ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

History Facts You Might Not Know-U.S. Republican Party Origins

Updated on June 26, 2016
Horace Greeley
Horace Greeley | Source

Pre-Republican Party

While the Republican Party and Democratic Party of the present day are the behemoths of the United States political system, it is easy to forget that the Republican Party originated as a fledgling third party that quickly replaced the Whig party, one of the primary parties of the time. I was so much so that it had produced 4 United States presidents in its roughly 20 years of existence. In the early 1850's, the two dominant parties were the Whigs and the Democrats.

The polarizing issue leading to the formation of the Republican Party and the catalyst for the Civil War was slavery. We are familiar with the Republican Party but less so with the Free Soil Party, which was an abolitionist party that preceded the Republican Party. However this third party, like the Green Party of our present, was unable to make a strong foothold in the political arena. It garnered only 5% of the popular vote and no Electoral College votes in 1852. The abolitionist party was ultimately absorbed into the Republican Party four years later.

Abraham Lincoln


Republican Party Formation

The catalyst that caused the division was the Kansas-Nebraska Bill of 1854. This superseded the Missouri Compromise of 1820. Prior to the 1854 bill, slavery was prohibited in the Louisiana Territories above Missouri’s southern border line with the exception of Missouri itself.

The Kansas-Nebraska Bill, opened new land for settlement and left the legality of slavery up to the territorial legislature for vote, potentially allowing the slavery establishment to extend further than what was established in 1820. This caused a rush of settlers that were on opposing sides of slavery to go to the territories to sway the vote. New coverage of the topic as well, started to cause fractures in the Whig Party as opposing views were expressed within the party. Horace Greeley, an editor for the New-York Tribune, was particularly instrumental in causing the divisions within the Whig Party.

In response to the bill, a state convention, which has come to be known as "Under the Oaks", was held for anti-slavery men and abolitionists in Jackson, Michigan. A mere two years later, this movement was organized under the Republican Party and nominating conventions for the presidency were held. the The Republican Party was born; its name paying tribute to Thomas Jefferson's Democratic-Republican Party.

The Republican Party divided the dominant Whig Party into free Whigs and cotton Whigs with relation to slavery. Many of the free Whigs joined the Republican party and many of the cotton Whigs either joined the Democrat Party or tried to sustain the Whig Party. In 1852, the Whig Party made up 44% of the electoral vote and by the 1856 election they were non-existent.

By contrast, John C. Fremont, the first Republican presidential nominee garnered 33% of the popular vote. Ultimately, the 1856 election went to Democrat James Buchanan. However, 4 years later, Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 presidency with a plurality of 40% of the popular.

Ronald Reagan


Republican Party Then and Now

Since its creation, the Republican Party has been a prominent member of our two party system. With its roughly 160 year long existence, 18 Republican Presidents have elected. However, it must be noted that the platform of the Republican Party has changed and evolved significantly since its inception.

The party's changes and expansions have included the push for women's suffrage in the early 1900's through the 19th Amendment proposed by Aaron A. Sargent. However, in the 1960's, the political party was not in wide support for the Civil Rights Acts which were championed during Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson's presidency. In the 1976, the Republican Platform adopted a stance against abortion. In addition, the Republican Party has taken a stance in support of "traditional marriage" which is in opposition of same sex marriages. Also from Reagan's presidency to the present, the party has become more adamant about the reduction of federal taxes, social entitlement programs, and deregulation of businesses which are still evident party tenants today. Also, religious faith and conservative values have become an increasingly strong motif for the party for the last 20 years.

Looking at party demographics, the Republican party's support base has changed significantly over time. In the 1850's the Republican's Party's base was northern businessmen, skilled craftsman, African Americans, and commercial farmers. At the present, the Republican party is favored by southern whites, working class whites, and individuals in rural areas. Conversely, the present day Democratic party is more popular among urban areas and more strongly favored by African Americans.

Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin | Source

Tea Party Movement

Since 2009, there has been a growing political movement of conservatism, libertarian, and populist principles known as the Tea Party Movement.Since President Barack Obama's inauguration this group has made significant inroads within the Republican Party. Their platform consist of policies ranging from government size reduction, gun rights, reduction of taxes, "traditional" family values, English as core language, stemming illegal immigration, and etc. Popular figures associated with the Tea Party are Sarah Palin, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, and Michelle Bachmann. With the 2016 Presidential Election underway, it is suspected that the rise of candidates like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz among Republican voters may ultimately result in a re-structuring or fracturing within the Republican Party. Donald Trump's candidacy in particular has flourished through an appeal to nationalism.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Daniel Gottlob profile imageAUTHOR

      Daniel Gottlob 

      2 years ago from Texas

      Looks like I spoke too soon potentially and you may be right Kathleen.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 

      3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I wonder if the advent of Donald Trump will bring about (finally) a significant third party in America, which might be the only solution for the gridlock in Washington.

      I have a couple of "Fun Facts to Know and Tell" hubs on history as well. They were so much fun to research. Looking for more like this from you!

    • Daniel Gottlob profile imageAUTHOR

      Daniel Gottlob 

      3 years ago from Texas

      Thank you RonElFran for your comment. I am not certain what the future of the Republican Party holds. It is startling how much a party can change and how much they can be in stark contrast with their roots and original intent. However, the fact that rapid change is possible also makes me cautiously hopeful. I do some times wonder if the two party system hinders the ability for progress to be made.

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 

      3 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      Today's Republican party is not the party of Lincoln. During the 1970s they deliberately adopted a "Southern Strategy" designed to bring into the party whites in the states of the old Confederacy who had become disaffected with the Democrats because of that party's support for civil rights for African Americans. Ever since, today's Republicans have felt the need to placate that segment of their base with rhetoric and policies that most African Americans find disrespectful and dismissive. My hope is that the Republicans will eventually return to their roots.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)