Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party was founded in 1854. A group of anti-slavery expansion activists and modernizers formed the Republican Party in the town of Ripon, Wisconsin. This party is often referred to as 'The Grand Old Party' (GOP). The first truly significant Republican to hold a high-level office was Abraham Lincoln, who was elected to the office of President of the United States in 1860. Abraham Lincoln would be destined to lead the United States through the darkest times of the country's existence, the American Civil War (The Republican Party would also oversee Reconstruction). The American Civil War caused tremendous social and economic upheaval from 1861 to 1865 and defined and solitified the Republican Party as a political force in the United States from that point forward.
The Republican Party and the Democratic Party are the two major parties in the United States. There are also minor parties that compete with the Republican and Democratic Parties for all levels of Government within the United States, however, these minor parties are to numerous to list here (If you are interested in this information in detail, perform a search on: 'political parties in the united states of america'. The Republican Party has approximately 55 million registered voters, encompassing roughly one-third of the overall electorate for the united States.
There have been nineteen Republican Presidents (To view a list of names and life history of these Presidents, perform a search on: 'list of republican presidents of the united states'). Republicans currently (April, 2009) fill a minority of seats in both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives, hold a minority of state governorships, and control a minority of state legislatures.
The Republican PartyThe Republicans are represented by the image of an elephant. The reason for the two animals dates back to the 1800s, and a political cartoonist named Thomas Nast. The Democrats' symbol started out with Andrew Jackson's presidential campaign; his opponents called him a jackass. A jackass is a male donkey, so Mr. Jackson's campaign workers made a donkey the symbol of his campaign. (He got elected, so it must have worked.) Later, the cartoonist Thomas Nast used donkeys to represent Democrats in his cartoons. The Republicans got the elephant symbol from another Nast cartoon, one showing the Democrats as intimidating bullies because at the time, they were. This one showed a donkey wrapped in a lion's skin scaring off all the animals in the zoo. The elephant was labeled "The Republican Vote."
A republican (small r) is a person who believes in representative democracy, a government in which the people elect delegates (congress and senate) to make the laws and to run the day to day affairs of the government. Under a republic, the people hold sovereign power and the elected representatives are responsible to the people. A Republican (large R) is a member of the Republican Party, one of the two major political parties of the United States.
Republicans are funded by special interests just as Democrats are. This funding, received by both parties, may influence the way the elected officials vote and reduce the influence of the people whose opinions they should be representing.