What Does GOP Stand For in American Politics

You may be wondering, "what does GOP stand for?" The GOP meaning is steeped in American history. GOP is actually an acronym that originally stood for "Gallant Old Party;" today, however, it stands for Grand Old Party. You probably already know it by it's more common name, the Republican Party. Former presidents George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon were all members of the Republican Party, as is John McCain, the 2008 candidate for president.

GOP History
The Grand Old Party roots date all the way back to the 1850s. The first Republican to be elected president was Abraham Lincoln in 1860. Presently the Republican Party, along with the opposing Democratic Party, are the nation's two largest political forces.

The Republican Party was originally founded as a political party that stressed the abolition of slavery, granting women the right to vote and free speech. Although it helped all of these progressive goals to be achieved, the modern Republican Party now serves as the conservative side of the American political spectrum. Republican ideaology has historically stressed small government, reduced government spending, individual freedoms, state law rather than federal law and low taxation. It is important to remember that since this is one of the United States' largest political parties, there are a broad range of beliefs held by individual members that may not be shared by all members. Ideaology also differs from region to region throughout the country.

If you watch the news during an election, you may have noticed that an elephant is commonly used to symbolize a Republican candidate. Historians trace the use of this symbol to 1874, when famous political cartoonist Thomas Nast labeled an elephant "The Republican Vote" in an editorial for Harper's Weekly. The image stuck and it is now the most identifiable of all Republican symbols. GOP leaders use the elephant today as an emblem of the party's strength, intelligence and compassion. 

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