The Republican party was born out of a feeling of hostility toward slavery. In 1820, Congress agreed on the Missouri Compromise, under which Missouri entered the Union as a slave state; but slavery was forbidden anywhere else in the Louisiana Purchase north of 36º 30’. In 1854, the principle was threatened by the Kansas-Nebraska Act, under which the white inhabitants of the two territories were to decide by referendum whether slavery would be allowed or not.
Most Americans in the Northern states disapproved of slavery, including many Northern Whigs and Democrats as well as the Free Soilers. Free Soilers joined Whigs and northern Democrats to form a new, completely northern political party. Several meetings were held in the northwestern states of Michigan and Wisconsin. They were opposed to slavery and demanded the opening up of the west by small homesteaders and the building of railroads. In February, the name Republican was suggested and the new party was formally founded on July 6, 1854. Austin Blair, a Free Soil lawyer helped draft the new party’s platform and was elected to the state senate in Republican colors that year and would become governor of Michigan in 1860.
In Illinois, A Whig lawyer named Abraham Lincoln had come out against slavery and the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The new party quickly spread to other northern states, where it displaced the Whigs as the principal opposition to the Democrats.
In the 1854 elections, the Republicans gained a majority in the House of Representatives. Two years later, the party ran its first presidential candidate, John C. Fremont who carried eleven states. The 1860 party convention in Chicago chose Lincoln as its candidate. The northern and southern wings of the Democratic Party ran rival candidates, which let the Republicans win with the electoral votes of all northern states. No new political party has won an American presidential election since 1860.
Source: The Republican Party was founded on July 6th, 1854
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