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The Republican Party, also commonly called the GOP (for "Grand Old Party"), is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, the other being the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery activists in 1854, it dominated politics nationally for most of the period from 1860 to 1932. There have been 18 Republican presidents, the first being Abraham Lincoln, serving from 1861-1865, and the most recent being George W. Bush, serving from 2001-2009. Currently the party's platform is generally based upon American conservatism, in contrast to the Democratic Party, who endorse more liberal policies. American conservatism of the Republican Party is not wholly based upon rejection of the political ideology of liberalism, as many principles of American conservatism are based upon classical liberalism. Rather, the Republican Party's conservatism is largely based upon its support of classical principles against the modern liberalism of the Democratic Party that is considered American liberalism in contemporary American political discourse. In the 113th Congress, elected in 2012, the Republican Party holds a majority of seats in the House of Representatives and a minority of seats in the Senate. The party currently holds the majority of governorships as well as the majority of state legislatures.
The Republican National Convention (RNC) is the presidential nominating convention of the Republican Party of the United States. Convened by the Republican National Committee, the stated purpose of the convocation is to nominate an official candidate in an upcoming U.S. presidential election, and to adopt the party platform and rules for the election cycle. Like the Democratic National Convention, it signifies the end of a presidential primary season and the start of campaigning for a general election. In recent years, the nominee has been known well before the convention, leading many to oppose the convention as a mere public relations event and coronation. Historically, the convention was the final determinant of the nomination, and often contentious as various factions of party insiders maneuvered to advance their candidates. Since the almost universal adoption of the primary election for selecting delegates in the last quarter of the 20th century, however, the convention's significance has diminished. The national party focuses on the convention as a unity point to bring together a party platform and state parties by having delegates vote on issues, which the nominee can then incorporate into their presidential campaign.