On 6th July 1854 the Republican Party was founded by a coalition of anti-slavery activists and modernizers. Its early membership consisted of dissatisfied members of the Whig, Free-Soil, and Know-Nothing parties and these were joined by the Northern Democrats who were deeply opposed to their national party’s line on slavery.

The Republican Party quickly surpassed the Whig Party as the principal opposition to the Democratic Party and in 1860, it came to power with the election of Abraham Lincoln to the presidency. The party presided over the American Civil War and Reconstruction and was harried by internal factions and scandals toward the end of the 19th century.

Today, the party supports a conservative platform (from an American political perspective), with further foundations in economic liberalism, fiscal conservatism, and social conservatism.

The current U.S. President, George W. Bush, is the 19th Republican to hold that office. Republicans currently fill a minority of seats in both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives, hold a minority of state governorships, and control a minority of state legislatures.

The party’s candidate for President in the upcoming 2008 election is Senator John McCain of Arizona whose Democratic opponent will be Senator Barack Obama of Illinois.

As an aside can anyone explain to me why it is that Obama, who had a black African father and a white mother, is being touted as the first “Black American President”? Surely with a white mother and a black father he is as white as he is black?

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