Talk:Republican Party (USA)

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The Republican Party is one of the two major political parties in the United States. It was established in 1854 by a conglomerate of politicians and non-politicians who opposed the expansion of slavery and held a Hamiltonian vision for modernizing the nation. The party has occasionally been dubbed "America's natural governing party", since 18 of the 27 US Presidents since 1861 have been Republicans. The party is not to be confused with the Democratic-Republican party of Thomas Jefferson or the National Republican Party of Henry Clay.

Brief intro

The Republican Party was organized in Jackson, Michigan on February 28, 1854 as a party opposed to the westward expansion of slavery.(Three other cities, including Ripon, Wis., also claim to be the party's birthplace.)

The first convention of the U.S. Republican Party was held on July 6, 1854, in Jackson. Many of its initial policies were inspired by the defunct Whig Party. Since its inception, its chief opponent has been the Democratic Party.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) of the United States provides national leadership for the United States Republican Party. It is responsible for developing and promoting the Republican political platform, as well as coordinating fundraising and election strategy. There are similar committees in every U.S. state and most U.S. Counties (though in some states, party organization lower than state-level is arranged by legislative districts). It can be considered the counterpart of the Democratic National Committee. The chairman of the RNC, since January 2007, has been Mike Duncan. Previous chairmen were Ken Mehlman and Ed Gillespie. [1]

The official symbol of the Republican Party is the elephant. Although the elephant had occasionally been associated with the party earlier, a cartoon by Thomas Nast, published in Harper's Weekly on November 7, 1874, is considered the first important use of the symbol [1]. In the early 20th century, the traditional symbol of the Republican Party in Midwestern states such as Indiana and Ohio was the eagle, as opposed to the Democratic rooster. This symbol still appears on Indiana ballots.

From 2002 to 2006, the Republican Party held a majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. It also held a majority of governorships, and was tied with Democrats in the number of state legislatures it controlled. As of the 2006 election, the Democratic Party holds a majority in all of the above areas. [2] [3] [4]

Grand Old Party is a traditional nickname, and the initials G.O.P. are commonly used as a shorthand political designation.

Ideological base

The outstanding difference between the mind set and political ideals of the Republican and that of the Democrat is that the Republican tends to put forth the ideal that all things are earned and nothing is owed. The Republican Party holds the mindset that anything can be achieved but nothing is given. This mindset is seen most often in the party's push for equal tax rates despite income, as well as minimized social assistance programs. This is fought for in an attempt to treat all citizens equally despite income, race, sex, or religion. Meanwhile Democrats seek to raise taxes so that government can provide services such as health insurance and housing assistance to everyone. Republicans wish to minimize these socialist ideals, because of the modern failure of governments that attempted to invoke them. Republicans also show concerns about having big government in charge of such vital issues as food, shelter, or health care, as they believe the private sector and/or the individual are better suited to control their own lives. The much revered president Ronald Reagan was a Republican and has been quoted as saying "Government is not the solution, it is the problem."

The party tends to hold both conservative (right-wing) and libertarian stances on social and economic issues respectively. Major policies that the party has recently supported include a neoconservative foreign policy, including War on Terror, invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, strong support for democracy especially in the Middle East, and distrust of the United Nations due to the organization's incompetent bureaucracy, anti-capitalist undertone and lackadaisical approach to issues such as fighting terrorism. It has demanded radical reforms in the UN and opposes the Kyoto Protocol due the protocol's unfair application to certain countries (especially the United States) and that it prevents economic growth and slows the reduction of poverty.

It generally supports free trade, especially NAFTA. It boasts that a series of across-the-board tax cuts since 2001 has bolstered the economy and reduced the punitive aspect of the income tax. It has sought business deregulation, reduction of environmental restrictions, and other policies that are pro-capitalism. It supports gun ownership rights, and enterprise zones. Its national and state candidates usually favor the death penalty, call for stronger state-level control on access to abortion, oppose the legalization of gender-neutral marriage on a nation-wide level, favor faith-based initiatives, support school choice and homeschooling, and social welfare benefit reform.

The party has called for much stronger accountability in the public schools. The party is split on the issue of federally funding embryonic stem cell research, with many seeing it as unethical to force tens of millions of tax payers who believe this type of research is morally wrong to finance it. Historically Republicans have had a strong belief in individualism, limited government, and business entrepreneurship.

Rhetoric aside however, one way to discover the value difference between Republicans and Democrats is to research which groups support the two political parties. A close look at this Open Secrets "Top All-Time Donor Profiles" page reveals that large corporations usually either favor Republicans or support both parties equally while workers rights groups (unions), which make up the rank and file of these corporations almost always support Democrats.


John C. Frémont ran as the first Republican for President in 1856, using the political slogan: "Free soil, free labor, free speech, free men, Fremont." The party grew especially rapidly in Northeastern and Midwestern states, where slavery had long been prohibited, culminating in a sweep of victories in the Northern states and the election of Lincoln in 1860, ending 60 years of dominance by Southern Democrats and ushering in a new era of Republican dominance based in the industrial north.

With the end of the Civil War came the upheavals of Reconstruction under Democratic president Andrew Johnson and Republican president Ulysses S. Grant. For a brief period, Republicans assumed control of Southern politics, forcing drastic reforms and frequently giving former slaves positions in government. Reconstruction came to an end with the election of Republican Rutherford B. Hayes through the Compromise of 1877.

Though states' rights was a cause of both Northern and Southern states before the War, control of the federal government led the Republican Party down a national line. The patriotric unity that developed in the North because of the war led to a string of military men as President, and an era of international expansion and domestic protectionism. As the rural Northern antebellum economy mushroomed with industry and immigration, supporting invention and business became the hallmarks of Republican policy proposals. From the Reconstruction era up to the turn of the century, the Republicans benefitted from the Democrats' association with the Confederacy and dominated national politics--albeit with strong competition from the Democrats during the 1880s especially. With the two-term presidency of Ulysses S. Grant, the party became known for its strong advocacy of commerce, industry, and veterans' rights, which continued through the end of the 19th century.

The progressive, protectionist, political and beloved William McKinley was the last Civil War veteran elected President and embodied the Republican ideals of economic progress, invention, education, and patriotism. After McKinley's assassination, President Theodore Roosevelt tapped McKinley's Industrial Commission for his trust-busting ideas and continued the federal and nationalist policies of his predecessor.

Roosevelt decided not to run again in 1908 and chose William Howard Taft to replace him, but the widening division between progressive and conservative forces in the party resulted in a third-party candidacy for Roosevelt on the United States Progressive Party, or 'Bull Moose' ticket in the election of 1912. He beat Taft, but the split in the Republican vote resulted in a decisive victory for Democrat Woodrow Wilson, temporarily interrupting the Republican era.

Subsequent years saw the party firmly committed to laissez-faire economics, but the Great Depression cost it the presidency with the U.S. presidential election, 1932 landslide election of Franklin Roosevelt in 1932. Roosevelt's New Deal Coalition controlled American politics for most of the next three decades, excepting the two-term presidency of war hero Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The Republican Party came to be split along new lines between a conservative wing (dominant in the West) and a liberal wing (dominant in New England) -- combined with a residual base of inherited Midwestern Republicanism active throughout the century. The seeds of conservative dominance in the Republican party were planted in the nomination of Barry Goldwater over Nelson Rockefeller as the Republican candidate for the 1964 presidential election. Goldwater represented the conservative wing of the party, while Rockefeller represented the liberal wing.

Goldwater's success in the deep south, and Nixon's successful Southern strategy four years later represented a significant political change, as Southern whites began moving into the party, largely due to Democrats' support for the Civil Rights Movement. Simultaneously, the remaining pockets of liberal Republicanism in the northeast died out as the region turned solidly Democratic. In The Emerging Republican Majority, Kevin Phillips, then a Nixon strategist, argued (based on the 1968 election results) that support from southern whites and growth in the Sun Belt, among other factors, was driving an enduring Republican realignment.

While his predictions were obviously somewhat overstated, the trends described could be seen in the Goldwater-inspired candidacy and 1980 election of Ronald Reagan and in the Gingrich-led "Republican Revolution" of 1994. The latter was the first time in 40 years that the Republicans secured control of both houses of Congress.

That year, the GOP campaigned on a platform of major reforms of government with measures, such as a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution and welfare reform. These measures and others formed the famous Contract with America, which was passed by Congress. Democratic President Bill Clinton stymied many of the initiatives contained therein, with welfare reform as a notable exception.

With the election of George W. Bush in 2000, the Republican party controlled both the presidency and both houses of Congress for the first time since 1952. Commentators speculate that this may constitute a political realignment, catalyzed by decades of Cold War conflict and free market politics.

The Republican Party solidified its Congressional margins in the 2002 midterm elections, bucking the historic trend. It marked just the third time since the Civil War that the party in control of the White House gained seats in both houses of Congress in a midterm election (others were 1902 and 1934).

President Bush was renominated without opposition for the 2004 election and the Republican political platform was titled "A Safer World and a More Hopeful America". It expressed President Bush's commitment to winning the War on Terror, ushering in an Ownership Era, and building an innovative economy to compete in the world. President Bush won the election with 62.0 million popular votes over Democratic Senator John F. Kerry. Bush received 51% of the popular vote, the first popular majority since his father was elected in 1988. On that election day, Republicans gained additional seats in both houses of Congress.

List of Republican presidential nominees

  • John C. Fremont (Lost: 1856)
  • Abraham Lincoln (Won: 1860, 1864)
  • Ulysses S. Grant (Won: 1868, 1872)
  • Rutherford B. Hayes (Won: 1876)
  • James Garfield (Won: 1880)
  • James G. Blaine (Lost: 1884)
  • Benjamin Harrison (Won: 1888, Lost: 1892)
  • William McKinley (Won: 1896, 1900)
  • Theodore Roosevelt (Won: 1904)
  • William Howard Taft (Won: 1908, Lost: 1912)
  • Charles Evans Hughes (Lost: 1916)
  • Warren G. Harding (Won: 1920)
  • Calvin Coolidge (Won: 1924)
  • Herbert Hoover (Won: 1928, Lost: 1932)
  • Alfred M. Landon (Lost: 1936)
  • Wendell L. Wilkie (Lost: 1940)
  • Thomas Dewey (Lost: 1944, 1948)
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower (Won: 1952, 1956)
  • Richard M. Nixon (Lost: 1960, Won: 1968, Won: 1972)
  • Barry Goldwater (Lost: 1964)
  • Gerald R. Ford (Lost: 1976)
  • Ronald Reagan (Won: 1980, 1984)
  • George H. W. Bush (Won: 1988, Lost: 1992)
  • Bob Dole (Lost: 1996)
  • George W. Bush (Won: 2000, 2004)

External links

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Mike Duncan,, accessed May 2008.
  2. "Reid elected leader of Senate Democratic majority", Reuters, November 14, 2006.
  3. "Democrats win majority of governorships", CNN, November 8, 2006.
  4. Tim Storey and Nicole Casal Moore, "Democrats Deliver a Power Punch", National Conference of State Legislatures, December 2006.


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