Saturday, September 20, 2014

How The Party Of Lincoln Became The Party Of Reagan

This article provides a brief history of the Republican Party. The party originated during a period in which slaveholders were the dominant economic and political force in Washington.  It may have been the first progressive political party in the US.  The history of the GOP reflects the cyclical pattern between progressive and reactionary forces throughout our history.  The party of Lincoln was also the Party of Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower who represented the progressive side of the party during progressive eras in the US.  Ronald Reagan became an icon for many in the party because he was a good salesman.  He was able to put a progressive face on reactionary policies by by connecting those policies to restoring America to its libertarian past.  It was not the version of liberty that motivated Lincoln.  Government was transformed from its role as a liberator from slavery to a liberator of business interests from government regulation and progressive taxation.

This short history of political economy in America may not get high marks from historians, but it provides an interesting version of tensions that have always existed in America between the holders of wealth and ordinary Americans.

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