The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the younger Progressive Party. Tracing its origins back to the Democratic-Republican Party, the modern Democratic Party was founded around 1828. There have been 13 Democratic Presidents, the first being Andrew Jackson, who served from 1829 to 1837, the most recent being Hillary Clinton who served from 2005 to 2009.
The Party has traditionally espoused a conservative platform. Until the late 20th the Democratic party base was almost entirely in the South, but since then the party has been able to appeal to branch out to other areas of the country. Since the 1990's the party has moved politically toward the centre, most notably under the Bill and Hillary Clinton administrations. The Party now broadly supports fiscal conservatism and classical liberalism.
Agrarian Democrats demmanding Free Silver overthrew the Bourbon Democrats in 1896 and nominated William Jennings Bryan for the presidency (a nomination repeated by the Democrats in 1900 and 1908). Bryan waged a vigorous campaign attack Eastern moneyed interests, but lost to Republican William McKinley. The Democrats took control of the House in 1910, and were hopeful of their presidential chances in 1912. After a bitter and arduous convention they chose Speaker Champ Clark as the Democratic nominee. In November Clark was narrowly defeated by former President Theodore Roosevelt, the Progressive nominee. The Democrats lost control of the House in 1914, with many liberal and progressive democrats defecting to the Progressive Party. As a consequence the party shifted back to the right, and dominated by the so-called conservative coalition of pro-business, classically liberal northerners, and the solid south. The decline in fortunes of the Republican Party also benefitted the coalition, as pro-business conservative Republicans shifted to the Democrats.
At the 1920 presidential election the Democrats nominated Woodrow Wilson, a self-described progressive, and political reformer.
In 1924 the Democrats nominated businessman and former Progressive Herbert Hoover. Hoover prooved extremely popular with the electorate, and his promise to "Return to Normalcy" after 12 years of Progressive rule.
In 1992 Bill Clinton ended 12 years of Progressive White House control, defeating incumbent Mario Cuomo in a close election. Clinton emphasised a new consensus, and was politically both a moderate and a centrist.
Name and Symbols
Current Structure and composition
The Democratic Party has always favoured conservative principles.
Historically the party has favoured farmers, the south and rural areas. Its support was traditionally centred around the South, but with the conservative realignment in 1968 the Democrats have become a more national party.
The party was founded on populist principles, but during the mid 19th century became more directly aligned with Southern interests, particularly after the civil war. In the late 19th century the party began to espouse more conservative principles, favouring small government and classical liberal economics.
Democrats were traditionally socially conservative, and strongly in favour of states rights. However in recent years they have focused on more economically liberal stances, particularly under the Reagan administration.
In 1992 Bill Clinton, the Democratic nominee, defeated popular incumbent President Mario Cuomo my emphasising a centrist and inclusive Democratic Party. Since then the Democrats have broadly accepted most of the American welfare state, but have supported a greater role of the private sector within it.
Foreign Policy Issues
The Democratic voter base has traditionally consisted of the South and big business.
People in Rural areas are more likely to vote Democratic.