The 1824 Project

David B Morris
15 min readJun 17, 2024


As The Democratic Party Celebrates Its Unofficial Bicentennial, Some People Who They Won’t Acknowledge And Some Stories That Won’t Be On Their Website

I am a student of history, which means that I read a lot of books both on politics and American Presidents.

I know that many of these books, particularly the ones on Republican Presidents, have very specific agendas to push such as those by conservative writers on Democrats have ones to push on Democratic Presidents. I do take all of them with a grain of salt, knowing full well that those who expect the full truth on a subject from his biographer might as well expect it from their loving grandparent.

So yes I’m aware that the Republican Party is very much the party of Nixon and Reagan and both of the Bushes and yes, 45. I’m also aware that it’s the party not only of Lincoln but Theodore Roosevelt and Eisenhower. All three of these Presidents were most recently ranked among the ten greatest by historians with Lincoln and TR among the top five.

Now I know very well that it is the nature of think tanks like the Heritage Foundation, so many former members of Republican administrations past and any Republican at all over this century in particular to take the very worst examples of their former leaders and go out of their way to argue that not only were these Presidents not as horrible as the liberals have portrayed them but in fact were among the best ever. Part of me as a writer almost admires the ability so many of this so-called biographers will go out of their way to polish some of these particular turds when the best thing they could do for their own sake is pretend they were aberrations to learn from.

But instead we have biographies by Nixon admirers saying their boss was really a saint, by Reagan staffers saying that he was a genius and going back even further, those who argue that in reality Harding and Coolidge — who have always deservedly been considered among the worst president — were not only very good, but the kind of Presidents more leaders should aspire to me.

I realize that all of this is, of course, complete and utter propaganda and the kind of thing being done to influence so many uninspired minds. But say what you will about all of these conservative writers: they’re not pretending that these horrible Presidents didn’t exist. They really should, but they’re acknowledging them. The same can’t be said for the Democratic Party as it approaches its first two hundred years in existence.

I am for the record a student of political history which means I know all of the Democratic Party’s troubled history. I’ve written countless articles of them for my blog in the past and will continue to do in the future. The thing is I’ve read countless articles from Daily Kos and other Democratic influenced magazines over the years. And they’ve taken a vastly different approach to the skeletons in their closet — which to be very clear they have far more of, are far uglier and were a part of their bases much longer than they are in the Republicans.

That attitude is not to celebrate them, which is the right approach. Instead those leftists who work for the Democratic Party have magically decided that they never existed. I’m serious. They will never miss an opportunity to tell you every detail of every single flaw of every Republican since Lincoln. But even though the Democrats existed a full thirty years before the GOP, you’d think reading so much of the Daily Kos history that they were non-existent. They also mention the horrors of Jim Crow and all its evils for the part of eighty years but they don’t mention what the Democrats were doing at the time. As far as the progressive newsletter for the Democrats are concerned, the Democratic Party was born in 1932 with FDR, who single handedly created the New Deal and won World War II, then Harry Truman became President when he died (they don’t deal with his term or election as President really) and then JFK came along and LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act and the Democratic Party has been fighting for you ever since, yada yada yada. For a movement built in academia and one that argues it is telling the truth, this is an incredible recreation of events.

So because I think it is important to know the whole story, I think we need to deal with skeletons in the Democratic Party’s closet. I realize that this will no doubt get me labeled in so many circles as a racist, bigot and enabler of the Republicans; I’ve been called that much for simply saying less inflammatory things then this. And no matter how many times I say I am a Democrat or that I agree with progressive values, this will not make any real difference to the left who’s made it very clear to me — numerous times, in fact — that any deviation from the narrative they have been telling is giving aid and comfort to the enemy. That’s truly insulting to the intelligence of the average American, but at this point I know very well the left has little use for their intelligence of anyone who isn’t them.

So let’s call this the 1824 Project. In it I’m going to just hit on the highlights of some of the parts of the Democratic Party’s history over the last two hundred years that I absolutely guarantee no leftist will tell you. I’m writing this article for a simple reason. History is not about telling the parts of a story that cast your subject in a favorable light and ignoring the warts. That’s fanfiction. And if we’re really going to face all of the institutional racism and ugliness in America’s past — as so many on the left say we have to do as a nation — that means holding a mirror to our friends as much as our enemies.

Let’s start with something simple. You remember how exciting so many people got when it was announced Harriet Tubman was being put on the twenty dollar bill? What a victory for African Americans and equality is was made?

The Democrats version of whitewashing.

It wasn’t. It was the Democratic Party’s version of taking down Confederate monuments. (That’s ironic too, as I’ll make clear in a minute.) They weren’t so much putting Tubman on the $20 as they were taking Andrew Jackson off.

I wrote an article highlighting this and I’ll send the links to it in this article. Suffice to say Jackson was an autocrat, a racist, practically an authoritarian, and the only President to receive a Congressional Censure. The thing is for the better part of a century, history had been arguing that Jackson was one of the great Presidents in history and basically ignoring all of that. Jackson was the first President to bear the mantle of a Democrat when he took the White House and the idea of Jacksonian Democracy has been founded ever since, even though Jackson had little use for it. Jackson has suffered immensely in the eyes of historians and that is correct in my opinion.

But taking Jackson off the $20 doesn’t erase him from history any more than taking down Confederate statues will stop people from celebrating it as a lost cause. You don’t solve the problematic parts of our history by putting them out of sight, which is what this seems to be what the Biden administration is doing by this. For better or worse, Jackson was the founder not only of the Democratic party but the start of how electoral democracy worked as we know it. To pretend he didn’t exist because of his horribly racist views (which we’re horrible even for the time) doesn’t make anything better. It says that’s it better to pretend Jackson didn’t exist rather than acknowledge who he was and what he represented.

Similarly as much as the left wants to argue that the Southern plantation system is the parallel to the corporate system of wealthy industrialists we have to day makes a glaring omission. During this period, the plantation and chattel system of slavery was aided and openly helped by Democrats in both the North and the South. It was done not only by John Tyler and James Polk of the South who stoked the flames with the acquisition of Texas and the Mexican War but northern Democrats such as Pierce and Buchanan who spent the decade leading up to the conflict doing increasingly nothing. It ignores that so many people who made the conflict worse, whether it was John C. Calhoun of South Carolina and his role in the Nullification Crisis or Stephen Douglas of Illinois, whose sponsorship of the Kansas-Nebraska Act poured gasoline on the fire, were loyal Democrats. And it ignores that every politician who joined the Confederacy, from Jefferson Davis on down, was a Democrat. The left loves to argue how Alexander Stephens was elected back to the Senate after serving as the Vice President of the Confederacy, sponsoring an insurrection. They conveniently ignore Stephens returned to power as a Democrat.

Alexander Stephens. Hey Democrats, look over here.

This actually brings me to Jim Crow. The left understandably has been yelling about the racism and exclusion of the South of White supremacy during the period of Reconstruction to the 1950s. What they always leave out in Progressive publications in particular, is who benefitted from it.

From 1877 to the end of FDR’s administration the Democrats referred to all of the South as the ‘Solid South’ because it was the base of their political strength. The Democrats had one-party rule in the South. To even vote Republican back then was often as dangerous as being African-American. The Democratic Party had complete and total control of every elected office at a state and federal level in the South pretty much from 1877 until the 1960s.

Which brings me back to the Confederate monuments that so many people, particularly today’s Democrats, are adamant about tearing down these days. Who do you think had them commissioned and built in the first place? Wasn’t the Republicans. There is such a thing as white liberal guilt on part of the Democrats, this is by far the biggest part. (Though I’m wondering if some of them are hoping that if they just tear them down that they get a refund for them somewhere. They did finance them after all.)

Now the Democrats were also fundamentally a regional party during this period. And from 1860 to 1928, only two Democrats won the White House during this period: Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson. Cleveland was a fiscal conservative, if not a social one. And Wilson is, charitably, problematic. To be sure during his administration four amendments became part of the Constitution, including the one that gave women the right to vote. But since he gave a rave review of The Birth of A Nation — in fact, basically thought it was historically accurate — well, progressives would rather not talk about him.

Speaking of progressives, they have little to say in their articles about the Progressive Era itself. Considering that so many of their wish list items — from the FDA to the National Park System to the establishment of the Federal Reserve to the direct election of Senators — all happened in it, it’s kind of amazing they’ll acknowledge them but not the who and how they got created. There’s a reason for that. During this period, the majority of those who called themselves progressives were Republicans. Not just TR but Charles Evans Hughes and Hiram Johnson and Robert La Follette and George Norris. Considering that LaFollette and Norris have always been considered among the greatest of senators, it takes a lot of effort to pretend they didn’t exist, especially considering how so many of them were influential in the New Deal.

But in the eyes of the left, Republicans have never done anything good. So all of these great parts of the progressive agenda apparently sprang to life during a period in our history when — nobody was President or in Congress, I guess, At least as far as the progressive narrative goes. But of course the Republicans were in power during the Roaring 20s and led American off a cliff into the Great Depression. Back then of course the Democrats were as conservative as the GOP if not more so when it came to Big business and certainly to race — the KKK was such a part of their membership back then that a vote to denounce them in the 1924 platform only passed by one vote — but no leftist newsletter will report this, certainly not a Democratic one.

Richard Russell, proud Democrat.

This brings us to FDR. As I’ve said he deserves all the credit he got for coming up with the New Deal. But he didn’t do it on his own. The main way he got it through Congress was through Southern Democrats, all of whom were frequently, proudly segregationist. This doesn’t discount their legislative ability or make them any less great Congressman or Senators: Dan Bankhead of Alabama did much as Speaker of the House and was aided by Sam Rayburn as floor leader and later Speaker in his own right. (Rayburn was from Texas and therefore less conservative on race.) Most of the major players in the Senate leadership from Joseph Robinson of Arkansas to Alben Barkley of Kentucky and Richard Russell of Georgia were very much in the segregationist wing, though some were less wed to it than others. Some such as Cotton Ed Smith of South Carolina and Millard Tydings of Maryland were more extreme. But FDR managed to get most of the New Deal through Congress because he fundamentally did little to disturb the idea of the Jim Crow South. It is the one area of his Presidency where historians justifiably critique him on. And its telling that when FDR tried his famous ‘Purge’ to try and get rid of conservative Democrats, it never occurred to him to go for the obvious difference: race. As I’ve mentioned FDR was more in tune with the Southern views of race that the left would let you know.

And to be clear as the civil rights movements was starting to take full swing in the 1950s, the politicians were the most opposition were Southern Democrats. Jim Byrnes, who had been one of FDR’s most trusted allies during his administration, would run for governor of South Carolina almost entirely due to the threat of desegregation. Orvil Faubus may have been on the far right of the Democratic Party, but he still ran as a Democrat. And while the left loves to paint Strom Thurmond as the definition of how conservatism took over the Republican Party, it was as a Democrat that he created the Southern Manifesto, a piece of legislation that would eventually be signed by all but three of the Democratic Senators who represented the South.

William Fulbright OF ARKANSAS.

One of those senators was J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. You know the man who was the biggest internationalist in the support for Europeanism and the European Union. One of the most prominent opponents of the Vietnam war. One of the most prominent opponents of Joseph McCarthy and the man who created the Fulbright Program. Fulbright was a blatant segregationist. He didn’t want Alaska to enter the Union in 1952, solely because he thought the legislators would support civil rights. He didn’t think the South was ready for integration. He might claim that he did so to get a moderate version of the Manifesto past. But he also participated in the Filibuster of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and opposed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Next time you meet a leftist who had a Fulbright scholarship, ask them if they either know who he was or what his position on civil rights were.

I mention this all that so much of the negotiating over civil rights by Congress during the 1950s and 1960s was not so much for moral reasons but for the political bonuses. Both parties were doing political calculus — how much of the black vote can we get and still keep as much of the segregationist vote. As late as the 1960 election the Democrats were still arguing for keeping the segregationists on their side — which is why so many liberals like Hubert Humphrey were incredibly frustrated at how little the Kennedy administration was willing to do for civil rights legislation.

This brings me to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I can’t tell you how many Democratic or progressive newsletters I’ve read who use this and LBJ’s famous quote after signing it: “I think we just handed the South to the Republicans for a long time to come.” Given the way the left frames it, you’d think after saying this LBJ said: “Glad to kick those bastard to the curb! Now let’s turn on the Beatles!”

To be very clear LBJ was in mourning when he said this. He was from Texas and he had a closer alignment with many of the Southern legislators then the Northern ones who had never trusted him and had been glad when he left the Senate. Richard Russell had been one of his closest friends in the Senate and he knew sponsorship of this bill would damage their friendship irrevocably. He knew the South had been the most reliable part of the Democratic Party for over a century and that going forward winning Presidential elections would be infinitely tougher — something that has proven the case.

The Republicans, it was said, did not hold their noses when they let the segregationists in. Similarly the Democrats were never overjoyed to see them go. They might have the moral high ground in the future — and more importantly, the African-American vote from that forward — but they were fully aware that the segregationists and white supremacists were not going to just wither away and die, never mind stop being a political force. Giving African-Americans the right to vote did not take away the segregationists rights to do the same and they went through the door that Goldwater seemed willing to open to them.

Yes the Republicans took them in, but to imagine they were just going to stop voting is a pipe dream and that they weren’t going to hold it against the party that they considered who’d betrayed them was naïve. The South didn’t leave the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party left them. I realize that the left will take every opportunity to paint this not only as a good thing but what the South deserves. To them every single citizen in the South has a Confederate flag on both the front and back bumper stickers of the pickups and wears a MAGA cap. They acknowledge that there are LGBTQ+, African-Americans and women in the South — they love to highlight every time a bill is passed that takes their rights away — but all of this is just something they use as fundraising to elect more Democrats in the North and urban areas. The left doesn’t even bother to differentiate between the Southern Republicans and the residents of the South. There is a Democratic Party there but as far as the left is concerned, all they are there to do is to march and give sound bites. God forbid they do anything to try and waste time and resources to build a party there because that would meaning living and associating with the South. That the Democrats have a deeper and longer history in the South and that the GOP’s base there is fairly recent is meaningless to today’s left. The South to them is a Third World country but one deserves of less concentration by Americans then ones overseas.

And the Democrats know this. They have so many historians who will comment on MSNBC. Doris Kearns Goodwin and Michael Beschloss and David McCollough know just how complicated and messy the history of both the South and the Democratic Party within it are. So why for their newsletters and really everything else are they letting the equivalent of the Howard Zinn’s and Noam Chomsky’s drive the narrative of both the region and the party’s history?

I think its simple and heartbreaking. The Democrats want to win elections. And they know that they need the left’s support to do it. You’d think by now they’d see that this is a devil’s bargain given that the left does everything in its power to piss outside the tent even while there in it but they know they have no choice. They know the left historically tends to isolate as many as it brings in — if not more — but right now the left is, at least for the moment, utterly in contempt of the right. So they rely on them to do what they’ve always done better than anything else -certainly not govern or legislate. They can spin a narrative.

So they’ve hired the left to polish up the skeletons in their closets to make it look that they’ve always been the good guys in the story of America. It’s not true, of course; like every other group in our history, the Democrats have as many warts on their heroes as anyone else. But the left is as good, if not better, then the right at looking at the complexities of world history and reducing it to binary: good or evil, with no shades of grey. It’s no more true than the lies the GOP will tell itself to get through the day and maybe the lies are prettier than the ones of the conservatives. But history has always been a lie agreed upon and the Democrats need their lie to be better than the ones the Republicans the public. The truth is more complicated, but in politics you never let the truth get in the way of a good story.



David B Morris

After years of laboring for love in my blog on TV, I have decided to expand my horizons by blogging about my great love to a new and hopefully wider field.