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Republican Party history from the year you were born

  • 1971: The Nixon Shock

    The Nixon Shock occurred when the president introduced his New Economic Policy program to create “a new prosperity without war.” In doing so, he effectively ended the Bretton Woods system that established fixed exchange rates in the aftermath of World War II.

  • 1972: President Richard Nixon is re-elected

    Richard Nixon’s re-election also gave him one of the most significant victories in presidential election history, since he received a 23.2% margin of victory over Democratic opponent George McGovern. Young people had a say in this landmark decision as well, since this was the first election in which 18-year-olds could vote. However, the Watergate scandal also marked the beginning of the end for Nixon when it broke that same year.

  • 1973: The Senate Watergate hearings

    After the Watergate scandal was publicized, televised Senate hearings began, in which White House legal counsel John Dean testified that the chief White House advisors and former Attorney General approved the break-in to the Democratic National Convention headquarters. Politician Fred Thompson also was told about the secret Nixon tapes, which proved that the president had been aware of the operation.

  • 1974: President Nixon resigns

    When President Nixon resigned, he did so in response to a probable impending impeachment decision. The reason for this impending impeachment was that he played a role in concealing the 1972 Watergate scandal, in which Republican operatives broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters.

  • 1975: President Gerald Ford survives two assassination attempts

    Two attempts were made on the Republican president’s life in the span of just 17 days. In the first, an assailant trained a handgun on him while he was visiting the California Capitol, and in the second, a woman aimed a gun at him as he left a San Francisco hotel.

  • 1976: Ronald Reagan concedes his presidential nomination

    The entertainer-turned-governor conceded the Republican nomination to incumbent President Gerald Ford. However, he later accepted the same nomination in 1980.

  • 1977: Reagan proposes a ‘New Republican Party’

    A year after conceding the Republican nomination to Ford, Reagan gave a speech in Washington calling on his fellow Republicans to “start acting to bring about the great conservative majority party we know is waiting to be created.” He emphasized that the new Republican Party should bring together people who are conservative on “social issues” like quota systems, crime, and abortion.

  • 1978: Republicans score major midterm gains in Minnesota

    In the 1978 midterm elections, Republicans gained win after win in Minnesota. The wins nearly doubled the party’s ranks in the federal government, and the election night was dubbed “the Minnesota massacre.”

  • 1979: David C. Treen becomes Governor of Louisiana

    Notably, Treen’s election made him the first Republican Louisiana governor in more than a century. He served a single term in office, during which he prioritized creating a professional educational development program and cutting state income taxes.

  • 1980: Ronald Reagan is elected as the 40th president

    Reagan achieved a landslide victory over Democratic opponent, incumbent President Jimmy Carter. This ushered in an era of significant conservative American political power, and the new president immediately shifted to dramatically increasing federal defense spending in response to the Iranian hostage crisis.