Springfield, Missouri is a beautiful city that balances suburban and city vibes. It is a good and cheap place to live, which means a lot of people move there every year. This can impact many aspects of living there, including the political leanings of the city overall.
Springfield, Missouri is a moderately conservative city. In the heart of Springfield, it is strongly conservative. People here have many traditional values and strong convictions. Many people have mixed experiences with the locals regarding politics in this city.
With this simple generalization of the political atmosphere of Springfield, there are many deeper factors to consider. Some of these include the history of the area, the politically significant things that have happened there, if it is becoming more liberal or conservative, and how people treat others of differing views.
The History of Springfield, Missouri
Before people began to settle in Springfield, there were many Native American tribes that occupied the area. The main tribes that were prevalent in the area were the Kickapoo, Delaware, and Osage. A band of brothers named John and William Fulbright went to the area and claimed 160 acres. The first cabin in the area was built in 1830. In 1833, some of the lands were designated to become a town, and people began to settle there.
Soon after, the Trail of Tears began, and the trail crossed a section of Springfield. Once the Civil War began, the area began to be divided and battles soon occurred. One of the first big battles that happened was the Battle of Winston Creek. In this battle, there were about 5,400 Union troops and 12,000 Confederates. The Confederates won this battle but lost the town 2 years later. The areas in both of these battles were preserved and remembered as part of the town’s history today.
After the war, Springfield became the first place that had a wild-western shootout in 1865. There was a railroad that was created just north of the original Springfield and a new town was created named Northern Springfield. After some time, they unified the two towns to become one under the title of Springfield. A man named John T. Woodruff made a huge impact on the area and made it a civilized area.
John T. Woodruff and Cyrus Avery collaborated and wanted Springfield to be a part of a cross-country route. The road that was under construction and the already present railroad led to much more urbanization. Many businesses and stores opened up in the following years. One of the first national country stations was started in Springfield and was called the Ozark Jubilee.
Now, this city is a beautiful hidden gem in the country.
Political Events of Importance in Springfield, Missouri
There are a few different events in the history of Springfield that are worth mentioning when talking about the politics of an area. In the past, Missouri as a whole has been considered a swing state. Politically, for many years, they also had a near-perfect rate of voting for the winner of the election.
However, things have changed drastically in the last few elections. For example, the rate of accuracy in voting for the winner of the presidential election is now 89.66%. Also, the areas near Kansas City, St Louis, and Columbia have shifted and become significantly more conservative in the last few years. This made Missouri become a much stronger red state than before.
Beyond that, there are a few different policies and beliefs in the political sphere that show a general leaning toward Republican values. The main two Republican values that are strongly upheld in Missouri and in Springfield are its stance on individual freedom and its stance on LGBTQ rights.
Missouri is known for having some of the most relaxed regulations on alcohol and tobacco products. Missouri has never had a statewide prohibition, unlike many other states. Regulation of alcohol didn’t begin until 1934. The regulation of alcohol is minute in comparison to other states. For example, there is no regulation on who can sell alcohol or limiting alcohol use in public areas. In fact, people cannot get arrested for being drunk in public. Parents and guardians can even serve alcohol to their children!
Smoking tobacco is under a similar lack of policy and restriction. The taxes on tobacco products are incredibly low, around 17 cents a pack. Around 24.5% of Missouri adults smoke and adults can serve people under the age of 21 tobacco on private property.
Republican and conservative values generally tend to point to making it less about the government and allowing people to rule themselves. These laws and policies are great examples of those ideals in action.
There have also been examples of people within Springfield who actively are against people who are part of the LGBTQ+ community and are willing to protest actively against it. In 2015, the people of Springfield repealed an LGBTQ+ Anti-discriminatory ordinance that protected people from discrimination in housing and employment. At that time, Missouri didn’t offer any protections for people of the LGBTQ+ community except for state workers.
Is Springfield Becoming More Liberal or Conservative?
It could be argued that Springfield is significantly more conservative than it was in times past. In the past, Missouri was considered a swing state, which means the area can vote more conservatively or be more liberal. However, in this city, it has changed drastically. In fact, in the last 20 years, people in Springfield have voted for the Republican candidate and they have won the vote by over 10%! That is a significant gap, and it seems to only be getting bigger rather than diminishing.
There might be a growing population of people with liberal views. In 2020, there were several protests around heated topics such as racial equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and involving the MeToo movement. This shows that some people in the surrounding area have strong liberal views. However, they seem to be the minority.
How do Residents Treat People of Differing Views?
This is an interesting question because the answer differs strongly between different groups. Like with most places, there are definitely people who are more liberally minded. This can be brought on by the steady increase in living costs in other places that cause people to move to where they can afford to live. This can also just be brought on by the younger generation growing up and having more to say about politics and having the ability to influence votes.
However, there are a few recorded instances that show some contention and animosity between republicans and democrats in the area. In some protests in 2020, there were a variety of protests and topics being discussed in the political sphere. Two of the big topics were Black Lives Matter and Back the Blue. There were protests for both issues.
However, when the Back the Blue (a movement about respecting and valuing law enforcement) protest came, it was soon met with backlash. There was a counterprotest about it that same day! The next day, there was another Back the Blue protest that was held by veterans.
People in Springfield are bold in their opinions and are not afraid to say how they feel. One local mentioned having some strong distaste and struggles living there. He described the people as being racist, rude, and unintelligent. He went on to describe how they are bold and insensitive in conversations. He also mentioned that they have a strong conviction against abortions. The way he described his experiences was coated in anger and disgust for the culture there, especially politically.
Another woman described her experiences similarly. She described it as culturally backward and oppressive to women and minorities. She described some people protesting against LGBTQ+ rights and voiced being scared to attend Gay Pride due to how people might behave.
Another local had an additional concern that they brought up about having some fears for women in the area. They mentioned that there are bills trying to be passed that limit abortion, even in the case of rape regardless of the age of the victim.
These people bring up legitimate fears and concerns for people who have differing views about moving to a moderate to strongly conservative city. However, they do not have the full perspective. In my experience living in the south, there are people who talk boldly and strongly about their passions. However, they expect you to do the same. They are able to handle the boldness in return. People may have strong convictions, but they can usually tolerate differences.
The main thing to keep in mind is that people might be set in their ways and unwilling to be open to different perspectives. That is okay! Long as a person is willing to accept that and voice the same strong conviction in a different ideology or perspective, it is hopeful that locals will be respectful. If not, then it is a matter of making a decision that best supports an individual and their needs.
Now that we have discussed these different points, a person can feel much more confident about their understanding of politics in Springfield, Missouri.