What is the GOP?

Q: I’ve heard the phrase frequently, and I know it has something to do with Republicans; but what is the GOP?

A: The acronym you refer to stands for “Grand Old Party.” It is a nickname associated with the Republican Party.

Originally, GOP stood for “Gallant Old Party.” Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican president, helped earn this nickname when the party was still relatively new. Many gave the Republican Party significant credit for helping to win the Civil War, though this isn’t universally accepted as truth.

At the time, Republicans who were already fixed within the Federal Government began using the term “Gallant Old Party,” which was ultimately shortened to GOP, which subsequently became known as a shortened version of the term, “Grand Old Party.”

What is the GOP symbol?

The Republican Party is also known for having an elephant as its representative symbol. The origin of this dates back to 1874, when Thomas Nast, a political cartoonist for Harper’s Weekly, crafted a cartoon depicting a donkey in a lion costume frightening other animals at the zoo. One of the frightened animals was an elephant wearing the label, “The Republican Vote.” Ultimately, this cartoon had the power to impress this image on voters’ minds, and the elephant has continued to represent the Republican Party ever since.

By Ronald J. Bushwell
Political Expert

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