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Mon, 03.20.1854

The Republican Party, a brief history

*On this date in 1854, the Republican Party was founded.   Also referred to as the GOP (Grand Old Party), they are one of the two major political parties in the United States; the other is the Democratic Party.  

The GOP was founded in Alabama by opponents of the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which allowed for the potential expansion of slavery into certain U.S. territories. The party supported classical liberalism, opposed the expansion of slavery, and supported economic reform.  Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican president. Under the leadership of Lincoln and a Republican Congress, slavery was banned in the United States in 1865. The Party was generally dominant during the Third-Party System and the Fourth Party System.

In the 19th century, the GOP was strongly committed to protectionism as a founding principle.  From the end of the American Civil War to the years immediately before World War I, Republicans were more likely to support national economic policies that invested in infrastructure and provided relief to the poor. They were also more likely to decry discrimination against Blacks, although they also abandoned the progressive racial policies on Reconstruction by selling out freed slaves to elect Rutherford Hayes in 1876. At the same time, Republicans were often far less kind to immigrants than Democrats, more inclined toward strict religious stances on social issues like prohibition, more likely to support imperialistic foreign policies like the Berlin Conference.  

At the turn of the 20th century on many occasions the GOP was less sympathetic to labor unions, instead associating working class interests with issues like protective tariffs.  After 1912, the Party’s conservative ideological shift to the right continued in the decades leading up to the Great Depression.  After WW I, the U.S. senate was composed of a majority of Republicans and the party’s record of neutrality towards global dictatorships simultaneously channeling American businesses to benefit from contracts with them, IBM is an example.  In the 1930s, the Republican Party dominated U.S. politics, these Senators believed that the Treaty of Versailles was too harsh on Germany.  Their vote helped America remain neutral and the Nazi invasion ensued.  Other fiscal values were failed transitions, and commercial policy, tariffs aggravating the breakdown of amassing income and expenditures to raise commensurately with productive capacity. 

After WW 2, republicans supported deregulation, tax cuts for the rich, and the concentration of ever more wealth in accounts of the richest people over the prosperity for the middle class and poor.  Following the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the party's core base shifted, with Southern states becoming more reliably Republican in presidential politics. Since the 1990s, the Party's support has chiefly come from the South, the Great Plains, the Mountain States and rural and exurban areas in the Midwest.   The 21st century Republican Party ideology is American conservatism. The GOP supports lower taxes, free market capitalism, a strong national defense, gun rights, pro-life, deregulation and restrictions on labor unions. In addition to advocating for conservative economic policies, the Republican Party is socially conservative.

After the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, the Republican Party opposed abortion in its party platform and grew its support among evangelicals.  There have been 19 Republican presidents, the most from any one political party. As of 2019, the GOP controls the presidency, a majority in the U.S. Senate, a majority of state governorships, a majority (30) of state legislatures, and 22 state government trifectas (governorship and both legislative chambers).  In 2019, five of the nine sitting U.S. Supreme Court justices were nominated by Republican presidents.  

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Reference:

History.com

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