Republican Party

The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties of the United States. It is often referred to as the Grand Old Party or the GOP. The party"s main counterpart is the Democratic Party. The Grand Old Party nickname, which had previously been used by Southern Democrats, was applied to the Republican Party following the 1888 election cycle. At the time, Republicans had regained control of the presidency and Congress for the first time since the Grant administration. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed, "Let us be thankful that under the rule of the Grand Old Party ... these United States will resume the onward and upward march which the election of Grover Cleveland in 1884 partially arrested."<1>

The party"s principal governing organization is the Republican National Committee (RNC), which is responsible for developing and promoting the Republican political platform, as well as coordinating fundraising and election strategy. It is also responsible for organizing and running the Republican National Convention every four years.

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The modern GOP supports a conservative platform on the American political spectrum, with foundations in laissez-faire capitalism, low taxes, supply-side fiscal policies and social conservatism.<1><2><3><4><5>

Party members typically but do not always or uniformly favor the following policy positions. All positions are taken from the Republican Party"s 2016 platform:<6>

"Wherever tax rates penalize thrift or discourage investment, they must be lowered. Wherever current provisions of the code are disincentives for economic growth, they must be changed";"We envision a worldwide multilateral agreement among nations committed to the principles of open markets";"We ... support the appointment of justices and judges who respect the constitutional limits on their power and respect the authority of the states to decide ... fundamental social questions";"Lawful gun ownership enables Americans to exercise their God-given right of self-defense for the safety of their homes, their loved ones, and their communities. ... We oppose ill-conceived laws that would restrict magazine capacity or ban the sale of the most popular and common modern rifle";"We support the development of all forms of energy that are marketable in a free economy without subsidies, including coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear power, and hydropower";"To preserve Medicare and Medicaid, the financing of these important programs must be brought under control before they consume most of the federal budget, including national defense";"Our highest priority ... must be to secure our borders and all ports of entry and to enforce our immigration laws";" must be removed and replaced with an approach based on genuine competition, patient choice, excellent care, wellness, and timely access to treatment."



The Republican Party (GOP) was founded in 1854 in Ripon, Wisconsin, by anti-slavery expansion activists and modernizers. The fledgling party quickly surpassed the Whig Party as the principal opposition to the Democratic Party. In 1860, the GOP rose to power upon the election of former President Abraham Lincoln (R). The party maintained strength through the American Civil War and Reconstruction. The party’s official logo, the elephant, is derived from a cartoon by Thomas Nast.<2>

The website for the Republican National Committee (RNC) provides the following history of the GOP:<7>

Founding of the Republican Party

On July 6, 1854, just after the anniversary of the nation, an anti-slavery state convention was held in Jackson, Michigan. The hot day forced the large crowd outside to a nearby oak grove. At this "Under the Oaks Convention" the first statewide candidates were selected for what would become the Republican Party.

United by desire to abolish slavery, it was in Jackson that the Platform of the Under the Oaks Convention read: "…we will cooperate and be known as REPUBLICANS…" Prior to July, smaller groups had gathered in intimate settings like the schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin. However, the meeting in Jackson would be the first ever mass gathering of the Republican Party.

The name "Republican" was chosen, alluding to Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party and conveying a commitment to the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Party of Freedom

Though popularized in a Thomas Nast cartoon, the GOP’s elephant symbol originated during the 1860 campaign, as a symbol of Republican strength. Republicans envisioned "free soil, free speech, free labor." Under the leadership of President Abraham Lincoln, the GOP became the Party of the Union as well.

President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, but it was the entire Republican Party who freed the slaves. The 1864 Republican National Convention called for the abolition of slavery, and Congressional Republicans passed the 13th Amendment unanimously, with only a few Democrat votes.

The early women’s rights movement was solidly Republican, as it was a continuation of abolitionism. They were careful not to be overly partisan, but as did Susan B. Anthony, most suffragists favored the GOP. The 19th Amendment was written by a Republican senator and garnered greater support from Republicans than from Democrats.

Party of Prosperity

Low taxes, sound money, regulatory restraint: these were among the commonsense economic policies established by the GOP that brought about decades of prosperity after the Civil War. Republicans encouraged innovation and rule of law. Buttressed by Republican control in Congress, the McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt and Taft administrations cleared away obstacles to economic growth.

President Dwight Eisenhower and congressional Republicans appreciated the fact that the private sector, not government, is the engine of wealth creation. With his bold tax-cutting agenda, President Ronald Reagan revived the economy after years of Democrat malaise.

Party of Vision

Theodore Roosevelt embodies our Party’s traditional concern for the environment, but the Republican commitment to the environment actually goes back much further than that. For example, the world’s first national park, Yellowstone, was established during the Ulysses Grant administration.

President Eisenhower advocated groundbreaking civil rights legislation and vigorously enforced the Brown v Board of Education decision, sending the 101st Airborne to Little Rock when chaos erupted following integration at Central High.

Ronald Reagan explained the difference between Democrats and Republicans in a way that cannot be improved upon: “Two visions of the future, two fundamentally different ways of governing – their government of pessimism, fear, and limits, or ours of hope, confidence, and growth. Their government sees people only as members of groups. Ours serves all the people of America as individuals.

President George H.W. Bush championed community and volunteer organizations and the tremendous power they have for doing good. He famously described them as “a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.”

In the first decade of the 21st century, President George W. Bush made an unprecedented commitment to helping those in need beyond our shores through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), an aid program for countries devastated by HIV/AIDS. Since its inception, PEPFAR has saved over a million lives and currently provides over 5 million people with life-saving treatments.

Party of Strength

President Reagan and President George H.W. Bush led western democracies to victory over Soviet tyranny in the Cold War. The George W. Bush administration maintained the military second-to-none and projected that power in the fight against international terrorism.

Party of the Future

Drawing inspiration from our Party’s history, today’s Republicans believe individuals, not government, make the best decisions; all people are entitled to equal rights; and decisions are best made close to home.

At the state level, the nation’s thirty Republican governors are making government more effective and efficient, spurring economic growth and striving to put more power in the hands of the people.

Nationally, Republicans recognize that the slow, bloated, top-down Washington bureaucracy is out-of-date in the 21st century. Our Party works to give Americans more choices—in healthcare, in education, in energy, and in the economy—and to free individuals and families from the intrusive overreach of federal bureaucrats.

The Party’s core principles of freedom and equal opportunity are as relevant today as at our founding, and they are the roadmap for American renewal in a new and interconnected world.<8>


National Party Leadership

The following table lists the national leadership of the Republican Party and the Republican National Committee (RNC), as of January 2021:<9><10><11><12><13><14>

Title Officer State
Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel Michigan
Co-chairman Thomas Hicks Jr. Texas
Treasurer Ron Kaufman Massachusetts
Secretary Vicki Drummond Alabama
Governors Association chairman Governor Doug Ducey Arizona
Senatorial Campaign chairman Senator Rick Scott Florida
Senate minority leader Senator Mitch McConnell Kentucky
Senate minority whip Senator John Thune South Dakota
Senate Republican Conference chair Senator John Barrasso Wyoming
Senate Republican Policy Committee chair Senator Roy Blunt Missouri
Senate Republican Conference vice chair Senator Joni Ernst Iowa
House minority leader Congressman Kevin McCarthy California
House minority whip Congressman Steve Scalise Louisiana
House Republican Conference chairman Congresswoman Liz Cheney Wyoming
House Republican Policy Committee chairman Congressman Gary Palmer Alabama
State chairpersons

The following table lists the state and territory chairpersons of the Republican National Committee (RNC), as of September 2021. Click "show" on the box below to view the full list.<15>

State Republican Party chairs, as of September 2021 State Chairperson State Chairperson
Alabama John Wahl Montana Don Kaltschmidt
Alaska Ann Brown Nebraska Dan Welch
American Samoa Taulapapa William Sword Nevada Michael McDonald
Arizona Kelli Ward New Hampshire Steve Stepanek
Arkansas Jonelle Fulmer New Jersey Bob Hugin
California Jessica Millan Patterson New Mexico Steve Pearce
Colorado Kristi Burton Brown New York Nicholas A. Langworthy
Connecticut Ben Proto North Carolina Michael Whatley
Delaware Jane Brady North Dakota Perrie Schafer
District of Columbia Patrick Mara Northern Mariana Islands James Ada
Florida Joe Gruters Ohio Bob Paduchik
Georgia David Shafer Oklahoma John Bennett
Guam Juan Carlos Benitez Oregon Dallas Heard
Hawaii Signe Godfrey Pennsylvania Lawrence Tabas
Idaho Tom Luna Puerto Rico Angel Cintrón
Illinois Don Tracy Rhode Island Sue Cienki
Indiana Kyle Hupfer South Carolina Drew McKissick
Iowa Jeff Kaufmann South Dakota Dan Lederman
Kansas Mike Kuckelman Tennessee Scott Golden
Kentucky J. McCauley Brown Texas Matt Rinaldi
Louisiana Louis Gurvich Utah Carson Jorgensen
Maine Demi Kouzounas Vermont Deb Billado
Maryland Dirk Haire U.S. Virgin Islands N/A
Massachusetts Jim Lyons Virginia Rich Anderson
Michigan Ron Weiser Washington Caleb Heimlich
Minnesota Carleton Crawford (Acting chair) West Virginia Mark Harris
Mississippi Frank Bordeaux Wisconsin Paul Farrow
Missouri Nick Myers Wyoming Frank Eathorne

Historical chairpersons

The following table is a historical list of past and present chairpersons of the Republican National Committee (RNC):<16>

Chairperson Term State
Edwin D. Morgan 1856-1864New York
Henry J. Raymond1864-1866New York
Marcus L. Ward1866-1868New Jersey
William Claflin1868-1872Massachusetts
Edwin D. Morgan1872-1876New York
Zachariah Chandler1876-1879Michigan
J. Donald Cameron1879-1880Pennsylvania
Marshall Jewell1880-1883Connecticut
Dwight M. Sabin1883-1884Minnesota
B. F. Jones1887-1888New Jersey
Matthew S. Quay1888-1891Pennsylvania
James S. Clarkson1891-1892Iowa
Thomas H. Carter1892-1896Montana
Marcus A. Hanna1896-1904Ohio
Henry Clay Payne1904Wisconsin
George Bruce Cortelyou1904-1907New York
Harry S. New1907-1908Indiana
Frank Harris Hitchcock1908-1909Ohio
John Fremont Hill1910-1912Maine
Victor Rosewater1912Nebraska
Charles D. Hilles1912-1916New York
Will H. Hays1918-1921Indiana
John T. Adams1921-1924Iowa
William M. Butler1925Massachusetts
Hubert Work1928-1929Colorado
Claudius H. Huston1929-1930Tennessee
Simeon D. Fess1931Ohio
Everett Sanders1932-1934Indiana
Henry P. Fletcher1934-1936Pennsylvania
John Hamilton1936-1937Kansas
Joseph W. Martin, Jr.1940-1942Massachusetts
Bailey Walsh1942Tennessee
Harrison E. Spangler1942-1944Iowa
Herbert Brownell, Jr.1944-1946New York
Carroll Reece1946-1948Tennessee
Hugh D. Scott, Jr.1948-1949Pennsylvania
Guy G. Gabrielson1949-1952New Jersey
Arthur E. Summerfield1952-1953Michigan
Wesley Roberts1953Kansas
Leonard W. Hall1953-1957New York
Meade Alcorn1957-1959Connecticut
Thruston B. Morton1959-1961Kentucky
William E. Miller1961-1964New York
Dean Burch1964-1965Arizona
Ray C. Bliss1965-1969Ohio
Rogers C. B. Morton1969-1971Maryland
Robert Dole1971-1973Kansas
George H. W. Bush1973-1974Texas
Mary Louise Smith1974-1977Iowa
William E. Brock III1977-1981Tennessee
Richard Richards1981-1983Utah
Frank J. Fahrenkopf, Jr.1983-1989Nevada
Lee Atwater1989-1991South Carolina
Clayton Keith Yeutter1991-1992Nebraska
Richard Bond1992-1993Missouri
Haley Barbour1993-1997Mississippi
Jim Nicholson1997-2001Colorado
Jim Gilmore2001-2002Virginia
Marc Racicot2002-2003Montana
Ed Gillespie2003-2005Virginia
Ken Mehlman2005-2007Washington, D.C.
Mike Duncan2007-2009Kentucky
Michael Steele2009-2011Maryland
Reince Priebus2011-2017Wisconsin
Ronna Romney McDaniel2017 - PresentMichigan


See also: The Republican Platform and RNC Platform Committee, 2016See also: The Republican Party Platform, 2020

The Republican National Committee (RNC) drafts a party platform every four years. The platform outlines the official principles, policy stances, and priorities of the Republican Party. It also serves as a mechanism for helping candidates up-and-down the ballot shape their messages and for holding candidates accountable to the broader party consensus.

The Republican National Committee"s Executive Committee voted on June 10, 2020, to adopt the same platform the party used in 2016. The decision accompanied a series of adjustments to the itinerary and location of the Republican National Convention due to the coronavirus pandemic, including reducing the number of in-person delegates attending the convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, from 2,500 to 336, and canceling the meeting of the Platform Committee.<17><18>

Click here to view the complete 2016 Republican Party Platform.


2020 Republican National Convention

See also: Republican National Convention, 2020

The Republican Party held its national convention from August 24-27, 2020.<19>

Limited in-person events took place in Charlotte, North Carolina.<20> On July 23, 2020, President Donald Trump announced that high-profile convention events previously moved to Jacksonville, Florida, including his nomination acceptance speech, had been canceled for public health and safety reasons. Trump formally accepted the party"s nomination from the White House.<21><22><23>

The convention was originally scheduled to take place entirely in Charlotte but statewide restrictions in response to the coronavirus pandemic led to the convention"s planned relocation to Jacksonville.<24> The Republican National Committee Executive Committee voted to downsize the convention in Charlotte, reducing the number of in-person delegates from 2,500 to 336. The committee also decided to adopt the 2016 platform again since the Platform Committee would not be meeting.<25>

At the convention, party delegates typically select the Republican presidential nominee and vote to adopt a platform outlining the party"s policy priorities and values. According to presidential historian Tevi Troy, however, "conventions today remain largely party advertising opportunities rather than fora for real decision-making."<26>

2016 Republican National Convention

See also: Republican National Convention, 2016See also: 2016 presidential nominations: calendar and delegate rules

The 2016 Republican National Convention took place in Cleveland, Ohio, at the Quicken Loans Arena from July 18 to July 21, 2016.

In order to win the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, a candidate must win 1,237 delegates at the national convention. Republicans have three types of delegates: congressional district delegates, at-large delegates and Republican National Committee (RNC) members. There were expected to be a total of 2,472 delegates at the Republican National Convention.

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Donald Trump nominationSee also: Donald Trump presidential campaign, 2016See also: What happened last night at the nomination vote?

Donald Trump became the Republican presidential nominee on July 19, 2016. He received the support of 89 delegates over the required 1,237 delegates to earn the nomination. Governor of Indiana Mike Pence (R) earned the vice presidential nomination.<27>

Historical Republican National Conventions

The following table lists the Republican National Conventions organized by the Republican National Committee (RNC):<28>

Year Location RNC nominee
1856 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania John C. Fremont
1860 Chicago, Illinois Abraham Lincoln
1864 Baltimore, Maryland Abraham Lincoln
1868 Chicago, Illinois Ulysses Grant
1872 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ulysses Grant
1876 Cincinnati, Ohio Rutherford B. Hayes
1880 Chicago, Illinois James Garfield
1884 Chicago, Illinois James G. Blaine
1888 Chicago, Illinois Benjamin Harrison
1892 Minneapolis, Minnesota Benjamin Harrison
1896 St. Louis, Missouri William McKinley
1900 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania William McKinley
1904 Chicago, Illinois Theodore Roosevelt
1908 Chicago, Illinois William Howard Taft
1912 Chicago, Illinois William Howard Taft
1916 Chicago, Illinois Charles Evan Hughes
1920 Chicago, Illinois Warren G. Harding
1924 Cleveland, Ohio Calvin Coolidge
1928 Kansas City, Kansas Herbert Hoover
1932 Chicago, Illinois Herbert Hoover
1936 Cleveland, Ohio Alfred Landon
1940 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Wendell Willkie
1944 Chicago, Illinois Thomas Dewey
1948 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Thomas Dewey
1952 Chicago, Illinois Dwight Eisenhower
1956 San Francisco, California Dwight Eisenhower
1960 Chicago, Illinois Richard Nixon
1964 San Francisco, California Barry Goldwater
1968 Miami Beach, Florida Richard Nixon
1972 Miami Beach, Florida Richard Nixon
1976 Kansas City, Kansas Gerald Ford
1980 Detroit, Michigan Ronald Reagan
1984 Dallas, Texas Ronald Reagan
1988 New Orleans, Louisiana George H. W. Bush
1992 Houston, Texas George H. W. Bush
1996 San Diego, California Bob Dole
2000 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania George W. Bush
2004 New York, New York George W. Bush
2008 St. Paul, Minnesota John McCain
2012 Tampa, Florida Mitt Romney
2016 Cleveland, Ohio Donald Trump
2020 Charlotte, North Carolina Donald Trump