Joe Mirabella

Iowa Republican Party Wants to Re-establish Slavery

Filed By Joe Mirabella | April 28, 2011 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: iowa, slavery

The Iowa Republican party platforms calls for a constitutional change that could theoretically result in a turn in slavery.

constitution.jpgWith the Republican Iowa Caucuses campaigns underway, it is important to understand the kind of Republicans these candidates are going to tailor their campaigns to, so I spent some time reviewing the Iowa Republican Party Platform after someone brought this issue to my attention.

Plank 7.19 says:

We call for the reintroduction and ratification of the original 13th Amendment, not the 13th Amendment in today's Constitution.

The United States Constitution abolished slavery with the 13th Amendment:

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

If the Iowa Republican Party got their wish the amendment would be replaced by one of two earlier versions. Since the platform is not clear which of the earlier versions it wishes would go into effect, let's visit them both.

In 1805, Congress passed what would have been the Thirteenth Amendment with the Titles of Nobility Amendment, which would have revoked citizenship for anyone accepting a foreign noble title like sir, king, prince, etc. It was not ratified by enough states to become part of the US Constitution.

Or the current Thirteenth Amendment could be replaced by the Corwin Amendment, which according to Wikipedia would have "forbidden attempts to subsequently amend the Constitution to empower the Congress to 'abolish or interfere' with the 'domestic institutions' of the states, including 'persons held to labor or service' (a reference to slavery)."

The Corwin Amendment is likely the amendment the author of the Iowa Republican Party was referring to. While it could still be ratified, the likelihood of that is zero, but it gives you a very clear picture of where the Iowa Republican Party is positioned.

Now before everyone heads to Facebook to demonize every Republican in Iowa, it is important to keep in mind how the platform process works in Iowa. Anyone can show up to their Iowa Republican precinct meeting during the platform writing process to submit a platform item.

I used to go with my mom when I was in high school. She would go to make sure issues supporting public education were included in the platform. The process was very simple. Not very many people showed up, so it was easy to get your plank on the list to send up to the county.

We would usually go to the county meetings, where you could fight for your planks, and then onto the state. The state meetings were painfully long as people from all over Iowa fought for their ideology to be included in the state platform.

Candidates who accept Republican nominations are supposed to be doing so with the commitment that they are going to represent the platform once they are elected. The platform is supposed to guide their legislative agenda.

However, candidates are usually just playing lip service to their constituents. Elected officials my family knew used to give me the wink when some nut case would step up to the microphone to argue for outlandish platform points. They acknowledged privately they would pretend to support certain issues, just to get elected.

So when the race baiting in the Republican party heats up, you will know why. Some person bothered to show up at a school cafeteria in Iowa, then took the time to follow their racist ideology all the way to the state meeting.

The Republican Party of Iowa should be ashamed of this blatant endorsement of slavery. I want to hear every Republican candidate running for president denounce this platform for the hate mongering it is. Unfortunately, we are more likely to get subtle clues and not so subtle clues that candidates can be racists too.

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Wow. I didn't think they'd actually go so far as to advocate repealing the 13th amendment.

No, they're clearly referring to the Titles of Nobility Amendment. It's one of the bizarre fascinations certain parts of the Right have, connected, I think, to Obama's Nobel Prize.

There's a Newsweek article on the subject here: http://www.newsweek.com/2010/07/27/why-some-republicans-want-to-restore-the-13th-amendment.html

It really does sound like they're advocating repeal and replace. For all the planks in the platform about immigrants learning English, one would think they would be able to write more clearly.

"It really does sound like they're advocating repeal and replace."

That's why people need to learn how to use the English language instead of ritualistically masturbating upon hearing the voices of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.

As racist as these people are (and would be proven to be if they were brave enough to submit to lie detector tests), there aren't enough of them that are stupid enough to think that re-legalizing slavery is viable to get a plank to that effect in the party's platform.

The intent - presumably - is to get either the 'titles of nobility amendment' or the Corwin amendment (christianist nutcases love them both, so its not exactly clear which one is targeted) ratified and seemingly to either re-number the current amendment list, which would be stupid since the 27th Amendment was actually part of the proposed slate for the Bill of Rights and, had it been ratified in the 18th Century, would have had a lower number but, owing to not getting the requisite percentage of states until about 20 years ago, became #27.

Thanks for sharing this article, it does suggest that their intent was the nobility issue. But there were two potential 13th amendments, so the plank author's ambiguity leaves the platform wide open for interpretation.

Either way the inherent racism is impossible to ignore no matter how badly the Iowa Republican Party communications team wants to spin themselves as far away as possible from their party's desire to replace the current 13th amendment.

Great Job on getting it out there. The vast majority of Iowans I know are great people.Since I first read the platform I've been asking why nobody has tried to label the Iowa GOP a hategroup?

Other insane provisions in the Iowa GOP platform this year include repealing civil rights for gays and all other minority groups, legalizing bullying in public schools, eliminating bilingual education, teaching "non-revisionist" history focused on American exceptionalism, segregating special-needs students, prohibiting college students from voting in their state of residence, returning to gold and silver money, reinstating the death penalty with all executions fast-tracked by a "firm limit" of 24 months, and last but not least explicitly affirming "Judeo-Christian Values as the principal foundation of our laws".

explicitly affirming "Judeo-Christian Values as the principal foundation of our laws".
Which, of course, is actually closer to an endorsement of slavery than a malformed endorsement of one of the early intended 13th Amendments.

It also would make operation of a Red Lobster restaurant a death penalty offense, but why quibble?

If I worried about every right-wing nutcase, I might end up as mentally ill as they accuse me of being.

twinkie1cat | April 30, 2011 2:01 PM

I wonder how many of the supporters actually realize that they are trying to reintroduce slavery. They are probably just going along with the program. That means a campaign entitiled: Republican Party wants slaves could be real powerful and flip all but the most conservative.

That's the problem today. People don't read the primary references. They just go along with whatever their latest "messiah" says.