Class Notes

What confuses many today is that when the Republican Party was formed in 1854, it was the liberal party, while the Democrats were the conservatives. While today the parties have switched ideology, in both major parties there are divisions in the party as some are moderate, while others more radical in their liberalism or conservativism. The same was true of the Republicans in the 1860-1870s. The conservative wing of the party did believe the south should accept the end of slavery but had little desire to change much else or punish the south. Then there was the racial wing of the party who not only wanted to end slavery but also wanted to make them equal citizens. They wanted to take away the vote from ex-Confederates and distribute their land to their old slaves. Finally, there were the moderates. They rejected most of the radials plans for things like land distribution but wanted to project certain rights for blacks, like voting. Lincoln fell into this last camp.

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