On the right side of history

December 24, 2013 

Last Wednesday, BND writer Chuck Boeckman stated that conservatives have been on the wrong side of history on almost every issue, from civil rights to a woman's right to vote. Before we define "wrong side," let's look at some history.

Go to history.com and take a look; I did.

In 1864 an amendment abolishing slavery passed the U.S. Senate but died in the House as Democrats rallied in the name of states rights. The election of 1864 brought Republican Abraham Lincoln back to the White House along with significant Republican majorities in both houses, so it appeared the amendment was headed for passage when the new Congress convened in March 1865. Lincoln preferred bipartisan support. Some Democrats indicated support for the measure, but many resisted.

The amendment passed 119-56 , seven votes above the required two-thirds majority. Several Democrats abstained.

May 21, 1919, U.S. Rep. James R. Mann, a Republican from Illinois, proposed the House resolution giving women the right to vote. It passed the House 304-89, 42 votes above the two-thirds majority.

The Southern states fought hard to stop this from being ratified. In 1920 it was up to Tennessee to tip the scale for women's suffrage. A tie vote was broken by a 23-year-old named Henry Burn, a Republican from McMinn County. It took 60 years for the last 12 states to ratify.

So I guess one needs to define wrong side. For me, the conservatives were on the right side when it comes to civil rights.

Joe Willis


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