4 Surprising Ways Conservatives Have Made America Awesome

AwesomeFor purposes of this post, Republican Party = Conservative.  I know some might disagree, but historically and practically, the Republican party represents “American conservatism.”

Here is reason #1 conservative is cool: The Republican Party has built an awesome America.

I know. That Republican Party. That crony capitalist, warmongering, cowboy-worshiping, good ol’ boys club Republican Party. But not all is as it seems. A cursory review of the history of the Republican Party demonstrates that America’s conservative party has been deeply involved in making America a better place from the beginning, and that conservatism has something good to offer on some critical issues:
1.  Slavery
I think this one’s pretty easy. Republicans founded their party based on one idea: end slavery. They got their man Abraham Lincoln elected and he did what he was elected to do – he ended slavery. Beyond that it was a Republican Congress that passed the Constitutional Amendments 13-15 that outlawed slavery, guaranteed minority voting rights, and established civil rights as a foundation element of American jurisprudence.

2.  Women’s rights
Not only was Susan B. Anthony, the George Washington of women’s rights in America, a Republican, but her draft for a constitutional Amendment giving women the right to vote was put forward by a Republican Senator and passed by a Republican-led Congress in 1919.  This legislative support capped off a groundswell of support for the female vote in Republican ranks. In 1912,one of the most pivotal elections in modern American history, one of the first major elections in which the issue of women’s votes became a major discussion. Guess who were the candidates reaching out to the female voters? Yep, the Republicans:  Incumbent Howard Taft and Bull Moose challenger Teddy Roosevelt. Historical note:  Democrat Woodrow Wilson won that election because of the split Republican vote, and he was not the biggest supporter of women’s voting rights.  Though, to be fair, he did come around to it once it became obvious that’s the way the wind was blowing.

3.  Environment
Less than conservative filmmaker Ken Burns made a whole documentary series explaining why our National Parks were “America’s Best Idea.”  Guess who got that ball rolling? Republican president Ulysses S. Grant (He’s buried in Grant’s tomb for those who haven’t figured it out yet).  This was a first major step towards preserving the American landscape and making environmentalism a concern of the American people. Jump ahead a little bit and you find Republican Teddy Roosevelt.  I would run off all his environmental achievements, but I think our friends at Wikipedia do that just fine:

Roosevelt set aside more Federal land, national parks, and nature preserves than all of his predecessors combined.

Roosevelt established the United States Forest Service, signed into law the creation of five National Parks, and signed the 1906 Antiquities Act, under which he proclaimed 18 new U.S. National Monuments. He also established the first 51 Bird Reserves, four Game Preserves, and 150 National Forests, including Shoshone National Forest, the nation’s first. The area of the United States that he
place under public protection totals approximately 230,000 acres.

Fast forward 60 years and you have another Republican president establishing the Environmental Protection Agency and signing the Clean Air Act: Richard Nixon. Not going to excuse his lack of morals, but he took a huge step forward in preserving the environment for America like President Roosevelt before him.

4.  Labor Rights
In America’s heyday of crony capitalism, brutal working conditions and corporate trusts it looked like the Common Man of America didn’t stand a chance. Republican Teddy Roosevelt began cleaning house. A rash of new legislation was passed and signed on TR’s watch that made America a safer place to work, and insured more representation and protection for workers who wanted to unionize. Teddy Roosevelt was all about a strong America, a good America and an America that really did give everybody a decent shot.

I get really upset when people don’t understand this part of conservatism and its party. Conservative Republicans have come to represent reactionaries who are not concerned with the needs of America, but with the politics of the moment.

This history of Republicans leading the way to a better America says otherwise and demonstrates that conservatism today is narrowly defined when it has a lot more to offer.

My question to conservatives is what are we doing to win back the moral high ground on these issues?  Why did we lose that ground in the first place?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


  1. The issues have changed since the times you mention. For example women's rights should be supported. Each gender should have equal rights. But now liberals created a fake War on Women by trying to equate abortion with women's rights, seemingly unaware that pregnancies require a man and a women. Apparently to Planned Parenthood, men have no interest in planning their families. Abortion is an important issue but not a gender-based issue.

    Protecting the environment is important, but anti-progress extremists have hijacked the issue. "Environmentalists" today want to stop building pipelines that create jobs and have minimal impact on the environment, and they want to make energy too expensive for a lot of people to afford with cap and trade taxes.

  2. So why do all modern Republican writers take pride in demonizing unions and the EPA?

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