A Brief History of the Republican Party in the United States of America

The Republican Party is one of the two major political parties in the USA, along with the Democratic party. Dominating the political medium from 1860 to 1932, the republicans have had 18 presidents, with the first being Abraham Lincoln. But where did the Republican Party start? Here is a short history of the Republicans and how they were founded.

The forming of the Grand Old Party

The Republican Party, also known as the Grand Old Party, started its history in 1854 in Ripon, Wisconsin. Founded by a group of people who were dedicated to fight slavery and its expansion in the South, the Republicans declared to dedicate themselves fully to the ideal of freedom and of equality between all Americans. The actual name – Republican – was taken from Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party, as the new leaders were inspired by his ideas of the pursuit of happiness and of the inalienable rights of life.

The first organization and later years

The first official organization of the Republican Party took place in July, 1854, where thousands of anti-slavery militants gathered.  The party’s popularity grew among the people from the North, only to achieve dominance in the Northern states in 1858, coming to power for the first time in 1860 with the election of Abraham Lincoln and obtaining the majority in Congress. During the Republican Party’s reign between 1861 and 1877, the Union was saved, slavery was abolished, and equal rights to all men were declared. Also during these years, the American Civil War was fought and won by the Republicans, and the Reconstruction period followed.

Early ideology and philosophies

As reflected in the 1856 slogan coined by Salmon Chase, the Republicans believed in “free labor, free land, free men”. The free labor in the slogan was referring to the party’s opposition to slave labor, as they strongly believed in the power of independent artisans and businessmen. The free land mentioned refers to the Republican Party’s opposition to the plantation system which had slave owners buying all the good land, leaving small independent farmers only the leftovers. Free men represented their philosophy of believing all men are born equal, which eventually led to the abolishment of slavery and the expansion of freedom.

The domination of the Republican Party would continue until 1932. The most recent Republican president was George W. Bush who served between 2001 -2009, with the last two presidential terms lost to current American president Barrack Obama.