History of the Democratic Party
Are you a Democrat, but don't know where the party you support came from? Read through the history of the democratic party and never be clueless again.
In the US, you have political perspectives — you're either a Republican or a Democrat. And if you’re a Democrat, you should know exactly why you’re part of the party. Not only do you believe that citizens of the country have the right to say and suggest actions that the country should do, but believe that everyone is born equal — meaning no one is looked down upon for being themselves. Everyone who’s living in this country is seen to have the same opportunities as the person next to them.
Even though you know so much and support so much as a Democrat, do you really know the origins of the party? If you don't, most of us actually don't, either. But if you're a strong and passionate supporter of the party, it's something that you should know — along with everyone else in this country no matter the party they favor. Instead of rummaging though a history textbook or reading article by article on the actual history of the Democratic Party — you can look no further than this article. Maybe even get to know why Democrats might be the greater problem for progressives... the more knowledge the merrier.
As one of the two current major political parties, the history of the Democratic Party has some of the oldest roots. Despite the party’s name being changed a few times, the birth of this party comes way back in the 18th Century.
It looks like today’s Democrats thank Thomas Jefferson for creating the party that was founded in 1792. At the time, Jefferson distanced himself from Washington’s movement towards the British rather than the French — and resigned as Secretary of State.
Jefferson’s party always favored urban interests, agrarian over manufacturing, and common people over the more prosperous. So, Jefferson’s supporters started using the name Republicans, or Jeffersonian Republicans.
Southern and Northern Democrats
Its present name came to be during the Presidency of Andrew Jackson in the 1830s. Through the 40s and the 50s, the party was in conflict over extending slavery to the Western territories. However, Southern Democrats wanted to protect slavery in all territories while many of the Northern Democrats declined.
Then, the party split because of the slavery issue in 1860. While Northern Democrats voted Stephen Douglas as their candidate, the Southern Democrats adopted a pro-slavery platform and voted John C. Breckinridge. That election was won by Abraham Lincoln and the newly formed Republican Party.
Yet, after the Civil War, the majority of the white southerners didn’t want Radical Reconstruction and the Republican’s support of black civil and political rights.
While the Democrats viewed themselves to be the “white man’s party,” the Republicans were “Negro dominated” — despite the whites being in control.
Once 1877 came and Reconstruction was over, the Democrats controlled every single Southern state — remaining a one-party region until the Civil Rights movement came through in the 1960s.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
One of the consequences of the Democratic victories in the south was that many of the southern Congressmen and senators were almost automatically re-elected at every election. Southerns had the opportunity to control most of the committees in both houses of Congress and even kill any civil rights legislation.
Despite the fact that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a Democrat, he rarely challenged the Southern bloc. And when the House passed a federal anti-lynching bill several times throughout the 1930s, the Southern senators filibustered it to death.
World War 1 forced the Democratic Party to govern on a large scale and get acclimated to the idea of a strong federal government. And throughout the 20s, the Great Depression ignited power back into the Democratic Party when it called for government intervention in the economy. And by the end of the decade, the Democrats were in support of big government.
Not only has the Democratic Party promoted growth in union membership, they cemented a political alliance that continues today.
Organized labor’s support for the Democrats has been in exchange for the Democrats’ protection of union rights against pressure from business interests related with the Republican Party.
After World War II and the Korean War, Republican war hero Dwight Eisenhower led the Democrats into losing the national election in 1952 and again in 1956.
Once John F. Kennedy became president in 1960, the Democrats made their way back into the White House, and even after his death when Lyndon Johnson continued in his place.
In 1964, the South had given up their title as a Democratic Party and re-emerged as the Republican Party.
Today, after the Civil War was dominated by elements hostile to blacks, Democrats now enjoy nearly unanimous support from the black community, along with individuals from the LGBTQ community, and other communities that believe in equal rights and people making decisions for the country they live in. And the history of the Democratic Party continues while the future becomes the present.