The Republican Party, also referred to as the Grand Old Party (GOP), is one of two major political parties in the United States; its historic rival the Democratic Party is the other.
The GOP was founded in 1854 by opponents of the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which allowed for the potential expansion of slavery into some US territories. The party supported classical liberalism (advocating civil liberties under the rule of law with an emphasis on economic freedom), opposed the expansion of slavery, and supported economic reform. Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican President of the United States, and, under the leadership of Lincoln and a Republican Congress, slavery was banned in the United States in 1865. The Party was generally dominant for the next seventy years and underwent an ideological shift to the right after 1912. Following the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act of the early 1960’s, the party’s core base shifted, with Southern states becoming more Republican. Since the 1990s, the Party’s support has chiefly come from the South, the Great Plains, the Mountain States and rural areas in the North.
The current Republican Party ideology is Conservatism. The GOP supports lower taxes, free market capitalism, a strong national defense, gun rights, deregulation and restrictions on labor unions. In addition to advocating for conservative economic policies, the Republican Party is socially conservative. After the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, the Republican Party opposed abortion in its party platform and increased its support among evangelicals. The GOP was strongly committed to protectionism and tariffs at its founding, but grew more supportive of free trade in the 20th century.
There have been 19 Republican US Presidents, the most from any one political party. As of 2019, the GOP controls the Presidency, a majority of the US Senate, a majority of state governorships, and a majority of state legislatures. As of 2019, five sitting US Supreme Court Justices have been nominated by Republican Presidents.