Invoking; Lincoln,; Republicans; Gather in Pittsburgh

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Republican National Committee members from across the country are in Pittsburgh for their annual summer meeting, a gathering that takes place a few blocks, and a century and a half, from their party's first national gathering.

The party traces its roots to a meeting in Ripon, Wis., in 1854. In the following months, Republicans met and organized in various local and state gatherings across the Northeast and Midwest. According to the most exhaustive account of the 1856 Pittsburgh meeting, an article by Leonard Bernstein in the Western Pennsylvania Historical Review in 1966, its genesis came in a meeting between Ohio Gov. Salmon Chase and David White, editor and publisher of the Gazette.

White had editorialized in favor of a national meeting of the new party. Chase, who would become Lincoln's secretary of the treasury, met with White in the fall of 1855 to discuss the proposal. As a result, delegates from 24 states came to Pittsburgh for a convention that began on Feb. 22, 1856, Washington's birthday.

Horace Greeley, the abolitionist New York editor, was among them, heeding, at least temporarily, his own call to "Go West."

Contrary to some reports, including a contemporary account in the Gazette, Lincoln was not among the delegates. According to historians, including Bernstein and biographer Benjamin P. Thomas, Lincoln was meeting the same day with a group of Republican newspaper editors in Illinois. Lincoln did come to Pittsburgh in February 1861 on his way to Washington for his inauguration.

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