Lately I have had to defend the Democratic Party against brazen falsehood by some folks on the right. Ann Coulter, PaganTemple, and some guy at Human Events have decided to push a big lie in order to make the Republican Party seem enlightened and virtuous, and the Democratic Party "the Party of Slavery."
Today, in the here and now, the Republican Party supports individual freedom to a much greater extent than the modern Democratic Party. But casting the Democrats as "the Party of Slavery" is unethical, inaccurate and unfair. Slavery was an American institution, not a Southern one, one in which the North was both foundational and highly responsible. The Republican Party was a sectional party, representing the interests of the North; as such, they were highly antagonistic to the South and anxious to keep their high tariffs in place, which fell most heavily on the South, for the benefit of the North.
The early Republican Party was against allowing slavery to enter the new territories, those areas that had not yet become states. They did so because (1) they did not want to compete with slave labor for jobs (a reasonable position) and (2) they hated blacks. The early Republicans called themselves "the White Peoples' Party." They were not the eternally virtuous and enlightened society that Ann Coulter pretends.
After their totalitarian crushing of the independence of the Southern people, the Republicans then got busy mass-murdering American Indians, appropriating Hawaii by deposing its queen, and acting like the gun-boat thugs they were in fact.
I am a Republican today because it is the best choice among two evils. However, I resolve to be a friend of the truth before I am a friend to the Republicans.