The history of the Republican Party as a national party dates back to 1856, when the party nominated John C. Fremont for the presidency of the United States. Since then, the Republican Party has fought for free speech, a less-intrusive national government, equal rights for women and all oppressed people and a strong, unified moral foundation. The Republican Party is also associated with conservative ideology, which has undergone significant changes throughout the centuries.
Traditional conservatism predates contemporary conservative Republicanism, and was born out of British Parliaments member William Burke's opposition to England's treatment of the American colonies, according to New Mexico State University. Early, traditional conservatism held to the ideas that inequality is natural to humanity, and that people should accept that elements such as poverty cannot be solved with legislation. This ideology also supports the notion that because people aren't equal, those who are less equipped to rule should defer to those who are better suited for it. Traditional conservatism also holds to the idea that government is necessary to provide order -- because humans need order to avoid social calamity. Interestingly, this mode of thought opposed capitalism, which notes a major difference between traditional conservatism and contemporary conservatism.
Contemporary Conservative Republicanism
Contemporary conservative Republicanism grew out of classical liberalism and capitalism, and blossomed after World War II as a response to events such as The Civil Rights Movement, the 1967 and 1968 city riots and the increase of government welfare. Contemporary conservative ideology is marked by placing emphasis on the individual person and smaller, local governments instead of allowing a national government to intervene in local affairs. Former Sen. Barry Goldwater is a prime example of contemporary conservative values. For example, he opposed the federal government's involvement with civil rights legislation in the south because he felt it wasn't the federal government's business. According to Goldwater, each individual state should be in charge of their own legislative issues.
The New Right
The New Right is a branch of U.S. Republicanism that shares some qualities of traditional conservatism, and holds conservative moral values such as the opposition of abortion and homosexuality. For example, political commentator Pat Buchanan has steadfastly opposed gay rights and has linked gay pride with decadence and moral decline. That said, The New Right upholds a particular standard of morality, and maintains that the government should be an activist for that moral code.
The Republican Party, like every political party, has dealt with its internal division. The most prominent faction as of 2009-10 has been the Tea Party Movement, whose supporters make up between 45 and 55 percent of the Republican Party, even though the movement's number of supporters declined seven percentage points from 2010 to 2013, according to research conducted at The College of William and Mary. The Tea Party believes that people who work hard work for their income should not have to suffer excessive taxes. The Tea Party movement also supports civic responsibility, protecting free markets and lowering deficit spending.
- GOP: Our History
- New Mexico State University: Conservative Ideology - A Reaction against Radicalism
- History News Network: Barry Goldwater on the Civil Rights Act: The Antecedent to Rand Paul; David Farber
- On The Issues: Pat Buchanan
- Patrick J. Buchanan - Official Website: Biography
- The College of William and Mary: 1 Republican Factionalis m and Tea Party Activists; Ronald B. Rapoport, Meredith Dost, Ani - Rae Lovell and Walter J. Stone
- Tea Party Platform: Ten Core Beliefs of the Modern-Day Tea Party Movement
- The Hill: Palin: Tea Party was Right on ObamaCare; Peter Schroeder
- T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images News/Getty Images