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Nixon's 'Southern Strategy' and a Liberal Big Lie
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“For the first time since President Richard M. Nixon’s divisive ‘Southern strategy’ that sent whites to the Republican Party and blacks to the Democrats …” began a New York Times story last week.

Thus has one of the big lies of U.S. political history morphed into a cliche — that Richard Nixon used racist politics to steal the South from a Democratic Party battling heroically for civil rights.

A brief stroll through Bruce Bartlett’s “Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party’s Buried Past” might better enlighten us.

Where Teddy Roosevelt invited Booker T. Washington to dinner, Woodrow Wilson re-segregated the U.S. government and had the pro-Klan film “Birth of a Nation” screened in his White House.

Wilson and FDR carried all 11 states of the Old Confederacy all six times they ran, when Southern blacks had no vote. Disfranchised black folks did not seem to bother these greatest of liberal icons.

As vice president, FDR chose “Cactus Jack” Garner of Texas who played a major role in imposing a poll tax to keep blacks from voting.

Among FDR’s Supreme Court appointments was Hugo Black, a Klansman who claimed FDR knew this when he named him in 1937 and that FDR told him that “some of his best friends” in Georgia were Klansmen.

Black’s great achievement as a lawyer was in winning acquittal of a man who shot to death the Catholic priest who had presided over his daughter’s marriage to a Puerto Rican.

In 1941, FDR named South Carolina Sen. “Jimmy” Byrnes to the Supreme Court. Byrnes had led filibusters in 1935 and 1938 that killed anti-lynching bills, arguing that lynching was necessary “to hold in check the Negro in the South.”

FDR refused to back the 1938 anti-lynching law.

“This is a white man’s country and will always remain a white man’s country,” said Jimmy. Harry Truman, who paid $10 to join the Klan, then quit, named Byrnes Secretary of State, putting him first in line of succession to the presidency, as Harry then had no V.P.

During the civil rights struggles of the ’50s and ’60s, Gov. Orval Faubus used the National Guard to keep black students out of Little Rock High. Gov. Ross Barnett refused to let James Meredith into Ole Miss. Gov. George Wallace stood in the door at the University of Alabama, to block two black students from entering.

All three governors were Democrats. All acted in accord with the “Dixie Manifesto” of 1956, which was signed by 19 senators, all Democrats, and 80 Democratic congressmen.

Among the signers of the manifesto, which called for massive resistance to the Brown decision desegregating public schools, was the vice presidential nominee on Adlai’s Stevenson’s ticket in 1952, Sen. John Sparkman of Alabama.

Though crushed by Eisenhower, Adlai swept the Deep South, winning both Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas.

Do you suppose those Southerners thought Adlai would be tougher than Ike on Stalin? Or did they think Adlai would maintain the unholy alliance of Southern segregationists and Northern liberals that enabled Democrats to rule from 1932 to 1952?

The Democratic Party was the party of slavery, secession and segregation, of “Pitchfork Ben” Tillman and the KKK. “Bull” Connor, who turned the dogs loose on black demonstrators in Birmingham, was the Democratic National Committeeman from Alabama.

And Nixon?

In 1956, as vice president, Nixon went to Harlem to declare, “America can’t afford the cost of segregation.” The following year, Nixon got a personal letter from Dr. King thanking him for helping to persuade the Senate to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

Nixon supported the civil rights acts of 1964, 1965 and 1968.

In the 1966 campaign, as related in my new book “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority,” out July 8, Nixon blasted Dixiecrats “seeking to squeeze the last ounces of political juice out of the rotting fruit of racial injustice.”

Nixon called out segregationist candidates in ’66 and called on LBJ, Hubert Humphrey and Bobby Kennedy to join him in repudiating them. None did. Hubert, an arm around Lester Maddox, called him a “good Democrat.” And so were they all — good Democrats.

While Adlai chose Sparkman, Nixon chose Spiro Agnew, the first governor south of the Mason Dixon Line to enact an open-housing law.

In Nixon’s presidency, the civil rights enforcement budget rose 800 percent. Record numbers of blacks were appointed to federal office. An Office of Minority Business Enterprise was created. SBA loans to minorities soared 1,000 percent. Aid to black colleges doubled.

Nixon won the South not because he agreed with them on civil rights — he never did — but because he shared the patriotic values of the South and its antipathy to liberal hypocrisy.

When Johnson left office, 10 percent of Southern schools were desegregated. When Nixon left, the figure was 70 percent.
Richard Nixon desegregated the Southern schools, something you won’t learn in today’s public schools.

For history is a pack of lies agreed upon.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.”

Copyright 2014 Creators.com.

 
• Category: History, Ideology • Tags: Civil Rights, Richard Nixon 
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  1. Sean says:

    It certainly is difficult to see where Nixon moved on a issue in the way that is the innuendo would lead one to believe. Yet ‘strategy’ clearly implies some action beyond armchair theorizing ; there would have to have been at least promises of concessions for whites in the south. The Republican party in Chicago is an admittedly extreme example, but when Republican Big Bill Thompson narrowly won in 1927 he got 93 % of the black vote. ( Of course he had Capone’s men bombing the polling stations in his opponents strongest wards and killing umpteen voters, few of whom were black I suspect.) But the point is Thompson lost non black votes he thought he could count on, like Italians. Anyway, a deliberate strategy of drawing on a particular ethnic group’s support, is unstable, and provides a windfall for opponents. And all there is left to do then is cry foul, or ‘strategy’ .

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  2. “Richard Nixon desegregated the Southern schools, something you won’t learn in today’s public schools.”

    Sadly, Buchannan has decided to play the “no, you’re the racist not me!” game. What a shame. In any case, racially diverse schools are pretty much segregated in the present. Anyone who doubts this is welcome to go to a Southern lunch room at any diverse school.

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    • Replies: @Joe
    Unlike the fully integrated progressive schools of LA and San Francisco, Detroit and Chicago, Baltimore and DC, ...
    , @Anonymous
    Much as I generally admire Pat Buchanan, I cringe to see him cheering along with this current fad. Yes, Republicans freed the slaves (that is, transferred them from the custody of Ole Massa to that of Uncle Sam, where most remain to this day). Yes, Republicans were generally sweeter to blacks than Democrats (because they didn't have to deal with them much) and the KKK baddies were all Democrats (except, errm, for the ones who opposed Al Smith's Catholicism, Catholicism being the main target of the revived Klan in its 20s heyday, though not today and not in its original 1867 incarnation). The takeaway for me is that the Republican party has a dreadful history and should be put out of its misery.
  3. Truthster says:

    Intersesting piece.
    Nixon was the last “liberal” president. He breathed the spirit that grew out of the 1930s and he ran smack into the cultural revolution of the 60s which changed him as it did everyone at the time.
    He was also author of Detente and the Opening to China, the latter being the right thing although perhaps done for the wrong reason, an obsession of the US with the USSR.

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  4. Rich says:

    I’m beginning to wonder if living in Washington DC makes people delusional. Of course Nixon used a “Southern Strategy”. Of course whites in the south were against desegregation, so were whites in the north. When the Democrats decided to become the party of minorities, blacks in particular, both southern and northern Whites turned to the Republicans. This is one of the main reasons Reagan was elected in 1980. I don’t think it’s that whites are crazed “racists”, I think that most white people just want to be able to live with their own kind in peace. They don’t want judges or used car salesman politicians forcing them to change their traditions.

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  5. Joe says:
    @Truth Teller
    "Richard Nixon desegregated the Southern schools, something you won’t learn in today’s public schools."

    Sadly, Buchannan has decided to play the "no, you're the racist not me!" game. What a shame. In any case, racially diverse schools are pretty much segregated in the present. Anyone who doubts this is welcome to go to a Southern lunch room at any diverse school.

    Unlike the fully integrated progressive schools of LA and San Francisco, Detroit and Chicago, Baltimore and DC, …

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  6. Priss Factor [AKA "Andrea Ostrov Letania"] says:

    Nixon was playing it both ways.

    He was trying to neutralize the Liberals by appropriating their causes AND trying to win over the South by attacking the Democrats for the race problem.

    All those ‘bad racist’ Democrats mentioned by Buchanan later went over to the Republican Party. They certainly got the message of the Southern Strategy.

    Clinton also played it both ways too. He served the interests of the ‘free trade’ globalist elites but also played the populist card to make himself appear the champion of the working man against corporate America and greedy Republicans.
    He also locked up many blacks in prison(and instituted a strategy that would prioritize homo causes over black ones) to make streets safer to win back the white middle class vote(that had been turned off by increase of black violence in the 70s and 80s) but also played the role of the ‘first black president’.

    Besides, it’s funny that Buchanan should honor the Civil Rights record of Nixon when he himself was bitterly opposed to many of the Civil Rights legislation that Johnson and Nixon signed.

    If white folks had any sense, they would have taken note of the fact that blacks are stronger, meaner, and more psychopathic than the white race. They would have used Jack Johnson as the posterboy of the threat posed by blacks on the white race, and they would have pushed for policies offering blacks both reparation and separation so that blacks can live in their own nation and whites can live in their own. That way, blacks would no longer have to worry about white ‘racism’, and whites would no longer have to worry about black ‘animalism’.

    But instead, vain white males went into the ‘great white hope’ mode and missed a golden opportunity to push for racial separation.

    Who cares about ‘civil rights’ when racial integration undermines the Racial Rights of white folks to live in safety, security, and stability? When too many blacks move into any white neighborhoods, there’s going to be more crime and violence, and the racial violence will be overwhelmingly black on white since blacks are stronger, meaner, and more aggressive.

    Also, even in cases where blacks aren’t violent, white males will lose out to black males since white women will be hot with jungle fever and see black males as the racial-sexual superior to dweeby white males. What kind of white father wants his son to grow up to be seen as a dorky dweeby by white girls who go off with Negroes? How is one race being sexually conquered by another race a form of racial equality? It means blacks taking on the features of the masculine race and whites taking on the features of the feminine race, i.e. blacks are tougher and more manly than whites, so it’s only racially right that black males should take white females while white guys are reduced to benchwarming white boys who are forced to swallow their pride under PC.

    White people are so stupid.

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  7. Sean says:

    There is not a single instance of Nixon or anyone speaking for him even implying he would oppose civil rights, or much less doing anything against civil rights legislation. Indeed, once in power he actively brought in affirmative action. It is massively stretching words to say Nixon or the Republicans pursued a ‘strategy’ of taking white votes away from Democrats in the South . A strategy involves more than just noticing you are going to get a windfall for some reason unconnected with anything you have done or said you would do.

    Barry Goldwater did oppose the Civil Rights Act of 1964,; and the net effect was to not to increase his support nationally, which makes it likely the reservoir of potential extra support that could be tapped by a strategy of appealing to white southerners by attacking civil rights for blacks would have came at an extremely high cost had Nixon tried to use it. Whatever his motivation, the fact is Nixon did not try a ‘southern strategy’, and Goldwater’s example suggests the strategy simply did not exist as an option for anyone who wanted to win the country.

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  8. Dave37 says:

    In my experience in Alabama, most of the Southern Democrats seem to go over to Republicans, which were more in keeping with the Southern Democrats opinions, starting with Goldwater in 64. Of course this was fueled by Democratic positions that were unpopular in the south of the time.

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  9. mcs_in_ny says:

    Since when did Nixon “win the South”? In 1968, Wallace won most of the “deep South” states. Humphrey won Texas. Nixon won Virginia and the Carolinas. The 1972 election was an anomaly as the Democrats nominated an abysmal candidate in McGovern and Wallace barely survived an assassination attempt that spring. Had Wallace managed to be on the ballot, either as a Democrat or Independent, he likely would have won most of the Southern states again. And in 1976, Carter swept the South against Nixon’s hand-picked successor.

    So unless Arthur Bremer was part of Nixon’s “Southern strategy”, I venture to say that strategy, if it existed at all, was a failure. The Democrats lost the South when they abandoned their populist roots in pursuit of identity politics.

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  10. enderby says:

    I greatly admire Mr. Buchanan and donated to his 3 presidential campaigns, went to see him speak, got my book signed, etc. I will buy his new book about his years with Nixon.

    I understand that the MSM liberal fairy tales about how Nixon was a far-right race baiter must have greatly irritated Buchanan (and apparently still do).

    However, at this late date the battle is not worth fighting. After 50 years of the ludicrous “civil rights” scam Blacks and Whites are still not equal. The problem is not mythical White racism, either. The achievement gap is the result of an aptitude gap. Whitey is supposed to perpetually wear sackcloth and ashes, lash himself and moan to the world about what a monster he is while paying ever higher taxes – to be paid to oppressed “people of color”.

    The formerly United States of America is rapidly becoming a White minority disaster area owing to the federal government’s insane policy of massive, relentless non-White immigration.

    So Nixon capitulated to the establishment on race issues and got no credit for playing ball. We would have been better off if he went the full Wallace and stood up for the people instead of kising the butts of an ungrateful self appointed elite.

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  11. Agree with the commenters. The makers of public opinion decide & declare who is the racist. There is no objective accounting of intentions, effects or qualified statements. Playing the “truly the Democrats are the Real racists here” game may be fun in a debate club kinda way, but simply has no traction in the public mind and is something they’ve been inoculated against.

    Points of view that most folks haven’t heard will always be more effective than trying to overturn ones they’ve been taught since childhood. Right now the most obvious one to me is “Of course White Folks have their own set of interests and you’d expect them to work towards those, why shouldn’t they?” You’ll get some gasp and sputter hysterics, but when you reject the premise that we have some obligation to share the nations we’ve built, what’s left for them to twist?

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  12. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Truth Teller
    "Richard Nixon desegregated the Southern schools, something you won’t learn in today’s public schools."

    Sadly, Buchannan has decided to play the "no, you're the racist not me!" game. What a shame. In any case, racially diverse schools are pretty much segregated in the present. Anyone who doubts this is welcome to go to a Southern lunch room at any diverse school.

    Much as I generally admire Pat Buchanan, I cringe to see him cheering along with this current fad. Yes, Republicans freed the slaves (that is, transferred them from the custody of Ole Massa to that of Uncle Sam, where most remain to this day). Yes, Republicans were generally sweeter to blacks than Democrats (because they didn’t have to deal with them much) and the KKK baddies were all Democrats (except, errm, for the ones who opposed Al Smith’s Catholicism, Catholicism being the main target of the revived Klan in its 20s heyday, though not today and not in its original 1867 incarnation). The takeaway for me is that the Republican party has a dreadful history and should be put out of its misery.

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  13. Gordo says:

    “Richard Nixon desegregated the Southern schools,”

    And this was a good thing for White people?

    NO is the answer in case you are in any doubt.

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  14. Corvinus says:

    “Woodrow Wilson re-segregated the U.S. government and had the pro-Klan film “Birth of a Nation” screened in his White House.”



    Woodrow Wilson, as a southern conservative when it came to racial matters, was simply abiding by the law of the land (Plessy v. Ferguson) as chief executive.

    “Wilson and FDR carried all 11 states of the Old Confederacy all six times they ran.”

    Because their progressive reforms helped to strengthen the southern economy.

    “FDR chose “Cactus Jack” Garner of Texas who played a major role in imposing a poll tax to keep blacks from voting.”

    Common practice for Republicans and Democrats during this time frame to nominate/install/appoint individuals of this type.

    “Among FDR’s Supreme Court appointments was Hugo Black…”



    And Buchanan doesn’t have relatives, friends, associates, etc. who have skeletons in their closet? Hypocrite.

    “In 1941, FDR named South Carolina Sen. “Jimmy” Byrnes to the Supreme Court.”



    Demonstrates that FDR wanted the best legal mind for the Supreme Court regardless of Byrnes’ past “transgressions”.

    “FDR refused to back the 1938 anti-lynching law.”



    Because southern conservatives clearly stated they would not support any New Deal legislation down the pike if FDR stood his ground on this issue. You would assume Buchanan as a historian would recall this simple fact.

    “All three governors were Democrats.”



    CONSERVATIVE Democrats who were dedicated to maintain the racial status quo.

    “Adlai swept the Deep South, winning both Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas.”

    Because Stevenson made it clear that he had their “interests” in mind when it came to racial matters.

    And, from Lee Atwater himself…”You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘nigger, nigger, nigger’. By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’ - that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.”

    “The Democratic Party was the party of slavery, secession and segregation.”



    Democrats in the South who advocated those concepts, yes. Conservative? Indeed. The politicians who championed these causes sought to maintain the status quo, i.e. keep things how they were.

    Not your finest hour, Mr. Buchanan.

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  15. Dutch Boy says:

    Nixon and later Reagan made a stab at securing the support of Southern whites and the Northern white working class but the Republicans have never made it stick. They are too cozy with big business and its anti-organized labor, pro-outsourcing and pro-diversity ideology to secure the support of both groups permanently (which is their only chance to avoid political demise).

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  16. Sean says:

    Idle Spectator, Adlai Stevenson gave no such impression he got the nomination because he was ” acceptable to labor and urban machines—so a coalition of southern, urban, and labor leaders fell in behind his candidacy in Chicago.” Stevenson was only moderate on civil rights compared to Kefauver, who was a thoroughgoing liberal on civil rights, his one sin was to want to allow “cross-examination of black complainants in voting rights cases”.

    So the Dixiecrats had no real traction in the Democrats. As for the southern strategy ” Goldwater campaigned in part on States’ rights, and he had voted against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, one of only six Republican senators to have done so.” and he got trounced.

    Lets look at the rest of what Attwater said ” and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. [...] But Reagan did not have to do a southern strategy for two reasons. Number one, race was not a dominant issue. And number two, the mainstream issues in this campaign had been, quote, southern issues since way back in the sixties. So Reagan goes out and campaigns on the issues of economics and of national defense. The whole campaign was devoid of any kind of racism, any kind of reference. And I’ll tell you another thing you all need to think about, that even surprised me, is the lack of interest, really, the lack of knowledge right now in the South among white voters about the Voting Rights Act.

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  17. Corvinus says:

    “Adlai Stevenson gave no such impression…”

    When your backed by Strom Thurmond, the impression was decidedly clear–Stevenson was considered more sympathetic to the maintenance of Jim Crow.

    “So the Dixiecrats had no real traction in the Democrats…”

    They repeatedly made the point during the JFK and LBJ Administrations that any effort by the federal government to politically attack segregation would result in their refusal to support domestic legislation. Only when the Democrats gained control of the House and Senate in 1964, with more northern Democrats than southern Democrats, were Great Society programs enacted.

    “Goldwater campaigned in part on States’ rights…”

    It’s called the launching pad. He set in motion a strategy that exists today.

    “The whole campaign was devoid of any kind of racism, any kind of reference.”

    The reference was hidden, a “nod and a wink”. Reagan didn’t need a southern strategy, it was already firmly entrenched through the “abstract”.

    Not your finest hour, either!

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  18. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Had the north and south agreed to a gradual, peaceful emancipation of black agricultural and domestic workers with compensation to the property owners (as most other nations were able to do) AND pushed for the humanitarian repatriation of the Africans back to Africa, we might have avoided the entire race disaster that is now seems to be America’s inescapable fate.

    Lincoln has a lot to answer for.

    Americans rejected the modernizing British monarchy and the quite sensible Anglo-aristocratic Republic that followed and foolishly opted for democracy which predictably morphed into the current giant oppressive (and increasingly lawless) leftist federal hydra backed by (increasngly lawless) banking oligarchs.

    Well done Americans.

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  19. Corvinus says:

    “Had the north and south agreed to a gradual, peaceful emancipation of black agricultural and domestic workers with compensation to the property owners **(as most other nations were able to do)**…”

    Please cite your source**.

    You also forget that there were thousands of free blacks, both North and South, who had achieved status and/or accumulated property. The building trades in Charleston, SC, for example, were dominated by blacks. Why should they “bought out” or “compelled to leave”? They had the liberty to remain here where they were born, not go back to some foreign land.

    “Lincoln has a lot to answer for.”

    Actually, the North and South had a lot to answer for, since they failed to heed your “advice”.

    “Americans rejected the modernizing British monarchy…”

    No, they correctly rejected Parliament’s outright refusal to honor their well-earned liberties and forged a new nation. Well done, Americans!

    “the quite sensible Anglo-aristocratic Republic that followed…”

    Spoken like a lobsterback! You must be British. My condolences.

    “foolishly opted for democracy which predictably morphed into the current giant oppressive (and increasingly lawless) leftist federal hydra backed by (increasngly lawless) banking oligarchs.”

    Please enlighten us with specific reasons as to how you are qualified to make this (wild) generalization.

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    • Replies: @Sean
    "No, they correctly rejected Parliament’s outright refusal to honor their well-earned liberties and forged a new nation. Well done, Americans!"

    It think it is increasingly believed by academic historians that the 13 colonies rose against what they saw as a papist plot: religious liberty for Catholics under the Quebec act
  20. Sean says:
    @Corvinus
    "Had the north and south agreed to a gradual, peaceful emancipation of black agricultural and domestic workers with compensation to the property owners **(as most other nations were able to do)**..."

    Please cite your source**.

    You also forget that there were thousands of free blacks, both North and South, who had achieved status and/or accumulated property. The building trades in Charleston, SC, for example, were dominated by blacks. Why should they "bought out" or "compelled to leave"? They had the liberty to remain here where they were born, not go back to some foreign land.


    "Lincoln has a lot to answer for."

    Actually, the North and South had a lot to answer for, since they failed to heed your "advice".


    "Americans rejected the modernizing British monarchy..."

    No, they correctly rejected Parliament's outright refusal to honor their well-earned liberties and forged a new nation. Well done, Americans!


    "the quite sensible Anglo-aristocratic Republic that followed..."

    Spoken like a lobsterback! You must be British. My condolences.


    "foolishly opted for democracy which predictably morphed into the current giant oppressive (and increasingly lawless) leftist federal hydra backed by (increasngly lawless) banking oligarchs."

    Please enlighten us with specific reasons as to how you are qualified to make this (wild) generalization.

    “No, they correctly rejected Parliament’s outright refusal to honor their well-earned liberties and forged a new nation. Well done, Americans!”

    It think it is increasingly believed by academic historians that the 13 colonies rose against what they saw as a papist plot: religious liberty for Catholics under the Quebec act

    Read More
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