How the Republican Party went from Lincoln to Trump


Today’s Republican Party opposes big government.
It’s culturally conservative. Its demographic support is strongest among white voters, and
it usually dominates elections in the South. And its 2016 presidential nominee has been
heavily criticized for inciting racial tensions. But things weren’t always this way.
Yet over the past 160 or so years, the party has undergone a remarkable transformation
from the party of Abraham Lincoln… to the party of Donald Trump. And to understand how the GOP got the way
it is today, you have to go back to when it first came into existence — in 1854, just
7 years before the Civil War. There are two parties at this point, the Whigs
and the Democrats. America is quickly expanding westward and there’s an intense debate over
whether the new states should permit slavery The Democratic Party, with strong support
in the South, has become increasingly pro-slavery. But the Whigs are divided on the issue. Their
northern supporters are really afraid that the growing number of slave states would have
too much political influence, which they feared could hurt free white workers economically
So In 1854, the country is debating whether or not the new states Kansas and Nebraska
will allow slavery. The can’t agree and the party ends up collapsing. The former whigs
in the north form a new party that will fight against letting slavery expand further; they
call it the Republican Party. By 1860 the Republican Party become increasingly
powerful in the North, enough so that a little known Republican named Abraham Lincoln wins
the presidency. Even though Lincoln promises he won’t interfere
with slavery in the states that already have it, he and his party are still too anti-slavery
for the South to tolerate. So 11 Southern states secede from the Union, forming the
Confederate States of America. The Northern states decide to fight to keep the Union together,
and the Civil War ensues. The result is a Northern victory and the abolition of slavery
nationwide. After the war, Republicans begin fighting
to ensure freedmen in the South have rights. A year after Lincoln’s assassination, the
party passes the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which said black citizens have the same rights
as whites. They fight to make sure that black men have the right to vote, with new laws
and constitutional amendments. But something had happened during the civil
war that began changing the young Republican Party. Government spending during the war
made many northern businessmen really rich. Gradually, these wealthy financiers and industrialists
start taking more and more of a leading role in the Republican Party. They want to hold
on to power, and they don’t think that fighting for black rights in a mostly white country
is the best way to do that. Meanwhile, the South is resisting these new
racial reforms, often violently. And most white Republican voters and leaders now feel
that they’ve done enough for Black citizens in the South, and that it was time to emphasize
other issues. So in the 1870s, the party basically gives up on reforming the South, deciding
instead to leave it to its own devices, even if that meant black citizens were oppressed
and deprived of their new right to vote, and the region was politically dominated by white
Democrats. Fast-forward to the new century. By the 1920s,
the Republican Party has become, essentially, the party of big business. This works out
quite well for them when the economy was booming, but not so well when the economy crashes in
1929 and the Great Depression begins. Franklin D. Roosevelt and other Democrats
are swept into power, and begin dramatically expanding the size and role of the federal
government, in an attempt to fight the Depression and better provide for Americans. Republicans
oppose this rapid expansion, defining themselves as opposition to bigger government, an identity
that the party still holds today. Then, going into the 50s and 60s, race and
the South return to the forefront of national politics, with the civil rights movement attempting
to end segregation and ensure blacks truly had the right to vote.
Civil rights isn’t purely a partisan issue, it’s more of a regional issue with northerners
from both parties supporting it and southerners from both parties opposing. Then 1964, it’s
Democratic president Lyndon Johnson who signs the Civil Rights Act into law. And it’s
Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater who opposes it, arguing that it expands government
power too much. A massive switch-up takes place. Black voters,
many of whom had already been shifting from Republicans, convert almost entirely to their
new advocates, the Democrats. And white voters in the South, who had been staunch Democrats,
start to really resent “big government” interference here and in other matters, like
abortion rights and school prayer. Over the next three decades, whites in the South switch
to the GOP, which makes the South an overwhelmingly Republican region. By the 80s, the party begins
to resemble the GOP we are familiar with today. Republicans elect Ronald Reagan, who promises
to fight for, business interests, lower taxes, and traditional family values. Then, as the 21st century begins, America
is going through a major demographic shift in the form of Hispanic immigration, both
legal and illegal. Democrats and business elites tend to support
reforming immigration laws so that over 10 million unauthorized immigrants in the US
would get legal status. But “tough on immigration” policies and rhetoric become popular on the
Republican right. Then, when Mitt Romney loses his bid for the
presidency in 2012, he gets blown out among Hispanic voters — exit polls showed that
71% of them backed Barack Obama. And the Republican Party starts to look more like a party for
white voters in an increasingly nonwhite country. Given demographic trends, Republican leaders
worry that if they keep losing Hispanic voters by that much, they’ll lose their chances
of winning the presidency. So in 2013, some key Republicans in the Senate — including
rising star Marco Rubio — collaborate with Democrats on an immigration reform bill that
would give unauthorized immigrants a path to legal status. But there’s a huge backlash from the Republican
party’s predominantly white base, which views the bill as “amnesty” for immigrants
who broke the rules. This exacerbates GOP voters’ mistrust of their own party’s
leaders, which had already been growing. And that makes the political landscape of
2015 is fertile ground for a figure like Donald Trump, an outsider businessman who wants to
build a wall on the border with Mexico. Trump isn’t a traditional conservative, but he
appealed to Republican primary voters’ resentment and mistrust of party elites, as well as their
strong opposition to growing immigration trends. And even though he was loathed by party leaders,
he won enough support in the primaries to become the GOP nominee for president. Now, the Republican party is once again at
a major crossroads as it tries to meet the political challenges of the 21st century.
It’s possible that the turn toward Trump and his ideas this year will be remembered
as an aberration, and that a new generation of Republican politicians will find a way
to be more than just the party of white resentment — rediscovering their roots as the party
of Lincoln. But it’s also possible that Trump is just the beginning, and that the
party will increasingly play to white voters by appealing to racial tensions. It’s up
to Republican voters and leaders to decide just what they want their party to be.

100 thoughts on “How the Republican Party went from Lincoln to Trump

  1. Nice try to spin at the democrats have always been the clan and voted against civil rights in the 1,960s

  2. The democrats clearly used African Americans they wouldn't even vote for civil rights back in the 60s.Good try VOX.Keep lies going

  3. the switch of black democrats voting democrat here is completely wrong black people have started voting democrats since the 20s and white southerners have already started voting republican since the 50s

  4. Most presidents b4 Trump were promising the exact same things. Just in a less abrasive way. This video is a fabrication of the truth.

  5. I don't know nothin else,
    But Lincoln ma Man was a real Great Man,

    Who stood for Equality, and was Killed that way

  6. Vox: The Republicans oppose the civil rights act and are racist! Their base is mostly white people!
    2016 election demographics:
    39 percent of white people voted for Hillary Clinton and 54 percent voted for Trump.
    Very large white base, I see.

  7. I may just be nitpicking at this point but when he said that “in 1854 there were only two parties: whigs and Democrats”, that’s not really true. There existed many prominent parties besides the whigs that all joined together to form the Republican Party. Most notably were: The Liberty Party (the party that housed many radical abolitionists), Free-Soilers (those who opposed slavery in the southwest territories. They were anti-slavery but also anti-black. Fun fact: Abraham Lincoln was actually a free-soiler.), the Know-Nothing Party (anti-immigrant party) and of course the Whigs. All four of these major parties came together to form the Republican Party. That is why the party had such wide support in the North, because it was a balanced mixture of many different popular Northern parties.

  8. It should be noted here that a major influence on anti-immigrant sentiment in the GOP was the white supremacist John Tanton, who organized the group FAIR (Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform). Tanton expressed that he wanted zero immigration and stated in an infamous memo that he would get people to turn against immigrants by portraying them as criminals. FAIR was successful in spreading its poisonous message, appearing on news programs as "experts" on immigration, and its white supremacist views can be heard echoed by unthinking, ill-informed Americans to this day.

  9. trump just kinda speaks his mind, sees a problem, and throws out ideas. Some are pretty good, some are pretty awful, we need to take them all and polish them up

  10. 4:16 so basically the Democratic Party wanted more votes, so they pretended to care about black rights.

    Got it.

  11. How did the Democratic Party go from slavery and Jim Crow, to acting like they care about black people.

  12. Does this mean that a century from now, American conservatives will troll liberals with anti-Republican comments?
    "Hey libs, it was you Republicans who imposed those travel bans!"
    "Hey lefttard! Remind me again which party wanted to 'Build that wall!'?"
    "Hey proglodytes! Remember when you Republicans defended all those Confederate monuments?"

  13. What about the election of 1876. Wasn't that one of the main reasons in which reconstruction era was ended.

  14. Interesting tidbit I think should have been expanded upon: Republicans got big business support after so much government spending during Reconstruction made their industries larger. So those same industry leaders gained power in government and created a platform of reduced government spending. Ironic? That seems like the main switch for me.

  15. Considering the obvious time constraints and inevitable biases, this was a surprising well-balanced presentation. A bit more emphasis on politics/personalities might have helped but would impractical.

  16. They’re missing a lot of facts in this. Dressing this up to support the Democratic Party. Let’s talk about Eisenhower(R) and the racist democrats during Brown vs board of education one of the most important key moments in the civil rights movement. Let’s talk about Democrats overwhelmingly influencing Jim Crow law and Segregation. How about women suffrage movement? Republican votes as well as the brave citizens that stood behind them are the only reason we have the equality we have today. This “party switch” myth is BS.

  17. You have cherry picked history skipping over parts of history that disprove your basic premise, while tweaking historical fact with revisionism. If the "big switch" had actually happened then all of the 150 plus dixiecrats would have switched to the Republican party. But when you look at each of the 150 plus dixiecrats you find that two, yes just two, became republicans. It only takes a look at the documents and news from the time to see how false this video is. Yes LBJ did put forward the bills of JFK that created the reforms in the laws of the land concerning race, but the Democrat party fought LBJ and those bills only became law because of the support of the Republican party. In the United States of the 21st century the Democrat party has even doubled down on viewing everything through "race colored glasses." The dream of Dr. King for his children to be judged by the content of their character & not the color of their skin, is an idea the Democrat party will never follow.

  18. I hate how they tried to give immigrants a way to become full-on citizens, and they got mad at it. Then they would assimilate, then they would (most already do) pay taxes, then they would be officially legal. Just goes to show it's a hate issue, not a political issue.

  19. I like to recall this parable when I think about change.
    A mouse is in an urn half filled with rice. The mouse is still able to jump out of the urn. Instead it decides to stay in the urn and feast on the rice grains. Gradually the level of the rice falls, until the mouse can no longer jump out the urn. While there is still enough rice to last for a while, it is now a lot harder for the mouse to avoid being trapped in the urn and starving to death.

  20. The democratic party is no better than the republican party, am being impartial here, the moment the us gov signed the free trade agreement and sent millions of jobs overseas leaving america with mostly services jobs, you as political parties started to dig your own graves and not just that, the future of the american worker as well, poverty is so widespread nowdays i can only imagine what the next generation will have to deal with.

  21. Some people say the switch happened with Nixon and you said it happened with Johnson. Which one is it 🤣🤣? It sounds like this "switch" is make believe because the south remained majority democrats up until the late 80s early 90s. At least, that's what the numbers in Congress shows us. If the majority of southern congressmen were Democrat, that means the majority of people voted Democrat.

  22. Sadly if folks would learn some history Lincoln wasnt the biggest supporter for blacks as noted in his early debates.. He only freed slaves out of fear Europe was about to enter the Civil War and side with the south.

  23. man, I haven't seen the Democrats this angry since we took their slaves. have I also mentioned the first Republican president ended slavery, but also at the same time orchestrated one of the worst wars on U.S. soil? if you want to criticize a president, criticize Abraham Lincoln. I do believe he was important for the freedom of slaves but he killed many American soldiers and citizens for reasons that really didn't matter in the long run. Slavery would've been outlawed anyways, as there were countries that outlawed it before America even thought about it.

  24. How the Democrat party went from creating the Ku Klux Klan to hating all whites and killing political opponents.

  25. Remember LBJ’s statement during the civil rights debate . He said to his cabinet “ if we pull this off we will have those n- – – – – s voting democrat for the next 200 years . LBJ was not really the black community’s friend . It was all about votes .

  26. Hahaha! VOX has no business speaking about a party they know NOTHING about. You can't explain your way out of a paper bag, you filthy Progressives.

  27. The Democrat Party was and is the party of slavery. If Lincoln would have ran today for president he would have been considered a white supremacist.

  28. Very interesting to find out the Democratic Party was the party which supported slavery. As a Canadian, I never knew that

  29. Today i can see very well,; that so called black people are safer and better off with Mr. President Trump than we were ever with Mr. President Lincoln. According, to real true history and not his story Mr. President 3 hated so-called black people

  30. The biggest myth out there concerning US politics is that modern republicans are racist because we want illegal immigration stopped.

  31. The most racist people (at least the ones open about it) I’ve seen in today’s society are overwhelmingly democrats.

  32. The Democrat Party is still the Party of racism and racial identity politics. Same formula, different groups of people.

  33. Democrats use to have republican values, and Republicans use to have Democrat values? Should have done a vid on both.

  34. sounds more like it was the Democrats switching from being pro-segregation to being pro-civil rights that was the reason for the big change — its not really because of the Republicans. But you didn't really say why the Democrats changed. Maybe it was because in the 1930s the Democrats (under FDR) became the party of ordinary working class people, since the Republicans were the Big Business party. If your party becomes pro-working class, then eventually it becomes pro-civil rights as well.

  35. I find it interesting how the democrats ignore their racist past by covering it up by, for example, voting the first black president into office

  36. Also, MLK was a Republican. And also disapproved of the civil rights bill! Don't get it twisted, there is a very big difference between actual civil rights and the civil rights bill!

  37. I like the Democratic Party, they have been lowering the quality of blacks since the beginning… I dont like trump, his helping them… blacks need to stay down…

  38. Talk about mis-informed, saying the Right is against immigration shows how out of touch and part of the lefts Media lies, we like Legal immigration, not illegal crossing and squatting. Get a life VOX

  39. when they say that republicans said they thought they helped them enough is incorrect. the republicans majority voted for the right to vote in 1870s and civil rights in the 60s

  40. Let me paraphrase this video the democrats are pro slavery and the Republicans are not. Had the democrats won the civil war, blacks would STILL BE SLAVES. WHY MY PEOPLE CHOSE THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY HAS ALWAYS BEEN A HEAD SCRATCHER FOR ME. I THINK IT'S A MATTER OF NOT KNOWING HISTORY AND LACK OF READING. THE SOUTHERN DEMOCRATS WERE ANTI- CIVIL RIGHTS, PRO SEGREGATION, CREATED JIM CROW LAWS, RAILROAD, VAGRANCY, BLACK LAWS(IF YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF THESE LAWS THEN YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO COMMENT ON THIS SUBJECT AND YOU ARE IGNORANT) DEMOCRATS DID NOT SWITCH TO REPUBLICAN ONLY 2 DEMOCRAT CONGRESSMAN SWITCHED 1)STROM THURMOND AND 2)ALBERT WATSON

  41. Abraham Lincoln wasn’t a liberal. There’s a difference between rights and just stupidness. Trump and Lincoln are in reality the same. They both want equal rights.

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