The Evolution of Republicans
By: Abby Cozart
Republicans supported states' rights. They had a "strict" interpretation of the Constitution. They preferred agriculture and rural life over commerce and manufacturing. They were most prominent in the South and West. Their foreign policy sympathized with France. They focused on civil liberties and trust in the people.
Mid-19th Century Republicans
This party formed in 1854 when Independent Democrats, Free Soilers, and Conscience Whigs came together in opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Bill. They advocated free labor and was against the extension of slavery in the territories. The first Republican presidential candidate was John C. Fremont during the election of 1856.
The Election of 1860 Republicans
They were against slavery draw in most northerners with a platform of favoring a homestead act, a protective tariff, and transportation improvements. The platform opposed the spreading of slavery, but they defended the states to have the right to control their own "domestic institutions." On the third presidential ballot, Abraham Lincoln was the Republican nominee.
Gilded Age Republicans
They were pro-business. Republicans were against economic radicalism or reform. They were in favor of having a "sound currency" and advocated the status quo in the existing financial system. During this time, Republicans dominated the Senate. They also splinter groups during this time period into the Stalwarts, Halfbreeds, and Mugwumps.
The Republican Era (1921-1933)
During this time, Republicans dominated the presidency and congress. The presidents during this time were Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover. The government was pro-business. Even though they were conservative, the government tested new approaches to public policy and was an active agent of economic change to respond to the urban, industrial, and consumer-oriented culture that America had developed in to. Throughout this time, there were multiple conflicts that rose regarding immigration restriction, prohibition, and race relations. This era could be referred to as a transitional one in which consumption and leisure replaced the traditional values of self-denial and work ethic of the American people.
Post- World War II Republicans
In 1952, General Dwight D. Eisenhower ran for president. They accused Democrats of being "soft" in regards to communism. They promised to end the Korean War. Dixiecrats were Conservative Southern Democrats who began to associate themselves with Republican candidates who were in opposition of the civil rights legislation.
Nixon's New Federalism Republicans
They opposed the Vietnam War. They were also against growing federal social programs. The previous Vice President Richard Nixon ran for president in 1968. He ran on a small-government, anti-war campaign as a protector of the "silent majority." He was in support of a policy that cut back federal power and returned that power back to the states. That policy was known as "New Federalism."
Reagan and the "New Right" Republicans
Serviced by the increasingly "liberal" social agenda of the Democrats and urged on by the rise of a militant and well-organized Evangelical Christianity, most of the southern states began to vote Republican in sizable majorities. They consisted of Conservative Christians, Southern white, affluent ethnic suburbanites, and young conservatives. All of these groups of peopled fired a "New Right" that supported Ronald Reagan in 1980 on a "law and order" platform that supported stricter crime, drug, and pornography laws. It was also against easy-access abortions. It advocated an increase in defense spending. Lastly, it supported a cut in tax rates. During Reagan's time in office, he constrained the expansion of the federal government, although he failed to reduce its size and the scope of its powers.