Hi Rodric29! How's it going?
You always have to remember that the Republicans and Democrats actually underwent an ideological swap on minority issues. Its an incredible thing when one thinks of it. Founded as the successor to the Whig Party, the Republican machine was based on the idea of the superiority of free labor to slave labor. The Republican Party of Lincoln was the anti-slavery party.
The Republicans of the early and mid-19th century was anti-slave, pro-business. The geographical distribution, at that time, was roughly like this: Northeast and Upper Midwest. If one was an abolitionist, you tended to vote Republican.
The Democratic party of the early and mid-19th century was pro-slavery and what you might call 'populist' on economic issues. Andrew Jackson is a great example of this. He was a Democrat pro-slavery, anti-Indian, but he thought the poor white farmer deserved to get a fair shake; Jackson opposed the First Bank of the United States of populist economic grounds.
Then during Reconstruction, after the Civil War, there was a lot of interracial turmoil that transpired between blacks and whites in the South and North. This caused upper class white Republican men in the North to start to feel some sympathy with the upper class white Democratic men in the South. Civil War reunion meetings started up, in which the issue of slavery was practically forgotten.
There were Southern Democrats at least through the 1960s; and something called Reagan Democrats. Region plays a role in political ideology over and above one's nominal political affiliation sometimes.