When you hear the term Republican, what comes to mind? Do you think of old white southerners that are rich and hate minority groups, or do you think of the fact that the Republican party was founded solely on ending slavery and the fact that republicans believe you should be in charge of your own life, not the government? Most people think of the Republican party as being against them, but if you take a look at history, the facts tell a different story. In its early days, the Republican party was viewed as very popular and for minority groups, but over time that view has completely switched. Why is this? Taking a look at recent history might give us an answer.
On March 20, 1854, former members of the Whig party met in Ripon, Wisconsin to establish a new political party that would oppose the spread of slavery into the western territories. With the successful introduction of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill of 1854, an act that dissolved the terms of the Missouri Compromise and allowed slave or free status to be decided in the territories by popular sovereignty, the Whigs disintegrated. By February 1854, anti-slavery Whigs had begun meeting in the upper Midwestern states to discuss the formation of a new party. One such meeting, in Wisconsin on March 20, 1854, is generally remembered as the founding meeting of the Republican Party. (Republican Party Founded)
The Republicans rapidly gained supporters in the North, and in 1856 their first presidential candidate, John C. Fremont, won 11 of the 16 Northern states. By 1860, the majority of the Southern slave states were publicly threatening secession if the Republicans won the presidency. In November 1860, Republican Abraham Lincoln was elected president over a divided Democratic Party, and six weeks later South Carolina formally seceded from the Union. Within six more weeks, five other Southern states had followed South Carolina's lead, and in April 1861 the Civil War began when Confederate shore batteries under General P.G.T. Beauregard opened fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina's Charleston Bay. (Republican Party Founded)
The Civil War firmly identified the Republican Party as the party of the victorious North, and after the war the Republican-dominated Congress forced a "Radical Reconstruction" policy on the South, which saw the passage of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution and the granting of equal rights to all Southern citizens. By 1876, the Republican Party had lost control of the South, but it continued to dominate the presidency until the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933. (Republican Party Founded)
The popularity of the Republican party shifted in 1933 after the Great Depression. The collapse of Wall Street left many blacks without jobs and President Hoover as the scapegoat. With Roosevelt's "New Deal" the African-Americans switched to the Democratic party in hopes of gaining jobs and a brighter future. The Republican party reached the height of its popularity in 1980 with the election of President Ronald Reagan. The election brought on what is known as the Reagan Revolution and inspired Americans to live a lifestyle free of the government.
With a core belief in the idea of the primacy of individuals, the Republican Party, since its inception, has been at the forefront of the fight for individuals' rights in opposition to a large, bloated government. When it comes to social issues such as gay marriage and abortion, Republicans are opposed to such issues. These issues have always been a topic in society, but only in the past decade has it become a major topic. In recent years Republicans and Democrats have waged a war on each other making bold claims, accusations and taking credit for things they didn’t do. With that being said, Democrats have fed the lie that Republicans are out to get blacks and gays. While Republicans are opposed to gay marriage, the party adopts an "opposed but tolerant" view on the matter. And, as for blacks, let's remember that the party was founded on helping the blacks out. Over the past several years the public has become increasingly more liberal. In exchange for power, the liberal Democrats have given people various rights such as gay marriage, abortion, increased unemployment benefits, and increased welfare. With these actions the government has in turn hurt the public by creating incentives to not work, therefore hurting the economy. By giving rights such as abortion and gay marriage, the Democrats keep getting votes. Due to the evolution of liberalism and the belief that people think the government owes them something, the Republican party has become less popular even though their policies benefit the public more. In my opinion I find it sad that many people hate the Republican party so much simply because they don't actually know the facts. Although their reputation is that they want to destroy your rights, their core belief is that they want the government out of your life so you can be as free as possible. It is time for Americans to start looking at the bigger picture of how the country as a whole can be benefitted, not just the individual. As Democrat John F. Kennedy once said "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country." ("Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You")