Is This Man The Founder Of The Republican Party?

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

Not quite. The Republican Party was founded in 1854 by a coalition that included anti-slavery activists. The Republican Party name was christened in an editorial written by New York newspaper magnate Horace Greeley. The first Republican National Convention was held in the Musical Fund Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on June 17 to June 19, 1856, where  John C. Frémont was nominated for the President of the United States and William L. Dayton was nominated for vice-president over Abraham Lincoln.

Yet President Obama, in Thursday’s speech before Congress, said: “We all remember Abraham Lincoln as the leader who saved our Union. Founder of the Republican Party.”

As it turn out, this mistake is not uncommon.

From the RNC:

Abraham Lincoln helped establish the Republican Party with a speech denouncing an 1854 law, …

Rep. Mike Pence (R-Texas) said:

It’s 150 years ago in Chicago this year that Abraham Lincoln, the founder of the Republican Party, accepted the Republican nomination for President of the United States.

Rudolph W. Giuliani:

Immigration was a core belief of a founder of the Republican party, Abraham Lincoln …

From Time, regarding a Mike Huckabee speech:

He gives a good speech, but he’s loose with the facts. He called Abraham Lincoln the “founder” of the Republican Party.

A National Review article:

George W. Bush is not a Goldwater Republican — he’s a Lincoln Republican. Like the founder of the Republican party, …

Another National Review article:

I am a Republican, not a libertarian. The founder of my party, Abraham Lincoln, …

Another National Review article, citing James Piereson a Manhattan Institute senior fellow:

Though Lincoln was the founder of the Republican Party, …

From 1889, George S. Boutwell wrote:

In a very important sense Mr. Lincoln may be regarded as the founder of the Republican Party.

From Abraham Lincoln and Constitutional Government, Vol. 1-2 by Bartow Adolphus Ulrich:

Abraham Lincoln, who was the founder of the Republican party, …

From the Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of the state of … Illinois:

… Lincoln, looked back to as the founder of the Republican Party.

From The Papers of Robert A. Taft, Vol. 3:

… Lincoln, the real founder of the Republican Party.

From Abraham Lincoln, A Documentary Portrait Through His Speeches and Writings, edited by Don E. Fehrenbacher, a well known historian of 19th century United States history:

As much as any man in the country, he was a founder of the Republican party.

I enjoy these historical gaffes, it’s a great opportunity to learn history.

H/T: jukeboxgrad (commenter at VC).

18 thoughts on “Is This Man The Founder Of The Republican Party?”

  1. Actually the founder was Edwin Hurlbut. You can read about this in Wisconsin history.

  2. Lottakatz said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if a new political party could be formed and rise to national power in just 2-3 years? It would be nice to have a viable 3rd party in this Country.”

    Nobody agrees what that should be.

    When people run as an independent, some think they’re affiliated with an Independent Party (an oxymoron). Often nobody knows what an independent really stands for. Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996 ran for president as an independent. Some of his positions sounded Democrat: pro-choice, end outsourcing, gun control, trade protectionism. Other stances sounded Republican: balanced budget, war on drugs. He drew Democrats and Republicans disenchanted with their respective parties. How could people left of the Democrats and people right of the Republicans band together to elect a president, and why would they want to?

    I’d like to see a middle-class, working-class, moderate, centrist et al party that would provide for the common good by regulating businesses just enough to protect air quality, to require job safety, to protect our food, to protect our water, to safeguard financial transactions, and to lessen the impact of money on elections. I don’t care if self-motivators get rich from a good product or service.

    Having staved off influence-buyers, I’d also ask this party to not pander to some Democrat constituencies. Unemployment and other forms of benefits should not lead to generations of dependency. When women get dumped by deadbeat dads, there should be some form of assistance, but it should be transitional, and it shouldn’t increase for more illigitimate births. I know one argues that the new baby shouldn’t be penalized for the mother’s actions, but 36-year-old mothers of 17-year-old-daughters shouldn’t be getting AFDC (or whatever it is now called) for their new grandchild. Any effort to throw money at problems presently winds up perpetuating those problems. I’m not suggesting an end to the social safety net, but I would like it monitored better.

    I think Republicans pander to the rich, and Democrats pander to the poor – and both do it at the expense of the middle class.

  3. Larry:

    “What everyone forgets [or doesn’t even KNOW] is the FACT that before 1861 NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE EVER viewed secession as treason. The founding fathers all agreed that the states were permitted to secede if they felt “the consent of the governed” was being ignored.”


    In conclusion, those who deny the possibility of a political system, with a divided sovereignty like that of the U. S., must chuse between a government purely consolidated, & an association of Govts. purely federal. All republics of the former character, ancient or modern, have been found ineffectual for order and justice within, and for security without. They have been either a prey to internal convulsions or to foreign invasions. In like manner, all confederacies, ancient or modern, have been either dissolved by the inadequacy of their cohesion, or, as in the modern examples, continue to be monuments of the frailties of such forms. Instructed by these monitory lessons, and by the failure of an experiment of their own (an experiment wch., while it proved the frailty of mere federalism, proved also the frailties of republicanism without the control of a Federal organization),1 the U. S. have adopted a modification of political power, which aims at such a distribution of it as might avoid as well the evils of consolidation as the defects of federation, and obtain the advantages of both. Thus far, throughout a period of nearly half a century, the new and compound system has been successful beyond any of the forms of Govt., ancient or modern, with which it may be compared; having as yet discovered no defects which do not admit remedies compatible with its vital principles and characteristic features. It becomes all therefore who are friends of a Govt. based on free principles to reflect, that by denying the possibility of a system partly federal and partly consolidated, and who would convert ours into one either wholly federal or wholly consolidated, in neither of which forms have individual rights, public order, and external safety, been all duly maintained, they aim a deadly blow at the last hope of true liberty on the face of the Earth. Its enlightened votaries must perceive the necessity of such a modification of power as will not only divide it between the whole & the parts, but provide for occurring questions as well between the whole & the parts as between the parts themselves. A political system which does not contain an effective provision for a peaceable decision of all controversies arising within itself, would be a Govt. in name only. Such a provision is obviously essential; and it is equally obvious that it cannot be either peaceable or effective by making every part an authoritative umpire. The final appeal in such cases must be to the authority of the whole, not to that of the parts separately and independently. This was the view taken of the subject, whilst the Constitution was under the consideration of the people. [See Federalist No. 39.] It was this view of it which dictated the clause declaring that the Constitution & laws of the U. S. should be the supreme law of the Land; anything in the constn or laws of any of the States to the contrary notwithstanding. [See Art. VI.] It was the same view which specially prohibited certain powers and acts to the States, among them any laws violating the obligation of contracts, and which dictated the appellate provision in the Judicial act passed by the first Congress under the Constitution. [See Art. I.] And it may be confidently foretold, that notwithstanding the clouds which a patriotic jealousy or other causes have at times thrown over the subject, it is the view which will be permanently taken of it, with a surprise hereafter, that any other should ever have been contended for.

    ~James Madison, Notes on NUllification, 1834

  4. mespo,

    Indeed. Sometimes Gabby just sums it up in a way not often seen in this day and age.

  5. Gene H:

    I just offered up a little Gabby Johnson on another thread. Seems you need it here, too. Buddha would indeed be proud.

  6. One interesting fact about Fremont is that he once approached Lincoln about emancipating slaves…Lincoln REFUSED and fired Fremont. But Lincoln is falsely viewed as a big anti-slavery guy? He loved slavery. The Emancipation Proclaimation didn’t free a single slave.

  7. The part of Obama’s quote that stuns me the most is “he saved our Union”. How did he do that? By invading states, waging war on civilians and destroying the Constitution? Alexander Hamilton would have been appalled by Lincoln’s invading states since he once uttered that he viewed that as “impossible” and Lincoln violated international law by pillaging southern civilians and murdering them.

    How is it considered “saving” the Union when he had to IGNORE the Constitution to do so? Isn’t that the equivalent to breaking all the rules of marriage [being unfaithful, disrespecting your partner, beating and abusing them] and then say you did all of that to “save” your marriage?

    What everyone forgets [or doesn’t even KNOW] is the FACT that before 1861 NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE EVER viewed secession as treason. The founding fathers all agreed that the states were permitted to secede if they felt “the consent of the governed” was being ignored. The founding documents PERMIT secession because the Union is NOT a perpetual union as most falsely believe.

  8. Wouldn’t it be cool if a new political party could be formed and rise to national power in just 2-3 years? It would be nice to have a viable 3rd party in this Country.

    No, the teathing doesn’t count. That’s just the end product of 30 years of cultivating the far right extremists by the Republicans.

  9. Fremont:

    Frémont was the first presidential candidate of the new Republican Party in 1856. It used the slogan “Free Soil, Free Men, and Frémont” to crusade for free farms (homesteads) and against the Slave Power.

    He launched his campaign from NY….

  10. Nal:

    Lincoln was one of the original members. And he did give historical prominence to the party. Who is John C. Fremont? It was Lincoln who gave the party its stature [or lack there of, depending on political outlook].

  11. Thanks nal….But the Republican Party of this day and time…could not fathom the ideals and or concepts of the Republican Party in the time of Lincoln…regardless of who is credited with founding it….

    It is kind of like Edison is credited with the first light bulb….yeah right…..

    But I hear folks too say that John Crapper created the first toilet…He may have improved upon an ideal of a guy by the name of Harrington….I recall…..

    Gosh, I miss Paul Harvey so you can get the Rest of the Story’s……..

  12. Is everyone going all Mavericky and Rogue about history?

    Thanks for the clarification Nal … perhaps it will help stem the tide of the epidemic of revisionist history.

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