History of the Grand Old Party

The Republican Party, also commonly referred to as GOP (for “Grand Old Party”) emerged in 1854 to combat the Kansas-Nebraska act, which threatened to extend slavery into the territories, and to promote a more vigorous modernization of the economy.  Early members were former Consciences Whigs and former Free Soil Democrats , which quickly formed the majority party for the northern states by 1858.  The Midwest took the lead in forming state party tickets and with the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and his guidance through the Civil War, the GOP dominated national politics until 1932.

Serious barriers to becoming a southern Republican remained during the first century of the Party’s existence.  However, as desegregation, better education and modernization of factories and businesses took a foot hold among the states of the Deep South, a stronger middle class emerged.  By the late 1960s, this stronger southern middle class found their conservative values better aligned with the Republican Party.

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