History of the Democratic Party

“We want an America that gives all Americans the chance to live out their dreams and achieve their God-given potential. We want an America that is still the world’s strongest force for peace and freedom. And we want an America that is coming together around our enduring values, instead of drifting apart.” (excerpt from Democratic Convention 1996)

The oldest political party in the US began in the late 1700’s when supporters of Thomas Jefferson organized the Republican Party (emphasizing its antimonarchical views). They believed in decentralized government with limited powers. The opposing party was the Federalist Party (Alexander Hamilton) who favored a strong central government. The Federalists called the Jefferson group Democratic-Republican Party. Eventually the Federalist Party faded from the political scene.

In the early 1800’s new states began entering the union. There were varying opinions that split the Democratic-Republican Party (time frame of President Adams). Adam’s supporters became known as National Republican’s and Jackson’s supporters became known as Democrats (sometimes as Jacksonian Democrats). In 1832 (Baltimore, MD), the Democrats nominated Jackson for president and drafted a party platform, among other things.

In the 1860’s the party went through a significant period of turmoil due to the issue of slavery. The party struggled for several years. When the country took an economic dive with the stock market crash of 1929, which led to the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt became the president (a Democrat). He started social security and implemented statutory minimum wage. He worked to create unity between farmers, city dwellers, immigrants, intellectuals and reformers. He was reelected in 1936, 1940 and 1944. He died in 1945, and Truman (VP) took office. Democrats championed civil rights and racial desegregation under Truman, Kennedy, and LB Johnson.

The Democratic Party today supports a strong federal government with powers to regulate business and industry in the public interest. Federally funded social services and benefits for the poor, the unemployed, the aged and other groups are also supported by the Democrats as well as the protection of civil rights. Most Democrats oppose government regulation of the private, noneconomic lives of citizens and support a strong separation of church and state.

Andrew Jackson, Marvin Van Buren, James Polk, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Grover Cleveland, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D Roosevelt, Harry Truman, JF Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama were all Democrats that served as President of the United States of America.

David Hall, Joseph Haslet, John Collins, Charles Thomas were all of the Democratic-Republican Party and served as Governor in the State of Delaware; once the party split, Caleb Bennett, William Tharp, William Ross, William Burton, Gove Saulsbury, James Ponder, John Cochran, John Hall, Charles Stockley, Benjamin Biggs, Robert Reynolds, William Watson, Ebe Tunnell, Richard McMullen, Elbert Carvel, Charles Terry Jr, Sherman Tribbitt, Tom Carper, Ruth Ann Minner, Jack Markell and John Carney (present) are all Democrats that have served in the seat of Governor for the State of Delaware.