The changing face of the Republican Party

The contrast between Abraham Lincoln and presidential candidate Donald Trump could hardly be more striking. Yet both men can be placed within the continually evolving politics of the Grand Old Party, argues Tim Stanley.

Donald Trump at Turnberry golf club, Scotland, June 2015
Donald Trump at Turnberry golf club, Scotland, June 2015

It was an unexpected sight. On September 3rd 2016, Donald Trump addressed an African-American church in Detroit and told them that he wanted to help write the next chapter in civil rights history. Trump said: ‘Becoming the nominee of the party of Abraham Lincoln – a lot of people don’t realise that Abraham Lincoln, the great Abraham Lincoln, was a Republican – has been the greatest honour of my life. It is on his legacy that I hope to build the future of the party.’

While most people do know that Lincoln was a Republican, very few regard Trump as a fellow traveller of the president who ‘freed the slaves’. One poll showed Trump getting just one per cent of the black vote in the coming presidential election. 

To read this article in full you need to be either a print + archive subscriber, or else have purchased access to the online archive.

If you are already a subscriber, please ensure you are logged in. 

Buy Subscription | Buy Online Access | Log In

If you are logged in and still cannot read the article, please email

Get Miscellanies, our free weekly long read, in your inbox every week