The Republican National Committee was established on this day in 1856 to coordinate nationwide opposition to the pro-slavery policies of the Democrats. Republicans from many state parties held their first national organizational meeting at Pittsburgh's Lafayette Hall on February 22, 1856. Presiding over this preliminary session was former U.S. Senator Lawrence Brainerd (VT). A resolute anti-slavery activist, Brainerd entered the legislature as a Whig before shifting to the Liberty Party and then the Republican Party.
The next day, delegates chose the first Republican National Committee. New York's Republican state Chairman, Edwin Morgan, was then elected the first Chairman of the RNC. He had the immense responsibility of organizing the first Republican National Convention, to be held just four months later. Edwin Morgan, who had been Governor, would later be elected to the U.S. Senate and serve as a Major-General in the U.S. Army during the Civil War.
So, today is the 151st anniversary of the RNC. It would have been a phenomenal opportunity for the Republican Party to celebrate its 150th anniversary last year, to kick off the mid-term election campaign season on a unifying and positive note. Alas, this magnificent party-building and fundraising and outreach opportunity just slipped away! Even so, today we honor -- or should honor -- the patriots, the heroes of 1856 who gave us our Grand Old Party.