As America celebrated the 241st anniversary of the passage of the Declaration of the Independence, and The Hayride Texas officially launched, the Republican Party of Texas celebrated it’s 150th or sesquicentennial anniversary. More than 50 Republican activists from around the state were in attendance as many more served at Independence Day celebrations around the state.
Along with Chairman James Dickey and Republican Party of Texas staff, several elected officials were in attendance including State Representatives Tony Dale and Terry Wilson. Activists of all ages including Heart of Texas Young Republicans and South Texas Young Republicans members enjoyed a time to relax and remember the nation’s and their parties founding.
The original Republican Party was founded in Ripon, Wisconsin in 1854, but the Republican Party of Texas was not formed until 13 years later in 1867. There had several Texas leaders opposed to secession, but the Republican Party was viewed a small Yankee party even after President Lincoln was elected. It was not until the end of the Civil War that the Republican Party really became a national brand. After the war Unionist were part of the reconstruction of civil government and helped for the Republican Party of Texas.
In 1867 members of the Union Loyalist League, which was made of former slaves and a small number of white Unionists joined together with Texans who opposed secession and recent northern transplants to form the Republican Party of Texas. The first state Republican convention was held in Houston, TX where the delegates attempted to “adopt a party platform that would eliminate all restrictions on the rights of freed slaves; safeguard, increase, and fairly distribute the state’s school fund; establish a free public school system; support railroad construction; hasten immigration to the frontier by backing a homestead law; and encourage a return to the rule of law in Texas.” That is according to Carl H. Moneyhon’s, “Texas Out-Radicals My Radicalism.” That convention came to order on July 4, 1867.
For a more in depth history see the article from the Republican Party of Texas’ website.