Republican Party (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
The Republican Party was founded in 1854 by a group of renegade Democrats, Whigs, and political independents who opposed the expansion of SLAVERY into new U.S. territories and states. What began as a single-issue, independent party became a major political force in the United States. Six years after the new party was formed, Republican nominee ABRAHAM LINCOLN won the U.S. presidential election. The Republican Party and its counterpart, the DEMOCRATIC PARTY, became the mainstays of the nation's de facto two-party system.
Lincoln's victory in 1860 signaled the demise of the WHIG PARTY and the ascendance of Republican politics. From 1860 to 1931, the Republicans dominated U.S. presidential elections. Only two Democrats were elected to the White House during the 70-year period of Republican preeminence.
The early Republican Party was shaped by political conscience and regionalism. Throughout the early and mid-nineteenth century, states in the North and South were bitterly divided over the issues of slavery and state sovereignty. In 1854 the enactment of the KANSAS-NEBRASKA ACT inflamed political passions. Under the act residents of the new territories of Kansas and Nebraska could decide whether to permit slavery in their regions. In effect, the act invalidated the MISSOURI COMPROMISE...
(The entire section is 2424 words.)
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