by Al Benson Jr.
Awhile back, I received an email from a conservative activist who was busily urging people to try to get the Republican Party "back to its conservative roots." My initial thought was--what conservative roots? Anyone who had done any research as to the origins of the Republican Party and is not wearing blinders has got to realize that the Republican Party in this country had radical, leftist beginnings, hardly to be considered conservative by any stretch of the imagination.
Back in early 2008, author, columnist and researcher Alan Stang (since deceased) did a review of Donnie Kennedy's and my book Lincoln's Marxists. The title of his article was The Republican Party--Red From the Start. I thought his title was quite appropriate. My Stang understood what many conservatives do not seem to grasp, that the Republican Party was really leftist in its origins. While I sincerely appreciate the sincerity and intent of many conservatives, I feel they have got to begin to do the homework and wake up and realize what the Republican Party really is.
For years I've been getting mail urging me to vote Republican so as to fight against the "liberal Democrats." The people that promote and send this stuff out must think we are all stupid enough to actually think that all Republicans are conservative and all Democrats are liberal. What about fighting against liberal Republicans that are really no different than liberal Democrats? Ahh, we aren't even supposed to know enough to ask that question, are we?
So let's take a brief look at the "conservative" roots of the Republican Party. When the Republican Party ran its first presidential candidate, John C. Fremont, back in 1856, Fremont had the backing of several men who were socialist refugees from the failed socialist/communist revolts in Europe in 1848; (they were known as "Forty-Eighters). One of the most well known of these was Friedrich Hassaurek, an Austrian socialist, who stumped the Midwest in Fremont's behalf. It did little good at that point, as Fremont was beaten. However, it is worth noting that when the War (of Northern Aggression) broke out in 1861, General Fremont ended up with a goodly number of these Forty-Eighter socialists and communists on his military staff while the war was in progress. The Forty-Eighter socialists seem to have flocked to Fremont. What did they know about the august General that our "history" books have not bothered to reveal to us?
Although Fremont was beaten in 1856, the socialists and communists were nothing if not patient. In 1860 they found another candidate worthy of their leftist support--Abraham Lincoln. So, in the presidential campaign of 1860, the Forty-Eighters all came out for Lincoln. Carl Wittke, author of Refugees of Revolution noted that: "Lincoln was fully aware of the political influence of the Forty-Eighters in the campaign of 1860, in persuading many of their countrymen to desert the Democratic allegiance for the Republicans..." It appears that the Forty-Eighters had quite a bit of influence in the Republican Convention in 1860--even helping to write parts of the party's platform. So much for "conservatism" at the Republican roots!
Establishment historian, James McPherson, told us in his book Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution that Mr. Lincoln had championed the cause of the socialists and communists in Europe in 1848. You can find the quote about that on pages 24 and 25 of McPherson's book. So why, then, would Lincoln not embrace their unstinting support for his presidential aspirations in 1860? One can, quite accurately, label this whole scenario The Red Roots of the Republican Party.
If socialists and communists supported Fremont in 1856 and Lincoln in 1860 and 1864, we can hardly label the beginnings of the Republican Party as "conservative" now, can we? The roots of the Republican Party were anything but conservative. At best, they might be considered deep pink. Our decent, patriotic folks in this country need to start becoming aware of this so they will not be guilty of trying to take us back to Republican "conservative" roots that do not, and never did, exist.
It is true that the Republican Party did take a more conservative tack in the late 1940s and 50s, and even through the early 60s, but only out of political necessity; it hardly reflects the foundation and origins of the GOP.
It is worth noting that, in 1860, the Democrats were the real conservatives, while the Republicans were the left-leaning radicals. People today should know the difference--and the real history. The fact that most don't, reveals the lack of depth in what most of us received in government schools that passed for education. Sadly, what most of us received was little more than leftist propaganda.