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News Martin Luther King: Democrat or Republican?

  1. Aug 29, 2008 #1
    I'm finding a lot of this dispute all over the Net. Can anyone provide an authoritative link, because I'd like to know if this is the truth.

    http://www.nationalblackrepublicans.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=pages.DYK-Why%20MLK%20was%20a%20Republican [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 29, 2008 #2
    Well, he had a spine, so he wasn't a Democrat... but he wanted civil rights enforced by the government, so he wasn't a Republican.

    Can we just agree that he was an independent?
  4. Aug 29, 2008 #3


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    Martin Luther King, so he was a royalist
  5. Aug 29, 2008 #4

    Read. Particularly under 'influences'.

    The positions of the democrat and republican party have changed substantially over time. At some points the democrats have been interventionist and the republicans isolationist. In current times the trend has obviously changed in certain regards. There have been changes in regards to the 'statists' and 'federalists' aswell. Currently a bid for secession might be regarded as a liberal idea since the current republican admin has been vying for more federal power. You'll find that the really hardcore traditionalist conservatives hate Bush and the really fringe nutjob types think he is the antichrist.

    I would say MLK was a dem and that by todays standards he would easily be considered a dem still.
  6. Aug 29, 2008 #5


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    Odd that it's so difficult to find an answer. MLK Jr's father switched to Democrat, after the following instance, but MLK Jr "made no endorsement". The event below was 8 years before his death.

  7. Aug 30, 2008 #6
    Martin Luther King Jr. was a socialist. Near the end of his life he spoke about the economic ills of capitalism and when he was killed he was supporting sanitation workers on strike in Memphis. Most people don't know this.

    In his final letters he called end not only to imperialism but also to the economic imperialism of capitalism and so on.

    That article is complete BS too. The 1964 Civil Rights Act would NOT have passed had many Democrats not voted for it. The reason the percentages are disproportionate is because there were a lot of "Dixiecrats" at the time (think of people like Thurman, Miller) who were more traditional, conservative demodcrats (demos were a majority at the time).

    Most of the Civil Rights movements and organizations that got it going, the sit-ins and so on, were done by more left-leaning groups like the SNCC and so on. Indeed, the reason King's name is known at all is because of the works of these brave civil rights advocates and lawyers and so on. Even Newt Gingrich said that the Civil Rights act came about because of the "left-wing of the democratic party."

    The abolitionists of the 1800s also considered the Republicans far too tame on Civil Rights. The article is complete BS.
  8. Aug 30, 2008 #7


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    The idea that MLK would be a Republican at some point in his life is at least credible. The problem is that both parties have changed significantly since that time, so the point isn't particularly relevant beyond being an interesting trivia question.

    Some of the most right wing factions of the Republican Party come from ex-Democrats that bolted because of national defense issues and civil rights issues.

    Some Republicans wouldn't be very upset if the Democrats would take them back.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  9. Aug 30, 2008 #8
    While you are correct in that the wikipedia cite effectively notes that Dr Martin Luther King, Sr was republican at first and later switched and his son, Martin Luther King Jr. remained neutral, I would not regard King as a democrat since they are well known for their socialist agenda whereas King was not. King was more in favor of every American having an equal chance to education, voting and job opportunities and did not favor self degrading handouts under the then current socialist welfare programs.

    Some quotes from the Black Republican Groups "white" paper:

    "7. What Party, by the greatest percentage,
    passed the Civil Rights Act and the Civil
    Rights Acts of the 1960’s?
    [ ] a. Democratic Party
    [X] b. Republican Party"

    This may be misleading since it may show only that the majority of "republicans that voted" sided with the democrats who were in the majority. I would like to know if actually a higher percentage of "republican membership" per se that voted for the civil rights bill than the percentage of the democratic membership.

    "8. What was the Party of President Richard
    Nixon who instituted the first Affirmative
    Action program in 1969 with the Philadelphia
    Plan that established goals and timetables?
    [ ] a. Democratic Party
    [X] b. Republican Party"

    "9. What is the Party of President George W.
    Bush who supports the U.S. Supreme Court’s
    University of Michigan Affirmative Action
    decision, and is spending over $500 billion to
    fight AIDS in Africa and on programs to help
    black Americans prosper, including school
    vouchers, the faith-based initiative, home
    ownership, and small business ownership?
    [ ] a. Democratic Party
    [X] b. Republican Party"

    While this is true, I still think a lot more emphasis on education and job creating incentives is necessary than under Bush. Hopefully, both McCain and Obama agree.

    Overall, while the obviously being a one sided Republican white paper on the issue of racism, it is an striking contrast to a lot of the faulty stereotypes that currently are spread in the mass media. I hope that whoever becomes President will have been chosen based upon his merit and not the false Democratic-Republican stereotypes. I also think that the past policies of racism have created a lot of distressed areas both white and black. 1) blacks were denied equal rights and 2) a lot of whites could not complete with the low cost of slave labor. There is an moral obligation to channel extra resources to the distressed areas to enable better opportunities for education and job opportunities but I don't believe in simple non-merit handouts. America cannot continue to complete in the world if any of its citizens are not given the opportunity and incentive to live up to their fullest potential.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2008
  10. Aug 30, 2008 #9
    ramsey2879, where is your evidence that King Jr. didn't support social welfare?

    And it is the Democrats who generally favor across the board regulation, whereas Republicans support corporate favoritism (corporate welfare, militarism, and so on).

    King himself said that he believed in "sharing the wealth" and was a Democratic-Socialist.

    It's all in that wiki article linked above.
  11. Aug 30, 2008 #10


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    Interesting, yesterday I heard Michael Beschloss, author of Critical Moments, Critical Choices, talk about the relationship between MLK, Jr, and John and Robert Kennedy. MLK was not too happen about Kennedy's reluctance to get involved in the Civil Rights movement, and Kennedy was reluctant because he did not want to alienate the southern Democrats before the 1964 presidential election.

  12. Aug 30, 2008 #11
    Location of credible evidence?

    I don't know of any source that King was a philosophical "Republican," especially when he started developing his ideas about Civil Rights and imperialism.

    By that point it is clear that he philosophically differed from republicans.

    There is nothing in the article above stating he was a Republican; I think Republicans would have made a big case out of it if he was.

    This has absolutely nothing to do with King's philosophy.

    Anyway, King came to oppose imperialism, and our economic system.

    You cannot oppose both our foreign policiy, and our monarchistic economic policies and be a Republican, who generally favor the status quo.

    You CAN do that and be a Democratic, as you can be a Democrat and favor actual democracy, but there is no evidence he was a Democrat either I believe (though certainly Democratic-Socialism is closer to the democrats than the Republicans).
  13. Aug 30, 2008 #12


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    It was Robert Kennedy that ordered the wiretap on MLK.

  14. Aug 30, 2008 #13
    It was J. Edgar Hoover who ordered the wiretap on MLK, Kennedy (who was Hoover's boss) simply obliged but he said it was with great difficulty.

    It was wrong of both of them, though.
  15. Aug 30, 2008 #14


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    See above, I hadn't finished my post. Hoover asked for permission from Kennedy, who agreed. It seems the actual transcripts are sealed now until 2027.
  16. Aug 30, 2008 #15
    Yes, I agree. Some of Robert Kennedy's actions do not support his image as a champion of racial equality. For instance, when the Freedom Riders were getting beaten up in Birmingham, Alabama, buses were being burned, and so on, Robert Kennedy didn't do anything about it. He supposedly changed and had a better understanding of race issues in his later years, though. Generally, I don't think he was that bad of a politician compared to some of the politicians at the time.

    Anyway, my view of King Jr. is that he was independent, as probably many civil rights people were, and he would have disliked the Democrats for supposedly starting the Vietnam war, and the Republicans for explanding it.

    His speech at Riverside Church, condemnations of the US aggression (I won't quote it) and his explanations of why he couldn't just stick to Civil Rights, as he had "worked too long and hard" against "segregated public accommodations" to start "segregating [his] moral concern" really speak for themselves.
  17. Aug 30, 2008 #16
    You give more credit to Newt Gringrich than is due, if so many of the conservative republicans had not voted for the bill, the bill also would not have passed. The majority of the American people believe in fair pay for an honest days work and equal opportunity to work; and, there is a big disagreement upon whether this can be accomplished under a socialist system. Abraham Lincoln who freed the slaves said "A patent truth. Made so plain by our good Father in Heaven, that all feel and understand it, even down to brutes and creeping insects. The ant, who has toiled and dragged a crumb to his nest, will furiously defend the fruit of his labor, against whatever robber assails him. So plain that even the most dumb and stupid slave that ever toiled for a master, does constantly know that he is wronged. So plain that no one, high or low ever does mistake it, except in a plainly selfish way; for although volumn upon volumn is written to prove that slavery is such a good thing, we never hear of the man who wishes to take the good of it , by becoming a slave himself."

    "Most governments have been based, practically, on the denial of equal rights of men. As I have, in part stated them; ours began by affirming those rights. They said, some men are too ignorant, and vicious, to share in government. Possibly so, said we; and by your system you would keep them ignorant and vicious. We proposed to give all a chance; and we expected the weak to become stronger, the ignorant, wiser; and all better, and happier together.

    "We made the experiment; and the fruit is before us"
    From "The collected works of Abraham Limcoln" vol. II, page 222 (Fragment on Slavery)

    Also, the patent system was a capitalist invention and Abe Lincoln is famous for his saying
    "The Patent system added the fuel of incentive to the fire of genius"
    That is what made America the great country that it is.

    America is strong now and will continue to grow much stronger if we every American a honest chance to live the American dream to its fullest, but not if we start removing all incentive to toil by punishing the worker and rewarding the lazy. Of course we must not mistake the oppressed man for a lazy man but must continue to trust in the fuel of incentive properly placed.
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2008
  18. Aug 30, 2008 #17
    Yes, that is all true. I rather like Lincoln, actually. He also said:

    "You know I dislike slavery; and you fully admit the abstract wrong of it."
    -- August 24, 1855 - Letter to Joshua Speed

    "This is a world of compensations; and he who would be no slave, must consent to have no slave."
    -- April 6, 1859 - Letter to Henry Pierce

    I really like the latter quote because it shows the hypocrisy of people who would call for slavery - they themselves would not like to be a slave. I also disagree with many Libertarian-economists who say that one can sell one self into slavery.

    However, Lincoln did not free ALL the slaves and wanted to ship Africans back to Africa. This is made clear in several of his letters.

    Still, I am not a Civil War revisionist and believe slavery was so institutionalized the war may have been necessary; plus, the capitalist slavery was especially brutal, one of the worst forms of slavery in history - it combined the element of racism with the concept that some people are "property" of corporations and businesses, and many of them even had corporations imprinted on them by the trading companies.

    I never said that anything that contradicts those statements above, or denied that the US was generally a capitalistic country with a history of rulings and laws that favor corporations. However, while most Americans support the capitalist conceptions of property they also do not support unlimited property rights, and believe in things such as UHC etc. I think it's clear that capitalism works best under social democracy. We (the US) have already tried the conservative approach and it was far too inequitable.

    Furthermore, here is an interesting quote from Lincoln:

    "I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed."
    -- U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864

    Although, there is some debate among historians whether he actually said it. Certainly, many Americans have always held this sentiment, though, so anti-corporatism is not anti-american.
  19. Aug 30, 2008 #18
    King was Christen, it is in the bible that we five only a 10% tithe, and of course also to give to Ceasar what is due him.

    Where in the wiki article do you find support for your claim that King was a socialist?
  20. Aug 30, 2008 #19
    It's in the "Opposition to Vietnam war" section:

    "Though his public language was guarded, so as to avoid being linked to communism by his political enemies, in private he sometimes spoke of his support for democratic socialism. In one speech, he stated that "something is wrong with capitalism" and claimed, "There must be a better distribution of wealth, and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism."[80]"

    This is well known anyway, he had condemned capitalism before.

    You cannot condemn capitalism, support the fair distribution of wealth (the conservative distribution of wealth is an upwards shift), and so on, and be a republican.

    King was socialist/semi-pascifist.
  21. Aug 30, 2008 #20
    I am not sure Lincoln said that but I agree it is true and needs to be fixed. It is not in my mind anti-corporatism to argue that corporations need to be held accountable for their injustices. Anti-corporatism i.e., arguing that all corporations are bad is anti-american in my mind.
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