The Republican Party (a history)
The Republican Party, commonly referred to as the GOP (abbreviation for Grand Old Party), is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, the other being its historic rival, the Democratic Party.
Founded by anti-slavery activists, modernizers, ex-Whigs, and ex-Free Soilers in 1854, the Republicans dominated politics nationally and in the majority of northern States for most of the period between 1860 and 1932. There have been 18 Republican presidents, the first being Abraham Lincoln, who served from 1861 until his assassination in 1865, and the most recent being George W. Bush, who served from 2001 to 2009. The most recent Republican presidential nominee is former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who lost in 2012 to Democratic incumbent Barack Obama.
The party’s platform is generally based on American conservatism, in contrast to the modern American liberalism of the Democrats. The Republican Party’s conservatism involves support for free market capitalism, free enterprise, business, a strong national defense, deregulation, restrictions to labor unions, socially conservative policies and traditional values, usually with Christian overtones. The party is generally split on the issue of how to deal with illegal immigration.
In the 114th U.S. Congress, Republicans have their largest majority in the House of Representatives since the 1928 election and a majority of seats in the Senate. The party also holds a majority of governor-ships and state legislatures. Specifically, 68 out of 98 partisan state legislative chambers have Republican majorities.
Founding and 19th century
The Democratic Party (a history)
The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. Tracing its origins back to Thomas Jefferson‘s and James Madison‘s Democratic-Republicans, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828, making it the world’s oldest active party.
Once the cradle of classical liberalism and, to some extent, libertarianism in the United States, since the 1930s, the party has promoted a center-left, social-liberal platform, supporting social justice and a mixed economy. The Democrats’ philosophy of modern American liberalism advocatessocial and economic equality, along with the welfare state. It pursues a mixed economy by providing government intervention and regulation in the economy. These interventions, such as the introduction of social programs, support for labor unions, moves toward universal health care and equal opportunity, consumer protection, and environmental protection, form the core of the party’s economic policy.
Well into the 20th century, the party had a conservative pro-business wing and attracted strong support from the European ethnics, most of whom Catholics, based in the major cities and included a populist-conservative and evangelical wing based in the rural South. After 1932 and Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s New Deal, the business wing withered and, between the 1960s and the 1990s, Southern whites and many European ethnics moved into the Republican Party. Today, the congressional Democratic caucus is composed mostly of progressives and centrists, with a smaller minority of conservatives.
There have been 15 Democratic presidents: the first was Andrew Jackson, who served from 1829 to 1837, and the most recent is the current one, Barack Obama, the first African American president, who has served since 2009.
In the 114th Congress, following the 2014 elections, Democrats hold a minority of seats in the House of Representatives as well as in the Senate. The party also holds 18 governorships and control of a minority of state legislatures… [Continue Reading]