of citizenship for black Americans.”
He also noted that South Carolina Gov. Wade Hampton at the 1868 Democratic National Convention inserted a clause in the party platform declaring the Congress’ civil rights laws were “unconstitutional, revolutionary, and void.”
It was the same convention when Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first grand wizard of the KKK, was honored for his leadership.
Barton’s book notes that in 1868, Congress heard testimony from election worker Robert Flournoy, who confessed while he was canvassing the state of Mississippi in support of the 13th and 14th Amendments, he could find only one black, in a population of 444,000 in the state, who admitted being a Democrat.
Nor is Barton the only person to raise such questions. In 2005, National Review published an article raising similar points. The publication said in 1957 President Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican, deployed the 82nd Airborne Division to desegregate the Little Rock, Ark., schools over the resistance of Democrat Gov. Orval Faubus.
Further, three years later, Eisenhower signed the GOP’s 1960 Civil Rights Act after it survived a five-day, five-hour filibuster by 18 Senate Democrats, and in 1964, Democrat President Lyndon Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act after former Klansman Robert Byrd’s 14-hour filibuster, and the votes of 22 other Senate Democrats, including Tennessee’s Al Gore Sr., failed to scuttle the plan.
Dems’ website showing jump in history
The current version of the “History” page on the party website lists a number of accomplishments – from 1792, 1798, 1800, 1808, 1812, 1816, 1824 and 1828, including its 1832 nomination of Andrew Jackson for president. It follows up with a name change, and the establishment of the Democratic National Committee, but then leaps over the Civil War and all of its issues to talk about the end of the 19th Century, William Jennings Bryan and women’s suffrage.
A spokesman with the Democrats refused to comment for WND on any of the issues. “You’re not going to get a comment,” said the spokesman who identified himself as Luis.
“Why would Democrats skip over their own history from 1848 to 1900?” Barton asked. “Perhaps because it’s not the kind of civil rights history they want to talk about – perhaps because it is not the kind of civil rights history they want to have on their website.”
The National Review article by Deroy Murdock cited the 1866 comment from Indiana Republican Gov. Oliver Morton condemning Democrats for their racism.
“Every one who shoots down Negroes in the streets, burns Negro schoolhouses and meeting-houses, and murders women and children by the light of their own flaming dwellings, calls himself a Democrat,” Morton said.
It also cited the 1856 criticism by U.S. Sen. Charles Sumner, R-Mass., of pro-slavery Democrats. “Congressman Preston Brooks (D-S.C.) responded by grabbing a stick and beating Sumner unconscious in the Senate chamber. Disabled, Sumner could not resume his duties for three years.”
By the admission of the Democrats themselves, on their website, it wasn’t until Harry Truman was elected that “Democrats began the fight to bring down the final barriers of race and gender.”
“That is an accurate description,” wrote Barton. “Starting with Harry Truman, Democrats began – that is, they made their first serious efforts – to fight against the barriers of race; yet … Truman’s efforts were largely unsuccessful because of his own Democratic Party.”
Even then, the opposition to rights for blacks was far from over. As recently as 1960, Mississippi Democratic Gov. Hugh White had requested Christian evangelist Billy Graham segregate his crusades, something Graham refused to do. “And when South Carolina Democratic Gov. George Timmerman learned Billy Graham had invited African Americans to a Reformation Rally at the state Capitol, he promptly denied use of the facilities to the evangelist,” Barton wrote.
The National Review noted that the Democrats’ “Klan-coddling” today is embodied in Byrd, who once wrote that, “The Klan is needed today as never before and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia.”
The article suggested a contrast with the GOP, which, when former Klansman David Duke ran for Louisiana governor in 1991 as a Republican, was “scorned” by national GOP officials.
Until 1935, every black federal legislator was Republican, and it was Republicans who appointed the first black Air Force and Army four-star generals, established Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a national holiday, and named the first black national-security adviser, secretary of state, the research reveals.
Current Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said: “The first Republican I knew was my father, and he is still the Republican I most admire. He joined our party because the Democrats in Jim Crow Alabama of 1952 would not register him to vote. The Republicans did. My father has never forgotten that day, and neither have I.”
Barton’s documentation said the first opponents of slavery “and the chief advocates for racial equal rights were the churches (the Quakers, Presbyterians, Methodists, etc.). Furthermore, religious leaders such as Quaker Anthony Benezet were the leading spokesmen against slavery, and evangelical leaders such as Presbyterian signer of the Declaration Benjamin Rush were the founders of the nation’s first abolition societies.”
During the years surrounding the Civil War, “the most obvious difference between the Republican and Democrat parties was their stands on slavery,” Barton said. Republicans called for its abolition, while Democrats declared: “All efforts of the abolitionists, or others, made to induce Congress to interfere with questions of slavery, or to take incipient [to initiate] steps in relation thereto, are calculated to lead to the most alarming and dangerous consequences, and all such efforts have the inevitable tendency to diminish the happiness of the people.”
Wallbuilders also cited John Alden’s 1885 book, “A Brief History of the Republican Party” in noting that the KKK’s early attacks were on Republicans as much as blacks, in that blacks were adopting the Republican identity en masse.
“In some places the Ku Klux Klan assaulted Republican officials in their houses or offices or upon the public roads; in others they attacked the meetings of negroes and displaced them,” Alden wrote. “Its ostensible purpose at first was to keep the blacks in order and prevent them from committing small depredations upon the property of whites, but its real motives were essentially political … The negroes were invariable required to promise not to vote the Republican ticket, and threatened with death if they broke their promises.”
Barton told WND the most cohesive group of political supporters in America now is African-Americans. He said most consider their affiliation with the Democratic party long term.
But he said he interviewed a black pastor in Mississippi who recalled his grandmother never “would let a Democrat in the house, and he never knew what she was talking about.” After a review of history, he knew, Barton said.
Citing President George Washington’s farewell address, Barton told WND, “Washington had a great section on the love of party, if you love party more than anything else, what it will do to a great nation.”
“We shouldn’t love a party [over] a candidate’s principles or values,” he told WND.
Washington’s farewell address noted the “danger” from parties is serious.
“Let me now … warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally. … The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism,” Washington said.
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