In was in the 1800s that the modern-day Republican Party’s roots were set. In analyzing the movement’s history, a fact that is sometimes overlooked is that anti-slavery sentiment and the overarching battle to extinguish the institution were at the center of the so-called Grand Old Party’s (GOP) platform.
In fact, it was this epic battle — one that threatened to split the United States of America into two parts — that very literally led to the political party’s formation.
Over the weekend, CNN’s Tom Foreman delved into the GOP’s unique history, providing a brief recap of how it all took form:
In the tumultuous mid-1800s, right before the Civil War, some political activists were concerned about keeping slavery from spreading into new western territories, and they saw no way to stop it through existing political powers: the Democrats and the Whigs (the pro-Congress party of the mid 1800s that largely destroyed itself in the 1852 elections in a battle over slavery).
So they formed a new party, taking the name “Republicans” in a salute to earlier American politicians.
By 1861, they had their first president: Abraham Lincoln. Soon after, slavery fell. The Whig party disappeared. And the Republicans began a long steady rise in power.
Read more here.