From its inception in 1854, the GOP has always supported blacks and minorities. The GOP was organized to oppose and abolish slavery.
- It emerged in 1854 to combat the Kansas–Nebraska Act, an act that dissolved the terms of the Missouri Compromise and allowed slave or free status to be decided in the territories by popular sovereignty. And so the Whigs disintegrated. The Party had almost no presence in the Southern United States, but by 1858 in the North it had enlisted former Whigs and former Free Soil Democrats to form majorities in nearly every Northern state.
- With its election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, and its success in guiding the Union to victory and abolishing slavery, the party came to dominate the national political scene until 1932. The Republican Party was based on northern white Protestants, businessmen, small business owners, professionals, factory workers, farmers, and African Americans. It was pro-business, supporting banks, the gold standard, railroads, and high tariffs to protect factory workers and grow industry faster. Under William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, it emphasized an expansive foreign policy.
- In 1869, the Republican-controlled legislature in Wyoming Territory and its Republican governor John Allen Campbell made it the first jurisdiction to grant voting rights to women.
- In 1872, Frederick Douglass, former slave and Republican, became the first African American nominated (without his permission) for Vice President of the United States as the running mate and Vice Presidential nominee of Victoria Woodhull, on the Equal Rights Party ticket.
- In 1875, California swore in the first Hispanic governor, Republican Romualdo Pacheco.
- In 1916 Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman in Congress—and indeed the first woman in any high level government position.
- In 1928, New Mexico elected the first Hispanic U.S. Senator, Republican Octaviano Larrazolo.
- In 1898, the first Jewish U.S. Senator elected from outside of the former Confederacy was Republican Joseph Simon of Oregon.
- In 1924, the first Jewish woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives was Republican Florence Kahn of California.
- In 1928, the Republican U.S. Senate Majority Leader, Charles Curtisof Kansas, who grew up on the Kaw Indian reservation, became the first person of significant non-European ancestry to be elected to national office, as Vice President of the United States for Herbert Hoover.
- Blacks generally identified with the GOP until the 1930s.
- Every African American who served in the U.S. House of Representatives before 1935, and all of the African Americans who served in the U.S. Senate before 1979, were Republicans.
- Frederick Douglass after the Civil War and Booker T. Washington in the early 20th century were prominent Republican spokesmen.
- In 1964, when Senate Republicans pushed hard for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against a filibuster by Senate Democrats