To What Political Party Did Abraham Lincoln Belong?

   Posted by: Various Authors   in Lincoln Lives On

Brian Tubbs asked:

Barack Obama is a Democrat. Most people know this. What many people may not know is that the man Mr. Obama looks to for the most political (and now presidential) inspiration and guidance was a…. Republican!

That’s right. Barack Obama’s hero, Abraham Lincoln, was a Republican. Lincoln wasn’t just any ole Republican either. He was among the founders of the Republican Party and was the first Republican to be elected President.

The Republican Party was founded in 1854 in Ripon, Wisconsin. Its principal goal was to stop the expansion of slavery into the western territories. Lincoln had been involved with the Whig Party, which was disintegrating due, in large part, to sectional rivalries. Since Lincoln was personally opposed to slavery, he found the Republican Party platform much to his liking.

The first Republican to run for President was John C. Fremont, and that was in 1856. But Fremont’s appeal was largely regional, and he was defeated by James Buchanan. By 1860, however, things would be different.

Before Lincoln ran for President in 1860, he campaigned in his home state of Illinois for the US Senate. Back then, senators were chosen by their state legislatures. Lincoln was the Republican nominee for Senate, but since the Republican Party was so new, he lost. Nevertheless, the series of debates Lincoln had with Democratic Party opponent Stephen Douglas aroused great interest in the country.

Lincoln followed by his Senate campaign with a series of pamphlets and speeches that captured the nation’s attention. He became one of the leading voices against the expansion of slavery, and, in 1860, emerged as the Republican nominee for President.

While the appeal of the Republican Party was still regional (at the time, the Northeast), the entire nation was split regionally at this point. There were, in fact, four candidates for President that year, including Lincoln’s former Senate campaign rival, Stephen Douglas. None of the candidates received a majority of the popular vote, but the population advantage in the Northeast gave Lincoln an Electoral College majority – making him the 16th President of the United States and the first President to be a Republican.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010 at 4:55 am and is filed under Lincoln Lives On. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 comments so far


The Republican party back then is not what it is today, it was more liberal, Most whigs switched over to republican.. Lincolns views are pretty much the complete opposite of what the party stands for today..(only looking out for the rich, having the whole “government knows best idealogy” war mongers…etc People always say, a Republican freed the slaves.. Lincoln only became republican cause Whigs were dying out and he had the best shot at it by joining up with them.. Lincoln always felt in his heart he was a Whig, with Whig values.. So on paper he was a republican but he really was a whig

March 31st, 2011 at 11:53 am

While it is true that neither political party has the same core platform values as 150 years ago, it is pure ignorance to make blanket statements bout today’s Republican party. The simple truth is, today’s Republican party stands for state’s rights whereas the Democrat’s stand for a strong federal government that controls one’s personal life all the way from DC. Joe needs to read more and listen to his ill informed daddy less.

June 12th, 2012 at 7:02 am

The Whig party goes way back in America’s history. The core of the Whig platform had always been Puritan and Puritan only. Meaning this new fangled concept of anything goes in this new world was very much frowned upon. To include making a buck with slaves. Puritans hate the whole concept of slavery but, it took the Republicans (former Whigs) to make it to bear fruit. This is why we Whigs of the new must call out these history revisionist pigs and begin the up hill task of freeing our modern day slaves with education. Just a small foot note in the 1870’s right after the Civil War the republicans (almost completely by themselves by the way) passed two amendments relating to the freed slaves. The first giving the negro citizenship to the U.S and the second the right to vote. Yes the black man was afforded the ability to vote before white women. Their is no right to vote persay!
Republicans have been involved with civil rights from their humble beginnings, for all not just using race as a money making endeavor. ERA would of giving women supra rights.

October 3rd, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Thomas Jefferson founded the Democrat-Republican Party; it officially became the Democrat Party in 1828. The Republican Party officially emerged in 1856, but Lincoln, who was a Whig, joined the Illinois region Repblicans in 1854. He remained in the Republican Party until he joined the National Union Party in 1864. Lincoln was not opposed to the slavery; his Emancipation Proclamation freed only those slaves living in the ceded States; it did not free slaves in other regions of the US (namely, the North).

October 31st, 2012 at 5:45 pm
Mel Stephens

I believe those who state that President Lincoln was liberal are very wrong. I have a paper that states that he was a baptized believer, but had a wife that considered it wrong to broadcast this, so he being honorable appealed to her wishes. A 99 year old lady gave it to me, and the man that baptized him waited until most of the people that would be affected by controversy had passed, which I find as honorable as well! I have debated in my own mind as to what the consequences would have been if this were in the media long ago.

November 6th, 2014 at 9:06 pm

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