Many of us have heard others say when the subject of politics comes up in our circles, “I have been a life long Republican” or “I have been a life long Democrat.” The irony of this admission is that the teller often does not understand the roots of their belief system. David Blight, the Civil War historian, sites this as the difference between memory and history. True historical facts are based on evidence. We know that dinosaurs existed because we have their skeletons and from them have evidence that life in some form has existed on earth for millions of years. The evidence has erased all doubt from logically minded people who believe something when they have physical evidence and find any argument against it as an exercise in futility. The other argument, Blight argues, is that based on memory. Memory is a different ball game. This is based on culture, family, and environment. It is not based on fact but rather something called belief. ‘I believe something is true because I have been told it is true even though I have no evidence.
The party of Abraham Lincoln, the abolitionist party, the new Republican Party, was based on the idea that the federal government represents the people. Franklin Delano Roosevelt made the Democrat Party the party of the people when he gave Americans the New Deal. Whether or not it was effective is often debated, but one thing we cannot deny is that the world in America today is much different than it was in 1932. Most if not all of the great changes in American life have been made by the Federal Government. That only great things can be accomplished by a centralized power to overcome the “memory” of the States is seen in landmark accomplishments. John Kennedy based his program on the idea that the Federal Government is the true representative of the majority of Americans.