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A Brief History Of The Republican Party
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The Republican Party evolved during the 1850's when the issue of slavery forced divisions within the existing Search
System Overview
Whig and Democratic Republican parties. Faced with political turmoil, a new party -- dedicated to states rights
Australia-USA and a restricted role of government in economic and social life -- began making history.

Constitution Alan Earl Bovay, one of the founders of the Republican Party, believed that a new party should be formed to
- Full Text represent the interests of the North and the abolitionists. He decided to call that party "Republican" because it
was a simple, yet significant word synonymous with equality. Moreover, Thomas Jefferson had earlier chosen
Presidency "Republican" to refer to his party, which gave the name respect borne of historical significance.
- George W. Bush
- Ex-Presidents
The first stirrings of the Republican Party came in February, 1854, when Whig Party defectors met privately in
Bill Clinton Crawfordsville, Iowa, to call for the creation of a new political party. The first public meeting was held one
- Speeches month later at a small church in Ripon, Wisconsin, when Alan Bovay rallied anti-slavery forces and adopted
- Impeachment
resolutions opposing the Kansas Nebraska Act.
- Senate Verdicts

Executive Arm A second meeting was held in a one story schoolhouse in Ripon on March 20, 1854. Fifty-four citizens, including
Congress three women, dissolved their local committees and chose five men to serve as the committee of the new party:
- House of Reps Alan Bovay, Jebediah Bowen, Amos Loper, Abram Thomas, and Jacob Woodruff. Said Mr. Bovay: "We went into
- Senate the little meeting Whigs, Free Soilers, and Democrats. We came out Republicans and...were the first
Republicans in the Union."
Supreme Court

Political Parties In July of the same year, when the meeting hall was too small, the "Anti- Nebraska Convention" met in a grove
- Republican Party of oak trees in Jackson, Michigan, to write a national platform and concentrate its efforts to counter the
- Democratic Party Democrats plan to extend slavery to new territories joining the Union. The new party adopted a platform,
nominated candidates for state offices, and produced two anti-slavery resolutions, one of which stated,
- President " view of the necessity of battling against the schemes of an aristocracy, the most revolting and
- House oppressive with which the Earth was ever cursed or man debased, we will cooperate and be known as
- Senate Republicans."
- States

States In 1856, "Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Speech, Free Men, Freemont!" was the slogan of the Republican Party. At
- States Info its first national convention in Philadelphia, the party nominated John C. Freemont for president (Abraham
Lincoln was proposed for vice-president, but Senator William L. Dayton won the nomination). Although the party
Money/Lobbying lost the election to the Democrats, it captured a third of the total vote, boosting its optimism for the 1860
Foreign Policy
- Terrorism
President Lincoln
Historic Documents

The Republican Party had existed for only six years when Lincoln displaced the Democrats and gave the
American Politics Republicans their first presidential victory. Immediately following his election, Lincoln was confronted with
Journal secession of one of the seven Southern states followed by the outbreak of civil war. Barely one month after the
inauguration, the first shots were fired on Fort Sumter, launching the bloodiest war in the nation's history.
Sound Archive Preserving the Union was Lincoln's greatest challenge - and no doubt his greatest achievement - but by no
means his only accomplishment. During his presidency, the Department of Agriculture, the Bureau of Internal
Revenue, and a national banking system were established. Lincoln also signed the Homestead Act, opening the
American frontier to settlement through public land grants, and the Land Grant College Act, donating land to the
states for agricultural and technical colleges. In 1 865, Lincoln submitted to the states the Thirteenth
Amendment to the Constitution which, coupled with his Emancipation Proclamation, dealt the death blow to
slavery. Shortly afterward, on April 14, President Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theater in
Washington. He died several hours later across the street at Petersen House.

Under the rules of the Constitution, Vice President Andrew Johnson assumed the presidency. He proposed the
Fifteenth Amendment, which guaranteed voting rights regardless of race, creed, or previous servitude.
Additionally, it was during Johnson's presidency that U.S. continental expansion was completed when his
Secretary of State, William H. Seward, bought Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million.

In 1868, Civil War hero Ulysses S. Grant was nominated for president by the Republican Party, won easily and
was re-elected in 1872. The Grant Administration continued the Republican commitment to sound monetary
policies, and established the Department of Justice and the Weather Bureau. President Grant was not
considered for reelection in 1876 because Republicans, embracing a tradition established by George
Washington, had gone on record opposing a third term for any president.

Rutherford B. Hayes, successful three- term governor of Ohio and Civil War General, won the presidency by a
one- electoral-vote margin in 1 876 against Samuel J. Tilden in the most bitterly disputed election in American
history. Cooperation between the White House and the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives was
nearly impossible after the election. Nevertheless, Hayes managed to keep his campaign promises to withdraw
federal troops from the South, take measures to reverse inequalities suffered by women, and adopt the merit
system within the civil service.

In 1880, the party won the last of six successive presidential elections with the election of another Civil War
hero, James A. Garfield. A few months after his inauguration, Garfield was assassinated and Vice President
Chester A. Arthur succeeded him. Among Arthur's accomplishments were the rebirth of the Navy and the
Pendleton Act, which set up a bipartisan Civil Service Commission, established written examinations for certain
government positions, and protected employees from being fired for political reasons.

In 1884, the Republicans lost the White House for the first time in 24 years. However, the party had become a
permanent force in American politics. The Republican Party had preserved the sanctity of the Union, and had
led the nation through Reconstruction.

In 1888, Republican candidate Benjamin Harrison was elected to the presidency, heralding a new era for the
common man, industry, and a strong America with a growing international reputation for military power. Rapid
industrialization prompted the Harrison Administration to check excessive profiteering with the Sherman Anti-
Trust Act. But, adverse reaction to policies of high protective tariffs - the main campaign issue in 1892 - led the
country to elect Democrat Grover Cleveland to another term.

A New Century

Promising a national rebuilding effort and sound money policies, the party regained the presidency with William
McKinley in 1896. Republican leadership continued through four successive presidential terms: McKinley (1896-
1901 ); Theodore Roosevelt (1 901 -1908); and William Taft (1908-1912).

Under these Republican Administrations, America adopted the gold standard, won the Spanish-American War,
introduced the open-door policy with China, purchased and resumed construction of the Panama Canal, and
established the United States as a world military power. Americans welcomed Teddy Roosevelt's strong stand
on protecting wildlife and public lands, accepted his creation of the Department of Labor, and applauded his
legal action against corporate trusts. America's foreign policy was accurately portrayed by his motto: "Speak
softly and carry a big stick."

Discord struck the Republican Party in the 1912 election as Teddy Roosevelt led his supporters on the "Bull
Moose" ticket against President Taft. Playing to the advantage of a split Republican vote, the Democrats won
the election with Woodrow Wilson, who promised to keep the U.S. out of World War 1. Shortly after his re-
election in 1916 the U.S. entered the war. By Mid- 1918, the Republican Party won control of Congress and
Wilson's popularity began to wane as World War I dragged on.

Women's Rights

Perhaps the most significant accomplishment of the Republican- controlled Congress was the adoption of the
Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution granting women the right to vote. Responsive to the role of women
in both party politics and government, Republicans were the first to recognize women in their platform: "The
Republican Party is mindful of its obligations to the loyal women of America for their noble devotion to the
cause of freedom. Their admission to wider fields of usefulness is viewed with satisfaction, and the honest
demand of any class of citizens for additional rights should be treated with respectful consideration." (1872)

During the Roaring Twenties, three successive Republican Presidents kept a lid on government spending and
taxes: Warren G. Harding (1920-1924) ; Calvin Coolidge (1924-1928); and Herbert Hoover ( 1 928-1932).
While Republicans controlled the White House and Congress, the U.S. economy expanded as free enterprise
stimulated business and industry. The Republicans' sound money policies brought growing prosperity and
steadily cut the federal debt.

In 1929, the Wall Street crash signaled disaster for the Republicans as President Hoover emerged as the
scapegoat for the Great Depression. Hoover's anti- Depression solutions went unheeded as people turned to the
Democrats for a "New Deal."

Under Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal," the federal government gained power and size while deficit spending
rose as a result of increased government involvement in the economy.

The next 20 years were a time of rebuilding for the Republican Party. The effort included establishing a greater
role for women. In 1937, Miss Marion E. Martin was named first assistant chairman of the Republican National
Committee, launching a tradition that the RNC chairman and co-chairman be of opposite sex.

In the post-Depression era, five presidential terms were shared by only two presidents. The Democrats ignored
the two-term tradition upheld by the Republican Party and handed the presidency to Roosevelt for an
unprecedented four terms. Following Roosevelt's death, Vice President Harry S. Truman became president. It
was not until 1946. with the 80th Congress, that Republicans won a majority in both the Senate and the House.
Notably, it was this Congress that produced the first balanced federal budget in 17 years.

In 1950, the Republican Party made strong gains in Congress, while the Truman Administration was held
responsible for failing to arbitrate a crippling steel strike, escalating inflation and the Korean War.

President Eisenhower

In 1952, World War l l hero Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected president. Ike's popularity and success as
former Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces helped him win an overwhelming majority among both
Democrats and Republicans, carrying the party to its first presidential victory in almost 25 years.

During Eisenhower's two terms, the nation quickly recovered from the economic strain of the war. His
administration took strong measures to enforce the 1954 Supreme Court decision declaring "separate but
equal" school accommodations unconstitutional. The Eisenhower Administration also cultivated foreign relations,
established the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, established the Interstate Highway System, and
began America's space exploration program.

Eisenhower's vice president, Richard Nixon, lost the 1960 presidential election to John F. Kennedy by the
narrowest margin in history. Four years later, Senator Barry Goldwater, despite losing the presidential election
to Lyndon B. Johnson, emerged as a standard bearer of the Republican Party, revitalizing the grass roots
strength of the GOP with his laissez-faire principles.

In 1968, Nixon led the party to victory in a hard-fought presidential contest. Four years later he was re-elected
in one of the greatest landslides in American political history, carrying every state except Massachusetts.

President Nixon made significant contributions to American foreign and domestic policies in the midst of
dramatic social changes. His administration was credited with establishing relations with mainland China,
overseeing the first manned flight to the moon and ending U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

In 1973, Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned while under investigation for corruption during his term as
County Executive of Baltimore County, Maryland, in the 1 960's. Using provisions of the 25th Amendment,
President Nixon appointed House Republican Leader Gerald R. Ford to the vice presidency. When Nixon
resigned in the wake of the Watergate scandal in 1974, Ford assumed the presidency, selecting former
governor Nelson Rockefeller as vice president.

Under the Ford Administration, the U.S. regained confidence in politics and in the integrity of national
government. At the same time, America's double digit inflation rate was cut by more than half, taxes were cut
significantly, and the role of municipal and state governments was enhanced by reducing federal government
expansion. However, the country's first appointed president was denied election to the office by Jimmy Carter
in a narrow loss in 1976.

Both the past and the future of the Republican Party were represented in Ronald Reagan's election to the
presidency in 1980. In his 1984 reelection, President Reagan received the largest Republican landslide victory
in history. Under the leadership of President Reagan and his successor President Bush, the U.S. experienced
the longest economic expansion period in its history. Reaching milestones economically and diplomatically,
President Reagan, "The Great Communicator," earned his place in history among our greatest presidents.

In 1988, Americans elected George Bush to the presidency, continuing the Republican legacy. Tempered by
many years of service to his country as the youngest Naval aviator in World War II, Congressman, envoy to
China, ambassador to the UN, director of the CIA, and vice president under Ronald Reagan, President Bush
showed steadfast leadership as he presided over both the collapse of communist regimes around the world and
the end of the Cold War. President Bush's leadership was also proven when he brought together an
unprecedented coalition to maintain the forces of law in the Persian Gulf Region. In the wake of Operation
Desert Storm, President Bush's popularity with Americans soared to record levels. As a result of President
Bush's leadership after the war, a delegation from Israel sat face to face with Palestinians to discuss peace for
the first time in thousands of years.

Unfortunately, President Bush was blamed for a worldwide economic slowdown in mid-1991 which was triggered
by the collapse of the Soviet Union and involved the transition of the global economy from an industrial
manufacturing base to a high technology base. He was unsuccessful in his bid for reelection in 1992. Democrat
Bill Clinton, who won, received less than half the vote and third candidate Ross Perot received almost 20
percent of the vote.

The Future

Until the Congressional elections in 1994 and the presidential election in 1 996, the Republican Party will play
the role of the loyal opposition, which includes critiquing Democratic proposals. But more importantly, the
Republican Party will continue to lead, offering fresh ideas and Republican-principled approaches to national
problems. As Haley Barbour, chairman of the Republican National Committee, has stated, "Our first goal will be
to regain our position as a party of principles and a party of ideas."

Written by Lillie Murdock

RNC Information Services 3-93

Origin of "Republican"

The origin of the term "Republican" goes back to the time of Thomas Jefferson and was tied in with the use of
the term "Democrat." But the term was not used to refer to one of the modern political parties until 1854.

Originally, "republican" was a vague, neutral term, because the Constitution had guaranteed each state "a
republican form of government." In his first inaugural address in 1801, Jefferson said, "We are all Federalists;
we are all Republicans." On the other hand, since the Federalist Party (the party of President John Adams) had
been accused of being aristocratic, "Democrat" was offered as the opposing term.

However, many people objected to being called "Democrats" because the word brought up visions of mob rule
in Revolutionary France. Thus, the Federalists used the term "Democrat" in a derisive and negative sense to
throw at their "Republican"" rivals. Jefferson's followers therefore preferred to be called Republicans, although
the official name of his party was "Democratic-Republican."

With the decline of the Federalists, political affiliations became a matter of personalities rather than parties. It
must have been especially confusing to voters in 1824, when all four candidates for President were members of
the Republican Party. When Andrew Jackson won the election four years later, his wing of the party decided to
end all the confusion and reintroduce "Democrat" as a partisan label.

Origin of "G.O.P."

A favorite of headline writers, "G.O.P." dates back to the 1 870's and 80's. The abbreviation was cited in a New
York Herald story on Oct. 15, 1884: "The G.O.P Doomed," shouted the Boston Post: "The G.O.P. is in position to

But what G.O.P stands for has changed with the times. In 1875, there was a citation in the Congressional
Record referring to "this gallant old party," and according to Harper's Weekly, a reference in the Cincinnati
Commercial in 1876 to "Grand Old Party."

Perhaps the use of the "G.O.M." for Britain's Prime Minister William E. Gladstone in 1882 as "the Grand Old Man"
stimulated the use of GOP in the United States soon after.

In early motorcar days, GOP took on the meaning of "get out and push." During the 1964 presidential
campaign, "GO-Party" was used briefly, and during the Nixon Administration, frequent references to the
"generation of peace" had happy overtones. In line with moves in the 70's to modernize the party, Republican
leaders took to referring to the "grand open party," harkening back to a 1971 speech by President Nixon at the
dedication of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Republican Center in Washington, D.C.: "The Republican Party must be
the Party of the Open Door."

Indeed the "Grand Old Party" is an ironic term since the Democrat Party was organized some 22 years earlier
in 1832.

Origin of the Republican Elephant

In the spring of 1874, the New York Herald printed an editorial raising the cry of Caesarism against President
Ulysses S. Grant. The Herald falsely believed that Grant would attempt to run for an unprecedented third term
in 1876.

Herald editorial writers apparently felt this would have overthrown the unwritten rule that presidents served
only two terms, making Grant a dictator. Despite its falseness and rumors that the Herald had printed the
editorial only to gain publicity, the idea was used by Democrats that year to scare Republican voters away from
the party in Congressional elections.

About the same time, the New York Herald concocted another scheme to increase its circulation. The paper
printed a fabricated story that wild animals had escaped from the Central Park Zoo and were roaming the city
looking for prey.

Seeing an opportunity to use both the Caesarism charge and the animal scare, cartoonist Thomas Nast
produced a cartoon which appeared in Harper's Weekly on November 7, 1874. Nast drew a donkey (the symbol
of the Democratic Party for which Nast was also responsible) clothed in a lion's skin, scaring away the other
animals in the park.

Among the animals in the cartoon is an elephant, labeled "The Republican Vote." Nast chose the elephant
because it was believed that elephants were clever, steadfast, and easily controlled, but unmanageable when

The election soon afterwards proved all of these to be true. Nast's post-election cartoon depicted an elephant
having walked into a Democratic trap.

Soon, other cartoonists began using elephants to symbolize Republicans, and eventually, the Elephant came to
symbolize the Republican Party.


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