On March 20th in 1854 the first meeting of the Republican Party took place in a small schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin. Former members of the Whig Party met to establish the Republican Party to oppose the spread of slavery.
This first meeting was prompted by the introduction of the Kansas-Nebraska bill by Democrat Senator Stephen Douglas in January 1854.The bill permitted the extension of slavery beyond the limits established in the Missouri Compromise. When the bill passed in the Senate, Alvin Earle Bovay of Ripon, Wisconsin called a meeting of 53 voters in the little white schoolhouse to organize a new party. Years later Bovay recalled: “We went into the little meeting, Whigs, Free Soilers, and Democrats. We came out Republicans, and we were the first Republicans in the Union.”
The first national meeting of Republicans was held on February 22, 1856 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the name “Republican” was adopted.