Remembering Roosevelt: Reflections on Race and the Republican Party
Wickham, DeWayne, Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy
The author compares George W. Bush's presidency to Theodore Roosevelt's presidency to illustrate the growing racial divide among African Americans and the Republican Party.
Democrats, sensing that victory was within their reach, waged a spirited contest to select the party's presidential candidate. The Republican in the White House was jokingly called "His Accidency" because of the event that propelled him into the Oval Office. And discussion of America's role in a splintered world, the use of the country's natural resources, and the abuses of greedy corporate executives dominated the campaign.
The year was 1904, and Theodore Roosevelt, the "trust buster"--not George W. Bush, a patron of the corporate class--was the nation's chief executive. Roosevelt, who was elected vice president in 1900, moved into the Oval Office six months into his term when President William McKinley was assassinated.
On the eve of the 1904 election, the fracturing of Colombia, which brought about the creation of Panama and construction of the Panama Canal, was the dominant foreign policy issue. Domestically, Roosevelt championed his "Square Deal" policies, which reflected his affinity for the environment and labor unions and his distrust of big business. (1)
Largely ignored by Roosevelt was the nation's race problem.
Back then, black voters were as closely aligned to the GOP as we are now to the Democratic Party. That loyalty was residual of the goodwill Republicans earned four decades earlier when Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Two years later, a Republican-dominated Congress passed the 13th amendment, which abolished slavery throughout the United States. In 1867 and 1868, radical Republicans pushed Reconstruction acts through Congress that gave Blacks a broad range of rights and …
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Publication information: Article title: Remembering Roosevelt: Reflections on Race and the Republican Party. Contributors: Wickham, DeWayne - Author. Journal title: Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy. Volume: 10. Publication date: Summer 2004. Page number: 27+. © 2008 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group.
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