Monday, November 2, 2009
“The Republican Party- Lest We Forget”
by John Alexander Madison
November 2, 2009
With another Election Day upon us a brief history of the once great Republican Party seems in order.
The Republican Party was founded by anti-slavery activists in the 1850s who also wanted free government land grants for settlers in the West. The name "Republican" was chosen because it implied equality and reminded individuals of Thomas Jefferson's Democratic-Republican Party.
In 1856, the Republicans became a national party when John C. Fremont was nominated for President under the slogan: "Free soil, free labor, free speech, free men, Fremont." Even though they were considered a "third party" because the Democrats and Whigs represented the two-party system at the time, Fremont received 33% of the vote. Four years later, Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican to become President of the United States.
During the Civil War (1861-1865), Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation that freed the slaves, in spite of advice to the contrary by his closest advisors. Republicans then fought to abolish slavery, give blacks equal rights and then the vote. Many Republican politicians risked their careers on that period's "third rail" of politics. As a result of their efforts, Republicans worked to pass the Thirteenth Amendment, which outlawed slavery, the Fourteenth, which guaranteed equal protection under the laws, and the Fifteenth, which helped secure voting rights for African-Americans.
The Republican Party also played a leading role in securing women the right to vote. In 1896, Republicans were the first major party to favor women's suffrage. When the 19th Amendment finally was added to the Constitution, 26 of 36 state legislatures who had voted to ratify it were under Republican control. The first woman elected to Congress was a Republican, Jeanette Rankin from Montana in 1917.
Assuming the presidency when McKinley was assassinated in 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt focused on what he considered to be the most pressing issue, ensuring the Republican principle of competition in a free market. Additionally, one of Theodore Roosevelt's most lasting and significant contributions to the world was the permanent preservation of the some of the most unique natural resources of the United States. According to the National Geographic, the area of the United States placed under public protection by Theodore Roosevelt, as National Parks, National Forests, game and bird preserves, and other federal reservations, comes to a total of approximately 230,000,000 acres.
Presidents during most of the late nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century were Republicans. The White House was in Republican hands under Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Bush. Under Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, the United States became the world's only superpower, winning the Cold War from the old Soviet Union and releasing millions from Communist oppression. George W. Bush started the twenty-first century with two additional terms for a Republican President.
Traditionally, Republicans have a long and rich history of core values: individual responsibility; respect for all human life; fiscal control; all people are entitled to equal rights; the limited role of government; and decisions are best made close to home. And abolishing slavery, free speech, and women's suffrage were all stances the Republican Party, in opposition to the Democratic Party, adopted early on.
To review, the Republican Party has stood for equal rights and opportunity for all citizens, limited government, fiscal responsibility, individual responsibility, respect for life, a free market economy, and a strong national defense. Republican Party values are conservative values.
So, what’s not to like about the Republican Party? Pretty simple, really…when Republicans lose their way once in office and stray from or abandon completely the core values party…the same values still shared by a majority of American citizens.
The liberal and radical Democrat Party has thrust unprecedented debt upon our nation and they are promoting a socialist agenda. Americans do not want socialism and they will reject socialism…the path on which the new administration has embarked with vigor throughout 2009.
Let’s not forget that the Republican Party is the party of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. The Republican Party is the party of once and future greatness…that is IF the Republican Party and its elected leadership return to its core values.
Let’s take back our nation, if it’s not already too late. Are you on board?
(Republican Party history excerpts courtesy of the Sussex County, NJ Republican Party)