The Democratic Party traces its origins to the Democratic-Republican Party, founded by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and other influential opponents of the Federalists in 1792. Since the division of the Republican Party in the election of 1912, it has consistently positioned itself to the left of the Republican Party in economic as well as social matters. The economically activist philosophy of Franklin D. Roosevelt, which has strongly influenced American liberalism, has shaped much of the party's economic agenda since 1932. Roosevelt's New Deal coalition usually controlled the national government until the 1970s. The civil rights movement of the 1960s has continued to inspire the party's liberal principles, despite having lost the more conservative South in the process.
In 2004, it was the largest political party, with 72 million voters (42.6% of 169 million registered) claiming affiliation. Since the 2006 midterm elections, the Democratic Party is the majority party for the 110th Congress; the party holds an outright majority in the House of Representatives and the Democratic caucus (including two independents) constitutes a majority in the United States Senate. Democrats also hold a majority of state governorships and control a plurality of state legislatures.
In 2010, a total of 1,229 candidates for State Senate and 5,009 candidates for State House are running under the Democrat label. This totals for 48.1% of the 11,099 candidates running for state house in all parties. For State Senate, Democrat candidates total for 44.4% of the 2,765 candidates running for Senate in all parties. State legislative elections will take place in 46 states during the 2010 election cycle.
In 2010, a total of 37 governorships will be contested. The Democrats have fielded candidates in each of 37 governorships.
- The Democratic Party Official website
- Democratic Senate Caucus
- Democratic House Caucus
- DSCC: Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC)
- Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)
- Democratic Governors Association
- Democratic Attorneys General Association
- National Conference of Democratic Mayors
- National Federation of Democratic Women
- College Democrats of America
- Young Democrats of America
- Democrats Abroad
- Progressive Democrats of America
- Party of the People: A History of the Democrats by Jules Witcover, 2003, chapter 1, p.3: "The Democratic Party of the United States, the oldest existing in the world, was in a sense an illegitimate child, unwanted by the founding fathers of the American Republic."
- The Right Nation: Conservative Power in America by John Micklethwait & Adrian Wollridge, 2004, p.15: "The country possesses the world's oldest written constitution (1787); the Democratic Party has a good claim to being the world's oldest political party."
- Democratic Party, Encyclopædia Britannica Online
- Why politics is fun from catbirds' seats Neuhart, P. (22 January, 2004), USA Today