Republican Party (United States)

The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP ("Grand Old Party"), is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with its main historic rival, the Democratic Party.

Republican Party
AbbreviationGOP (Grand Old Party)
ChairpersonRonna McDaniel (MI)
Governing bodyRepublican National Committee
Senate Minority LeaderMitch McConnell (KY)
House Minority LeaderKevin McCarthy (CA)
FoundedMarch 20, 1854; 168 years ago (1854-03-20)
Ripon, Wisconsin, U.S.
Merger of
Preceded by
Headquarters310 First Street SE
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Student wingCollege Republicans
Youth wing
Women's wingNational Federation of Republican Women
Overseas wingRepublicans Overseas
Membership (2021) 36,732,180[2]
International affiliationInternational Democrat Union[10]
Colors  Red
Seats in the Senate
Seats in the House of Representatives
210 / 435
State governorships
28 / 50
Seats in state upper chambers
1,091 / 1,972
Seats in state lower chambers
2,918 / 5,411
Territorial governorships
1 / 5
Seats in territorial upper chambers
12 / 97
Seats in territorial lower chambers
9 / 91
Election symbol

The GOP was founded in 1854 by anti-slavery activists who opposed the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which allowed for the potential expansion of chattel slavery into the western territories.[11] It was simultaneously strengthened by the collapse of the Whig Party, which had previously been one of the two major parties in the country. Upon its founding, the party supported economic reform and classical liberalism while opposing the expansion of slavery.[12][13] It consisted of northern Protestants, factory workers, professionals, businessmen, prosperous farmers, and after 1866, former black slaves. The Republican Party had almost no presence in the Southern United States at its inception but was very successful in the Northern United States, where by 1858 it had enlisted former Whigs and former Free Soil Democrats to form majorities in nearly every Northern state. While both parties adopted pro-business policies in the 19th century, the early GOP was distinguished by its support for the national banking system, the gold standard, railroads, and high tariffs. The new party did not oppose slavery in the Southern states—it opposed the spread of slavery into the territories or into the Northern states.

Beginning with its first president, Abraham Lincoln, the party largely dominated the national political scene until 1932. Under the leadership of Lincoln and a Republican Congress, it led the fight to destroy the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War and abolish slavery. In 1912, former Republican president Theodore Roosevelt formed the Progressive ("Bull Moose") Party after being rejected by the GOP and ran unsuccessfully as a third-party presidential candidate calling for social reforms. After 1912, many Roosevelt supporters left the Republican Party, and the Party underwent an ideological shift to the right. The GOP lost its congressional majorities during the Great Depression (1929–1940) under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose popular New Deal programs shifted the country towards the Democratic Party for most of the next three decades. Following the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the party's core base shifted, with southern states becoming more reliably Republican in presidential politics.[14] After the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, the Republican Party opposed abortion in its party platform and grew its support among evangelicals.[15] Its 21st-century ideology is American conservatism, with the party supporting free market economics, social conservatism, and originalism in constitutional jurisprudence.[16] The GOP supports lower taxes, deregulation, increased military spending, gun rights, restrictions on abortion, restrictions on immigration (including restrictions on illegal immigration), small government and restrictions on labor unions. It was strongly committed to protectionism and tariffs at its founding, but grew more supportive of free trade in the 20th century.[17][18][19][20]

In the 21st century, the demographic base skews toward men, people living in rural areas, people living in the South, and white Americans, particularly white evangelical Christians.[21] Its most recent presidential nominee was Donald Trump, who served as the 45th president of the United States from 2017 to 2021. There have been 19 Republican presidents, the most from any one political party. As of early 2022, the GOP controls 28 state governorships, 30 state legislatures, and 23 state government trifectas. Six of the nine sitting U.S. Supreme Court justices were nominated by Republican presidents.

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