On March 20, 1854, the Republican Party was founded by former members of the Whig Party in Ripon, Wisconsin. To celebrate the anniversary of this landmark event in U.S. political history, here are 5 facts you probably didn't know about the Grand Old Party...
The Republican Party is Younger Than The Democratic Party Believe it or not, the Republican party is about 70 years younger than the Democratic Party. The Republican party was established in 1853. Democrats, however, have been around ever since 1792. The first Democrat was Thomas Jefferson, who used the term "Jeffersonian Republican" for his platform. Those who followed after him would continue to use that term until the 1820s. Andrew Jackson was the first president to align themselves with the Democratic party using its current namesake. Meanwhile, on the Republican side of things, it was Abraham Lincoln who was the first Republican to hold the esteemed position of president. The party existed since 1853, with John C. Fremont being the first presidential candidate to run (but not succeed) as a Republican.
GOP Didn't Originally Stand For "Grand Old Party"
It's common to use the acronym GOP to refer to the Republican Party. But while the acronym currently stands for Grand Old Party, it originally stood for Gallant Old Party. The original nickname was coined in 1877 - roughly 20 years after the GOP was established. Over the years, the name shifted to Grand Old Party, which is often shortened to GOP.
The Republic Party Was Originally The More Liberal Group
Today, the Republic Party is known to be the more conservative of the two major US parties. But that wasn't always the case. In fact, the Republican Party was actually more liberal than the Democratic Party. Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, was considered among the more liberal presidents in the 19th century. By the mid-1900s, the Republican Party shifted to becoming the more conservative party of the two.
The Elephant Symbol Was Adopted By The Republican Party in 1874 During Democrat Andrew Jackson’s campaign in 1828, the opposing party in the election often called him a “jackass,” but Jackson thought it was funny and began using the donkey to illustrate his stubbornness. In 1874, the famous 19th century Harper’s Weekly cartoonist Thomas Nast drew a cartoon depicting the donkey to represent Democrats and an elephant to represent the Republican Party. The image of an elephant representing the Republican party has stuck ever since.
The Republican Celebrities May Surprise You
In the world of Hollywood, it's typical to assume that the large majority of celebrities are Democrats. However, there are still plenty of conservative Republicans in the entertainment industry. What celebrities are Republicans, you ask? Current celebrities that support the Republican Party include Adam Sandler, Tim Allen, Clint Eastwood, Caitlyn Jenner, James Earl Jones, Kelsey Grammer, Mel Gibson, Jon Voight, and actress Heather Locklear just to name a few. Famous Republicans from yesteryear include actresses Jane Russell and Ginger Rogers, Bing Crosby, Charlton Heston, Elvis Presley, and Frank Sinatra.