A History of the Republican Party


The Republican Party is one of the two main
political parties in the United States. How long has the Republican Party been around? Who are some of the most notable Republican
presidents? In the early 1850s, the United States had
two main political parties, the Whigs and the Democrats. The Whigs were experiencing turmoil over the
issue of slavery and began to fall apart. In 1854, many of the former Whigs, along with
members of the Free Soil Party and some anti-slavery Democrats, joined together to create a new
anti-slavery party. This new party came to be known as the Republican
Party, and they held their first party convention on July 6, 1854 in Jackson, Michigan. The party’s first slogan reflected its anti-slavery
ideology, “free soil, free labor, free men.” It quickly became one of the two dominant
parties in America, alongside the Democrats. Following the 1858 elections, enough Republicans
had been elected in the House of Representatives to give the party a majority for the first
time. In 1860, the Republicans nominated Abraham
Lincoln for president. Lincoln won this election, making him the
first Republican to hold the office of president. Lincoln successfully guided the United States
through the Civil War and is remembered today as one of the nation’s greatest presidents. Following the Civil War, eleven of the next
fourteen presidents were Republicans. Republicans of that era supported the gold
standard, high wages for employees, high profits for businesses, and the annexation of Hawaii. During the late 1800s, under the leadership
of President William McKinley, Republicans firmly became known as the party of “big
business” (this meant that they supported, and were supported by, large corporations
and the wealthy owners who ran those businesses). However, Theodore Roosevelt’s “trust busting”
(breaking up large monopolies) brought more small business owners to the party as well. In 1874, political cartoonist Thomas Nast
drew an elephant to represent the Republican Party for the first time. Since then, the elephant has become a well-known
mascot of the party. This replaced the bald eagle, which was the
original symbol of the party. In 1876, a newspaper article referred to the
Republican Party as “the grand old party”. This term became a popular nickname for the
Republican Party, and to this day, many people will refer to it as the “GOP” (Grand Old
Party). The party even uses the GOP abbreviation as
their modern official logo. In the 1920s, Republican success continued
with the elections of Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover. All three of these won the presidency with
large victories. The 1920s is often thought of as the high
mark of Republican popularity. Throughout the first 78 years of its existence,
the Republican Party not only dominated the presidency, but also controlled Congress as
well. From 1854 through 1932, Republicans held the
majority in the Senate for sixty-two of those years. During that same timeframe, Republicans held
the majority in the House of Representatives for fifty-two years. Republican fortunes began to change in 1929,
following the stock market crash and the initial stages of the Great Depression. In 1932, with the election of Democrat Franklin
Roosevelt, Republicans lost the presidency, along with the majority in both houses of
Congress. In the latter half of the 20th Century, Republicans
once again experienced success with the election of Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon,
and Ronald Reagan. In the 1972 election, Nixon won 49 of 50 states. Reagan also won 49 of 50 states in his 1984
reelection campaign. Today, Ronald Reagan is so highly regarded
amongst Republicans that nearly all Republican presidential candidates attempt to draw comparisons
to him. In Congress, after being the minority party
for most of the previous 61 years, Republicans managed to reclaim the majority in both houses
in 1994. Republican candidates campaigned under the
“Contract with America”, which detailed what they would do if elected. This victory became known as the Republican
Revolution. The Republican Party is still a powerful force
in American politics today. Across the nation, there are many governors,
mayors, representatives, and senators who are members of the Republican Party. There are also approximately 55 million Americans
who are registered Republicans.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. I don't think people realize that when the GOP won the House+Senate in 1994, everything they pushed help Bill Clinton win reelection. Except for the shutdown, Clinton ran and took credit for everything else.

  2. Republican success has been heavily reliant on the nation's current success. Perhaps that'll change with Trump.

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