Birthplace of the Republican Party

There were two meetings held in Ripon which led to the naming of the Republican
Party. The first held at the Congregational Church on February 28, 1854 included
women. At that meeting it was agreed that in the event that the Kansas-Nebraska Bill
was adopted, old political parties should be cast aside, and an entirely new organization
should be started.

In the Little White Schoolhouse meeting on March 20, Alvan Bovay spoke to the effect
that the new party should, and in all probability would, be assigned the name
Republican, but he advised against naming it at that time.

A committee was formed consisting of Alvan Bovay, Amos Loper, Abram Thomas,
Jehdeiah Bowen, and Jacob Woodruff. Amos Loper’s son A.A. Loper attended the
meeting “out of curiosity” and years later summarized it: “The predominant idea existing
at that time in the minds of the prime movers was to prevent the further extension of
slavery. The matter was then quite favorable discussed, but no real genuine
organization was formed; it was simply vigorously recommended. As I recall it, the
evening was a severe one, a furious snowstorm raging at the time and the thermometer
registering something below zero.

So far as my knowledge goes, in Ripon was made the first move toward giving the
Republican party life and I believe this truth has been acknowledged by historians, who
have looked at the facts. I have seen it stated that a town in Michigan has set claim to
having taking the initial step but this, so far as my knowledge goes, was incapable of

Meetings of this nature were taking place all over the northern states, and whether the
meeting in Ripon was the first is still being debated today. Bovay had the advantage of
being from a new state where political machines were not yet firmly established. He knew Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune and he had been advocating for a
new political party to be called Republican. Greeley himself had become
disenfranchised from the Whig party and declared the Tribune non-partisan. All this
together can make for fascinating discussions of the events leading up to the Civil War.

You can find more detailed information on the formation of the Republican party on the
Little White Schoolhouse website.  https://www.LWSH.org