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Republican Party

From dKosopedia

The Republican Party a.k.a. the GOP (for Grand Old Party) is the second oldest continuously functioning political party in the United States. The Democratic Party is the oldest continuously functioning political party in the United States and on the planet.

The Republican Party was organized in the mid-19th century as a party opposed to the expansion of slavery as new states were admitted. The party's success outside the slave states in the election of 1860 and the subsequent civil war led to its national dominance in the Gilded Age. Only the former slave states of the American Southeast resisted becoming Republican. Ironically, today the party is dominant only in the former slave states of the American Southeast.

The Republican Party may have been organized in Jackson, Michigan on February 28, 1854. However (Three other cities, including Ripon, Wisconsin, also claim to be the party's birthplace.) It is not to be confused with the Democratic-Republican party of Thomas Jefferson or the National Republican Party of Henry Clay. The first convention of the U.S. Republican Party was held on July 6, 1854, in Jackson, Michigan. Many of its initial policies were inspired by and most of its members were once members of the defunct Whig Party.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) serves as the central committee of the United States Republican Party. It is formally responsible for developing and promoting the Republican political platform, as well as coordinating fundraising and election strategy. There are similar committees in every state and most 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 outgoing chair of the RNC is Ken Mehlman.

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].

If you have the time, the best way to understand the goals of the Republican Party in its current incarnation is to read the seminal manifestos and platforms of its most influential factions. These include the Texas Republican Party (from which much of the current national leadership is drawn), as well as the Neoconservative organization, the Project for the New American Century. The Heritage Foundation ranks as one of the most influential Republican think-tanks; the American Enterprise Institute is another.



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 patriotic 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 benefited 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{{#if:||{{#if:Category:Articles with unsourced statements|[[Category:Articles with unsourced statements {{#if:|{{#if:|from|since}} }}]]}}}}{{#if:citation needed|[citation needed]|}}{{#switch:||Template|Talk={{#if:|{{#ifexist:Category:Articles with unsourced statements since {{{date}}}||}}|}}}}, 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 his 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 Delano 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 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 Richard 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. In 1995, a budget battle with Clinton led to the brief shutdown of the federal government, an event which is often credited with assisting Clinton's victory in the 1996 election.

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, and Republicans hope, 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). Still relying on concerns and fears as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks coupled with the Republican War in Iraq, the Republicans in 2004 managed to secure, bartely, the re-election for George W. Bush, and maintain control of both chambers of Congress.

Iraq and numerous scandals in Congress however would usher in a major realignment in the 2006 midterm elections. The Democrats swept the GOP out of control of both the House and the Senate in a dramatic turnaround. The number of seats held by Democrats after the election actually being one more than when the Gingrich class was elected in 1994. Not a single Democratic incumbent lost while the Republicans lost over 30 seats in the House in 2006. The Republican collapse was further underscored by their becoming the minority in the House for the first time in over 12 years, and with Nancy Pelosi becoming the first female Speaker of the House.

List of Republican Presidential Nominees


Related article

Republican Liberty Caucus
Ripon Society
Log Cabin Republicans
List of State Republican Parties in the US
List of Republican National Conventions
Republican National Convention
List of 2002 Republican Party Chairs
Republican Party of Hawaii
Republican Party of Kansas
Republican Party of Mississippi
Loyal Bushie's

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