The Republicans began as a third party rooted into anti-slavery that ran its first presidential candidate in 1856 with General John C. Fremont of California.
The election of James Buchanan and a resultant do-nothing posture in the wake of national calamity, resulting in America’s most costly conflict in human terms - the Civil War - brought the fledgling Republican Party a golden opportunity to gain power in 1860.
A little known former congressman and lawyer from Springfield, Illinois, named Abraham Lincoln gained national stature by coming within an eyelash of defeating one of the nation’s powerful and best known senators, Stephen A. Douglas. The historic series of debates between the two candidates held throughout Illinois established the platform on which Lincoln’s presidential candidacy would hinge.
In order for the Republicans to move into a spot to challenge the nation’s oldest party, the Democrats, it was exceedingly helpful to benefit from the atrophy of the Whig Party.
In analyzing the factors in play from the first quarter of the nineteenth century to the Civil War period there are some notable similarities between the extinct Whigs and the party that catapulted to the presidency following their demise.
The Whigs were a natural outgrowth of the Federalist Party. John Adams was president during the bleak period of the Alien and Sedition Acts. His son John Quincy Adams became a Whig president supporting a national bank held by an entrenched monopoly.
What was the name of the second father and son executive combination? The name was Bush.
Another striking similarity also exists between the Adamses and Bushes.
In the 1824 election populist Democrat Andrew Jackson of Tennessee took deadly aim on the national bank that the Whigs supported and ran a campaign that saw him win the popular vote while being deprived of the presidency through a pattern of irregularities that he denounced as fraud, campaigning with vigor for a 1828 rematch with incumbent Adams.
How did George W. Bush gain the presidency in 2000? After obtaining it on the basis of the single vote majority in the Supreme Court that stopped a recount that post-election analysis revealed would have given Vice President Al Gore the presidency, a rapacious corporate interest administration took office, reminiscent of the shadow Federalist Whigs.
Similarities become particularly intriguing in view of the way that the Whigs bowed out, not with a whimper but a loud bang.
Former Whig President Millard Fillmore, a protégé of the powerful and corrupt Boss Tweed New York political organization, succeeded to the presidency after Zachary Taylor died after 116 days in office.
The last remnants of the Whigs formed the Anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic Know-Nothings in the 1856 election with the same Millard Fillmore as standard bearer, representing both parties.
What have the current Republicans been up to lately with Supreme Court nominee District Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor?
Was it not Rush Limbaugh, the self-designated titular head of the current Republican Party, who labeled Judge Sotomayor a “racist” and “bigot”?
Is this the same talk show host of such “sensitivity” that he once told an African American caller to “stick a bone in your nose” and labeled feminists “Femi-Nazis”?