Republican Party Timeline
The Democratic-Republican party is formed
The Democratic-Republican party was formed in 1792 as an opposition party to the Federalist party run by Alexander Hamilton. They believed in a very strict interpretation of the constitution and distrusted the federalists loose interpretation. The party gained a much stronger grip on the south than the north and strongly advocated states rights. The party had several very successful presidents such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and controlled congress for many years.
March 6th, 1820
Missouri Compromise is signed into law
The Missouri Compromise was a congressional deal intended to try and solve the issue of slavery in the western territories and new states. The deal provided that Maine enter the Union as a free state and Missouri as a slave state. The deal was intended to keep the balance of slave states and free states in congress so that no side gained more power. The Missouri Compromise also banned slavery everywhere in the US north of the 36°30’ parallel and west of the Mississippi River.
March 20, 1854
The modern Republican party is born
The Republican Party was founded by former members of the Whig party who were against slavery. The party started to get most of its support from people from the North. It also grew out from not agreeing with the Kansas-Nebraska Act which was signed a few months later. It opposed the democratic and the Whig party, and had way different party members that would run for elections.
May 30, 1854
Kansas Nebraska act signed into law
The Kansas Nebraska act created the territories of Kansas and Nebraska to make new farms and open up the way for a Midwestern railroad. It also allowed each territory to decide via “Popular Sovereignty” if they wanted to allow slavery. This act effectively overrode the Missouri Compromise and increased the deep divide over the issue of slavery in the country.
June 17-19, 1856
First Republican National Convention
They gathered to talk about the civil war and how they wanted to react as a party. Charles Frémont was nominated for presidency to represent the republicans at this convention. Their main goal, as mentioned before, was to end slavery and Frémont wanted to do all he could to try to make it happen. He received ⅖ of the vote, which was pretty good for a new party sending officials to represent them.
November 6, 1860
Abraham Lincoln elected first Republican president
He defeated John C. Breckinridge, Stephen A. Douglas, and John Bell. He received most of his votes from northern states and won fairly easily with 180 electoral votes. He was the first republican president. Lincoln’s win signaled the secession of the south, they threatened the republicans that if they were to gain control of the White House they would secede from the South.
January 1, 1863
Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation
The proclamation granted freedom to slaves, and was a way to try to bring the country together. It granted freedom to 3.5 million slaves during the war. Although the slaves were technically freed, the south still treated them as they were slaves, since there was nothing in the proclamation that said it was needed to be enforced.
The 13th amendment is ratified
The 13th amendment abolished slavery and involuntary servitude unless they were serving as a punishment for a crime. The amendment was the first of the three that were passed during reconstruction. It was championed by the radical republicans in congress who wished to completely end slavery as an institution.
November 25, 1874
Republican Elephant is born
The symbol was created by Thomas Nast, by having it appear in Harper’s Weekly. Republicans say that the elephant is strong and dignified, which also represents the people in the party. It remains one of the primary symbols and representatives of what the Republican Party is to this day.
1860 - 1932
Republican Party dominates the political scene of the US
After the Civil War and Andrew Johnson's presidency, the Republican party entered a stage where it dominated the political sphere of the US. Ulysses Grant and Rutherford Hayes led the US through the period of reconstruction with Grant supporting reconstruction programs and Hayes eventually leading to their end. Then during the Progressive Age William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover were all republican presidents, only interrupted by Woodrow Wilson.
FDR elected president
FDR became president in 1933 along with an influx of Democratic congressmen called the New Deal Coalition. This group worked together to overwhelm republicans and pass New Deal legislation at a rapid rate. The New Deal Coalition would control congress and the presidency for the rest of the depression and through WW2. Throughout this entire time, the Republican party became split on many issues of how or if they should oppose the New Deal and its respective laws.
Democratic and Republican parties switch platforms on issue screen
A long and complicated process in which the Republican Party changed from being favored to more government interaction in our lives, to switching to a conservative style with less gov. interaction. The Democratic Party did the same but vice versa. This was a slow and complicated process that occurred over time can be seen in electoral maps where northern states start to turn from red states to blue states and southern states start to turn from blue to red states.
November 5, 1968
Richard Nixon is elected president
Richard Nixon finally won the presidency in 1968 after being unsuccessful in the 1960 election. He was able to win after the New Deal Coalition fell part following Urban riots, Desegregation, and the Vietnam war. His campaign also employed a "southern strategy" to appeal to racial views in the south and convert many traditional democrats to vote for republicans. As president, he ended the Vietnam war, improved relationships with China and the USSR, and transferred power more from DC to the states.
June 17, 1972
The Watergate scandal begins
Watergate was the downfall of Nixon and temporarily the Republican party. The scandal involved the cover up of Nixon’s involvement in the burglary of the DNC’s headquarters in Washington DC. The scandal caused Nixon to resign before he was impeached and succeeded by Gerald Ford who pardoned him of his crimes. This pardon allowed the Democrats to have an attacking point at republicans causing them to lose the presidency and Jimmy Carter to be elected after Ford’s term ended.
November 4th, 1981
Ronald Reagan elected president
Ronald Reagan won both of his elections in landslides and reestablished republican control after the devastation caused by Watergate. He regained the presidency by being able to convince white, blue-collar democrats to change their allegiances and vote for him. Reagan also defined the modern republican president during his two terms by being a social conservative, lowering taxes, being tough on foreign policy, and serious about the economy.
November 8th, 2016
Donald Trump elected president
When Donald Trump won the 2016 republican primaries he had broke from traditional conservatism to being much more of a populist. Trump was able to win the 2016 election and beat Hillary Clinton while also being very isolated from the republican party. His policies have become more focused on the working class, against foreign trade agreements, and more isolationist.