GOP Roots?

Issue

Abraham Lincoln was the first US President who was a member of the modern Republican party. But who was the first big shot in the Grand Old Party? Most agree that it began in a little Wisconsin schoolhouse in 1854. A small group of dedicated abolitionists gathered to fight the expansion of slavery, and they gave birth to a Party dedicated to freedom and equal opportunity.

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 Republicans formally organized in July 1854 by thousands of anti-slavery activists at a Michigan convention. And it was no accident that two years later, in 1856, the first Republican National Convention took place in Philadelphia, where the Constitution was written.

But, could Plato have been the first Republican? In an age when philosophers had scarcely glimpsed the horizons of the mind, a boy named Aristocles decided to forgo his ambitions as a wrestler. Adopting the nickname Plato, he embarked instead on a life in philosophy.

In 387 BC he founded the Academy, the world's first university, and taught his students that all we see is not reality but merely a reproduction of the true source. And in his famous Republic he described the politics of "the highest form of state."

"Plato in 90 Minutes," Author Paul Strathern offers a concise, expert account of Plato's life and ideas and explains their influence on man's struggle to understand his existence in the world. The book also includes selections from Plato's work, a brief list of suggested reading for those who wish to delve deeper, and chronologies that place Plato within his own age and in the broader scheme of philosophy.