By Matthew Overcash

Republicans 1780s- 1801

  1. Emphasized states' rights.
  2. "Strict" interpretation of the Constitution.
  3. Preference for agriculture and rural life.
  4. Strength in South and West.
  5. Foreign policy sympathized with France.
  6. Stressed civil liberties and trust in the people

Whigs 1836-1850

  1. The party of modernization.
  2. Looked forward to the future.
  3. Spoke to the hopes of Americans.
  4. Wanted to use federal and state government to promote economic growth, especially transportation and banks.
  5. Advocated reforms such as temperance and public schools and prison reform.
  6. Were entrepreneurs who favored industry and urban growth and free labor.
  7. Favored gradual territorial expansion over time and opposed the Mexican War.
  8. Believed in progress through internal growth
  9. Whig ideology of urbanization, industrialization, federal rights, commercial expansion was favored in the North.

Republican Party Mid-19th Century Political Crisis

  1. Formed in 1854 when a coalition of Independent Democrats, Free Soilers, and Conscience Whigs united in opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Bill.
  2. Stressed free labor and opposed the extension of slavery in the territories ("Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men!").
  3. Moderates, like Abraham Lincoln, could, therefore, oppose slavery on "moral" grounds as wrong, while admitting that slavery had a "right" to exist where the Constitution originally allowed it to exist.
  4. John C. Fremont was the first Republican presidential candidate in the election of 1856.

Republicans Election of 1860

  1. The Republicans, by this time a overtly sectional and decidedly opposed to slavery draw in most northerners with a platform favoring a homestead act, a protective tariff, and transportation improvements.
  2. The platform opposed the extension of slavery but defended the right of states to control their own "domestic institutions."
  3. Abraham Lincoln is nominated presidential candidate on the third ballot.

Republicans & Democrats Gilded Age

  1. Party differences blur during this period with loyalties determined by region, religious, and ethnic differences.
  2. Voter turnout for presidential elections averaged over 78 percent of eligible voters; 60 to 80 percent in non-presidential years.
  3. Both parties were pro-business.
  4. Both parties were opposed to any type of economic radicalism or reform.
  5. Both parties advocated a "sound currency" and supported the status quo in the existing financial system.
  6. Federal government and, to some extent, state governments tended to do very little.
  7. Republicans dominate the Senate; Democrats dominate the House of Representatives.
  8. Republican Party splinter groups during this period: Stalwarts, Halfbreeds, Mugwumps.

The Republican Era

  1. From 1921 to 1933 both the presidency and congress were dominated by Republicans (Presidents Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover).
  2. The position of the government was decidedly pro-business.
  3. Though conservative, the government experimented with new approaches to public policy and was an active agent of economic change to respond to an American culture increasingly urban, industrial, and consumer-oriented.
  4. Conflicts surfaced regarding immigration restriction, Prohibition, and race relations.
  5. Generally, this period was a transitional one in which consumption and leisure were replacing older "traditional" American values of self-denial and the work ethic.

Republicans Post-World War 2

  1. In 1952, the pro-business Republican Party ran General Dwight D. Eisenhower for president.
  2. The Republicans accuse the Democrats of being "soft" on communism.
  3. Republicans promise to end the Korean War.
  4. Conservative Southern Democrats, the "Dixiecrats," increasingly associate themselves with Republican candidates who oppose civil rights legislation.

Republicans Nixon's New Federalism

  1. Opposition to the War in Vietnam and to growing federal social programs "converts" southern Democrats to vote Republican in increasing numbers.
  2. Republicans run former Vice President Richard Nixon for president in 1968. He runs on a small-government, anti-war campaign as a defender of the "silent majority."
  3. Nixon advocated a policy of cutting back Federal power and returning that power to the states. This was known as the "New Federalism."

Republicans Reagan and the "New Right"

  1. Fueled by the increasingly "liberal" social agenda of the Democrats and spurred on by the rise of a militant and extremely well-organized Evangelical Christianity, most southern states begin voting Republican in considerable majorities.
  2. Conservative Christians, Southern whites, affluent ethnic suburbanites, and young conservatives form a "New Right" that supported Ronald Reagan in 1980 on a "law and order" platform that advocated
    • stricter laws against crime, drugs, and pornography,
    • opposition to easy-access abortions,
    • and an increase in defense spending,
    • a cut in tax rates.
  3. While Reagan curbed the expansion of the Federal Government, he did not reduce its size or the scope of its powers.


Health Care- republicans want less controlled health care

Tax Policy- favor tax cuts

Social Programs- tighter control of these programs

Labor and Free Trade- environment favorable to businesses

Foreign Policy- displacing enemy regimes


Health Care- Higher degree of government oversight of health care

Tax Policy- favor tax cuts

Social Programs- welfare

Labor and Free Trade- want higher minimum wage

Foreign Policy- targeted strikes