The Republican party is one of the two major POLITICAL PARTIES in the United States, the other being the DEMOCRATIC PARTY party. It is popularly known as the GOP, from its earlier nickname Grand Old Party. From the time it ran its first PRESIDENTIAL candidate, John C. Fremont, in 1856, until the inauguration of Republican George BUSH in 1989, Republican presidents occupied the WHITE HOUSE for 80 years. Traditionally, Republican strength came primarily from New England and the Midwest. After World War II, however, it greatly increased in the Sunbelt states and the West. Generally speaking, after World War I the Republican party became the more conservative of the two major parties, with its support coming from the upper middle class and from the corporate, financial, and farming interests. It has taken political stances generally in favor of laissez- faire, free enterprise, and fiscal responsibility (at least until 1981) and against the welfare state.
The Founding of the Party
Scholars agree that the origins of the party grew out of the sectional conflicts regarding the expansion of slavery into the new Western territories. The stimulus for political realignment was provided by the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. That law repealed earlier compromises that had excluded slavery from the territories. The passage of this act served as the unifying agent for abolitionists and split the Democrats and the WHIG party. "Anti-Nebraska" protest meetings spread rapidly through the country. Two such meetings were held in Ripon, Wis., on Feb. 28 and Mar. 20, 1854, and were attended by a group of abolitionist FREE SOILERS, Democrats, and Whigs. They decided to call themselves Republicans--because they p...
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...en George Bush won the presidency by a large margin.
President Bush's approval rating reached an impressive 89 percent in 1991 after the international coalition he forged against Iraq achieved victory in the Persian Gulf War. However, a recession that began in 1990, combined with the electorate's growing concern with domestic issues in the aftermath of the Cold War and public impatience with "gridlock" in the government, counted against him in his reelection bid. Led by Bill CLINTON, the Democrats in 1992 captured the presidency (with 370 ELECTORAL votes to Bush's 168) and solid majorities in both houses of Congress. In 1994, having blocked Clinton's legislative agenda and mounted an aggressive counterattack in that year's mid-term election campaign, Republicans seized control of both houses of Congress.
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