I want to take you back to the 1850s, a time of tension just before the American Civil War.
A new politics was spreading across the lands the likes of which few could comprehend. The result was the creation of a new political party in a small schoolhouse within a small Wisconsin town. This party was to be called the ‘Republican Party’. Assuming you already know all that perhaps it is best I just dive right into the subject at hand.
A man named Alvin Earl Bovay was in rural New York State, who went to Norwich University and admitted to the bar at Utica in July, 1846. A man dedicated to politics he became heavily involved in abolitionism and free soil, two popular movements at the time. He became the secretary of the National Reform Association which was a group dedicated to advancing the Homestead Act, free soil, abolitionism, and adding reverence to God into the US Constitution.
The NRA was chiefly concerned with the concentration of wealth, something they tied to the horrors of the old world. They felt there should not be a right to the unlimited accumulation of wealth in this country. The association soon turned towards what is described as “a spectrum the most revolutionary anarchist and socialist currents in American life”. This hostility towards concentrated wealth made them hostile to the South especially seeing as how it was governed largely by wealthy gentry using slavery in replace of paid labor, further amassing their wealth concentration and depriving laborers of good wages.
Some historians have tied the NRA’s most important members to being under the influence of Socialism, Trade Unionism, and of course Abolitionism. By the late 1840s they had taken up the issue of a new Homestead Act whereby land west of the Mississippi accounting for 160 or more undeveloped acres would be given to any occupant 21 years or older who lived there for five years and maintained the land. This was perhaps their most important cause which was the land – reform movement, which was tied into abolitionism.
In the late 1840s Bovay relocated his family from New York to the newly formed town of Ripon, Wisconsin. Just prior to its formation the area had been used by utopian socialists as a commune known as Ceresco after the Roman Goddess of agriculture. It was still a hotbed for political activity, of which I believe it is safe to assume Socialism was a major driving force.
Around 1852 Bovay had contacted newspaper editor Horace Greeley, a man who had been an adherent of the newly developing ideology of Socialism. His newspaper, the New York Tribune, was the most widely circulated paper in America and featured such contributors as Margaret Fuller (the first major Feminist), Henry James Sr. (utopian Socialist), Charles Dana (Abolitionist), and Karl Marx (founder of Communism). Marx was one of the main contributors to the Tribune and his work is available online. Another contributor to the paper Henry Jarvis Raymond went on to found the New York Times.
Bovay had contacted Greeley because he wanted to create a new political party based around an abolitionist platform. The name of this new political party he proposed would be the ‘Republican Party’, Greeley was excited about the name as he had already thought of it himself. Some 2 years later the Kansas – Nebraska Act was being considered in Congress, angry that it may pass Bovay organized a meeting at the local church declaring that should the Nebraska bill pass they would “throw old party organizations to the winds and organize a new party on the sole issue of slavery."
On March 20, just under a month after the meeting, Congress passed the bill and Bovay called another meeting this time at a small schoolhouse in Ripon. A new political party was officially formed by Bovay and 16 other attendees to fight against the expansion of slavery known as the ‘Republican Party’. The media arm of the party would be headed by Horace Greeley’s New York Tribune as they launched their first campaign for the Presidency in 1856 nominating John C. Fremont and rallying around the slogan ‘Free soil, free silver, free men, Fremont”.
Another important man was Warren Chase who became a Wisconsin Legislator and was one of the members at the Wisconsin Constitutional Convention. He was also the founder of the Wisconsin Phalanx which was a spiritualist community based on the doctrines of Francios Fourier in 1844. Later he went on to found another utopian socialist community, one built around his specific ideals, called Ceresco, where Ripon would later be established. He was also an attendant at the founding of the Republican Party.
In 1860 a paramilitary group of the Republican Party was formed called the Wide Awake Republicans, identifying themselves as ‘Wide Awakes’. One reported incident was on October 3, 1860 in Chicago when 10,000 Wide Awakes marched in a three – mile precession. By the end of 1860 the New York Tribune had estimated there to be over 400,000 drilled and uniformed Wide Awakes nationwide. [The New York Herald (Sept. 19, 1860)] The adopted unofficial mission statement of Wide Awake chapters was:
1st. To act as a political police.
2nd. To do escort duty to all prominent Republican speakers who visit our place to address our citizens.
3rd. To attend all public meetings in a body and see that order is kept and that the speaker and meeting is not disturbed.
4th. To attend the polls and see that justice is done to every legal voter.
5th. To conduct themselves in such a manner as to induce all Republicans to join them.
6th. To be a body joined together in large numbers to work for the good of the Republican Ticket.
What make the Wide Awake Republicans (WAR) more interesting were the symbols they carried. Usually with them was an insignia of crossed furled flags; one was the United States flag and the other was the Tricolor of Revolutionary France. In the center of these two flags was the ‘all seeing eye’ or the ‘Eye of Providence’.
Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 election and South Caroline seceded, followed by the other Southern states. But Lincoln was not the ‘founder’ of the Republican Party he merely joined in as the Whig Party had collapsed with the Republicans rise. Lincoln had done many things which made the Republican founders happy such as the Homestead Act of 1862 and began the American Civil War but they became hostile towards him because of his more pragmatic approach to Reconstruction.
In 1864 the party was torn in two between the moderates, led by Lincoln, and the Radical Republicans who passed their own Reconstruction plan only to have it vetoed by Lincoln. The Radicals were made up of William Seward (the one who called for a revolution in 1860), Thaddeus Stevens, Horace Greeley, and Edwin Stanton who one August 8, 1862 issued an order to "arrest and imprison any person or persons who may be engaged, by act, speech or writing, in discouraging volunteer enlistments, or in any way giving aid and comfort to the enemy, or in any other disloyal practice against the United States."
The 1864 election was divided with the Radical Republicans endorsing John C. Fremont causing Abraham Lincoln to run on the National Union Party ticket. But before the election had come the two groups agreed on endorsing Lincoln and he won re – election that year. At the end of the Civil War the Radical Republicans began to call themselves Liberals in the North and Conservatives in the South. Their ideology had developed from that of the founding members of the Republican Party and the New York Tribune which had developed a new form of Liberalism which drew heavily from the Tribune’s advocacy of Democratic Socialism.
It comes as no surprise that in 1864 Karl Marx wrote a letter to the re – elected President Lincoln which stated in part:
The workingmen of Europe feel sure that, as the American War of Independence initiated a new era of ascendancy for the middle class, so the American Antislavery War will do for the working classes. They consider it an earnest of the epoch to come that it fell to the lot of Abraham Lincoln, the single-minded son of the working class, to lead his country through the matchless struggle for the rescue of an enchained race and the reconstruction of a social world.
The Republican Party was founded by Socialists, at the time Socialist rhetoric, worked through a Socialist newspaper, and marched as a half – million large militia bearing two revolutionary flags and the eye of providence. Yet Bovay was still not satisfied and by the 1870s he marched under a new banner, that of prohibition by founding the Prohibition Party. This was the new issue of which the radicals rallied around, then adopting it into the Republican Party during the 1880s.
Does it come as a surprise to anyone now why the Republican Party has constantly failed to live up to anything remotely ‘Conservative’? Do you understand why the Neoconservatives run the GOP? They are, as I elaborated upon before in my thread here, former Trotskyites and their ideas centered on New York City Zionists. The behind the scenes leaders of the party are true descendants of the original Liberal – Socialist party in America. A Ron Paul is absolutely despised by the party bosses because he represents true American Conservatism, something they deeply, deeply despise.