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The Making of the Republican Party

In the 1850s, slavery was the most controversial issue in the United States, and one hotly debated among the politically minded. The existent parties, the Democrats and the Whigs, either supported slavery and wanted to bring it into new territories as they were created, or did not vehemently enough oppose the issue. In retaliation to this seeming lack of humanity, several defectors from both parties, as well as members of the Free Soil Party, met to create a new party that would oppose slavery. This party was called the Republican Party.

The first meeting of the Republican Party was held in Ripon, Wisconsin in March of 1854. They drew up resolutions, decided on a platform, and chose candidates to nominate for state office. The 1856 elections saw the first Republican Presidential Candidate, a John C. Fremont, and used the rallying cry, "Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Speech, Free Man, Fremont!" The Republicans got a third of the vote in 1856, which gave them high hopes for the next election in 1860.

In 1860, after a four-way race for the presidency, Abraham Lincoln of the Republican Party became the first Republican President of the United States. This victory led to the secession of many southern states that felt they had the right to continue with their slavery practices. This secession led to Republican control of the U.S. government, and slavery was abolished. The civil war was a result of the extreme opposition between the Republicans of the North and the Democrats of the South over the issue of slavery.

The Republican Party of the United States had its beginnings in the modest state of Wisconsin. In the 1860 elections, Lincoln got 57% percent of the Wisconsin vote, and became a frequent visiting place of the president.

[Making of the Republican party] [Sherman Booth - a Radical]
[Abraham Lincoln and Wisconsin]

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