These pages reveal the Progressive Party and the nation's race problems.
As a newcomer to the political scene, the Progressive Party needed to draw its support from the ranks of existing parties. Therefore Progressives had to devise reasons for voters to abandon their previous party affiliations.
Read the following appeal to African-American voters printed in The Crisis. According to this piece, what are the main reasons African Americans should vote Progressive? Be sure to notice the type of rhetoric used, the language that might have special meaning to African Americans.
THE CRISIS ADVERTISER
Why the Negro Should Be a Progressive
Suffrage in this country, so far as the Negro is concerned, has been a national travesty. It has been the one standing blot upon the United States, that has won for her the merited contempt and just criticism of the intelligent and justice-loving world. Suffrage was bestowed upon the Negro by the Republican party and was stolen from him by the Democratic party. "Thou shalt not steal" has had about as much place in the political decalogue of the Southern Democrats as it had in the political decalogue of the stand-pat Chicago Republicans of June, 1912.
Under the disfranchising laws of the several Southern States, Negro suffrage has become so restricted and worthless as a political factor that the Republican party has tacitly decided that Negro suffrage was a failure, and not the slightest effort was put forth to prevent the nullification of those amendments to the Constitution, which gave the Negro freedom, citizenship and suffrage. And it remained for the Taft administration to set the seal of official approval upon the unconstitutional legislation of the South, by the wholesale removal of the Negro from federal office throughout the South, and declaring that no more would be appointed where it was objectionable to Southern whites.
Upon this Taft propaganda, "lily whitism" took on new life and blossomed and bloomed in the South as never before. The Negro was politically down and out. He had been bound by his political enemies, the Democrats and basely deserted and betrayed by his political friends, the Republicans. He stood without a political friend, and not a voice throughout the length and breadth of the land was lifted in sympathy or in defense. It was the Negroes' political extremity; and smarting under the grievous injustice that had been done them, and spurred on by desire for political revenge, thousands reviled the, name of Taft, and thousands pocketing their pride, hat in hand, started toward the camp of their ancient enemies, the Democrats, intent 'only on making friends and getting even with Taft, the "lily whites," and the Republican party, a combination of political hypocrites, ingrates and highwaymen.
"God maketh the wrath of men to praise him;" and if there ever has been a demonstration of these words, plain and positive, it was demonstrated at Chicago in June. The men who manipulated the Chicago convention forced the nomination of Taft in haughty disregard of decency and honesty, little dreamed of -what they were doing. The Negro delegates, who aided in forcing Taft upon the Republican party, despite the thousand-voiced. protests of Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and the West, had not the slightest idea that they were stabbing the Republican party to death; and thus the political selfishness and hate of a few white men and the political blindness of a few Negroes accomplished in a day what might have otherwise taken a score of years to encompass; namely, the death of the Republican party. Brought into existence in 1856 to protect four millions of enslaved Negroes, it was killed, unintentionally, however, in 1912 by less than threescore Negroes, the slaves of political bosses and the hirelings of the Almighty Dollar.
The Republican party is dying of old age-political senility. It has outlived its usefulness. It has served its missions. It has run its race, its days are numbered, and on November 5 the Republican party will go to its long home and the mourners will go about the streets.
The disintegration, death and annihilation of the Republican party will mean a second emancipation of the Negro. There will remain no more political debts to be paid and the Negro will be absolutely free to vote for whatever party his conscience may direct him to support.
The disfranchisement and "Jim Crowism" of the South have come about because the Republican party was too cowardly to prevent the same, although it had a Republican President, a Republican Congress and a Republican Supreme Court, to legislate, interpret and enforce the plain mandates of the Constitution.
From 1856 down to 1908 the Republican party had never failed to mention the Negro in the platform. It remained for the platform of 1912, for the first time in the history of the party, to be absolutely silent and forgetful of the Negro, in strict and consistent accord with the Taft Southern policy. And yet the Negroes renominated him. And in return, his platform forgot them !
Deserted by the Republican party, undesirable, and not wanted in the national Democratic party, which way shall the Negro turn his face, and whither direct his steps? Over yondor on the bill of progress is the sun-glinted camp of the Progressives. Waving proudly above the camp is a banner upon which is inscribed: "We invite into our ranks men and women entirely without regard to their former political affiliations to their creed, their birthplace or the color of their skin." Will the Negro go in and enroll? Will the Negro still hanker after the flesh pots of dead Republicanism? Will the Negro use sense--common sense-instead of sentiment? Is be so blind that he cannot see in the Progressive party a Godsent opportunity for political and civic betterment, such as he has not had since the days of reconstruction? Is he so deaf that be cannot hear the voice of self-interest and self-protection calling and urging him to join the Progressive party?
What has he to gain by casting his lot with this new party? Everything! What has he to lose? Nothing! For down at the very bottom of the civic and political life of this country, any kind of political upheaval, political disturbance, political earthquake, which destroys old conditions, old parties and old systems, and old ideas, must redound to the benefit of the Negro, whether it is so intended or not.
President Taft, under political fright and pressure, has uttered more words of political comfort and performed more acts of political benefit to the Negro since Theodore Roosevelt announced himself a candidate for the Presidency than at any other time during the three years of his term of office. Governor Wilson has not failed to declare himself a political "Christian gentleman," recognizing the political brotherhood of all men under the Constitution, as he welcomed Negro support, and thus far has kept from the stump in the North "Jim Crowers" and disfranchisers of the South, lest the Negro voter should become frightened and take to his heels at the sight of his real leaders, supporters and controllers of his party.
Is the Negro to be fooled by the deathbed utterances of Taft and the hypocritical utterances of Wilson The sensible, thoughtful Negro will support the Progressive party because it emancipates him, from party slavery, wipes out the aged party debt to the Republican party, -and permits him to vote according to the dictates of his own conscience; because he can enter the Progressive party as a charter member, and be in the party, of the party, and an actual part of the party; because it offers to him the line of the least resistance; because be will not be dealt with as racial mass, but as a man, recognized by worth and merit; because the success of the Progressive party will do away with the Africanizing of three or four political appointments in Washington as a return for the support of race; because in following the leadership of Theodore Roosevelt, be will be following not Theodore Roosevelt the man, but Theodore Roosevelt the incarnate representation of a new party whose platform recognizes no, creed, no race, no color; political equality of sex; physical conservation of men women and children, and. the conservation of natural resources; a minimum wage; control of the trust; protection, to the laborer, and the enforcement of the Constitution and every amendment.
In choosing the least of three political evils, the Negro will certainly choose the Progressive party.
In choosing the best of three political leaders, the unbiased Negro will surely choose Theodore Roosevelt--the man of courage and convictions, fearless and incorruptible-the man who does things, and' who will do more to help the Negro than any other Presidential candidate now before the people.
SHOULDN'T THE NEGRO THEN BE A PROGRESSIVE
AND VOTE FOR ROOSEVELT AND JOHNSON-?