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Definition of "Black Republican"

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by Tanker, Sep 2, 2003.

  1. Tanker

    Tanker New Member

    Aug 27, 2003
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    In the current political context, the term "Black Republican" simply refers to a Republican who is black. But during the civil war era, the term was a slur directed at white Republican politicians, especially to allies of Abraham Lincoln. Since the term seems to be frequently used in recent threads, and also misunderstood, I thought I should give the definition here. This is not my definition alone, but can be found at various locations on the Internet and is well accepted by historians. For example, here is one reference to it:

    "From 1854, when the Republican Party was founded, Democrats labeled it adherents "black" Republicans to identify them as proponents of black equality. During the 1860 elections Southern Democrats used the term derisively to press their belief that Abraham Lincoln's victory would incite slave rebellions in the South and lead to widespread miscegenation. The image the term conveyed became more hated in the South during Reconstruction as Radical Republicans forced legislation repugnant to Southerners and installed Northern Republicans or Unionists in the governments of the former Confederate states."
    Source: "Historical Times Encyclopedia of the Civil War"

    Here is another example of the use of the term "Black Republican":

    "Significantly, Floridians could not vote for Republican Abraham Lincoln, who was not on the ballot in any of the Deep South slave states. The hated "Black Republican" Party was believed by most southerners to advocate abolition and black equality, although Lincoln and his party were primarily interested in restricting the
    expansion of slavery in the territories."

    The above is from this link:


    So in conclusion, when I hear anyone use the term "Black Republican" in the context of the civil war, then I think that either they don't know that the term originated as a racially charged slur or less likely that they don't really care.
  2. Alcott

    Alcott Well-Known Member
    Site Supporter

    Dec 17, 2002
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    I thought a "black republican" was a wealthy businessman who is a classic car enthusiast who just finished rebuilding the engine of his '49 Rolles Royce.
  3. Kiffin

    Kiffin New Member

    Apr 16, 2001
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    I think Tanker is correct on his definition of "Black Republican" in the 1800's. Of course sadly most Whites in the 1800's be they Union or Confederate did not generaly view Blacks as equal with whites. It is interesting that in the first 2 engagements that Black Union Troops were used at Port Hudson La. and at Fort Wagner SC that they led the attack. I believe this was because Federal commanders used them as cannon fodder. (That of course can be debated).

    Reconstruction was probably not only the worst thing that could have happened for whites in the south but especially blacks. By installing Blacks as leaders in the former Confederate states in order to humiliate whites and taking away whites right to vote in this time the Federals issured a racial hostility would exist after Reconstruction ended in 1877. The Freed blacks would have to face the consequences of the Federal use of them as pawns when they left. The scars of reconstruction continue to this day here in the south and it was a foolish thing.
  4. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob Administrator

    Jun 30, 2000
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    Sadly, most felt the Republicans of 1856-60 were the dupes of the abolitionists, following an evil path that would (and they were proved correct, did) destroy the Union.

    Lincoln was looked upon as a great evil, but was actually very moderate as far as Republicans go. HE was never considered a "black republican" as a perjortive label. A dupe of them of course, but not really one.

    But he recognized political realities, that the CSA would soon have Britain and France as allies, so shifted his "restore the Union" rhetoric to parrot that of the extremists of his party.

    BTW, I believe Lincoln was elected with the lowest plurality of votes of any President, with 38.8%. Even Clinton in 92 with the Perot mess and facing an incumbent Bush Sr got 41%.