The Democratic Party
The Democratic Party is one of the world’s oldest political parties and is also one of the two major parties in the United States of America. The other one is the Republican Party. The Democratic Party was founded in the early 19th century and over the years has undergone significant changes. Of the 44 Presidents of the United States, 15 have come from the Democratic Party.
The Democratic Party was founded in 1828; however, it traces its origins back to the Democratic-Republican Party, which was founded in 1792 by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and other influential opponents of the Federalists party of Alexander Hamilton and John Adams. The Democratic-Republican Party favored a decentralized government with limited powers in opposition to the Federalist’s support for a strong central government. The Democratic-Republican Party won the presidency in the 1800 elections.
The Federalists, which was the only party in opposition to the Democratic-Republic, witnessed a decline in its popularity and by 1820 faded away from the political scene. With the Federalist Party gone and the Democratic-Republican Party facing no opposition, James Monroe won the 1820 election with a nearly unanimous vote in the Electoral College.
However, the Democratic-Republican Party was plagued by its own internal factions. The choice of a successor to James Monroe, the Democratic-Republican President of the United States, witnessed these factions splitting. The party faction that was led by Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren and supported many of the old Jeffersonian principles named themselves as the Democratic Party. The other factions led by Henry Clay formed the Whig Party, which was in opposition to the Democrats and later on became the Republican Party.
Ideology of the Democratic Party
During the early years of its existence, the Democratic Party supported slavery. In order to retain the backing of the Southern voters, the party opposed civil rights reforms following the American Civil War. However, the party’s thinking witnessed a shift during the mid-20th century. It supported progressive reform, organized labor and civil rights. The party also began to favor greater government intervention in the economy following President Roosevelt’s New Deal of the 1930s. However, it opposed government intervention in the private non-economic affairs of the citizens of the country.
Some of the issues that the Democrats support include an across the board tax-cuts for the low and middle class and small businesses and increasing federal minimum wage. They also support universal healthcare and favor greater investment in infrastructure development. They are greatly in favor of cuts in defense spending and upholding labor protections and the right to unionize. They uphold voting rights and easy access to voting. The Democrats favor same-sex marriage. There are millions of migrants in the US and the Democrats favor a pathway to citizenship. Taking notice of the growing gun-related incidents in the country, the Democrats support stricter gun control regulations.
In its almost 200 years of history, 15 Presidents of the United States have come from the Democratic Party. Andrew Jackson was the first President from the Democratic Party. His reign lasted from 1829 to 1837. Barack Obama is the recent US President from the Party and the first African-American to hold this post. He was assumed the post in 2009. Currently Hillary Clinton, wife of former US President Bill Clinton, has clinched the Democratic nomination in the 2016 presidential election. She will compete with Donald Trump in the elections to be held on November 8, 2016.
The symbol of the Democratic Party is the donkey. The origin of this symbol can be traced back to the 1828 presidential campaign. Andrew Jackson was running for President and in an attempt to ridicule him, Jackson’s opponents called him a jackass. However, rather than being offended, Andrew Jackson was amused and included an image of the animal in his campaign posters. The donkey was further popularized by Thomas Nast, an influential political cartoonist, in 1870 as a symbol of the Democratic Party.