Which Conservative Heroes?

You aren’t conserving anything if you think Abraham Lincoln was a conservative.

Or Frederick Douglass. Or Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Or Martin Luther King.

Or frankly any Republican from the 1850s through the 1870s.

Even after that is questionable.

But that’s exactly what the modern conservative establishment wants to dupe the rest of American into believing.

You see, all of these Republicans–King wasn’t a Republican no matter how hard the establishment wishes he was a member of the GOP–were nineteenth century leftists bent on remaking America.

We know this because they said it, a lot.

Take Stanton’s Declaration of Sentiments (which I cover in a class at McClanahan Academy).

It is one of the more radical documents of the 19th century, and Stanton openly complained that the War and Reconstruction weren’t transformative enough.

That might suggest that some Republicans were conservative. No. The rest of America simply didn’t want to continue their headlong rush into a military despotism and eventually outvoted them. This, of course, was after the Republicans tried to use every political trick to keep power, including literally disfranchising voters in the South.

So if we shouldn’t admire these “reptiles” as James A. Bayard called them, who should American conservatives look to for guidance?

Clyde Wilson and I wrote a great book on this about a decade ago.

You won’t find Lincoln in our book, but you will find men like Calhoun, the Bayards, and Sam Ervin among others.

This wouldn’t be popular with the Fox News crowd, but it should be, and it’s exactly why you need to listen to my latest episode of The Brion McClanahan Show.

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