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Lincoln's Lost LegacyRepublican Party and the African American Vote, 1928–1952$
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Simon Topping

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780813032283

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813032283.001.0001

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The Deck or the Sea?

(p.196) (p.197) Conclusion
Lincoln's Lost Legacy

Simon Topping

University Press of Florida

Legend has it that the GOP was formed to abolish African American slavery, fought the Civil War to achieve this end, and then protected the newly enfranchised former slaves in its aftermath. This was a powerful legend to African Americans during the days of the Redemption in the South, and many of them took it with them when they moved north during the twentieth century. Of the most important steps made by the Republicans toward the welfare of the blacks, it was the amendment of the Constitution, which made African Americans citizens of the US, and the awarding of suffrage that were counted as the most significant. This chapter concludes that while these changes and amendments were Republican efforts, at the end of the Civil War the Republicans' enthusiasm for the African Americans and their rights progressed slowly if not came to a halt. During the Reconstruction period, certain traits that would be later become synonymous with the party begun to emerge. The party became predominantly pro-business and anti-government. The Republican Party, which was largely concerned with enriching America and regaining the former glory of the country in the aftermath of the Great Depression, began to forget African Americans and failed to react to the increasing sophistication of the black voters. As late as the 1930s, many Republicans still believed that African Americans owed them allegiance as it was they who freed the blacks. However, the impeding change of black allegiance cannot be further controlled or withheld. The loyalty of the African Americans bequeathed by Lincoln to the Republican Party between the 1920s and 1950s was lost, not to be found or regained again unless the conservatism, ignorance, and lack of political judgment within the Republican Party were abolished.

Keywords:   GOP, former slaves, African Americans, Republicans, suffrage, Republican Party, Great Depression, black voters

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