Democratic Party

Author:Jeffrey Lehman, Shirelle Phelps

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The modern Democratic Party is the descendant of the DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICAN PARTY, an early-nineteenth-century political organization led by THOMAS JEFFERSON and JAMES MADISON. Also known as the Jeffersonian Republican Party, the Democratic-Republican Party began

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as an antifederalist group, opposed to strong, centralized government. The party was officially established at a national nominating convention in 1832. It dropped the Republican portion of its name in 1840.

Despite destructive struggles and philosophical shifts, the Democratic Party remains a dominant political force in the United States. The Democrats compete for office with the Republicans, their counterparts in the United States's de facto two-party system though third-party candidates and independents have experienced increasing success at both the state and federal levels, with Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, a former professional wrestler and Navy Seal, being the most visible example. He won the gubernatorial race as a member of the state's REFORM PARTY.

The Democratic Party of the late 1990s supports liberal government policies in social and economic matters. The early party disapproved of federal involvement. Jefferson, Madison, and James Monroe?Virginians who were each elected president of the United States?favored limited powers for the national government.

The fundamental change in Democratic philosophy was the result of fluid coalitions and historical circumstance. The master coalition builder and founder of the modern Democratic Party was ANDREW JACKSON, a populist president who was portrayed as a donkey by political satirists. Jackson transformed presidential politics by expanding party involvement. (The donkey later became the symbol for the Democratic Party.)

The transformation began after Jackson's first unsuccessful bid for the White House. In the 1824 presidential election, Jackson won the popular vote but failed to win a majority in the ELECTORAL COLLEGE. The U.S. Constitution requires the House of Representatives to select the president under these circumstances. When the House chose JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, Jackson was incensed?and began a four-year campaign to win the next presidential election.

With help from political adviser and future president MARTIN VAN BUREN, Jackson won the presidency in 1828.

Jackson had benefited from growth in the nation's population and from laws that increased the number of U.S. citizens eligible to vote. In the 1824 presidential election, about 365,000 votes had been counted. In the 1828 election, over 1 million votes were cast, an

Democratic National Convention Sites, 1832 to 2004
Year Site
1An earlier convention, held in Charleston, South Carolina, had resulted in a split ticket in the party. The official nomination was made at the Baltimore convention.
SOURCE: Democratic Nation Convention website.
1832 Baltimore
1836 Baltimore
1840 Baltimore
1844 Baltimore
1848 Baltimore
1852 Baltimore
1856 Cincinnati
1860 Baltimore2
1864 Chicago
1868 New York City
1872 Baltimore
1876 St. Louis
1880 Cincinnati
1884 Chicago
1888 St. Louis
1892 Chicago
1896 Chicago
1900 Kansas City, MO
1904 St. Louis
1908 Denver
1912 Baltimore
1916 St. Louis
1920 San Francisco
1924 New York City
1928 Houston
1932 Chicago
1936 Philadelphia
1940 Chicago
1944 Chicago
1948 Philadelphia
1952 Chicago
1956 Chicago
1960 Los Angeles
1964 Atlantic City
1968 Chicago
1972 Miami Beach
1976 New York City
1980 New York City
1984 San Francisco
1988 Atlanta
1992 New York City
1996 Chicago
2000 Los Angeles
2004 Boston

increase that clearly helped Jackson, the socalled people's president.

In reaching his goal, Jackson laid the groundwork for a strong party system. He set up an efficient Democratic political organization by forming committees at the local, district, and state levels; holding rallies and conventions; generating publicity; registering new voters; and getting people to the polls.

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Jackson also backed the newly created convention system...

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