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History of the Republican Party

In 1856, the Republicans became a national party by nominating John C. Fremont for President. Four years later, with the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, the Republicans firmly established themselves as a major political party. The name “Republican” was chosen because it alluded to equality and reminded individuals of Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party.

Use of Elephant Symbol

The symbol of the Republican Party is the elephant. History notes that the Democrats tried to convince voters in 1874 that President Ulysses S. Grant intended to run for an unprecedented third term. Thus, a cartoonist, Thomas Nast, produced a Democratic donkey trying to scare a Republican elephant. Both of these symbols still represent the respective parties. For a long time, Republicans have been known as the “G.O.P.” with most understanding this to mean the “Grand Old Party.” But purportedly the original meaning was “Gallant Old Party.”