In 1852 Alvan Earle Bovay of Ripon met with Horace Greeley in New York and advocated dissolution of the Whig Party and formation of a new party to fuse together anti-slavery elements. At the same time he suggested the name "Republican" because he felt "it was a good name.....with charm and prestige."
The opportunity to act came in January 1854 when Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois introduced the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, which permitted the extension of slavery beyond the limits of the earlier Missouri Compromise. Three months' debate on the bill created upheavals in all the existing political parties.
When the bill passed the Senate on March 3, 1854, Bovay promptly called a meeting of 53 voters in the little white schoolhouse to organize a new party. Years later Bovay recalled: "We went into the little meeting, Whigs, Free Soilers, and Democrats. We came out Republicans, and we were the first Republicans in the Union."
On February 22, 1856 a convention was held at Pittsburgh to establish a national organization and the name "Republican" was adopted for the new party. Among those present were Horace Greeley and Abraham Lincoln.