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paper final draft - Leon 1 Stefan Leon Raymond Williams...

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Stefan Leon Raymond Williams GVPT170 27 April 2011 Over the past 150 years, politics in America have dramatically changed, yet throughout that time the Republican Party has remained powerful. Although the Republican Party itself has gone through many transformations, it still puts an emphasis on conserving traditional moral values, staying true to its conservative roots. From its founding by anti-slave activists in 1854 (GOP) to the modern day party that nominated men such as George W. Bush and John McCain for the Presidency, the Republican Party has been a force in American politics. Two coalitions that are currently shaping the Republican Party’s future are the Christian Right and the emerging Tea Party. While these groups share some similar beliefs they have not yet joined forces, leaving the Republican Party disjointed. The splintering in the Republican Party is the reason that the 2012 Presidential Election will be very interesting; there is no clear Republican front-runner. In order for the Republican Party to remain strong in the future they will have to reach a compromise between competing interests fighting for the direction of the party. Historically, the Republican Party has experienced periods of discord and in fact in its earliest days, almost split the United States in two countries. The Republican Party was founded as a reaction to slavery, in 1854, on the principles of "Free soil, free labor, free speech, free men” (GOP). Its founders consisted of a group of Anti-Slavery Whigs and Free Soil Democrats. The party was created to deal with two major issues at the time, slavery and the distribution of Western lands. The free speech and free men part of the slogan were meant to represent the Leon 1
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equality that the Republican Party founders believed should exist. John C. Freemont ran as a third party candidate in the 1856 Presidential Election against the Democratic James Buchanan, the eventual winner, and the Know-Nothing candidate Millard Fillmore. Although Freemont was unable to win, he still managed to earn 33% of the votes, which was very impressive for the first Republican presidential candidate in history. Freemont also showed that the Republican Party had potential by dominating Buchanan in the Northern states. That may seem surprising given that the current Republican stronghold is considered to be the South not the North. But initially, given its anti-slavery roots, the Republican Party was not very popular in the pro- slavery South. In 1860 the Republicans won their first presidential election with a lawyer from Illinois named Abraham Lincoln. The next twenty years were tumultuous times given both the Civil War and Reconstruction. Lincoln tried to unite the country but even after the defeat of the South in the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation there were still the after effects of the war to deal with. There was a struggle within the Republican Party between radical and moderate Republicans on how to deal with the post war South that is similar to the struggle
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