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Republican Party (United States)

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1874 cartoon in Harpers Weekly, first use of the elephant as symbol for the Republican party

The United States Republican Party is one of the two biggest political parties in the United States of America. The other large party is the Democratic Party. The United States also has many other small parties known as third parties.

The Republicans are often called "the right" or "conservatives". The Republican Party itself is also known as the GOP, which stands for "Grand Old Party." The symbol of the Republican party is the elephant. This symbol was first used in 1874 in a political cartoon (pictured), by Thomas Nast.[1]

The Republican National Committee is the main organization for the Republican Party in all 50 states. Reince Priebus is the current RNC Chairman. The Republican Party is not the same political party as the Democratic-Republican Party. The Republican Party is based in Washington, D.C. A mostly Republican state is sometimes called a "red state".


The Republican Party was founded at the Little White Schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin

The Republican Party was founded in Ripon, Wisconsin in 1854.[2] It was created by the support of Francis Preston Blair. Its formation was based around opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which would allow each territory to allow slavery if they wanted to. It was founded by previous members of the Free Soil Party and the Whig Party. They wanted to stop the expansion of slavery because they believed that it was against the ideals of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Some founders wanted to abolish slavery everywhere in the United States. The first Republican candidate for president was John C. Frémont in 1856.

As the Whig Party collapsed, the Republicans became the second major party (the Democratic Party being the first). In 1860 Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president, was elected. For the rest of the second half of the 19th century, the country had mostly Republican presidents. From 1860 until 1912 the Republicans lost the presidential election just twice (non-consecutively to Democrat Grover Cleveland in 1884 and 1892).

Republicans believed in protectionism (the belief that raising taxes on trades with foreign nations would protect the U.S. economy) during the second half of the 19th century and during the early half of the 20th century.

After World War I, the 1920s had three Republican presidents: Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover. It was called the Republican Decade for that reason. Harding and Coolidge made a plan for the economy which lowered taxes, cut government spending, and regulated the economy less.

Ronald Reagan is thought to be a "conservative icon" and hero

Near the end of the decade, the stock market crashed and the Great Depression was beginning. During the Great Depression, Republicans lost popularity and Democrats came into power and remained in power until 1953, when Dwight Eisenhower began his first of two consecutive terms as president. (He was re-elected in 1956.) Richard Nixon lost the election in 1960, but was elected president on the Republican ticket in 1968 and again in 1972.

Ronald Reagan, an actor and conservative political activist, was elected as president in 1980. He became the first Republican president who was a former member of the Democratic Party. This began a conservative era which would last until 1992. He served two terms and his successor George H.W. Bush served one term. Reagan renewed many ideas which had been left behind in the past, such as limited government in the economy and strengthening the military.

Bill Clinton (a Democrat) was elected president in 1992, and re-elected in 1996. However, a new Congress was elected in 1994, and Republicans gained control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. They voted against many of Clinton's ideas and proposed ideas of their own such as a line item veto and a balanced budget amendment.

The Republicans lost control of Congress during 2006. Democrat Barack Obama was elected in 2008 and re-elected in 2012. The Republican Party has also gone against candidates of other political parties, such as the Libertarian Party and Green Party. House Speaker and U.S. congressman John Boehner was elected in the new Congress in 2010 and re-elected in 2012.

Current Republican beliefs

Currently, the Republican Party is identified as conservative and right-wing.

Not all Republicans believe in all of the same things, but generally these are the things many Republicans support:

  • the 2nd Amendment (oppose gun control)
  • the death penalty for certain cases
  • the U.S. having a strong military
  • the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
  • a school voucher system (the government giving money to parents who send their kids to private school, in areas with a failing school system)
  • oppose illegal immigration, but support legal immigrants
  • capitalism, laissez faire or supply-side economics
  • less government control of the economy
  • less government spending
  • lower taxes for everyone
  • oppose government run health care
  • the 9th and 10th Amendments (the federal government should have less power over the states)
  • abortion should be illegal in all or many cases
  • oppose same-sex marriage, but not a civil union

U.S. presidents

President Abraham Lincoln

Republican presidents during the 1800s:

President Ronald Reagan

Republican presidents during the 1900s:

Republican Presidents during the 2000s

Other famous Republicans


Other websites