Liberal Republican Party

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LIBERAL REPUBLICAN PARTY was the result of a revolt of the reform element in the Republican party during President Ulysses S. Grant's first administration (1869–1873). It advocated a conciliatory policy toward the white South and civil service reform and condemned political corruption. Some members of the party favored tariff revision. The movement was led by B. Gratz Brown, Horace Greeley, Carl Schurz, Charles Sumner, and Charles Francis Adams. The party nominated Greeley for president in 1872, and he subsequently won the Democrats' endorsement. In the ensuing campaign, however, Grant overwhelmingly defeated Greeley and the party disbanded soon thereafter.


Foner, Eric. Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863– 1877. New York: Harper and Row, 1988.

Lunde, Erik S. Horace Greeley. Boston: Twayne, 1981.

Glenn H.Benton/a. g.

See alsoCivil Service ; Corruption, Political ; Radical Republicans ; Reconstruction ; Republican Party .

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Liberal Republican party, in U.S. history, organization formed in 1872 by Republicans discontented at the political corruption and the policies of President Grant's first administration. Other disaffected elements were drawn into the party. Among its leaders were Carl Schurz and B. Gratz Brown, both of Missouri, who had defeated the regular Republicans in the state election of 1870, Horace Greeley, Charles Sumner, and Lyman Trumbull. The party convention, held at Cincinnati in May, passed over Charles Francis Adams (1807–86), David Davis, and others to nominate Greeley for President; Brown was named for Vice President. In their convention at Baltimore, the Democrats also accepted these candidates. The party program called for civil service reform and an end to the strong Reconstruction program of the radical Republicans; so as not to offend the party's divergent segments, it avoided adopting a position on the tariff question. Greeley's nomination was not popular with many of the party leaders, who supported him without enthusiasm, and Grant was easily reelected.

See E. D. Ross, The Liberal Republican Movement (1919, repr. 1971).