The Travel Professor
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Monday, February 28, 2011

Happy Birthday for the Republican Party!

On this day in 1854, a group of former Democrats, Free Soilers and other abolitionists, about 50 slavery opponents in all, met in Ripon, Wisconsin, to call for creation of a new political party. The American Civil War was still more than six years away, but slavery was on everyone's mind. The US Congress was poised to pass the Kansas-Nebraska Act which would extend slavery into new US territories. They adopted the name "Republican" after a party briefly formed by Thomas Jefferson, the "Democratic-Republican" party, ignoring Jefferson's own history of slave ownership. Six years later they nominated and ran a winning presidential candidate: Abraham Lincoln. The Republicans remained in power for all but eight years until 1913.