The Definition of a Republican: a member of the Republican party of the U.S.
Source – Merriam-Webster Dictionary
What is a Republican?
As you can see, the dictionary definition of a Republican is very brief. And since a Republican is simply defined as “a member of the Republican party of the U.S.” it is important to understand what the Republican Party stands for. To understand what a Republican is you have to understand the Republican Party. And that is what the rest of this article examines.
- Core Beliefs
- Republican Party History
- Health Care
- Gay Marriage
- Gun Control
- Taxes and Spending
The core beliefs of the Republican Party are centered on the idea that each person is responsible for their own place within society. The party believes that the government’s role is to enable the people to secure the benefits of society for themselves, their families, and for those who are unable to do so for themselves. Republicans believe in limiting the Government’s intervention in the work of the individual towards prosperity. The government should only intervene when society cannot function at the level of the individual. This also means that the party believes in keeping the government as close to the individual as possible, and should be focused mainly on the state and community level, not centered at a federal level.
The Republican Party’s most important core beliefs, as outlined on their national committee website, are as follows:
- The best government for the people is one that is closest to the people, and therefore the government should not interfere unless they are needed.
- The strength of the nation lies within the individuals who live in the country, and therefore feel that the individual’s freedom, dignity, and responsibility must come first and foremost in our government.
- Free enterprise and encouraging individual initiative are what has brought the country economic prosperity in the past, and what will continue to bring it prosperity today.
- The government must practice fiscal responsibility, and allow its people to keep the money that they work for.
- America should work to protect national freedom first, while working to spread peace, freedom, and human rights in the world.
The Republican Party began in the early 1850s, and was started by anti-slavery activists and those who believed that settlers seeking land in the west should be granted it free of charge. Their first meeting was informal, and took place in Ripon, Wisconsin. July 6th, 1854, marked the party’s first formal meeting, which was held in Jackson, Michigan. They chose the name “Republican” for the party due to the word’s allusion to equality, and to draw reference to Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party. The Republicans became a national party in 1856, when John Fremont was nominated for President. Four years later, the first Republican president would be elected: Abraham Lincoln. Republicans worked to secure the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments, granting the former slaves that their president freed equality under the law. The Republican Party was also the first party to favor women’s suffrage, and the majority of states that voted to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment were Republican states. The Republican Party often refers to itself as the GOP, which many believe to stand for Grand Old Party. However, the original acronym was short for Gallant Old Party. View more on the Republican Party history.
Health care has risen to the forefront of political issues recently, especially in terms of the party’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act. The Republican Party believes in a patient-centered health care system, which is based in free markets, fostering competition and driving health care costs down. They believe that a health care system that is run by the government will reduce both the efficiency and the standard of care, as well as compromise the patient-physician relationship, and increase waiting periods within the health care system, as evidenced by health care systems throughout the world. They support the idea of individuals being able to manage their own health care costs through Medical Savings Accounts and Flexible Savings Accounts. Furthermore, they believe that individuals who have Flexible Spending Accounts should be able to roll over their unspent money each year, rather than losing it, and that Medical Savings Accounts should be offered to all workers, with no restrictions, as a permanent fixture within tax law. As a whole, the Republican Party believes that the more freedom the people have in choosing their health care, and their own way of managing their health care costs, the more effectively the entire system will run. Republicans wish to reform Medicare and malpractice laws, as well as implement an abstinence only educational program in schools. They also wish to cut out all school-funded birth control and contraception programs. View more on the health care issue.
The Republican Party stands behind a traditional definition of marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. This belief does not come from a hatred of homosexuals, as many people try to color it, but from a belief that the institution of marriage was set up as such by our founding fathers, and has been defined this way throughout history, and that changing it compromises the sanctity of the institution. It also stems from a belief that, in terms of raising a family, having a male and female authority figure is a healthier and more balanced way for a child to grow up. Furthermore, the Republican Party believes in the right of individual states to decide for or against the recognition of marriages that do not fit this definition. The Republican Party believes in a smaller federal government, which places fewer regulations on the people. They also believe in the state’s rights to make their own laws, based on the beliefs of their citizens. In relation to gay marriage, the Republican Party believes that state’s rights should extend not only to the right to legalize or not legalize gay marriages, but to recognize, or not recognize, gay marriages from other jurisdictions. View more on the gay marriage issue.
The Republican Party believes in immigration laws and immigration reform that address the needs of national security. The party has always been divided on to exactly what extent immigration laws should be tightened, but as a whole the party believes that a system needs to be in place to ensure that immigrants who enter this country illegally are not provided with the same benefits that legal citizens are. They believe in warmly welcoming those who enter the country through legal methods, while devoting extra resources to keep out those who try to enter via illegal methods, as well as keeping track of those who enter and when they leave. The party believes that amnesty towards those who have broken immigration laws only encourages future immigrants to enter the country illegally rather than legally. While Republicans recognize that the number of foreign immigrants travelling here has enriched our country, they also believe that requiring them to do so legally is vital to the safety of Americans. View more on the immigration issue.
The Republican Party supports and works to uphold the right of the individual to both keep and bear arms. This is a right that is guaranteed to us in the Constitution, and that is further confirmed by the Second Amendment, and which should not be imposed upon by the government. They support the right to self-defense by any individual. They also support the upholding of all of these rights in the Supreme Court, including the right to obtain and store ammunition without registration. They support federal legislation that would allow those with state issued carry permits to carry everywhere. They applaud efforts such as those made by former President Bush to make more public land available to hunting, as well as to make hunting clinics and safety programs more accessible to those who wish to hunt. View more on the gun control issue.
Republican views on abortion are rooted firmly in the belief that an unborn child, like any individual in this country, has an individual right to life that should not be infringed upon by others. The party adamantly believes that the rights guaranteed to all Americans in the Fourteenth Amendment apply to unborn children as well. They support a constitutional amendment which states this, and which will end abortion entirely. Republicans oppose using public revenues to promote or carry out abortions, and also oppose any health care options that include the coverage of abortion. Instead, republicans support tax incentives for those who choose adoption over abortion. However, the republican pro-life agenda, as stated in their 2004 party platform, does not include punitive action against women who have an abortion. In fact, republicans wish to provide women with problem pregnancies with the resources and support they need, as long as it is not infringing on the rights of their children. The party’s agenda is solely to pass legislation to defend the rights outlined in the Fourteenth Amendment for unborn children. The Republican platform on abortion has four main elements. They are: that an unborn child has a “fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed,” the endorsement of a “human life” constitutional amendment, which would ban abortion, a call for judges who “respect human life” by supporting such an amendment, and new laws to state that the fetus is a “person” under the 14th Amendment. View more on the abortion issue.
The Republican Party believes that the government needs to focus on getting those who receive welfare into jobs, and therefore out of the welfare program. This can best be done by reforming the welfare program, as well as by tax reform. The Republican Congress of 1996 overhauled the welfare program, and the party wishes to build upon these reforms to further improve the system. They also believe a tax reform and a reduction in government spending will make it easier for those with lower-income jobs to stay off of welfare programs, which will further reduce taxes, and provide a positive cycle for the economy. View more on the welfare issue.
Republican views on taxes include the belief that tax reduction is important, but must be done the right way. The party believes that budget surpluses have caused Americans to be overtaxed-a condition that is not only threatening their financial prosperity, but is also hindering (and possibly even reversing) growth to the country’s economy. They also want to limit the top marginal rate, believing it punishes those who have worked hard and invested well. Republicans also wish to make the Research and Development tax credit permanent. These three tax reforms combined, Republicans believe, will encourage and promote entrepreneurship. They also believe in encouraging saving and investments by implementing a tax credit for investments. However, despite their support for lowering taxes, Republicans do believe that tax cuts or tax incentives without any balancing spending cuts are detrimental to the economy. The 2012 platform states that Republicans “reject the use of taxation to redistribute income, fund unnecessary or ineffective programs, or foster the crony capitalism that corrupts both politicians and corporations.” They support making taxes “simple, transparent, flatter, and fair.” They dislike the convoluted nature of the current tax code, and the fact that it is nearly impossible for the average American to understand it. Republicans oppose retroactive taxation in all cases, as well as taxes that set the classes against one another, and divide Americans. They do not support the taxation of religious organizations, charities, and fraternal benevolent societies, and also believe that contributions to these organizations should be tax deductible. View more on the tax issue.
Republicans support conservation efforts, as long as they are balanced with the economy. The economy needs to be able to expand and grow, and there are times where this will clash with conservation efforts. Republicans believe in balancing the two. They support public access to public lands for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting. They support a reduction in power plant emissions, and programs that demand it such as former President Bush’s Clear Skies proposal. They believe that the government should provide market-based incentive to develop technologies that will meet environmental standards, allowing us to better the environment while simultaneously creating jobs, saving businesses money, and overall improving the economy. View more on the environment issue.
Republicans believe in pursuing American gas and oil resources, both on and offshore. Not doing so is hindering American job opportunities. They believe in opening the Outer Coastal Shelf for energy exploration and development, as well as opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for exploration and production of oil and natural gas. They also support initiatives to allow more exploration and development of energy resources on federal land. They believe in reducing emissions, as well as developing alternative and renewable energy sources. However, despite their belief in reducing emissions, republicans oppose all mandatory carbon emissions controls, as they believe that this hinders the growth of the economy and destroys jobs. View more on the energy issue.
When it comes to education, the party’s beliefs involve a variety of overarching ideas. First, republicans believe in a restructuring of higher education, which would leave more students equipped for their desired fields and less working minimum wage jobs that are irrelevant to their education. Next, they believe in limiting the federal government in education. This includes getting rid of federal student loans, and having only private loans. Republicans also support school choice and home schooling programs. Overall, Republicans believe strongly in an educational system that will provide higher education to those whose achievements deserve it, and that will give students the environment they want and need to succeed both in and beyond higher education. Republicans also support initiatives that increase benefits to students who are taking more difficult courses, form partnerships with colleges and universities in an effort to improve science and math programs, and attract math, science, and engineering students to attend lower-income schools. Republicans support abstinence education when it comes to sex-education, believing this is the only sure way of preventing unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. They believe all family planning education programs should be replaced with abstinence programs. Republicans also believe in an “English First” approach to education, believing programs that divide students whose first language is not English prevents them from becoming accustomed to mainstream American classrooms and culture, and therefore limits their ability to advance in society. Most of all, republicans believe that a students educational opportunities need to depend on their talent and motivation as a student, and not where they live or their income level. View more on the education issue.
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