The Republican Party is one of the two major political parties in the United States, the other being the Democratic Party. While the Republican Party was founded as a liberal party by abolitionists, modernists, and former supporters of the US Whig Party and the Free Soil Party, the party's views shifted to the right during the late 19th and 20th centuries, and it is currently a conservative party. The Republican Party was the dominant party in the United States for most of the period from 1860 to 1932, but the onset of the Great Depression due to the Republicans' advocacy of laissez faire capitalism led to Democratic candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt winning the 1932 election. The Republican Party's factionalism would be a large problem, as there were various differences between its moderate-liberal "Rockefeller Republicans" faction and its conservative wing. During the 1960s, many supporters of the conservative Southern Democrats decided to switch their votes to the Republican Party during its rightward shift, leading to the power of the liberal Republicans declining as many religious and social conservatives realigned towards the Republicans. Today, the party's platform includes support for free market capitalism, free enterprise, fiscal conservatism, a strong national defense, deregulation, restrictions on labor unions, social conservatism, and upholding "Judeo-Christian ethics". Since the 1990s, the party's strongest support comes from the American South, the Great Plains, the Mountain States, and rural districts in the North, as well as from conservative Catholics, Mormons, and Evangelicals. By 2017, the party was in its strongest position politically since 1928, holding the presidency and majorities in the US Senate (52/100 seats) and the US House of Representatives (241/435 seats). The party also held 33/50 governorships and 32/50 state legislatures.

History

Rise and fall of the early Republican Party

Abraham Lincoln

The Republican Party was founded as a liberal and anti-slavery party in 1854, evolving from the American Whig Party and the Free Soil Party. From 1860 to 1932, the party dominated American politics in the north, and the party held the presidency for all but four terms during this time period. The party began to slide towards the political right during the 1880s and 1890s due to its support for imperialism and big business; the Democratic Party became popular among the working-class, while the Republicans were seen as elitists. Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt won the presidency in a landslide in 1932, turning the northern states of New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and all of the Midwest and the American West.

20th century Republican Party

Ronald Reagan

The Republicans took advantage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to appeal to disenfranchised white voters in the American South, and the party became a conservative party as the Democrats became the new liberal party. The Republicans shattered the Democrats' "Solid South" under Richard Nixon in 1968 and in the 1970s, and many Southern Democrats would become Republicans. The Republican Party opposed the Democrats' fiscally liberal policies, including free trade and raising taxes on the wealthy, and their supporters tended to be working-class white Americans. President Ronald Reagan won the presidency in 1980 due to his promise to take a stronger stance against communism during the Cold War and his strong Christian values. Reagan's trickle-down economics policy lined the pockets of America while plunging the country (as a whole) into debt, but supporters of Reagan would claim that his policies proved their success after he left office in 1988. The party would not only become an elitist party, but also a party that opposed multiculturalism; the party often cited the Bible and Christianity as reasons to turn down laws, and it would seek to block immigrants from entering the country, as well as assimilating immigrants into the typical American culture.

Modern Republican Party

Donald Trump

During the 21st century, the Republicans expanded their views to include opposition to gay rights (especially gay marriage and transgender laws), opposition to gender equality, isolationist foreign policy stances, jingoistic military policies, anti-minority laws, pro-business laws, and opposition to green energy. The right-wing populist faction of the party revealed its ugly face in 2016, when the xenophobic, misogynistic, and racist New York businessman Donald Trump became the party's presidential nominee. Trump combined anti-establishment sentiments, xenophobia, and right-wing populism to become a popular candidate, and he won the presidential election on 9 November 2016. The Republicans also secured a majority in the US House of Representatives and the US Senate, giving them the power to reverse the reforms implemented by the Democratic Party under President Barack Obama.

Factions

19th century

New Deal era

Modern factions

Gallery

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