History of the Republican Party
The Republican Party was born in the early 1850's by anti-slavery activist and individuals who believe that government should grant western lands to settlers free of charge. In 1860, the Republicans successfully elected their nominee to the Presidency-Abraham Lincoln.
During Lincoln's Presidency, the United Stares was wracked by Civil War. During that war, and against eh advice of his cabinet, Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation that freed the slaves. The Republicans of their day worked to pass the Thirteenth Amendment which outlawed slavery, the Fourteenth which guaranteed equal protection under the laws, and the Fifteenth, which help secure voting rights for African-Americans. That historic relationship is why the first African-American Congressmen were Republicans.
In 1896, Republicans were the first major party to argue for securing women the right to vote. When the Nineteenth Amendment was finally added to the Constitution, 26 to 36 state legislatures that had voted to ratify it were under Republican control. The first woman elected to Congress was a Republican, Jeannette Rankin from Montana in 1917.
Presidents during most of the late 19th Century and early part of the 20th Century were Republicans. While the Democrats and Franklin Roosevelt tend to dominate American politics in the 1930's and 1040's, for 28 of the 42 years from 1952 through 2004, the White House has been in Republican hands, under Presidents Eisenhower Nixon, Ford, Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. Under Reagan and Bush Sr., the United States became the world's only superpower, winning the Cold War from the old Soviet Union and releasing millions from Communist oppression.