Black History Month Quiz Answers

During the Obama Administration, then Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the mistake of calling the Republican Party “The party of slavery.” T was a gaff. The Democrat Party was the party of slavery. The Republican Party’s (Ans.1) main policy was to stop the expansion of expansion of slavery which the Democrats opposed.

Abraham Lincoln (Ans.2) was the Republican Party’s candidate in 1860. After his election, southern states withdrew from the Union to form the Confederate States. Lincoln’s election is what sparked the Civil War.

Democrats, North and South, opposed Lincoln at every turn.  They were especially against his Emancipation Proclamation which only freed those slaves in Union controlled areas (Ans. 3).

In an effort to bring the nation together in the 1864 presidential election, Lincoln selected Tennessee Democrat Senator Andrew Johnson as his Vice Presidential running mate. Lincoln’s assassination in 1865 made Johnson the new president. It was Johnson (Ans. 4) who pardoned the Confederate rebel leaders that ignited a battle between him and the Republicans in Congress. The Republicans were responsible for sending federal troops into the South to defend African-American liberties. The era was known as Reconstruction (Ans. 5).

This same Radical Republicans passed the most significant legislation concerning African-Americans – 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments over the objections of Democrats. The 13th Amendment freed ALL slaves. With the knowledge that Republicans were responsible for their freedom, those African-Americans who were elected to southern state legislatures were solidly Republican (Ans. 60). The 15th Amendment (Ans. 7) gave all freedmen the right to vote. Women would have to wait until the 19th Amendment gave ALL women the right to vote.

The 1876 election (Ans.8) was filled with fraud and scandal. Three southern states had submitted two sets of electoral ballots – one for Democrats and one for Republicans. A special Electoral Commission was formed in Congress. The Commission decided along party lines to accept only the Republican electoral ballots since they suspected the Democrats of dirty politics. The Democrats were ready to go to war again until a compromise was worked out. They would accept Republican Hayes as president but wanted federal troops out of the south and Reconstruction ended.

With Johnson pardoning Confederates and the compromise to withdraw troops from the South, white Democrats were able to push out the Republican African-American state legislative members and regain control of the southern state governments. To prevent African-Americans from voting, these Democratic governments instituted the poll tax, literacy test and grandfather clause (Ans. 9).

Republican President Teddy Roosevelt (Ans. 10) invited Booker T. Washington to the White House. This was Teddy’s way of showing support for Booker T. Washington’s reforms of the south.

In the early 1940’s, A. Philip Randolph (Ans. 11) called for a March on Washington to protest Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal policies that discriminated against hiring African-Americans in government and defense industries. The march was called off when Roosevelt agreed to end the discrimination and to form the Fair Employment Practice Committee to be a watchdog against these practices. In 1946, the Democrats cut funding for the committee and it disappeared.

The “Solid South” referred to the fact that local, state and federal government positions were controlled by Democrats (Ans. 12). Segregation was the rule since the Supreme Court ruled in the 19th century in Plessy vs Ferguson (Ans. 13) that “separate but equal rights” were legal. This was overturned by the Warren Court in 1954 when the court ruled “separate but equal rights” were illegal in the educational Brown vs Topeka case (Ans. 14). The latter started the desegregation of schools.

Republican President Eisenhower (Ans. 16) made the crucial decision to enforce desegregation when he sent federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas. Democrat Governor Orval Faubus blocked the entrance to 8 black students. Eisenhower had federal troops escort the black students to class to protect them.

Thurgood Marshall (Ans. 15) the first African-American Supreme Court Justice and John C. Weaver (Ans. 20) was the first African-American cabinet member.

Democrat President Lyndon Johnson (Ans. 17) pushed through Congress the Civil Rights Act of 1964; however, the law’s power came from the Republican 14th Constitutional Amendment which is called the “equal rights amendment”. The 14th Amendment is the basis for almost all civil rights laws.

Under Johnson, the 24th Amendment (Ans. 18) outlawed the poll tax. Ultimately, the Supreme Court also declared the literacy test unconstitutional.

There are a surprising number of African-Americans who ran for president but minor parties. The most serious candidate was Jesse Jackson (Ans. 19) who ran in the Democrat primaries but lost. He ran in 1984 and 1988.

My point in the quiz is to demonstrate that the Republicans more than the Democrats were responsible for doing away with slavery and championing the rights of African-Americans.

Elbert Guillory, an African-American politician from Louisiana, pointed out when he switched from being a Democrat to a Republican years ago, said the democrats made the same promises for fifty years to make things better for African-Americans. His constituents were no better off than they were fifty years ago. In fact, they became more dependent on government welfare. Guillory called this dependency “the Democrat government plantation”.


About camden41

Retired public school administrator Retired history professor: Taught Western Civilization, American Civil War, United States History, Economic History, Ancient & Medieval Foundations, American History Since 1945
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