Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.
Originally, most people in the U.S. identified the Republican Party during the late 1800s by its opposition to slavery. Over time, other fundamental beliefs united people together under the Republican banner, such as a smaller non-intrusive Federal government and low taxes. In a nutshell, they were people who just wanted to be left alone. The Federal government was there to handle Constitutional matters beyond the capacity of the individual states, such as maintaining our national defense, printing money, and guaranteeing and safeguarding the liberties and freedoms of the citizens.
During the 20th century, as the role and scope of the Federal government increased and got involved in more social, economic and domestic issues, particularly on a local level, the makeup and belief systems of the political parties also changed and started to take shape. Republicans believe in the individual, as envisioned by our Founders, rather than Groupthink, whereby, identify politics or a "one size fits all" ideology is expected of our members. We represent a cross-section of people, from various social, economic and demographic backgrounds.
While no one comprehensive set of beliefs or ideology can describe people who identify as Republicans, we generally tend to be people who proscribe to a more traditional role of government. Like people of days gone by, they too want less government in their lives, and would prefer that most issues be left with the People, or with the States, as it was originally intended.
Modern conservatism allows room for robust opinions and debates on a variety of issues such as free market capitalism and free enterprise, Constitutionally limited government, a strong national defense, deregulation, less taxes, sound fiscal policy, human and personal rights, conservation and a value system rooted in a Judeo-Christian foundation.
While certainly not universally applicable nor interpreted the same by every person who identifies as a Republican, Haley Barbour is often cited as defining what it means to be a Republican, by calling attention to a number of these issues and beliefs.
The actual Platform is established by the Republican National Committee, and is the basis for political candidates on the National level.
This platform is many things: A handbook for returning decision-making to the people. A guide to the constitutional rights of every American. And a manual for the kind of sustained growth that will bring opportunity to all those on the sidelines of our society. View and Download a copy below.
The Table of Contents outlines the major themes of the 2016 Republican Platform, as follows: