Michael Zak outlines some history of the Republican Party and its parallels for today:
As Republicans try to repel the socialist onslaught, the way to win – and to deserve to win – is to embrace our party’s original reform agenda. The patriots who created our Grand Old Party did so in order to preserve the vision of the Founding Fathers. And the way they did it has valuable lessons for us today.[...]
In contrast, the Republican Party began as a truly grassroots movement very similar to the Tea Parties now sweeping the nation. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things – that’s what created the GOP. For example, at the famous meeting in Ripon, Wisconsin that named the party “Republican” there were no politicians at all, just fifty-three men and women who took a stand.[...]
Today, the question is… socialism, yes or no. So that the Republican Party does not go the way of the Whigs, we must take a stand on the issue of the day. We must say NO to all things Obama.[...]
Instead of trying to co-opt the Tea Party movement, Republican leaders should recognize that it is in the best tradition of our Grand Old Party. Tea Party activists are championing the original agenda of the Republican Party: free minds, free markets, free expression and unlimited opportunity.[...]
Throughout his political career, Frederick Douglass appealed for Republican unity, in what he knew to be “the party of freedom and progress.” He speaks to us today.