The Republican Party was created in 1854 by anti-slavery activists, modernists, anti-slavery Whigs, and ex-Free Soilers to fill the void left by the dissolution of the Whig Party, which left no national party able to challenge the Democrats. It contested its first Presidential election in 1856 with John C. Frémont as candidate, but lost to Democratic candidate James Buchanan. The party won control of the White House and both Houses of Congress for the first time in 1860, under the leadership of President Abraham Lincoln. Given the party's anti-slavery stance, several southern states opted to secede and form the Confederacy, triggering the American Civil War.
The Republicans did not contest the 1864 Presidential election, instead endorsing the newly-created National Union Party in an effort to attract War Democrats to support Lincoln over their party's candidate, disgraced former U.S. Army General George McClellan. The NUP's vice-presidential nominee was Andrew Johnson, a Democratic senator from Tennessee and unionist who was the only member of any seceding state's Congressional delegation not to resign his seat. After Lincoln's death, Johnson served almost the entire term despite an attempt by Congressional Republicans to remove him under articles of impeachment. In 1868 the party returned to the White House under Ulysses S. Grant and would become the nation's dominant party for the rest of the nineteenth century, during which Grover Cleveland was the only Democratic President. In the early 20th century the party was competitive with its Democratic rivals. From 1932 to 1968 the GOP was able to elect only one President (Dwight Eisenhower) and seemed to be a permanent Congressional minority. The revitalization of American conservatism allowed the party to see brighter days for the rest of the twentieth century, once again becoming the nation's largest party, though Democrats remained competitive. In the first decade of the 21st century, Republican fortunes were decidedly mixed.
In 1912 the party was divided between the conservative and populist members, and the conservatives won the day. Ever since, the Republican Party, which had once been the home of liberal social reformers as well as big business interests, has tended to be the party of the American right and center-right.
Republican Party in The Guns of the SouthEdit
The Republican Party fractured in the wake of the Second American Revolution.
Robert E. Lee's seizure of Washington City delayed the convention in Baltimore, but when it finally took place it renominated President Abraham Lincoln and Vice President Hannibal Hamlin. In response the Radical Republicans "seceded" (a word used by both the Richmond Dispatch and the northern papers) and put forward General John C. Frémont (who had attempted to free Missouri's slaves in 1861, only to be overruled by Lincoln) with Senator Andrew Johnson of Tennessee, who still adamantly refused to admit that his home state no longer accepted the authority of Washington City.
Republican Party in The Hot WarEdit
The potential for criticism from the Republican Party played a small but potent role in Democrat President Harry Truman's decision to use atomic bombs in Manchuria after Chinese troops slaughtered three divisions of U.S. troops in North Korea in November 1950. The end result was World War III.
As early as mid-1951, Dwight Eisenhower was being bandied about as the Republican presidential nominee for the 1952 election. Senator Robert Taft was also believed to be seeking the nomination. Truman found both men preferable to Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy, whose stepped-up rhetoric suggested he might be positioning himself for his own run.
Republican Party in Joe SteeleEdit
While the Republican Party remained a viable opposition party during the 20-year Presidency of Democrat Joe Steele, Steele so thoroughly co-opted Congress and created such a formidable political machine that the GOP never really stood a chance in unseating him during his lifetime.
Republican Party in The Man With the Iron HeartEdit
In the years leading up to World War II, the Republican Party generally opposed both the New Deal program of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and American involvement in world affairs, particularly the war in Europe. This was not absolute; many Republicans supported the New Deal and interventionism, and many conservative Democrats opposed.
However, the Republican Party was generally the party of opposition until America's entry in World War II, when both parties united until victory. After the defeat of Germany, the rise of the German Freedom Front helped validate the non-interventionist tendencies of the conservative Republicans. Congressman Jerry Duncan, (R-Indiana), spearheaded opposition in the House of Representatives, while Robert Taft (R-Ohio), took a leadership role in the Senate. In 1946, the Republican Party regained a majority in Congress, and sought to pass legislation to bring American forces back from Germany. While this legislation was vetoed by President Harry Truman, Congressional Republicans nonetheless carried the day when they refused to pass legislation allocating funding for the occupation.
Republican Party in "Must and Shall"Edit
President Hannibal Hamlin and the Radical Republicans led the United States to victory in the Great Rebellion, and imposed a harsh occupation rule on the conquered regions, placing the Southern black ex-slaves at the top of the social hierarchy there. By the early 1940s, black Southern voters remained as reliably Republican as could be.
Republican Party in Southern VictoryEdit
The Republican Party reached its zenith in the mid-19th century when its candidate, Abraham Lincoln, was elected President of the United States in 1860. The Republicans, whose central platform plank was opposition to slavery, were positively despised by the Southern states, and eleven southern states, refusing to accept the results of the election, seceded from the Union and formed the Confederate States. The War of Secession followed, ending in US defeat and a steep decline in the country's international prestige.
Lincoln was defeated in a landslide in 1864, and Republicans did not retake the presidency until 1880 with the victory of James G. Blaine over the Democratic incumbent Samuel J. Tilden. Blaine's administration was marked by his opposition to CS President James Longstreet's purchase of Chihuahua and Sonora from Mexico in 1881. This led to the Second Mexican War and a second defeat of the US at the hands of the CS, the United Kingdom, France, and Canada--though it also led indirectly to the incorporation of the US into the Central Powers with Germany and Austria-Hungary.
In 1882, the Republican Party was marked as the scapegoat for the low ebb of US fortunes. Abraham Lincoln convened a number of Republican leaders in Chicago, Illinois, where he explained that the platform of hostility to the CS was unpopular, impracticable, and dangerous. He suggested changing the party's focus to domestic affairs, namely workers' rights. The other Republicans refused, and Lincoln defected to the Socialist Party, taking with him a number of his followers. The Socialists soon surpassed the Republicans as the country's second-largest party. Benjamin Butler lead most of the right-wing Republicans to the Democrats, which the party would incorporated a more hawkish foreign policy stance into their platform.
The Republican Party never sent another President to the Powel House (which replaced the White House as the presidential residence) nor did it ever become a dominant force in national politics. It continued to be competitive in the Midwestern states. For example, in the 1944 presidential election the nominee took four states: Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota (his home state), and Wisconsin, the home state of Socialist incumbent President Charles W. La Follette.
Republican Party in State of JeffersonEdit
Republican Party in The War That Came EarlyEdit
The Republican Party was in something of a political wilderness throughout the 1930s and 1940s, proving more reactive than active. Most of America's isolationists tended to join the GOP after the outbreak of the Second World War in October 1938, although it was by no means exclusively isolationist party. This caused a rift in the party during the 1940 presidential election, with the main party nominating the interventionist Wendell Willkie, but with the isolationists nominating Alf Landon in the wake of the so-called "big switch". Although incumbent President Franklin D. Roosevelt was running for an unprecedented third term, and had been arming both Britain and France, he easily won: Willkie couldn't distinguish himself from Roosevelt, and Landon did nothing more than take more votes from Willkie. The GOP did gain some seats in Congress, although not enough to negatively impact Roosevelt's agenda.
When Japan attacked the United States in January 1941, bi-partisanship increased. As the U.S. met set-back after set-back in the Pacific, the GOP was able to gain a few more seats in Congress in November 1942.
By 1960, the Republican Party was viewed as the party of political stability, taking a hard line on the Race's Colonization Fleet. In 1962, Republican President Earl Warren ordered a secret missle attack on the Fleet. When this was discovered in 1965, Warren (who had been reelected in 1964) was forced to allow the Race to destroy Indianapolis with an explosive-metal bomb in retribution. Rather than face the consequences of public opinion, Warren committed suicide in the Executive Mansion, and his successor Harold Stassen was extremely pessimistic about the GOP's chances in the next election.