Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of
The Republican Party was born in the early 1850’s by anti-slavery activists and individuals who believed that government should grant western lands to settlers free of charge. During the Civil War which started in 1861, Abraham Lincoln, against the advice of his cabinet, signed the Emancipation Proclamation that freed the slaves. Republicans of the day worked to passed the Thirteenth Amendment, which outlawed slavery, the Fourteenth, which guaranteed equal protection under the law, and the Fifteenth, which helped secure voting rights for African-Americans.
The Republican Party also played a role in securing women the right to vote. In 1896, Republicans were the first major party to favor women’s suffrage. When the 19 Amendment finally was added to the Constitution, 26 of 36 state legislatures that had voted to ratify it were under Republican control. The first woman elected to Congress was a Republican, Jeanette Rankin from Montana in 1917.
Assuming the presidency upon the assassination of President McKinley in 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt busied himself with what he believed to be the most pressing issue, ensuring the Republican principle of competition in a free market.