The term “Republican” is used in many different ways around the world, usually to denote someone who belongs to a Republican Party. Many people are most familiar with this term in the sense of a member of the Republican National Party, referred to as the Grand Old Party (GOP), one of the two major political parties in the United States. The values and platforms of parties with this name vary widely from nation to nation, and in the United States, the party is primarily center-right to conservative.
In the United States, the Republican Party was established in 1854 by a group of anti-slavery activists, rising to power only six years later with the election of President Abraham Lincoln. The party quickly emerged as a powerhouse, becoming the major opposition to the Democratic party, the center-left political party. In fact, the two parties so thoroughly dominate the American political system that it can sometimes feel as if there are no other options, instead of the multiparty democracy that the US is.
Around one-third of the American electorate identifies as Republican at any given time. Members tend to be white, although the party has made some inroads into Asian and Latino communities, and people who identify with the party usually have conservative economic and social values. Many members are also Christian, with many sects including evangelical Christians being represented in large numbers. The GOP is often viewed as the pro-business political party, and as an upholder of values that many Americans think of as traditional.
Like members of other political parties in the United States, Republicans adopt new party platforms periodically. Each platform is designed to reflect the core values of the party while also adapting to changes in American society, and addressing emerging issues so that members of the public know how the party feels about hot topics in American culture. The party also routinely nominates a candidate for the presidency at their national conventions in presidential election years.
Many Republicans try to adhere to values from the early days of America. The name of the party is itself an homage to Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of the United States, reflecting its value system. Many party members support strict interpretations of the Constitution, and they agitate for smaller government, less regulation in industry, and an upholding of Christian values in the United States.
Some examples of notable Republicans include 19 former presidents of the United States, such as Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.