It began in a little schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin, in 1854. A small group of dedicated abolitionists gathered to fight the expansion of slavery, and they gave birth to a Party dedicated to freedom and equal opportunity.
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.
The Party was formally organized in July 1854 by thousands of anti-slavery activists at a convention in Jackson, Michigan. And it was no accident that two years later, in 1856, the first Republican National Convention took place in Philadelphia, where the Constitution was written.