The Rise of the Republican Party


US History The Civil War The Rise of the Republican Party
Students learn about the beginning of the Republican Party and why it was founded. They learn about Abraham Lincoln's role in the Party and how he rapidly rose to a position of leadership in the Republican Party. Then, students are asked to create a timeline of Lincoln's political career prior to his election to the presidency in 1860.

This learning experience is designed for device-enabled classrooms. The teacher guides the lesson, and students use embedded resources, social media skills, and critical thinking skills to actively participate. To get access to a free version of the complete lesson, sign up for an exploros account.

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Overview

In this experience, students learn about the beginning of the Republican Party and why it was founded. They learn about Abraham Lincoln’s role in the Party and how he rapidly rose to a position of leadership in the Republican Party. Then, students are asked to create a timeline of Lincoln’s political career prior to his election to the presidency in 1860.

Objectives:

  • Explain why the Republican Party was founded.
  • Explain the rapid emergence of Abraham Lincoln as a Republican Party leader.


By the 1850s, the country was significantly divided over the issue of slavery. Political parties representing the North and the South debated the heated issue of slavery over a number of different laws being discussed in Congress. 

The Democratic Party represented the South and the voters who supported slavery. The anti-slavery voters were represented by a number of different parties, including the Whig Party, the Free Soil Party, and the Know-Nothing movement. These parties would join together in 1854 to form the Republican Party.

Objectives:

  • Explain why the Republican Party was founded.
  • Explain the rapid emergence of Abraham Lincoln as a Republican Party leader.




1856 Election Map


What can you observe about the distribution of Republican and Democratic states in the election map of 1856?

Post your answer

Discuss with students some of their responses. Students may notice that the distribution of Democratic states is in the South, which differs from where we see the concentration of Democratic states today. They might also note that in the 1856 election there are far more Democratic states than there are Republican states. Mention that the population of the Republican states was about equal to the Democratic states because of the population density in the industrial North, while in the agricultural society of the South the population was more spread out.

Mention that in this experience students will be learning about the formation of the Republican Party, where the Republicans stood on major issues, and one of its party leaders—Abraham Lincoln.


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