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The Founding Principles Of The Republican Party

1420 words - 6 pages

The Republican Party was formed after the dissolution of the Whig Party in the early 1850’s mainly due to the successful introduction of the Kansas-Nebraska Act that nullified the Missouri Compromise and caused disagreements amongst the Party’s members. Anti-slavery activists, many Whigs among them, met in Wisconsin on March 20th, 1854 and formed the Republican Party. This new party was built upon a number of principles that were based on freedom and equal opportunity and it has consistently conveyed a commitment to the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These founding principles have led present-day Republicans to continue believing that each person is ...view middle of the document...

The idea of free labor originated as an alternative to slave labor for freed blacks. But as Republicans became more and more associated with the interests of Northern business, free labor became "freedom of contract"--the belief that what defined a worker's liberty was the ability to sell one's labor in the economic marketplace without interference or regulation by government. This is the polar opposite of minimum wage, which is the lowest possible amount of payment allowed by legal or government authority . Naturally, the Republicans would be against a minimum wage. Even if the freedom of contract isn’t protected by the Constitution, it’s a natural right that should not be infringed. As President Kennedy, a Democrat, stated in his inaugural address, “the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.”
Although the Republican Party’s founding principles stood against what minimum wage would ultimately become, the national minimum wage was born under the guise of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. The FLSA introduced a maximum 44-hour seven-day workweek, established a national minimum wage, guaranteed "time-and-a-half" for overtime in certain jobs, and prohibited most employment of minors in "oppressive child labor", a term that is defined in the statute. If the national minimum wage wasn’t hidden enough, President Franklin Roosevelt also signed 120 other bills to avoid a pocket veto. Prior to the passage of the FLSA, the Supreme Court was the major opponent towards acts and laws similar to the FLSA. They questioned if minimum wage was constitutional and ruled that it wasn't in the 1923 Supreme Court case, Adkins v. Children’s Hospital of the District of Columbia. This was because they deemed them as unconstitutional. The FLSA still faced major opposition in the time before it was being passed and by the time it finally was passed, the Act had received over seventy amendments. Much of the opposition to the Act was stemmed corporate moguls who feared the effects of the Act on their companies. This period of the American Economy; however, called for labor reform. The country was still recovering from the Great Depression of 1929 and many of Roosevelt’s other New Deal programs had been successful. Also, many oppressive work conditions plagued the labor forces of both adults and children. Roosevelt quieted opposition by making comments, such as: "Do not let any calamity-howling executive with an income of $1,000 a day, ...tell you...that a wage of $11 a week is going to have a disastrous effect on all American industry." In hindsight, the future implications of the Act were overshadowed by the country’s need for labor reform and economic recovery. The Act was revolutionary in establishing labor regulations that helped reform industrial labor. Even though the Act only affected one-fifth of the labor at the time of its implementation, it set a precedent for stopping horrid work conditions in the United States...

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