Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Republican Party

The Republicans, as a political organization, have a family resemblance to the old Whig party, so much so that we sometimes have wondered if a man who at heart had ever been an old line Whig, could honestly turn square around and put his neck into the same yoke with men whom for long years he had bitterly denounced as everything that was corrupt, rather than act with the Republican party.  The chief point in which our present political associates resemble those with whom we formerly affiliated, is in that disposition they occasionally manifest to repose confidence in the honesty or uprightness of the Democratic party.

In Ohio, Illinois, and it may be in some other States, the Democrats found themselves at the last election, from the inevitable destiny of their principles, sadly in the minority.  What they could not effect by hard fighting, they determined to accomplish by cool stratagem; so proposed to the Republicans of these States, that as the war was for the Union, political matters should be shelved, and all unite in one common party and elect men on the ground of their capability and without regard to past political associations.  The bait was so tempting to the good Republicans of those States, they having the weal of their country at heart and, perhaps, not possessing the sagacity of the older politicians of the Empire State, that they eagerly swallowed it.  Of course they were caught, as the Democrats afterwards, true to their party instincts, made use of the Union movement to foist into power men of their own stripe.

In the Constitutional Convention that has just adjourned in Illinois, and in the unsuccessful effort to re-elect Ben. Wade in Ohio, we see some of the fruits of this strange alliance, and if the Republicans of these States are ever again caught with such chaff, they will deserve to suffer the consequences.  The effort to similarly seduce the Republicans of Iowa signally failed, and since they have observed the consequences in other localities and learned that the movement was wholly preconcerted, they have perhaps taken more credit to themselves than they really deserve.

This weakness of the Republican party, inherited possibly from the old Whig party, of placing reliance in anything emanating from the Democratic leaders, when power or influence is at stake, has been so seriously punished that it should be a lesson for all time to come, under no circumstances or for any purpose, to affiliate with the Democrats, especially under the new regime when Democracy and Slavery, by their own show, are recognized as synonyms.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Friday Morning, April 4, 1862, p. 2

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