In anticipation for its convention next week, the Republican Party has drafted what one committee member called "the most conservative platform in modern history." The draft platform includes tenets like calling for women to be excluded from combat roles in the military and support for the Arizona anti-immigrant law.
But things weren't always this way. The Republican platform was at one time surprisingly progressive -- in 1956. Let's take a look at some key planks of the party's platform that year:
On Labor and Wages: The platform boasted that "the Federal minimum wage has been raised for more than 2 million workers. Social Security has been extended to an additional 10 million workers and the benefits raised for 6 1/2 million. The protection of unemployment insurance has been brought to 4 million additional workers. There have been increased workmen's compensation benefits for longshoremen and harbor workers, increased retirement benefits for railroad employees, and wage increases and improved welfare and pension plans for federal employees." It called for changes to the anti-union Taft-Hartley Act to "more effectively protect the rights of labor unions" and to "assure equal pay for equal work regardless of sex."
On Welfare and Health: The platform demanded "once again, despite the reluctance of the Democrat 84th Congress, Federal assistance to help build facilities to train more physicians and scientists." It emphasized the need to continue the "extension and perfection of a sound social security system," and boasted of the party's recent history of supporting "enlarged Federal assistance for construction of hospitals, emphasizing low-cost care of chronic diseases and the special problems of older persons, and increased Federal aid for medical care of the needy."
On Civil Rights, Gender Equality, ...