What is the Republican Party

The Republican Party, also known as the Grand Old Party (GOP), is one of the two largest political parties in the United States, alongside the Democratic Party.

The Republican Party was founded in 1854 by modernist and abolitionist movements in the northern United States. In a short time the party gained strength and became the main opposition to the already existing Democratic Party.

The origin of the Republican Party’s opposition to the Democratic Party goes back to the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The act consisted of legislation drafted by Democratic politicians with the aim of opening thousands of farms in Kansas, resulting in an immense flow of favorable and anti-slavery movements to the state. Debates over the legality of slavery resulted in a series of clashes known as Bloody Kansas, which lasted from 1854 to 1861.

Since its founding in 1854, the Republican Party has had 19 elected presidents. The first was Abraham Lincoln, elected in 1860 and the last was current President Donald Trump, elected in 2016.

The elephant became a symbol of the Republican Party through the work of cartoonist Thomas Nast, who in 1871 used the animal in a cartoon criticizing the party’s internal conflicts. Currently the elephant is considered a symbol of strength by the Republican electorate.

Characteristics and ideologies of the Republican Party

In general, the Republican Party defends the so-called American conservatism, a set of political values ​​focused on tradition, free trade, republicanism and individual freedoms.

The party’s political platform advocates:

  • the reduction of taxes;
  • the freedom to undertake;
  • the right to carry a weapon;
  • free trade;
  • strengthening national defense.

Economic policies

Republicans believe that the success of the economy must be based on free trade and the individual right to undertake. In this context, the party defends, as a rule, the end of social programs run by the government.

In general, the Republican Party follows fiscal conservatism, advocating lower taxes, lower government spending and debt, privatization and a lack of economic regulation.


The Republican Party is divided over illegal immigration. While conservatives advocate the deportation of illegal immigrants, the most populist are in favor of measures that make it possible for immigrants to work and become citizens.

Social politics

Social conservatism is one of the hallmarks of the Republican Party. Although there are libertarian wings in the party, most members traditionally defend values ​​such as family, freedom, etc. In this social context, the following themes stand out:

Weapon possession : Republicans are in favor of carrying a weapon.

Drugs: Republicans are opposed to drug legalization.

Abortion: Based on moral and religious issues, most party members are against abortion.

LGBT issues: Through the party’s religious wing, Republicans have historically been opposed to LGBT issues, including gay marriage, inclusion of gays in military service, etc.

Republican Party Alas

Currently the Republican Party is composed of several wings:


They are divided into social and fiscal conservatives. The former defend traditional family and moral values, so they are against gay marriage, abortion, drug release and so on. Fiscal conservatives are those who believe in minimal state regulation in the economy, advocating privatization, free trade and tax cuts.

Christian Right

Also called the religious right, it is made up of socially conservative politicians for religious reasons. Thus, this ward is also unfavorable to abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage and so on.

The Christian right is the wing of the Republican Party that most mobilizes voters, especially in the southern United States.


The neoconservative wing is composed of politicians who used to be on the left and started to defend American conservatism. Many were members of the Democratic Party.

In general, neoconservatives are in favor of the country’s interests in international matters, especially the establishment of democracy through military actions.


It is the largest wing of the Republican Party. As the name suggests, it is composed of politicians with moderate and sometimes liberal positions on domestic matters. They may be in favor of social programs, legalization of marijuana, abortion, etc.


Composed of defenders of individual freedoms, they are totally opposed to social conservatives. However, as advocated by a minimal state, they resemble fiscal conservatives.

See also the meaning of the Democratic Party .

Differences between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party

The Republican Party has several differences from the Democratic Party. Among the main ones are:

Republican party Democratic Party
Political orientation Conservative and tending to the right. Liberal and tending to the left.
Representative color Red. Blue.
Social politics Government platform focused on individual rights and justice. Government platform focused on social rights and the community.
economy Favorable to the free market and the reduction of taxes for all. Favorable to increase taxes for those who earn more and to increase the minimum wage.
Military issues Favorable to military measures in other countries and an increase in the military budget. Reluctant to military measures in other countries and an increase in the military budget.
Public health Favorable to a private health system and unfavorable to the exclusive health regulation of the State. Favorable to the universal public health system regulated by the State.
LGBT issues Unfavorable. Favorable.
Abortion Unfavorable. Favorable.
Immigration Favorable for increased border control and the deportation of illegal immigrants. Flexible in relation to illegal immigrants.
Legalization of weapons Favorable. Unfavorable.
Symbol Elephant. Dumb.

List of Republican presidents

In all, the Republican Party has already had 19 elected presidents:

  • Abraham Lincoln – from 1861 to 1865;
  • Ulysses S. Grant – from 1869 to 1877;
  • Rutherford B. Hayes – from 1877 to 1881;
  • James A. Garfield – from 03/1881 to 09/1881;
  • Chester A. Arthur – from 1881 to 1885;
  • Benjamin Harrison – from 1889 to 1893;
  • William McKinley – from 1897 to 1901;
  • Theodore Roosevelt – from 1901 to 1909;
  • William H. Taft – from 1909 to 1913;
  • Warren G. Harding – from 1921 to 1923;
  • Calvin Coolidge – from 1923 to 1929;
  • Herbert Hoover – from 1929 to 1933;
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower – from 1953 to 1961;
  • Richard Nixon – from 1969 to 1974;
  • Gerald Ford – from 1974 to 1977;
  • Ronald Reagan – from 1981 to 1989;
  • George HW Bush – from 1989 to 1993;
  • George W. Bush – from 2001 to 2009;
  • Donald Trump – from 2017 to the present day.


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