How the Republican Party Got Started - The History of the GOP & Some Trivia Too

Symbol of the Republican Party

The Origins of the Republican Party
The Origins of the Republican Party

Slavery and the Republicans

Prior to the start of the Civil War, the states of the United States had many disagreements over the antislavery debate. A document was created to alleviate the stress between the states. It was called the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and it separated the country between North (antislavery) and South (proslavery). This document helped keep the country calm at a time when the antislavery debate caused a tremendous uproar between the states.

In 1834, the Whig Party was formed to oppose President Andrew Jackson. In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act undid the Missouri Compromise. The peace between the states turned to embattled and hostile interactions. Members of the Whig Party met to deal with this national situation. The Whig party dissolved as a new party was formed to deal with the slavery issue.
March 20, 1854 marks the official date of the birth of the Republican party. '

By June 17, 1856, the Republican Party emerged as a political national entity symbolizing the change America would about to experience. As a new political force, the Republican party was a source of unity against the slavery movement and a promoter of liberty for the freedom of all people. The newly formed republican party achieved overnight success. In addition to opposing slavery, the republicans were strong supporters of a central route for the transcontinental railroad. They were proponents of the Homestead Acts to make it easier for western settlers to own land.

The Republican party was named for Thomas Jefferson's Democratic-Republican party he affliated himself with during his presidential term.

The First Republican President

John C. Fremont became the first man to be nominated for president by the newly formed Republican Party with the slogan “Free soil, free labor, free speech, free men ” He won 11 out of 16 northern states, but did not win the presidency.


Four years later, they knew if they had a well liked candidate in the northern states, and did not even try to run the republican nominee in the southern slave states, they would have enough electoral votes to win the election. In 1860, Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican president who won the highest office in the land. Many of the northern states felt victorious to win the presidency, but some of the southern stated withdrew from the union after his election. The word republican was specifically chosen to express the belief in equality and was strongly influenced by the philosophy of Thomas Jefferson and his democratic-republican party..

Thomas Nast Cartoonist

Thomas Nast created the donkey and elephant logo for the democratic and republican parties
Thomas Nast created the donkey and elephant logo for the democratic and republican parties

Some trivia about the Republican Party

Since the day of Lincoln, the majority of presidents have been Republicans. From 1876 until 1933, every president was republican until the election of Franklin D, Roosevelt.


In 1875, the Republicans were called gallant old party. In 1888, the party dominatedthe congress along with a win of a Republican president and gained the nickname Grand Old Party. After the invention of the car, GOP stood for get out and push.


The logo of the elephant was created in the 1870’s. During the election of 1874, a cartoonist, Thomas Nast of the Harper’s Weekly, drew a Democratic donkey trying to scare a Republican elephant. His creation became the symbols for both parties.

History of Republican Presidential Candidates

This chart lists the republican presidential candidates who ran for office since the inception of the republican party.

election year
result
republican presidential candidate
1856
lost
John C. Fremont
1860
won
Abraham Lincoln
1864
won
Andrew Johnson
1868
won
UIysses S. Grant
1872
won
Henry Wilson
1876
won
Rutherford B. Hayes
1880
won
James A. Garfield
1884
lost
James G. Blaine
1888
won
Benjamin Harrison
1892
lost
Whitelaw Reid
1896
won
William McKinley
1900
won
Theodore Roosevelt
1904
won
Theodore Roosevelt
1908
won
Howard Tafat
1912
lost
James Sherman
1916
lost
Charles Evan Hughes
1920
won
Warren Harding
1924
won
Calvin Coolidge
1928
won
Herbert Hoover
1932
lost
Herbert Hoover
1936
lost
Alf Landon
1940
lost
Wendell Willkie
1944
lost
Thomas Dewey
1948
lost
Earl Warren
1952
won
Dwight Eisenhower
1956
won
Dwight Eisenhower
1960
lost
Richard Nixon
1964
lost
Barry Goldwater
1968
won
Richard Nixon
1972
won
Richard Nixon
1976
lost
Gerald R. Ford
1980
won
Ronald Reagan
1984
won
Ronald Reagan
1988
won
George H.W. Bush
1992
lost
George H.W. Bush
1996
lost
Bob Dole
2000
won
George W. Bush
2004
won
George W. Bush
2008
lost
John McCain
2012
?
?

Republican Presidential Trivia



There were four presidents who were assinated while in office.

  • John Kennedy was the only democratic president to be assassinated and the only one in the 20th century.
  • The other three were all republicans, and it occurred in the 1800’s.
  • Abraham Lincoln was the first republican president elected and the first to be shot while in office. James Garfield and William McKinley also shared the same fate.


More Republican Trivia ~ all U.S. Presidents with beards were Republican

There have been 8 left handed Presidents - 5 of them have been Republicans

Left Handed United States Presidents

  • James A. Garfield (1831-1881) 20th Republican
  • Herbert Hoover (1874-1964) 31st Republican
  • Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) 33rd
  • Gerald Ford (1913 -2006) 38th Republican
  • Ronald Reagan (1911 -2004 ) 40th Republican
  • George H.W. Bush (1924- ) 41st Republican
  • Bill Clinton (1946- ) 42nd
  • Barack Obama (1961- ) 44th


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Comments 9 comments

mackyi profile image

mackyi 4 years ago from Philadelphia

Thanks for a beautiful presentation on the U.S. Republican Party. I must say, with guys like you, I am gradually achieving some of the things I have set out to achieve(such as the opportunity to share and learn)from fellow hubbers like you! I know it must have taken up a bit of your time to research and write this hub. Voted up useful.


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi my friend, great well written hub with lots of good information on how the republican party came to be. Some of it i did not know before,glad i stopped by and read your hub,now i know how that party began.

Vote up and more !!!


amillar profile image

amillar 4 years ago from Scotland, UK

Thank you for this interesting piece of US history toknowinfo.

Voted up and interesting - as always.


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 4 years ago Author

Thanks Mackyi, It makes me happy to know that I am helping you learn. You have interesting hubs too.


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 4 years ago Author

Hi Kashmir56, I am always glad when you stop by. Thanks for the up votes.


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 4 years ago Author

Hi Amillar, Thanks for your kind comments and up votes. History, politics, and people make for some interesting info.


chinemeremz profile image

chinemeremz 4 years ago

Quite surprised to learn that Ronald Reagan was left handed, this is really educating and interesting.

Thanks for sharing, voted up!


toknowinfo profile image

toknowinfo 4 years ago Author

Ronald Reagan was thought to be ambidextrous, but was left handed dominant. He grew up in a time when children were forced to use their right hand to write. It is believed we may even have more left handed presidents, prior to the 19th and early 20th century due to this same reason, but there is little documentation to support this. Thanks for your up votes


Kai0224liu profile image

Kai0224liu 4 years ago from TX

Erm..sorry can I ask why the symbol of the republican is an elephant?

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