Good evening to you. I hope this finds you in good health as you visit here…..sigh. This picture says a lot doesn’t it. How can they be so happy about something that if approved, could cause hardship for so many Americans? Who do the people in this picture serve?! Do they even know anymore?! I even read that Rep. Chris Collins voted for this latest measure to repeal Obamacare but didn’t even bother to read it before he voted for it! (http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/04/politics/chris-collins-gop-health-care-bill-cnntv/index.html) – you have one job! DO YOUR JOB! Is this indicative of what’s going on in our government? People just coasting along and not paying attention to what is going on?! Scary and embarrassing stuff that!!
So after I heard about this latest deal out of Washington, I went out and did a drawing and the phrase, “A House Divided” came to me and also the phrase, “Pride Cometh Before The Fall.” In looking for the source of those words tonight I was lead to Republican President Abraham Lincoln and the Bible.
A lot of people don’t realize that the party platform of today’s Democrats used to belong to the Republican party and vise versa.
Why Did the Democratic and Republican Parties Switch Platforms?
By| September 24, 2012 01:39pm ET
During the 1860s, Republicans, who dominated northern states, orchestrated an ambitious expansion of federal power, helping to fund the transcontinental railroad, the state university system and the settlement of the West by homesteaders, and instating a national currency and protective tariff. Democrats, who dominated the South, opposed these measures. After the Civil War, Republicans passed laws that granted protections for African Americans and advanced social justice; again, Democrats largely opposed these expansions of power.
Sound like an alternate universe? Fast forward to 1936. Democratic president Franklin Roosevelt won reelection that year on the strength of the New Deal, a set of Depression-remedying reforms including regulation of financial institutions, founding of welfare and pension programs, infrastructure development and more. Roosevelt won in a landslide against Republican Alf Landon, who opposed these exercises of federal power.
Eric Rauchway, professor of American history at the University of California, Davis, pins the transition to the turn of the 20th century, when a highly influential Democrat named William Jennings Bryan blurred party lines by emphasizing the government’s role in ensuring social justice through expansions of federal power — traditionally, a Republican stance. [How Have Tax Rates Changed Over Time?]
But why did Bryan and other turn-of-the-century Democrats start advocating for big government? According to Rauchway, they, like Republicans, were trying to win the West. The admission of new western states to the union in the post-Civil War era created a new voting bloc, and both parties were vying for its attention.
Democrats seized upon a way of ingratiating themselves to western voters: Republican federal expansions in the 1860s and 1870s had turned out favorable to big businesses based in the northeast, such as banks, railroads and manufacturers, while small-time farmers like those who had gone west received very little. Both parties tried to exploit the discontent this generated, by promising the little guy some of the federal largesse that had hitherto gone to the business sector. From this point on, Democrats stuck with this stance — favoring federally funded social programs and benefits — while Republicans were gradually driven to the counterposition of hands-off government.
From a business perspective, Rauchway pointed out, the loyalties of the parties did not really switch. “Although the rhetoric and to a degree the policies of the parties do switch places,” he wrote, “their core supporters don’t — which is to say, the Republicans remain, throughout, the party of bigger businesses; it’s just that in the earlier era bigger businesses want bigger government and in the later era they don’t.”
In other words, earlier on, businesses needed things that only a bigger government could provide, such as infrastructure development, a currency and tariffs. Once these things were in place, a small, hands-off government became better for business.
Lincoln’s House Divided Speech
The House Divided Speech was an address given by Abraham Lincoln (who would later become President of the United States) on June 16, 1858, at what was then the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, upon accepting the Illinois Republican Party‘s nomination as that state’s United States senator. The speech became the launching point for his unsuccessful campaign for the Senate seat held by Stephen A. Douglas; this campaign would climax with the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858.
Lincoln’s remarks in Springfield created an image of the danger of slavery-based disunion, and it rallied Republicans across the North. Along with the Gettysburg Address and his second inaugural address, this became one of the best-known speeches of his career.
The best-known passage of the speech is:
A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South.
Lincoln’s goals with this speech were, firstly, to differentiate himself from Douglas, the incumbent; and secondly, to publicly voice a prophecy for the future. Douglas had long advocated popular sovereignty, under which the settlers in each new territory decided their own status as a slave or free state; he had repeatedly asserted that the proper application of popular sovereignty would end slavery-induced conflict, and would allow northern and southern states to resume their peaceful coexistence. Lincoln, however, responded that the Dred Scott decision had closed the door on Douglas’s preferred option and left the Union with only two remaining outcomes: the United States would inevitably become either all slave, or all free. Now that the North and the South had come to hold distinct opinions in the question of slavery, and now that this issue had come to permeate every other political question, the time would soon come when the Union would no longer be able to function.
This phrase has been going through my head a lot since inauguration:
18Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.