Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Men of 1854

"On July 4th, 1854, a small group of men in and around St Anthony, who called themselves 'friends of freedom', and who had been prominently affiliated with the Democrat and Whig parties, met informally at the schoolhouse."

And with that meeting, the Minnesota Republican Party was born.  A committee was organized to call a meeting of those-

"opposed to the further extension of slavery and who were likewise resolved to get rid of the corruption existing in territorial and national politics by the creation of a new national party."

Two days after the Minnesota group met, a similar group in Michigan agreed on the name 'Republican' for the new political party.

After spending the fall and winter of 1854-55 talking with local leaders across the territory (Minnesota would not become a state of the Union until 3 years later) a call was issued for a Republican party convention in July.  Rallying people to the "banner of freedom so long obscured by the dark clouds of human bondage", and setting itself in opposition to a federal government that "at the present time is anti-Republican and in a directly opposite direction from that intended by its enlightened founders", the convention launched the Republican party into statewide contention, and two years later was able to rival the Democrats for power while drafting the state's constitution. With the defeat of the Confederacy on the battlefield and the Democrat Party in the ballot box, the Republican Party dominated the state for decades.

One hundred fifty nine years after the Minnesota Republican party was born, we find ourselves in amazingly similar circumstances as when the party was born.

Slavery may be gone, but millions of Americans now call the federal government 'master', dependent on the bureaucracy for monthly checks to allow them to buy food.

Corruption at the (territorial) state and federal level are so common that voters hardly even notice anymore.

Republicans across the state and country have been calling for a return to the principles of the Founding Fathers for years.

Those brave Republicans that met on Independence Day, 1854, accomplished some incredible things.  They helped guide Minnesota through the statehood application process, joining us to the United States.  They fought to keep slavery out of Minnesota, even when the Supreme Court's ruling on a former Minnesota resident, Dred Scott, put the prohibition of slavery in doubt. 

The Republican Party helped raise the issue of slavery in a territory far removed from the front lines.  And when the Civil War broke out, many of those same men who founded the Republican Party answered President Lincoln's call for volunteers.  Many of those early Republicans were killed or wounded while serving their country and their cause-an end to slavery of the African American race.

159 years ago, Minnesota Republicans dedicated themselves to freeing black Americans from slavery.  Today, the Growth and Opportunities Party is reaching out to minority communities in Minneapolis and St Paul to explain how the Republican Party are still 'friends of freedom', and want give every Minnesotan the chance to be free of dependence on government.

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