The History Of The GOP

The history of the GOP:a quick overview of how the Republican Party of the United States got the nickname G.O.P.

G.O.P. is s an abbreviation of "Grand Old Party", and both are nicknames of the U.S. Republican Party.

The nickname dates from the late nineteenth century. Some folks place it as early as 1870. The nickname, or variations of it, was definitely in place by 1884, ten years after Harper's Weekly illustrator Thomas Nast created the elephant symbol that is associated with the party today. In that year, "G.O.P." appeared New York Herald article, and, more prominently in a Boston Post headline announcing, "G.O.P. Doomed".

Why Grand Old Party? Grand and its synonyms, wonderful or great, are fairly obvious. Old, however, may be a misnomer. By the late nineteenth century, the United States had firmly settled into a two party system. The Republican Party was established in the 1850's. It put forth its first presidential candidate in 1856, and, in 1860, won the presidency with Abraham Lincoln. So the Republican Party was definitely established. The Democratic Party, however, was over 20 years older, having been founded in 1832.

With this history, and the charged political atmosphere of the day, it's possible that name Grand Old Party may have originated from the same sarcastic bent that equated a jackass with the Democratic Party--another Thomas Nast cartoon--and stuck.

It's more likely that Grand Old Party was a simple outgrowth of the usage of the Victorian era. William E. Gladstone, Britain's prime minister in 1882 was dubbed the Grand Old Man. Grand Old Man was included in the the title given to Hendrik Antoon Lorentz. Lorentz was the "Grand Old Man of Dutch Physics". "Grand Old" was an easy phrase for writers and pundits of the area to land upon.

Over a hundred years after its inception, G.O.P. is still the nickname for the Republican Party. Despite some experimentation with the names "Go Party" and "Generation of Peace" and also the more mocking "Get Out and Push" (this latter during the early ages of automobiles) most folks today will readily identify G.O.P. as "Grand Old Party"--and both with the U.S. Republican Party.

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