The Republican Party
of the United States
started in the early 1850's. The early party's founders were linked under a common belief against slavery
, especially against the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854
which would have extended the right to own slaves to those territories. The first platform, adopted in 1856, held that Congress
had no right to recognize slavery in a territory
, that it had the right to abolish slavery, and that it ought to do so. This platform led it to widespread popularity in the north, where by 1860 they had grown in popularity enough to give the presidency to the party's second candidate, Abraham Lincoln
When the Southern states seceded from the Union, the Republicans gained absolute control over the Federal Government. This began a long period of domination by the GOP. 14 of the 18 presidential elections held between 1860 and 1932 were won by Republicans. From 1880 to 1910 they held both houses of Congress.
After losing Congress in the 1910's, the Republicans came back into power. Reacting from the previous administration's (Theodore Roosevelt) pro-labor, conservationist, and anti-monopolistic practices, they became the party of big business. This served the party well until the Great Depression. Hoover, the Republican in the presidency at the time, was unwilling to combat the depression with government action, and was soundly defeated in 1932 by Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The Republican party came back to power in 1952, when moderate forces dominated the party. But the platform remained conservative, resisiting civil rights legistlation, favoring lower taxes for the rich, and reduction in government regulation on corporations. This won favor with the wealthy, big and small business, and white Southerners who were dissatisfied with the Democrats' integrationist stance.
Conservative Republicans regained control of the party in 1964, but their presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater, was soundly defeated. By 1968 the moderates had again taken control of the party, and their candidate for the presidency, Richard Nixon, won the presidency.
In 1980 Ronald Reagan, a conservative Republican who had led that faction since 1964, was elected president. He followed that faction's ideals, lowering taxes for the rich and instigating a huge buildup of the military. Because of his popularity, the Senate was dominated by Republicans from 1981 to 1987, and his vice president, George Bush, won election in 1988. After losing the 1992 presidential elections, the Republicans gained control of Congress for the first time since 1954. Their response to the slow decline of the standard of living since the 1970's was traditionally conservative: lower taxes for the wealthy and businesses, and reduce government social spending.
dates 'n stuff courtesy encyclopedia britannica