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The Forerunner

Republicans and Whigs

By Editorial Staff
Published April 4, 2008

By Robert Fitzgerald

Where is the Republican Party headed? Will they continue to flourish? – or will we witness their disintegration in the next six to ten years?

Most politicians today would scoff at the mention of the latter question, call it reactionary and write it off as uninformed – “The thought that the ‘Grand Old Party’ could possibly fall out of its prominent role in the United States’ political system – Absurd!”

But is this question really absurd?

Stop a moment and consider history for a moment. Between 1854 and 1856, Abraham Lincoln began to realize that the Whig Party, to which he was loyal, was nearing extinction. Whig leadership was wavering on the slavery issue, unable to come out decisively as the anti-slavery, anti-expansionist party. Those with strong moral convictions against slavery were forced to search for someone and/or some group to represent their cause for the nation.

The Democratic Party had already aligned itself with the South, not only favoring slavery in the states where it already existed but also backing its expansion to the new territories of the nation.

Because the Whigs and the Democrats would not represent anti-slavery, anti-expansionist sentiments, two fledgling parties emerged. One, the American Party, or “Know Nothings,” failed to survive because they did not adopt a platform against the expansion of slavery. The second, the Republican Party, did adopt this platform.

As the Whig Party continued to hold to ambivalent opinions, members began to gravitate toward the Republican Party. The Party proved stable enough to represent the anti-slavery, anti-expansionist movement and won the trust of leaders such as Lincoln. The Whigs came unglued as a result of the strong sentiments surrounding slavery while the Republican Party flourished and brought a hero to the White House in their second attempt.

Today, the Republican Party is failing to recognize the similarities between the issues of slavery and abortion both morally and politically. In doing so, they neglect to understand the very circumstances that brought them into the position of power and influence which they enjoy today. This negligence may prove disastrous.

Current Republican leaders do not seem to realize that their party exists because of its bold stand on a vitally important moral issue. In Lincoln’s day, the issue was slavery; today, that vitally important moral issue is abortion. Currently, within the ranks of the Republican Party there is growing strife and a lack of cohesiveness which is the result of a failure to make a firm stand on abortion.

Republican Party Chairman, Lee Atwater, on a national news broadcast stated: “There are no litmus tests on any issues which would be grounds for repudiating a Republican who believes in our overall philosophy.” In so many words, Atwater’s comment indicates that there is room in the Republican Party for candidates who support abortion.

The Whigs may have said the same thing about their party in relation to slavery. They had no litmus test for their party either, but a large segment of the American people did and the Whigs failed the test.

World Magazine (Jan. 22, 1990) quotes Vice President Daniel Quayle expressing an idea shared by many fence straddling leaders in the “Grand Old Party.” Quayle says that as a whole, the Republicans “are a party of inclusion … the tent is big enough to include pro-life as well as pro-abortion.”

If one looks to history again, it becomes clear that Vice President Quayle’s stance will not survive the test of time. Abraham Lincoln found himself faced with a similar dilemna on the slavery issue. Stephen B. Oates, in his book, With Malice Toward None, comments on and even quotes Lincoln’s beliefs on such an all inclusive party position.

What was involved, Lincoln said, was a struggle for human liberty. In Lincoln’s view, slavery embodied ‘‘the selfishness of man’s nature” and opposition to it embodied man’s love of justice. These two principles are “eternally antagonistic” and when brought together, they would lead inevitably to “shocks, throes, and convulsions.“1

In the same vein, pro-life and pro-abortion stances are “eternally antagonistic” and will cause “shocks, throes, and convulsions” within the Republican Party.

If this philosophy persists, the Republicans, like the Whigs, will find their tent torn asunder. Will the Republican Party learn from history or will they tragically repeat it? Will they take the fire of compromise to their bosom and suppose that they will not be burned?

Lincoln said in his Second Inaugural Address:

“These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All know that this interest was somehow the cause of the war.”

If their is no drastic turn around; if there is no change of heart and mind on this issue, Republicans in the future may be saying that their demise was because of philosophical and economic issues. However, history may record:

“These UNBORN constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All know that this interest was somehow the cause of …”

As well as the demise of an entire political party.

1 Stephen B. Oates, With Malice Toward None, (Harper and Row, New York, 1977), p.128

» » History

Your comments are welcome!

The comparison of slavery to abortion is in reality a perfect example of the old “apples-to-oranges” tactic used in debate. If you want “apples-to-apples,” you must recognize that abortion and birth-control are basically the same thing: i.e., preventing a new human life on earth. No one can logically dispute that fact. The Catholic Church position recognizes that logic, and condemns both. I personally recognize that same logic —- and condone both.
A part of my reasoning is that Earth is on a collision course with all the inevitable conseqences of over-population. Those consequences will entail much more than the downfall of a political party; they will entail the end of civilization as we know it.

Posted by William F. Gausman on 08/18/2010 03:49 PM #

My remarks are directed to Mr. William Gausman. I am having a difficult time understanding your justification for the taking of human life as a way to control over-population. Perhaps you don’t think the unborn child is a “human life” with a spirit intact and I know that that is a question that many Christians differ upon including myself. Personally I wonder about the “quickening” when some say that the spirit enters the child at about 3 to 4 months in utero and have often wondered if that would mean that in the first few months up until that time the fetus is only a fetus and not a human being capable of sensing life or having knowledge of what would be happening during an abortion. One thing that I am bewildered about however is how anyone including yourself could think for a moment that a partially born baby with its head poking out is not a fully functioning aware “human being/personality” and must be totally aware of its head being pierced thus being murdered. There can be no question that the child is now “born” in that the child is taking its first breath…the rest of the body does not have to be “out” into the open air to prove that this child is indeed a “born” child even though its body is “partially” still inside a canal. I cannot understand why you would not say that “partial birth abortion” should be banned unless it is solely because you want to not have any interference with the right for a woman to have an abortion at another stage of the child’s development so with you, it seems the political implications and rights of the woman are more important than the fact that some babies are being outright murdered as they are being born. The fact that you seem not to even “flinch” at that and boldly make a statement in favor of condoning abortion “period” without even stating that there should be some cases where it is inappropriate as it is clearly murder tells me that you have no real concern for human life at all. You say you care about the end of civilization does that mean you care about the people that are already here that you feel can suffer because they are already born and living here? Should not the child who takes their first breath and who is now sharing the air you and I breathe not also worthy of consideration as well? People like yourself who espouse and condone and fight for the right that one should be allowed to have “partial birth abortions” and I assume you do as you state flatly that you “condone abortion” and it would seem you mean “all forms of abortion” by that statement and I invite you to correct me if I am wrong, seem to have no regard for the lives of others and seem to be coming from a largely selfish point of view; you’ve got yours, too bad about others etc…it seems you want to be safe and have a good life and maybe your children (do you have any? maybe you don’t believe in having children then), but you might as well say that you believe also in euthanasia and why not kill off all the cripples too…it sounds so fascist and nazi-like; once you start saying that one human life is not important that this can lead to stating that other human lives are unimportant too…don’t you see it is you who are setting the precedent for destruction of life in all forms and the denial of rights to certain individuals, in this case the denial to the right of life for the partially born child. The problem with the progressive viewpoint is that it typically fights for the rights of one group without any regard for the rights to the other. Now, let me make another point lest you think I am like you by stating my beliefs for the right of the partially born child. I believe that we all have our free agency and have the right to decide if we will have an abortion or not, as we will be judged by a righteous God for any unrighteous act and He knows the difference better than you or I do. I also believe that once a woman or a doctor assumes that right that if that right of theirs to do what they think is righteous should be judged as unrighteous if the child is partially born and in fact a life filled functioning human being; that is a human being once the head comes out and a breath is taken…disputing that should be a moot point; that should be obvious to anyone with even partially functioning intellect. Splitting hairs on how much breath and when the spirit enters seems to be pointless. How many hours does a baby need to be alive before you will say it is a human being and has a right to live Mr. Gausman? It seems to me only fair that the unborn child inside the womb have some rights also because it is indeed functioning and living and looks like the rest of us in the womb and is in no doubt just a fetus when it gets to be about 4 months old so I can see turning our attention more to when the stage of life sets in as we know a human life form to be in utero and then split hairs there. I cannot for the life of me, no pun intended, understand the blanket flat out statement “I condone abortion” by you…at all. If you want to say a woman has a right to an abortion up to the first three months when the fetus is just forming and it is not a human being that can reason yet etc. then maybe I could listen to you, just maybe and this could be excusable by law in case of rape, incest, or mental disorder on part of the mother or that it might cause her death to continue the pregnancy then maybe I could listen to you but to say flat out that “abortion should be condoned” and not tease out the differences whatsoever condemns you Mr. Gausman to being in favor of murder and also sets a precedent for all other forms of limiting life so as to preserve the lives of those still living perhaps a fuller life than others. Please, don’t try to state that by my saying a woman may have a right to an abortion in the first few months in some cases is anything like protecting the right of the masses from being overwhelmed by more births yet to come; that would be really stretching the analogy that you stated in your commentary. Again, I restate that it would not be right to murder a child to save others on the planet from being overcrowded and it would not be considered murder in my estimation when abortion was performed in the first three months in utero but a form of “killng” a “potential human life form” in much the same way as stopping the formation of a chick from a fertilized egg. I believe we must differentiate between “killing potential human being” and “murder of a human being” whether it be four months in the uterus and now capable of functioning in utero as a human being awaiting birth and in particular there should be no question that the partially born child is a human being fully and capable just like you Mr. Gausman; shame on you for even thinking for a moment that abortion as a whole should not only be condoned but considered ethical and life saving for others already talking and walking around on the planet while simultaneously ignoring the rights of that “fully grown” partially born baby; that is disgusting quite frankly and in no way can a thinking feeling compassionate human being exist in the form of a man who states otherwise; that is not an intelligent statement at all by one who obviously feels he is intelligent and thinking and feeling enough to make a bold statement that suggests he cares about the planet and those already living on it. You obviously don’t care about the elderly or the disabled or you simply are not intelligent enough to understand that what you are suggesting then allows room for setting limits on those lives already here that may be not leaving enough room for you and those like you. Statements like yours that come from the half opened mind/head and not from a compassionate soul intact with its spirit of conscience any longer is not truly capable in my estimation of understanding the difference any longer of what right and wrong really is all about Mr. Gausman. Perhaps if you were elderly and disabled and someone walked into your nursing home room and told you they were going to “pull the plug” you could say…okay..there is not enough room for the rest on the planet so go and do it….somehow I think you might actually be a little bit upset, n’est pas? but then we must think about the overcrowded planet..must’nt we?

Posted by Elizabeth Lansing on 05/04/2011 10:17 AM #

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