Guest opinion

On March 8th, Idaho and Lewis county Republicans will have our county Republican party “Lincoln Day Dinner.” From now through the end of April, nearly every county Republican party across Idaho will hold a celebratory event honoring Abraham Lincoln, America’s 16th President and the first Republican to hold that office. Lincoln Day events are actually held in counties across America and are a time for Republicans to gather in fellowship, to meet candidates, raise money for their local party and celebrate the storied history of the GOP.

The origins of the Republican Party begin on July 6, 1854 (per

Just after the anniversary of the nation, an anti-slavery state convention was held in Jackson, Michigan. The hot day forced the large crowd outside to a nearby oak grove. At this “Under the Oaks Convention,” the first statewide candidates were selected for what would become the Republican party.

United by desire to abolish slavery, it was in Jackson, Michigan that the Platform of the Under the Oaks Convention read: “…we will cooperate and be known as Republicans….” Prior to July, smaller groups had gathered in intimate settings like the famous schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin. However, the meeting in Jackson would be the first ever mass gathering of the Republican Party.

The name “Republican” was chosen, alluding to Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican Party and conveying a commitment to the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The ideals of this newly formed party were soon embodied in the slogan, “Free labor, Free land and Free men.” The party proved to be very popular and in just four years, the party dominated nearly every northern state culminating with the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860.

Lincoln’s presidency left an indelible mark on Idaho’s history when he signed the bill that created the Idaho Territory in 1863 and appointed all of its early leaders. Lincoln’s legacy is so deeply interwoven into the fabric of Idaho that his name appears in public places and spaces throughout our great state including the oldest Lincoln statue in the West that gracefully stands yards from the state Capitol.

The Republican Party is very proud to honor the father of our party through Lincoln Day celebrations. We look forward to our Idaho and Lewis county Lincoln Day celebration on March 8th. For more information call regional chairman Marge Arnzen at 208-816-2521.

Rebecca Crea is the Lewis County Republican Committee chairman. Marilyn Giddings is the Idaho County Republican Committee chairman.

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