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The Republican party is a United States political party that was organized in Ripon, Wisconsin[?] on February 28, 1854 as an anti-slavery party. (It is not to be confused with the Democratic-Republican party of Thomas Jefferson). The first convention of the U.S. Republican Party was held on July 6, 1854 in in Jackson, Michigan. Many of its initial policies were inspired by the defunct Whig Party. Since its inception, its chief opponent has been the United States Democratic Party.
The party of Lincoln was originally characterized by its opposition to the expansion of slavery. During the Reconstruction era, the Republicans benefitted from the Democrats' association with the Confederacy and dominated national politics virtually without opposition for several years. With the two-term presidency of Ulysses S. Grant, the party became known for its strong advocacy of commerce, industry, and veterans' rights, which continued through the end of the 19th century.
The assassination of William McKinley and subsequent ascendance of Theodore Roosevelt lead to a brief dominance of Progressivism for the party. However, that gave way to the laissez faire economic policies of the 1920s with Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover. Following Hoover's sound defeat by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1932, the Republican Party was driven into the opposition for two decades. Following Harry S. Truman's unexpected victory in 1948, the Republicans finally regained the presidency in 1952 with the election of moderate Dwight Eisenhower.
The party was still split between a conservative wing (dominant in the western U.S.) and a liberal wing (dominant in the northeastern U.S.). The seeds of conservative dominance in the Republican party were planted in the nomination of Barry Goldwater over Nelson Rockefeller as the Republican candidate for the 1964 presidential election. Goldwater represented the conservative wing of the party, while Rockefeller represented the liberal wing.
The party's current position as firmly to the right of the Democrats was cemented by the "Southern strategy" employed by Richard Nixon in the 1968 presidential election, followed by the Goldwater-inspired candidacy and election of Ronald Reagan in the 1980 election. Today, "conservative" and "Republican" are practically synonymous. In 1994, the Republicans elected a majority to both houses of Congress for the first time in decades, and have not completely lost that majority to this day.
The party is sometimes called "GOP", for "Grand Old Party." The symbol of the Republican Party is the elephant.
Republican Party Presidents:
Other noted Republicans: