Thursday, March 20, 2014

Republican Party Founded


Ripon, Wisconsin (JFK+50) 160 years ago today, March 20, 1854, the Republican Party was founded in a schoolhouse here in Ripon.

The leaders of the new political party, which included former Whigs and Freesoilers, met in opposition to the recently enacted Kansas-Nebraska Act which nullified the Missouri Compromise by making slavery legal north of the compromise line by popular vote.

Birthplace of the Republican Party
Ripon, Wisconsin
Photo by Royalbroil (2012)

The Grand Old Party, or GOP as it would later be known, nominated their first Presidential candidate in 1856, John C. Fremont.  The party convention was held in Philadelphia.

The name Republican was suggested by newspaper editor Horace Greeley who wrote...

"We think some simple name like 'Republican' would more fitly designate those who...united restored the Union to its true mission of champion...of Liberty rather than propagandist of slavery."

The first resolution drafted in the 1856 Republican Platform stated...

"Resolved...That the maintenance of the principles promulgated in the Declaration of Independence and embodied in the Federal Constitution are essential to the preservation of our Republican institutions, and that the Federal Constitution, the rights of the States, and the union of the States must and shall be preserved."

John C. Fremont won 11 of 16 Northern states but went down to defeat to the Democrat, James Buchanan

Four years later, however, Abraham Lincoln of Illinois would be nominated by the Republican Party and be elected as the 16th President of the United States.

Between 1861 and 2009, eighteen Republicans served in the White House.


162 years ago, March 20, 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe, daughter of Connecticut Congregationalist minister, Lyman Beecher, published her novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin.

The novel sold 300,000 copies in 3 months and became the best selling novel of the 19th century. 

The book had such an impact on anti-slavery views in the North that when President Abraham Lincoln first met Ms. Stowe in 1862, he said...

 "So you are the little lady that wrote the book that started this great war."