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Subject: June 19, 1856
Date: Sun, 19 Jun 2005 11:07:12 EDT


June 19

1856 First Republican national convention ends
In Music Fund Hall in Philadelphia, the first national convention of the
Republican Party, founded two years before, comes to its conclusion. John
Charles Fremont of California, the famous explorer of the West, was nominated for
the presidency, and William Dewis Dayton of New Jersey was chosen as the
candidate for the vice presidency.
In 1854, Congress moved to vote on the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, an act that
would dissolve the terms of the Missouri Compromise of 1820 and allow slave or
free status to be decided in the territories by popular sovereignty. When it
seemed the bill would win congressional passage, the Whig Party, which could
not adequately cope with the issue of slavery, disintegrated. By February
1854, anti-slavery factions of the former Whig Party had begun meeting in the
upper Midwestern states to discuss the formation of a new party. One such
meeting, at Ripon, Wisconsin, on March 20, 1954, is generally remembered as the
founding meeting of the Republican Party.
The Republicans, who called for the abolition of slavery in all U.S.
territories, rapidly gained supporters in the North, and in 1856 their first
presidential candidate, John Fremont, won 11 of the 16 Northern states. By 1860, the
majority of Southern states were publicly threatening secession if a
Republican won the presidency. On November 6, 1860, Republican Abraham Lincoln was
elected president over a divided Democratic Party, and six weeks later South
Carolina formally seceded from the Union. Within six more weeks, five other
Southern states had followed South Carolina's lead. On April 12, 1861, the
Civil War began when Confederate shore batteries under General P.G.T. Beauregard
opened fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina's Charleston Bay.
The Civil War firmly identified the Republican Party as the official party
of the victorious North. After the war, the Republican-dominated Congress
forced a radical Reconstruction policy on the South, which saw the passage of the
13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, abolishing slavery and
granting voting rights to African American men in the South. By 1876, the
Republican Party had lost control of the South, but it continued to dominate the
presidency, with a few intermissions, until the ascendance of Franklin D.
Roosevelt in 1933.



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