The Republican Party began in 1854 as the Liberal Party in the U.S. Lincoln, a Liberal, was their first president. Teddy Roosevelt was a Liberal. But the party changed. Thomas Dewey was the last Liberal Republican to win the nomination and run for president. The GOP had a Liberal wing into the 1960s, led by Nelson Rockefeller. Then Nixon used his ‘Southern Strategy’ to change the Republican Party to the way it is today.