The Republican Party was one of the two major United States political parties. It was founded by a coalition in 1854. The coalition was composed of former members of the Whig, Free-Soil, and Know-Nothing parties, as well as the Northern Democrats who were dissatisfied with their party’s stand on compromise over slavery. The early Republicans accepted slavery in the south; however they were opposed to extending slavery into the Western territories. In 1856 they nominated John Charles Fremont for the presidency. He won about a third of the popular vote, but alienated many potential supporters by his failure to oppose immigration.
The Republicans joined the Democrats as one of the nation’s two major parties in the late 1850’s. They gathered support as the concern grew in the North over the Southern power in Washington, D.C., and the party also reassured the anti-foreign Know-Nothings that they cared about the social impact of immigration. “In 1860 their candidate, Abe Lincoln, was elected to the presidency; the Southern states eventually seceded from the Union over Lincoln’s policies.”