In most respects, the newly-established Republican party was America's Far Left party and the abolition of slavery was one of its primary political goals.
The Radical Republicans
Suddenly, the murder of the president (by a half-crazed Southern sympathizer) place a dubious vice-president in the White House. For the Radical Republicans, the newly sworn-in Johnson was nothing less than a Confederate wolf in sheep's clothing.
The Outrage of Equality
Those bitter feelings were enhanced by the fact that on any given day, former slaves were allowed to walk among white men and women as an equal. It was too much to bear for a self-respecting Southerner to abide. Why, the very idea of giving Negros the right to vote equal to any white man was akin to sacrilege.
Increasingly during 1868 these actions became violent, ranging from whippings of black women perceived as insolent to the assassination of Republican leaders. It is impossible to untangle local vigilante violence from political terrorism by the organized Klan, but it is clear that attacks on blacks became common during 1868
The Constitutional Guarantee
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside..
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Crusader for Equality, Republican Thaddeus Stevens
I repose in this quiet and secluded spot, not for any natural preference for solitude, but finding other cemeteries limited by charter rules as to race, I have chosen it that I might be enabled to illustrate in my death the principles which I have advocated through a long life — equality of man before his Creator.
Even in death, he was a crusader.
The legacy of Thaddeus Stevens and the efforts of the Radical Republicans should be a source of pride for the Grand Old Party and for the nation as a whole. However, that is not the case. Quite the contrary.
The fact that the most popular Republican candidate for the 2016 election is seriously discussing the idea of abandoning the 14th Amendment is clear evidence how low the Republican party has sunk.