Ripon [ɹɪpɘn] is a city in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 7,733 at the 2010 census. The City of Ripon's official website claims the city's current population to be 7,701. The city is surrounded by the Town of Ripon.
Ripon, named for the English cathedral city of Ripon, North Yorkshire, was founded in 1849 by David P. Mapes, a former New York steamboat captain. John S. Horner was the one who named the town, and most of the streets (his house is still standing today). Within two years the city had absorbed the nearby commune of Ceresco, established in 1844 by the Wisconsin Phalanx, a group of settlers inspired by the utopian socialist philosophy of Charles Fourier. Mapes also initiated the formation of Ripon College, originally incorporated as Brockway College in 1851.
Birthplace of the Republican Party
Meeting at a school house in Ripon on February 28, 1854, some thirty opponents of the Kansas-Nebraska Act called for the organization of a new political party and suggested that Republican would be the most appropriate name (to link their cause with the Declaration of Independence). The group also took a leading role in the creation of the Republican Party in many northern states during the summer of 1854. While conservatives and many moderates were content merely to call for the restoration of the Missouri Compromise or a prohibition of slavery extension, the group insisted that no further political compromise with slavery was possible.
The February 1854 meeting was the first political meeting of the group that would become the Republican Party. The modern Ripon Society, a Republican think tank, takes its name from Ripon, Wisconsin.