The basis of the national political convention was to open the process of nominating presidential candidates to the American people, rather than have the selection determined by the congressional caucuses. And, while the conventions have evolved into the modern broadcast and Internet-streamed events they are today, the modern-day national political convention still holds true to the idea of opening the process to the American people.
The Republican National Convention is the presidential nominating convention of the Republican Party of the United States. Convened by the Republican National Committee, the stated purpose of the convention is to nominate an official candidate in an upcoming U.S. presidential election, and to adopt the party platform and rules for the election cycle.
Like the Democratic National Convention, it signifies the end of a presidential primary season and the start of campaigning for a general election. Historically, the convention was the final determinant of the nomination, and often contentious as various factions of party insiders maneuvered to advance their candidates.
The first Republican National Convention was held at Lafayette Hall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on February 22 - February 23, 1856. At this convention, the Republican Party was formally organized on a national basis, and the first Republican National Committee was elected. The 1860 convention nominated the first successful GOP presidential candidate, Abraham Lincoln of Illinois.
In the 19th century, difficulties of travel led to the selection of centrally located cities as convention sites. Baltimore, located midway along the Atlantic seaboard, was a favorite choice in early years. As the center of population moved west, Chicago and other Midwestern cities were more frequently selected.
During the 20th century, national party conventions have come to be held during the summer immediately preceding the opening of the general election campaign for president. With the advent of air travel and further population growth in the west, south, and southwest, a broader range of locations has been considered. Chicago has been host to the greatest number of conventions (11 Democratic and 14 Republican).
2012 marks the third time the Republican Party has convened its convention in Florida. Both the 1968 and 1972 Republican National Conventions that nominated Richard M. Nixon were held in Miami Beach.
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