A congolmeration of ineffective factions does not sound like a flattering description of what we know today as the Grand Old Party. However, it was the same delicately threaded patchwork quilt of a party that has recently given us our 43rd U.S. president. In its broadest sense the Republican party consists of econmic and social conservatives. You have those more econmic minded who feel that if you work hard and save your money, you will not need the government's assistance in acheieving the American dream.Then, you have those who are more socially minded and feel that it is the responsibility of the government to act as the moral agent for the nation.This is important because, the forces at work in the Republican party today are essentially unchanged since the party's formation over one hundred and fifty years ago.
In order to achieve better insight as to where we are today in the Republican party, one must look into the various groups absorbed into theparty.At the time of the formation of the Republican Party,the government was basically a two party system consisting of the Democrats and the Whigs.The Republicans became a national party when John Freemont was nominated for president. One can ascertain rather clearly what was going on at the time simply by studying the slogan under which Freemont ran:"Free soil, free labor, free speech, free men, Fremont.”While the Republicans would go on to lose the election, they did garner 33% of the vote.Four years later Abraham Lincoln would be elected thefirst Republican president.
In considering the issues of these groups, a parallel can be drawn with the issues of the Republican party of today. The main concern of the Free Soil Party was ensuring that the land of the Western territory be free of slave labor so that the small farmers and wage-earners would have the opportunity to compete.Such views can still clearly be seen in the