On 28 February 1854 in Ripon Wisconsin at the Congregational Church, former leading members of the Whig Party (more information below) first met to establish a new party with a major aim of opposing the spread of slavery in the United States of America. Those present at the meeting were outraged that new settlers were being accommodated by overturning the 1820 Missouri Compromise slavery ban. Their second meeting on March 20, 1854 agreed on launching the new Republican Party.
The Party gained momentum, securing the Wisconsin governorship in 1856. In 1860 the Party won a four-way presidential contest, led by Abraham Lincoln, setting the stage for the Civil War.
President Lincoln signed the “Emancipation Proclamation” to free the slaves and the Republican Party worked to pass:
- the Thirteenth Amendment to outlaw slavery in the country,
- the Fourteenth Amendment to give citizens equal protection in the law and
- the Fifteenth amendment to secure voting rights for African Americans.
The Party also lead the way for securing women’s right to vote, being the first major political party (in 1896) in the country to support women’s suffrage.
The Republican Party dominated post-Civil War politics for over 70 years, with the Democratic Party only controlling the White House for 16 years between the years 1860 and 1932.
The Republican Party today represents more conservative American policy positions: smaller government, fewer regulations, less federal intervention in the economy and lower taxes. The Party also supports a strong national defence, gun rights and upholding traditional values, as it is a socially conservative party.
Mark this landmark day for the most successful political party in the United States of America history by:
- Raising a glass and celebrating the achievements of the Republican Party, toasting that conservatives are on the right side of history
- Reading up more on the American Civil War or watching a contemporary re-telling, such as the movie 'Lincoln' or Civil War based movies like "Gone With the Wind", "Gettysburg", "Cold Mountain" or "The Free States of Jones"
- Check out the Conservative’s Party principles and policies across a range of fields
- Learn more about the Republican Party History and the creation of the Party.
- Sharing this Action Plan post on social media with family friends and fellow conservatives to celebrate conservatives being on the right side of History.
The Republican Party is known as the Grand Old Party or “GOP”, an alternative name bestowed after the Civil War as it was seen that Republican Party won and ended the War, shifting from the “Gallant Old Party” to the Grand Old Party.
The Republican Party has been depicted as an elephant while the Democratic Party has been depicted as a donkey. These animal representations started in 1874 President Grant announced his run for an unprecedented third term, coinciding that day with a rumor that several animals had escaped from the New York Zoo. As political cartoonists do in sometimes tying stories together, popular cartoonist Thomas Nast depicted Republicans as unmovable, calm elephants who became destructive when excited or mad. By contrast Nast represented the Democrats as a donkey, commemorating opponents of Andrew Jackson’s campaign three decades earlier calling Jackson a “jackass” for his populist policies and stubbornness. Nast also depicted the Democrats as a “kicking donkey” for attacking Lincoln’s secretary of war Edwin Stanton after his death in 1870.
The (American) Whig Party was active in the middle of the 19th century, formed in 1834 to oppose the President and Democratic Party leader Andrew Jackson, who had shown that he was incapable of handling the nationwide crisis over the spread of slavery. The U.S. Whigs took their name from the anti-absolute-monarchist UK Whig party, so as to better stigmatise then Democrat President Andrew Jackson as “King Andrew”. The U.S. Whigs were seen as pro-business, pro-corporations and pro-economic growth, combining conservatism with modernisation.
The United Kingdom Whigs existed between the years of 1678-1859, advocating constitutional monarchism as opposed to absolute monarchy. By the 19th century the UK Whigs' central beliefs were supremacy of parliament over the monarch, free trade, Catholic emancipation (a reversal of the party’s historic anti-Catholic position in the 17th century), the abolition of slavery (like their US namesake) and the expansion of franchise.
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