In 1854, opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which would permit slavery in new U.S. territories by popular referendum, drove an antislavery coalition of Whigs, Free-Soilers, Americans and disgruntled Democrats to found the new Republican Party…
Founding of the Republican Party
On July 6, 1854, just after the anniversary of the nation, an anti-slavery state convention was held in Jackson, Michigan. The hot day forced the large crowd outside to a nearby oak grove. At this “Under the Oaks Convention” the first statewide candidates were selected for what would become the Republican Party.
United by desire to abolish slavery, it was in Jackson that the Platform of the Under the Oaks Convention read: “…we will cooperate and be known as REPUBLICANS…” Smaller groups had gathered in intimate settings like the schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin. However, the meeting in Jackson would be the first ever mass gathering of the Republican Party.
The name “Republican” was chosen, alluding to Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party and conveying a commitment to the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Jackson, Wisconsin Historical Marker
“On July 6, 1854, a state convention of anti-slavery men was held in Jackson to found a new political party. “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” had been published two years earlier, causing increased resentment against slavery, and the Kansas-Nebraska Act of May, 1854, threatened to make slave states out of previously free territories. Since the convention day was hot and the huge crowd could not be accommodated in the hall, the meeting adjourned to an oak grove on “Morgan’s Forty” on the outskirts of town. Here a state-wide slate of candidates was selected and the Republican Party was born. Winning an overwhelming victory in the elections of 1854, the Republican party went on to dominate national parties throughout the nineteenth century.”
1863 – President Abraham Lincoln issues Emancipation Proclamation.
1865 – Republicans pass the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery.
1868 – Republicans pass the 14th Amendment granting citizenship to all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.
1870 – Republicans pass the 15th Amendment granting the right to vote regardless of color, race, or previous condition of servitude.
1919 – Republicans pass the 19th Amendment granting the right to vote to women.
1920 Republican Party Platform “The Republican Congress established by law a permanent woman’s bureau in the Department of Labor; we submitted to the country the constitutional amendment for woman suffrage, and furnished twenty-nine of the thirty-five legislatures which have ratified it to date.”
1964 – Republicans overcome a Democratic filibuster to pass the Civil Rights Act. Republicans had been working to pass civil rights acts to enforce the Constitutional Amendments since the late 1800’s to guarantee the rights of all Americans; some were passed, others stifled by the Democratic opposition. The 1964 Civil Rights Act was the fulfillment of this work. Summary of votes by party.
Historically, it was the Republican Party which included minorities, against the protests of Democrats.
In 1869, the Wyoming’s Territory, led by a Republican governor, was the first jurisdiction to grant voting rights to women. The 19th Amendment was written by a Republican Senator and was supported more by Republicans than Democrats.
The first Hispanic governor was a Republican in California. Black Republicans constituted all of the African-American Representatives in the House prior to 1935 and all of the African-American Senators prior to 1979. The first woman in Congress was a Republican, as was the first Jewish Senator. The first American Indian to hold an elected national office (who also represented the first individual not of European ancestry to hold such a post) was Charles Curtis, a Republican who became the Vice President of the United States alongside Herbert Hoover after serving as Senate Majority Leader. The first Asian-American Senator was a Republican, as was the first woman on the Supreme Court.
Abolition. Free speech. Women’s suffrage. Equality Under the Law. Right to Life.
These were all causes the Republican Party adopted early on. So, too, were reducing the size of government, streamlining bureaucracy, and returning power to individual states. With a core belief in the primacy of individuals, the Republican Party, since its inception, has been at the forefront of the fight for individuals’ rights in opposition to a large, intrusive government. Source: https://www.gastongop.org/history/