Republican Party, one
of the two great political parties in the United States. The term Republican has had at different times, different significations. In 1792 a faction of the Anti-Federalists, advocating more direct control of the government by the people, further restriction of supreme authority, and a stronger emphasis on States Rights, began to be known as the Republican Party. This party was increased by numbers of voters who called themselves Democrats on account of their sympathy with the French Jacobins. The combination was known officially as the Democratic-Republican Party. Those members having centralizing tendencies having seceded, the term Democratic was alone retained. This name, as the title of a National party was first used in 1825, the election of 1828 being the first in which it appeared, at that time opposing the original holders of the name. The name Republican, as the title of a party went out of use after the election of 1824, but was resumed in 1856, during the administration of Mr. Pierce (1853-1857). Its platform rested mainly on the prohibition of slavery in the Territories, declaring that freedom was the public law of the national domain; the prohibition of polygamy, which it classed with slavery as "the twin relic of barbarism"; and the admission of Kansas as a free State. In 1856 the party fairly divided the country with its Democratic competitor. In June of that year its convention met at Philadelphia and nominated John C. Fremont for President. Mr. Buchanan, the Democratic candidate was elected, 11 of the states voting for General Fremont. The decision in the Dred Scott Case and the progress of events in Kansas greatly strengthened the party, and after the divisions among the Democrats over the same question the success of the Republicans was assured. In 1860 the party elected Abraham Lincoln President, who received the electoral votes of the free States except New Jersey. On the announcement of his election the Southern States prepared to secede, South Carolina leading, followed by 10 others. Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated Mar 4, 1861. He asserted that there was no right to interfere with slavery in the United States where it existed, and acknowledged that of the reclamation of fugitive slaves; but he expressed his determination to execute the laws and protect public property. The conduct of the Civil War was in the hands of the Republican party, through northern Democrats formed a large proportion of the Union Army.
In 1864 Mr. Lincoln was unanimously nominated by the Republicans, and was reelected by an overwhelming majority. On the 14th of April, 1865, Mr. Lincoln was assassinated, and died the next day. Andrew Johnson, the Vice-President, immediately succeeded him, and continued his cabinet. Mr. Johnson had been a loyal Union man of Tennessee and was chosen in view of the reconstruction of the South. He soon disagreed with the party and came into actual conflict with Congress. He was impeached March 23, 1868, but acquitted May 16, and 26 for lack of a vote of two-thirds for conviction. Chief-Justice Chase presided at this trial. In 1868 Ulysses S. Grant was elected President. His election was argued on the ground that the Republican party, having successfully finished the war, maintained public credit, abolished slavery, and secured liberty, was the proper one to carry on the government. General Grant was chosen for a second term by a largely increased electoral vote., and was successed by R.B. Hayes in 1876, the election of the latter being declared by the electoral commission (q.v.). James A. Garfield was elected President, and died Sept. 19, 1881, from wounds inflicted July 2, and Chester A. Arthur, the Vice-President, took his place. In 1884 there arose a considerable defection from the party ranks, many declining to vote for James G. Blaine, the regular nominee. As a result Grover Cleveland, the Democratic candidate was chosen. In 1888 the party again triumphed in the National election, Benjamin Harrison defeating Grover Cleveland on the tariff issue. In 1892 the party was defeated by the second election of Grover Cleveland and a Democratic Congress. In 1894 it again came into power in Congress by signal majorities carrying even Kentucky and other Democratic strongholds; and in 1895 regained all branches of the government by the election of William McKinley, who was re-elected in 1900. On his assassination, Sept. 14, 1901, he was succeeded by Theodore Roosevelt, Vice-President, who was elected President in 1904 by an overwhelming majority, defeating Alton B. Parker, the Democratic candidate.
In 1908 the Republican Party was again successful in electing its candidate, William H. Taft, who defeated the Democratic candidate, William Jennings Bryan, who had been named for the third time by that party. President Taft's first official act was to summon Congress in extra session to deal with several important subjects. During the session, which closed June 25, 1910, Congress passed a new tariff bill; placed railroad rate making, and telegraph and telephone companies under government control; imposed a special tax on corporations; created a Commerce Court; adopted a postal telegraph bill; authorized the admission of Arizona and New Mexico into the Union; created a bureau of mines; and established rigid rules for the prevention of collisions at sea. The party suffered heavy defeat throughout the country in 1910, when the Democratic party secured control of the National House of Representatives. Later notable events of this administration were the attempts to negotiate a reciprocal trade agreement with Canada and a general arbitration treaty with Great Britain and France; the passage of a Panama Canal bill, in which American shipping was especially favored, and under which Great Britain filed two protests; intervention in Nicaragua to suppress the revolution of 1912; the visit of Secretary of State Knox to the Central American republics and to Japan as special ambassador at the funeral of the Mikado; the employment of the army along the Rio Grande to safeguard American lives and property against the Mexican revolutionists; and the revolt in the Republican party, leading to the organization of the Progressive Party (q.v.) and its nomination of former President Roosevelt (see Roosevelt, Theodore; Taft, William Howard). Both of these candidates were defeated by the Democratic candidate, Gov. Woodrow Wilson.
Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia,