Always on the Wrong Side of History: A Look at Many of the Constitutional Rights Conservatives Have Opposed

confederate-flag-southRarely does a day go by where I don’t have some sort of interaction with a conservative proclaiming that they, and the Republican party, are the ones fighting for a Constitutional America. Unfortunately for them, that’s a claim that our nation’s history soundly disputes.

When it comes to “patriotism,” conservatives seem to believe that they’re the only true patriots. You know, because us liberals clearly hate America and our Constitution. Even though looking back throughout our history, liberals are almost always on the right side of it – which is something conservatives can’t say.

But I must make one point very clear – when I say “conservatives,” I mean conservatives. Republicans haven’t always been conservatives. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1950’s and 60’s when the Republican party decided to embrace the South’s blatant racism, hoping to lure white voters to their side, that the GOP become the “party of Southern conservatives.” Because, as we all know, conservatives love to point out that Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and he was a Republican.

That’s true, but he wasn’t a conservative.

It’s as if conservatives willfully ignore the fact that the states which fought with the South during the Civil War are also the states that opposed integration, voting rights and the Civil Rights Act – and now almost every single one of them is strongly Republican.

Clearly the party has changed quite a bit since the days of Abraham Lincoln. In fact, if you go along our nation’s history and look at the evolution of the Republican party, as Democrats moved away from racism and bigotry, Republicans were more than willing to swoop right in there and carry that torch. It’s the same ignorance and intolerance we’ve seen for generations; the parties just switched. The South didn’t magically “evolve,” and for many of them to deny the indisputable facts proving this massive shift in political ideologies within the last century only prove their ignorance (or flat-out denial) of reality.

But let’s take a moment and look at a few of the freedoms Southern conservatives (modern day Republicans) have opposed throughout our nation’s history:

Freeing the slaves
Allowing women to vote
Interracial marriage
The Civil Rights Act
The Voting Rights Act
Women’s rights
Same-sex marriage

That’s quite the list of ignorance, bigotry and racism.

History shows it hasn’t mattered if it’s 1860, 1960 or 2014, states like Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia and South Carolina all opposed (or currently oppose in the case of ongoing battles on women’s rights and same-sex marriage) every single one of those fights for freedom listed above. And “shockingly” every single one of those states is strongly Republican.

And one of the saddest aspects is, on almost every single one of those issues conservatives used their religion as a defense for their ignorance.

So, the next time you come across a conservative family member or friend and engage them in some kind of political debate, I suggest you reference this article to showcase just how ignorant conservative ideology has been throughout American history. Because looking back, conservatives are almost always on the wrong side of history.


Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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