The GOP’s first national convention approved an anti-slavery platform and nominated John C. Fremont for president. William Dayton was chosen over Abraham Lincoln for VP.
Ulysses S. Grant was the favorite. Ballot after ballot was taken with no winner. James A. Garfield ultimately won when Indiana put him over the top on the 36th ballot.
President William Howard Taft and his predecessor, Theodore Roosevelt, engaged in a bitter floor fight. Taft won; Roosevelt bolted to the Progressive Party. Both lost the election.
The first national political convention to be televised chose Wendell Wilkie, who had never run for office, as the nominee. One New York City station covered the event, airing 33 hours.
Dwight Eisenhower’s team accused Ohio Sen. Robert Taft’s staff of stealing votes, but Eisenhower scored a first-ballot win. Gen. Douglas MacArthur gave a stirring keynote address.
1964 San Francisco
Former Sen. Margaret Chase Smith was the first woman to have her name placed in nomination. “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice,” said nominee Barry Goldwater.
Opponents of the Vietnam War gathered outside the convention hall as President Richard Nixon was nominated for a second term. Hundreds of protesters were arrested.
1976 Kansas City
President Gerald Ford and conservative Ronald Reagan fought over rules and delegates in the last open convention. Ford got enough uncommitted delegates to win.
Two days after the convention began, word spread that Reagan was considering naming Gerald Ford as “co-president.” Ultimately, he chose George H.W. Bush instead.
1988 New Orleans
In his acceptance speech, George H.W. Bush uttered words he’d regret when he broke this vow: “My opponent won’t rule out raising taxes. But I will. … Read my lips: no new taxes.”
Long-shot candidate Pat Buchanan gave a red-meat speech saying that Democrats were intent on “tearing America down” and were on the wrong side of a “cultural war.”
2008 St. Paul
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was nominated as Arizona Sen. John McCain’s running mate, becoming the first women on a Republican presidential ticket. They lost in a landslide in November.