The Republican and the Democrat parties are at the very heart of American politics. For decades, presidentshave been either Republican or Democrat and both parties dominate Congress. Therefore the beliefs and views of both parties have to impact the whole of American politics.
The following is taken from the 1995 Republican Party’s history of the party as presented by the Republican Party’s National Committee.
Historically, the party has supported
The abolition of slavery The right of free speech Support of women’s suffrage The reduction of the power of Federal government The reduction of Federal bureaucracy The return of power to state governments The support of the idea of the primacy of the individual To fight for the right of individuals in opposition to large “bloated” government In 1866, a Republican government passed the 1866 Civil Rights Act – a law which restricted the right of states (though this was aimed at the Southern states in particular) to restrict the right of Black Americans to testify in a court of law and to restrict the right of Black Americans to own property The Republicans proposed the 14th Amendment which became part of the Constitution.
Jeanette Rankin – a Republican – became the first woman to serve in the House of Representatives, for the state of Montana. The Republicans claim that they were the first party to officially push for women’s suffrage.
The Republicans claim to be the first party to favour environmental issues when President Nixon pushed for a Clean Air Act which was duly passed by Congress.
The Republicans claim to be the party of tax cuts. The Ford Administration cut taxes significantly while under the Republican president George W Bush, all registered tax payers received a cheque for $300 in tax rebate in July 2001 as promised by Bush in the run-up to the 2000 election.
Ronald Reagan promised to make federal government smaller – known as “New Federalism”. Reagan believed that local governments knew what their community wanted more than Washington and he pushed for a development in the powers of local government.
Reagan’s first term as president saw a marked increase in the number of women in powerful positions – Sandra Day O’Connor was appointed the first female Supreme Court judge in America while Jean Kirkpatrick was the first female US representative to the United Nations.
In 1993, Hayley Barbour was elected as Chairman of the Republican National Committee. He emphasised
The importance of individual freedom The importance of personal responsibility The reduction in the powers of Federal government
The 104th Congress was dominated by Republicans and
Commissioned the first independent audit of Congress in its history
Cut the budget of Congress by 10% – $200 million
Imposed term limits on committee chairs
Planned for a balanced budget reducing the deficit to zero in 7 years without raising taxes
The approach of the Republicans is best summarised in its oath: