Difference between revisions of "Democratic Party"

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
m (History)
m (Leadership)
Line 156: Line 156:
''Below is a list of national leaders of the [[Democratic Party|Democratic Party]]:''<ref name="dnc lead">[http://www.democrats.org/about/our_leaders ''Democratic National Committee'', "Our Leaders," accessed March 30, 2014]</ref>.
''Below is a list of national leaders of the [[Democratic Party|Democratic Party]]:''<ref name="dnc lead">[http://www.democrats.org/about/our_leaders ''Democratic National Committee'', "Our Leaders," accessed March 30, 2014]</ref>
===National leadership===
===National leadership===

Revision as of 11:06, 14 April 2014

Democratic Party
DNC logo.JPG
Basic facts
Location:Washington, D.C.
Top official:Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Year founded:1848
Website:Official website
The Democratic Party is one of two major political parties in the United States, the other being the Republican Party.

The Democratic Party includes a diverse group of individuals who typically emphasize the need for a greater role of the federal government in promoting social, economic and political opportunities for all citizens. The party typically argues for more government control over economic matters and less government control over individual rights.[1]

The symbol of the donkey for the Democratic Party is said to have stemmed from Andrew Jackson. His opposition called him a "jackass." Instead of taking it as an insult, he chose to adopt this as a symbol. This, in turn, became the symbol of the Democratic Party.[1]

Democratic National Committee

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) provides national leadership and is the principal organization governing the Democratic Party of the United States. While it is responsible for overseeing the process of writing and promoting a platform every four years, the DNC's central focus is on campaign, fundraising, political activity and election strategy in support of Democratic Party candidates and not on public policy. The DNC was established at the 1848 Democratic National Convention.[2][3]

Its main counterpart is the Republican National Committee.


The Democratic Party is considered to be the older and more liberal of the two major political parties in the United States.[4]

Both the Democratic Party and Republican Party originated as one, single party. This party was called the Democratic-Republican Party, and it was organized by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson in 1792. The purpose of the Democratic-Republican Party was to stand in opposition against the Federalist Party, who had supported and pushed through the ratification of the United States Constitution, in upcoming elections.[5] The party came into power with Thomas Jefferson’s election in 1801 and held the nation’s highest office through the election of Andrew Jackson in 1824. Jackson’s election was contentious, however, with the party dividing its support between him and John Quincy Adams. Soon after the 1824 election, the party officially split into the National Republicans (led by Adams and Henry Clay) and the Democratic Party (led by Jackson). It adopted its present name during the Presidency of Andrew Jackson in the 1830s. [6]

In the 1840s and 1950s, the party was in conflict over extending slavery to the Western territories. The party split in 1960 over the unresolved issue of slavery. This resulted in the election of the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln. Bitterness over the Civil War and post-war Reconstruction caused southern states to become Democratic for the next 100 years, during which time they wielded considerable control over the party.[7]

By the 1900s, the Democratic Party evolved from its original platform, favoring more government oversight and regulation in business and economic affairs. These began with the progressive policies of the Wilson administration and deepened after the Great Depression with the founding of various social assistance programs that still continue to this day. In addition, the Democratic Party moved towards a more liberal interpretation of the United States Constitution.

Another factor that contributed to the evolution of the Democratic Party was religious affiliation. The Republicans of the North were mostly Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregationalist, while most Democrats were Catholic, Episcopalian and German Lutheran. Because of this sharp division, issues like prohibition became difficult to settle. Similar to the current political atmosphere, the Republicans then believed that the government should interfere with morality issues, like drinking alcohol, to protect citizens from sin, while Democrats felt that the government should not be allowed to make religious or moral legislation.

Over the next century, both the Democratic and Republican parties began to materialize into the polarized, two-party system that we have today.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) lists the following timeline of significant events of the Democratic Party on their website:[8]


For more than 200 years, our party has led the fight for civil rights, health care, Social Security, workers' rights, and women's rights. We are the party of Barack Obama, John F. Kennedy, FDR, and the countless everyday Americans who work each day to build a more perfect union...

We've reined in a financial system that was out of control and delivered the toughest consumer protections ever enacted.

We've reworked our student loan system to make higher education more affordable and won the fight for equal pay for women.

We passed the Recovery Act, which created or helped to save millions of jobs and made unprecedented investments in the major pillars of our country.

From America's beginnings to today, people have turned to Democrats to meet our country's most pressing challenges—and pave the way for a future that lifts up all Americans.

1920s: 19th Amendment: Woman’s Suffrage

Under the leadership of Democratic President Woodrow Wilson, the U.S. Constitution was amended to grant women the right to vote. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee's became the 36th state to ratify women's suffrage, and it became our nation's 19th amendment.


In the 1930s, Americans turned to Democrats and elected President Franklin Roosevelt to end the Great Depression. President Roosevelt offered Americans a New Deal that put people back to work, stabilized farm prices, and brought electricity to rural homes and communities.

Under President Roosevelt, Social Security established a promise that lasts to this day: growing old would never again mean growing poor.

1935: Social Security Act

One of the most enduring parts of FDR's New Deal, the Social Security Act provides assistance to retirees, the unemployed, widows, and orphans. By signing this act, FDR was the first president to advocate for federal assistance for the elderly. It was largely opposed by Republican legislators.


In 1944, FDR signed the G.I. Bill—a historic measure that provided unprecedented benefits for soldiers returning from World War II, including low-cost mortgages, loans to start a business, and tuition and living expenses for those seeking higher education. Harry Truman helped rebuild Europe after World War II with the Marshall Plan and oversaw the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. By integrating the military, President Truman helped to bring down barriers of race and gender and pave the way the way for civil rights advancements in the years that followed.


In the 1960s, Americans again turned to Democrats and elected President John Kennedy to tackle the challenges of a new era. President Kennedy dared Americans to put a man on the moon, created the Peace Corps, and negotiated a treaty banning atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.

And after President Kennedy's assassination, Americans looked to President Lyndon Johnson, who offered a new vision of a Great Society and signed into law the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act.

1964: Civil Rights Act

This landmark piece of legislation outlawed major forms of discrimination against African Americans and women and prohibited racial segregation. Signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, it ended unequal voting requirements and segregated schools, workplaces, and public facilities.


President Johnson's enactment of Medicare was a watershed moment in America's history that redefined our country's commitment to our seniors—offering a new promise that all Americans have the right to a healthy retirement.


In 1976, in the wake of the Watergate scandal, Americans elected Jimmy Carter to restore dignity to the White House. He created the Departments of Education and Energy and helped to forge a lasting peace between Israel and Egypt.


In 1992, after 12 years of Republican presidents, record budget deficits and high unemployment, Americans turned to Democrats once again and elected Bill Clinton to get America moving again. President Clinton balanced the budget, helped the economy add 23 million new jobs, and oversaw the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in history.


And in 2008, Americans turned to Democrats and elected President Obama to reverse our country's slide into the largest economic downturn since the Great Depression and undo eight years of policies that favored the few over the many.

Under President Obama's direction and congressional Democrats' leadership, we've reformed a health care system that was broken and extended health insurance to 32 million Americans.

2010: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

After decades of trying and despite unanimous opposition from Republicans, President Obama and Democrats passed comprehensive health reform into law in March 2010. The Affordable Care Act will hold insurance companies accountable, lower costs, expand coverage, and improve care for all Americans.[9]

Party values

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) lists the following Democratic Party values on their website:[10]

Civil Rights

Democrats have a long and proud history of defending Civil Rights and expanding opportunity for all Americans. From the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009 to including marriage equality in the party platform in 2012, Democrats have fought to end discrimination in all forms—including discrimination based on race, sex, ethnicity or national origin, language, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or disability.

For too many though, this ideal is still far from a reality. That’s why in our fight to stand up for civil rights for all Americans, we are committed to protecting voting rights, enacting the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, ensuring marriage equality and equal federal rights for LGBT couples and achieving equal pay for equal work.


Democrats share with all parents the commitment to prepare our children to lead lives of happiness and success. That’s why we’re dedicated to ensuring the next generation has access to a first-rate education and the tools to drive our economy forward.

Energy Independence

President Obama knows we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices or a quick-fix solution to our energy needs. That’s why he and Democrats are focused on developing all of America’s natural resources—domestic oil, gas, wind, solar and biofuels—and encouraging fuel efficiency so that we can reduce our dependence on foreign oil over time.


From protecting endangered species to restoring our ecosystems and investing in clean-energy solutions, the Obama administration and Democrats are committed to working to address our biggest environmental challenges.

Health Care

In March 2010, President Obama fulfilled a promise that Democrats have pursued for nearly a century: making health care available to all Americans. Despite unanimous opposition from Republicans, Democrats were finally able to pass comprehensive health reform into law.

Immigration Reform

America has a long and rich heritage of immigration. Democrats have always embraced our country's diversity, but we also recognize that we need to fix our broken immigration system.

Jobs and the Economy

President Obama inherited an economy in free fall, with huge deficits, skyrocketing health care costs, dwindling employment, and banking and housing markets on the brink of collapse. Working with the President, Democrats stabilized the financial system and helped to prevent a second Great Depression. An economy that was losing 700,000 jobs a month is now gaining jobs. We still have a long way to go, but we are now moving forward on the road to recovery.

National Security

As the threats facing our country have evolved over the years, so too has our ability to respond to them. Our national security personnel are the most dynamic and well-trained in the world, and we must never forget the solemn duty that they fulfill for our nation. Democrats are committed to ensuring that our troops have the training, equipment, and support that they need when they are deployed and the care that they and their families need and deserve when they return home.

Open Government

For Democrats, changing politics in Washington means ensuring that government is open, transparent, and responsive to the needs of the people. President Obama has implemented the most sweeping ethics and transparency requirements in history, building on steps taken by Democrats to limit the influence of special interests and ensure that government is accountable to the people.

Science & Technology

America has a rich history of technological innovation and scientific ingenuity. But after years of declining tests scores in math and science and a Republican administration that often turned its back on science, the United States risks losing its scientific dominance. Democrats are committed to reversing this trend by investing in the technologies and jobs of the future while increasing support for more advanced research, labs, and classrooms.

Retirement Security

In 1935, Democrats and President Franklin Roosevelt created Social Security. In 1965, Democrats and President Lyndon Johnson created Medicare. Ever since, Democrats have continually fought to defend these cornerstones of the American Dream in the face of attempts to dismantle or undermine both.

Voting Rights

Democrats have a long and proud history of fighting for voting rights that continues to this day. And while we've made significant progress in securing the right to vote for all eligible Americans, many voters still face difficulties in the voting process, from registering to casting a ballot to having their votes counted. Those often disproportionately affected are communities of color, young people, the elderly, low-income individuals, and disabled voters, as well as military members and veterans. In many parts of the country, voters are underserved by a lack of polling places, outdated voting machines, and unnecessarily complicated laws.[9]


Below is a list of national leaders of the Democratic Party:[11]

National leadership

Title Officer State
President of the United States Barack Obama[11] Illinois
Vice President of the United States Joe Biden[11] Delaware
Chairwoman of the DNC Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz[11] Florida
Congressional Committee Chairman Congressman Steve Israel[12] New York
Governors Association Chairman Governor Peter Shumlin[13] Vermont
Senatorial Committee Chairman Senator Michael Bennet[11] Colorado
State Legislative Campaign Committee Chairman Mike Gronstal[14] Iowa
U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi[11] California
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid[11] Nevada

Chairpersons of the DNC

Below is a historical list of past and present chairpersons of the Democratic National Committee (DNC):[15]

Chairperson Term State
Benjamin F. Hallett 1848–1852 Massachusetts
Robert Milligan McLane 1852–1856 Maryland
David Allen Smalley 1856–1860 Vermont
August Belmont 1860–1872 New York
Augustus Schell 1872–1876 New York
Abram Stevens Hewitt 1876–1877 New York
William H. Barnum 1877–1889 Connecticut
Calvin Stewart Brice 1889–1892 Ohio
William F. Harrity 1892–1896 Pennsylvania
James K. Jones 1896–1904 Arkansas
Thomas Taggart 1904–1908 Indiana
Norman E. Mack 1908–1912 New York
William F. McCombs 1912–1916 New York
Vance C. McCormick 1916–1919 Pennsylvania
Homer S. Cummings 1919–1920 Connecticut
George White 1920–1921 Ohio
Cordell Hull 1921–1924 Tennessee
Clem L. Shaver 1924–1928 West Virginia
John J. Raskob 1928–1932 New York
James A. Farley 1932–1940 New York
Edward J. Flynn 1940–1943 New York
Frank C. Walker 1943–1944 Pennsylvania
Robert E. Hannegan 1944–1947 Missouri
J. Howard McGrath 1947–1949 Rhode Island
William M. Boyle 1949–1951 Missouri
Frank E. McKinney 1951–1952 Indiana
Stephen Mitchell 1952–1955 Illinois
Paul M. Butler 1955–1960 Indiana
Henry M. Jackson 1960–1961 Washington
John Moran Bailey 1961–1968 Connecticut
Lawrence F. O'Brien 1968–1969 Massachusetts
Fred R. Harris 1969–1970 Oklahoma
Lawrence F. O'Brien 1970–1972 Massachusetts
Jean Westwood 1972 Utah
Robert S. Strauss 1972–1977 Texas
Kenneth M. Curtis 1977–1978 Maine
John C. White 1978–19812 Texas
Charles T. Manatt 1981–1985 California
Paul G. Kirk 1985–1989 Massachusetts
Ron Brown 1989–1993 New York
David Wilhelm 1993–1994 Ohio
Debra DeLee 1994–1995 Massachusetts
Christopher J. Dodd 1995–1997 Connecticut
Donald Fowler 1995–1997 South Carolina
Roy Romer 1997–1999 Colorado
Steven Grossman 1997–1999 Massachusetts
Edward G. Rendell 1999–2001 Pennsylvania
Joseph Andrew 1999–2001 Indiana
Terry McAuliffe 2001–2005 Virginia
Howard Dean 2005–2009 Vermont
Tim Kaine 2009–2011 Virginia
Debbie Wasserman Schultz 2011–present Florida

State Chairpersons

Below is a historical list of past and present chairpersons of the Democratic National Committee:[16]

State Chairperson
Alaska Michael Wenstrup
Alabama Nancy Worley
Arizona Bill Roe
Arkansas Vincent Insalaco
California John Burton
Colorado Rick Palacio
Connecticut Nancy DiNardo
Delaware John Daniello
Florida Allison Tant
Georgia Dubose Porter
Hawaii Hon. Dante Carpenter
Idaho Larry Kenck
Illinois Hon. Michael Madigan
Indiana John Zody
Iowa Scott Brennan
Kansas Hon. Joan Wagnon
Kentucky Dan Logsdon
Louisiana Karen Peterson
Maine Ben Grant
Maryland Yvette Lewis
Massachusetts John Walsh
Michigan Lon Johnson
Minnesota Ken Martin
Mississippi Rickey Cole
Missouri Roy Temple Jim Larson
Montana Jim Larson
Nebraska Vince Powers
Nevada Roberta Lange
New Jersey John Currie
New Hampshire Hon. Raymond Buckley
New Mexico Sam Bregman
New York Keith Wright
North Carolina Randy Voller
North Dakota Greg Hodur
Ohio Hon. Chris Redfern
Oklahoma Wallace Collins
Oregon Frank Dixon
Pennsylvania Hon. Jim Burn
Rhode Island Hon. Edwin Pacheco
South Carolina Jamie Harrison
South Dakota Deb Knecht
Tennessee Roy Herron
Texas Hon. Gilberto Hinojosa
Utah Jim Dabakis
Vermont Dorothy (Dottie) Deans
Virginia Hon. Charniele Herring
Washington Hon. Dwight Pelz
West Virginia Larry Puccio
Wisconsin Mike Tate
Wyoming Peter Gosar

Democratic National Conventions

Below is a list of Democratic National Conventions, for which the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was responsible:[17]

Year Location RNC nominee
1832 Baltimore, Maryland Andrew Jackson
1835 Baltimore, Maryland Martin Van Buren
1840 Baltimore, Maryland Martin Van Buren
1844 Baltimore, Maryland James Polk
1848 Baltimore, Maryland Lewis Cass
1852 Baltimore, Maryland Franklin Pierce
1856 Cincinnati, Ohio James Buchanan
April 1860 Charleston, South Carolina None
June 1860 Baltimore, Maryland Stephen Douglas
1864 Chicago, Illinois George McClellan
1868 New York, New York Horatio Seymour
1872 Baltimore, Maryland Horace Greeley
1876 St. Louis, Missouri Samuel Tilden
1880 Cincinnati, Ohio Winfield Hancock
1884 Chicago, Illinois Grover Cleveland
1888 St. Louis, Missouri Grover Cleveland
1892 Chicago, Illinois Grover Cleveland
1896 Chicago, Illinois William Jennings Bryan
1900 Kansas City, Kansas William Jennings Bryan
1904 St. Louis, Missouri Alton Parker
1908 Denver, Colorado William Jennings Bryan
1912 Baltimore, Maryland Woodrow Wilson
1916 St. Louis, Missouri Woodrow Wilson
1920 San Francisco, California James Cox
1924 New York, New York John Davis
1928 Houston, Texas Alfred Smith
1932 Chicago, Illinois Franklin Roosevelt
1936 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Franklin Roosevelt
1940 Chicago, Illinois Franklin Roosevelt
1944 Chicago, Illinois Franklin Roosevelt
1948 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Harry Truman
1952 Chicago, Illinois Adlai Stevenson
1956 Chicago, Illinois Adlai Stevenson
1960 Los Angeles, California John Kennedy
1964 Atlantic City, New Jersey Lyndon Johnson
1968 Chicago, Illinois Hubert Humphrey
1972 Miami Beach, Florida George McGovern
1976 New York, New York Jimmy Carter
1980 New York, New York Jimmy Carter
1984 San Francisco, California Walter Mondale
1988 Atlanta, Georgia Michael Dukakis
1992 New York, New York Bill Clinton
1996 Chicago, Illinois Bill Clinton
2000 Los Angeles, California Al Gore
2004 Boston, Massachusetts John Kerry
2008 Denver, Colorado Barack Obama
2012 Charlotte, North Carolina Barack Obama

See also

Ballotpedia:Index of Terms

External links

Suggest a link

Additional reading