POLYAS Election Glossary

We provide explanations and background information on elections, voting rights and digital democracy

The Republican Party

The Republican Party in the US is one of the two major political parties in the country today, alongside the Democratic Party. The party’s symbol is an elephant and its color is red.

Early history

The party was established in 1854 in the northern states of the country by anti-slavery activists. In the lead up to the Civil War of 1861 - 1865, the Republican Party became the dominant political force in almost all northern states. During this pivotal chapter in american history, Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican President of the United States, overseeing the abolition of slavery and the preservation of the union.

20th century and beyond

During the 20th century, the Republican Party cemented itself as the dominant conservative force in American politics and has generally supported big business. The party occupied the White House during the “Roaring Twenties” and oversaw the implementation of free-market policies in the 1980s under Ronald Reagan.

President Trump

Republican Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election and began his presidency in 2017. A billionaire and political outsider before the election campaign, Trump’s right-wing policies have come under criticism from some mainstream, centrist members of his own party, including defeated 2008 presidential candidate John McCain.

Other notable Republican Party Presidents include:

  • George W. Bush (2001 - 2009)
  • George H. W. Bush (1989 - 1993)
  • Richard Nixon (1969 - 1974)
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953 - 1961)
  • Herbert Hoover (1929 - 1933)
  • Theodore Roosevelt (1901 - 1909)
  • Abraham Lincoln (1861 - 1865)

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See also: The Democratic Party, Presidential Election

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