'Three weeks after the U.S. Senate passes the pro-slavery Kansas-Nebraska Act, a small group of politicians opposed to the legislation meet at a schoolhouse in Ripon, Wis. The participants—mostly "Conscience" Whigs and Free Soil Democrats—decide to form a new political organization. By summertime the party, which referred to its members as "Republicans," would hold its first state convention. By 1856, the faction had developed strongholds in the Northeast and Midwest, and just four years later the party's unlikely nominee would claim the White House.'
--- From "This Week in History" Email by The History Channel.
Of course, the Republican candidate who won the Presidential election in 1860 was Abraham Lincoln.
See photos of Abraham Lincoln
Happy Birthday Republican Party!