The Republican Party beliefs have changed a lot from its founding in Ripon, Wisconsin in 1854. It was launched as a fundamentally left-wing political party with the primary aim of bringing down slavery in the country. Over the years, however, the party has slowly but surely shifted to right-wing conservative beliefs, especially in the way it handles the economy and the role of the government. This shift is not surprising; political parties are known to change their beliefs over time as previous issues are resolved and new issues crop up.
During the 19th century, the biggest issue in the country was slavery and the Republican Party was forged on its beliefs about the issue. Both the Republican and Democratic Parties have changed their stance on various issues and their beliefs over the years in order to stay relevant and appeal to the thoughts and beliefs of the voting Americans.
In case of the Republican Party, it initially worked towards the abolishment of slavery and equal rights, opportunities, and freedoms for the people of the country. Republican U.S. Presidents, governors, and other members helped in making slavery illegal and, decades later, passing the Civil Rights Act in 1965. In case of the economy, however, the Republican Party has supported limited government involvement for most of its existence. However, it had very few conservative ideologies and the word ‘conservative’ has been avoided in the party platform for a very long time.
Through each period of the U.S. history, the Republican Party plank has reflected its beliefs during that time. During the first half of the 20th century, most party members believed in limited government control but still worked towards increasing its regulatory authority by introducing various departments. It remained consistently liberal and left-wing for the most part until the 60s, when the Civil Rights Movement began.
The Party, in keeping with its progressive view, supported the Movement and helped push reforms in favor of equality. However, the passing of the Civil Rights Act broke down racial barriers in the South, which had been largely Democratic. Over time, more people from the South began to join the party, and after a decade or so their influence on the party’s belief was seen clearly.
The party began to see more conservative evangelists among its members, and with it the party started to shift towards the right. The deeply controversial issue of abortion appeared in 1976, when the party was clearly split between the supporters and protesters against abortion. The party supported low taxes for most of its existence, but this became more pronounced during the 80s with the entry of Reaganomics.
Issues of religious faith were completely absent and played no major role in the party’s political beliefs until the 1990s. Interestingly, as the Republican Party’s beliefs turned more conservative, the previously staunch anti-equality Democratic Party became increasingly progressive and moved towards the left.
Like its opposition, the Republican Party has altered its beliefs from time to time in response to current demographic, ideological, and social changes. It has taken on new planks and hardened or softened its position on various issues to win over more people. As its base in the South became stronger, the party adopted a more conservative approach to appeal to their main base.
- History of the Republican Party
- The Republican Party Platform
- The Birth Of The Republican Party
- Famous Republicans
- Republican Views on Civil Rights
- Martin Luther King, Jr. And The Republican Party
- Republican Presidents
- The Tea Party Movement
- How Do Political Views Change With Age?
- Democratic Views on Gay Rights