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A Brief History of the American Democratic Party

Updated on January 14, 2019
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History, politics, and spirituality supply writing topics that help me keep my essay writing strong, supporting claims and reporting facts.

Democratic Party Logo



The Democratic Party of the United States of America (USA) variously claims roots extending back to Thomas Jefferson's Democratic-Republican Party or to Andrew Jackson's Democratic Party. Because of the nature of societal transformation through new inventions, technological advances, and evolving mores, political parties can, in fact, change over time. For example, the Democratic-Republican Party of Jefferson and Madison arose in opposition to the Federalists, with the dominant issue of contention being government centralization and expansion. In that regard, the Democratic-Republicans resemble the current Republican Party more than the current Democratic Party.

Because changing interests can result in societal transformation, the current American Democratic Party issues the claim that current Republicans and Democrats are not the same parties of yesteryear because they both changed, i.e., switched positions on certain issues, particularly the issue of race in society and politics. The Democratic Party uses this "switching parties" claim to rehabilitate itself from its racist past that was on display prior to the American Civil War.

Employing the idea that the parties traded platforms, the Democrats insist that it is the Republicans who are now racist (as well as "sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic," and other "deplorables" that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton kept in her notorious "basket" during the 2016 presidential campaign).

In reality, however, the only change that the Democratic Party instituted about itself from its earlier days of explicit argumentation for slavery, segregation, and its subsequent confinement to the second-class status of black citizens is its rhetoric. Its policies have kept a significant segment of black citizens in second-class status in every major city that has continued to elect Democrats to its major offices. As Kevin Williamson has averred, "[Democrats will] do anything to keep aggrieved voters from noticing which party has run America’s cities into the ground."

Andrew Jackson and the Indian Removal Act

Trail of Tears


Party of the Common Man: The White Common Man Only

"The Democratic Party identified itself as the 'white man's party' and demonized the Republican Party as being 'Negro dominated' . . . " —"The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow"

The current Democratic Party in the United States of America has its roots in the Democratic Party of Andrew Jackson. Under the seventh president of the United States of America, slavery not only continued but thrived.

Democrat racism was not limited to African Americans. It was under Democrat Andrew Jackson that the American Indians suffered the confiscation of land and the "Trail of Tears" that forced the Cherokee from their lands east of the Mississippi to Oklahoma. During this movement, about 4000 Cherokees died.

Since its inception, the Democratic Party has tried to sell itself as the party of the "common man," but its reality demonstrates that it has alway been the party of the "white only common man" at best and the party of the lust-for-power-elites at worst.

Dred Scott


The Party of Slavery and Segregation

The primary issue which has motivated the Democratic Party since its beginning—and which gave birth to the Republican Party—is the problem of slavery along with its racism against African Americans that followed the end of slavery.

Dred Scott v. Sanford

Dred Scott had been born a slave but had lived for many years in non-slave territories. He sued for his freedom and after eleven years, his case reached the Supreme Court. In 1857 , the Democrat dominated Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Roger Taney denied Scott's claim for freedom based on the decision that blacks were not and could not be citizens. Without citizenship, Scott had no standing to sue in Federal court.

Slavery and the Democratic Party

As reconstruction of the devastated South began after the Civil War, former slaves, having been emancipated by the Emancipation Proclamation and the bloody war, began a long struggle to claim their rights as citizens of the republic. The Democratic Party spawned the terrorist group, Ku Klux Klan, to squelch efforts of blacks to function as citizens.

The Civil Right Act of 1870, also called the first "Ku Klux Klan Act," was introduced by Republicans into congress to stop the terrorism against blacks. Congressional Republicans voted for the act, while congressional Democrats voted against it.

The members of the congressional Democratic Party continued to vote down every measure for guaranteeing rights to former slaves and other blacks. Democrats voted nay on the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments to the Constitution, all dedicated to citizenship and voting rights for blacks.

The party of slavery and segregation, however, did not oppose Jim Crow laws and Black Codes. Until the 1990s, black citizens who sought to serve in the House and Senate always ran as Republicans, for example, the three senators, Hiram Revels (R-MS, 1870), Blanche K. Bruce (R-MS, 1875), Edward William Brooke III, (R-MA, 1966). The first black to run for the senate as a Democrat was Carol Mosely Braun (D-IL), who won a senate seat in 1992.

Congressman Thaddeus Stevens (R-PA) sponsored the Freedmen's Bureau Act in 1866, which apportioned to former slaves parcels of land for farming—often called the "40-acres-and-a-mule" act—against which the Democrats immediately voiced their opposition.

The Missing Black History of the Democratic Party - Part I

Democrats and the Education of Blacks

Democrats worked against the founding of historical black colleges, as they declared blacks were incapable of receiving an education. It is therefore noteworthy that many of the historically black colleges bear the name of white Republicans, such as Morehouse College, for Henry L. Morehouse, and Howard University, for General Oliver Howard. According to Hip Hop Republican: "Most people do not know that it was white Republicans who financed, funded and sponsored the colleges and universities for African Americans in the 1800s and early 1900s, while Democrats, with brutal force, opposed every effort made by Republicans to educate African Americans."

The following is a list of some of the black schools and colleges that were founded by prominent Republicans in the face of opposition from Democrats.

  • Morehouse College 1867 Atlanta, GA
  • Howard University 1867 Washington, DC
  • Spelman College 1881 Atlanta, GA
  • Shaw University 1865 Raleigh, NC
  • Fisk University 1866 Nashville, TN
  • Atlanta University 1867 Atlanta, GA
  • Virginia Union University 1899 Richmond, VA
  • Straight University 1869 New Orleans, LA
  • Talladega College 1867 Talladega, AL
  • Clark University 1870 Atlanta, GA
  • Meharry Medical College 1867 Nashville, TN
  • Morgan College 1867 Baltimore, MD
  • New Orleans University 1873 New Orleans LA
  • Philander Smith College 1883 Little Rock AR
  • Rust College 1883 Holy Spring MS
  • Samuel Houston College 1900 Austin, TX

After Democrats are confronted with their racist history, they customarily reply with the continuing claim that the two parties switched their positions on race somewhere in the recent past. For a treatment of that fallacy, see "Debunking the Claim That Republicans and Democrats Switched Side on Race."

Democratic Party Logo


What Does the Modern Democratic Party Stand For?

The 2016 Democratic Party Platform offers only a list of vague promises, false claims attributed to presidential candidate Donald Trump, and false accomplishments attributed to President Barack Obama. The following plank exemplifies the perversion of the truth, as it focuses on a mere fallacious campaign talking point regarding Trump's business acumen and then risibly asserts that Democrats will "cut the red tape" that they themselves put in place:

The Democratic Party will make it easier to start and grow a small business in America, unlike Donald Trump, who has often stiffed small businesses—nearly bankrupting some—with his deceptive and reckless corporate practices. By supporting small business and entrepreneurship, we can grow jobs faster in America. We will cut the red tape that holds back small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Regarding Trump "stiff[ing] small businesses": Trump has spent the past 40 plus years of his life in the business world—hiring, firing, undergoing bankruptcy as well as extremely lucrative years that have left him a billionaire. It is only natural that in all that activity, Trump would have encountered subcontractors whose work did not meet his expectations and for which he would refuse to pay, in part or in full. About his issue, Trump has explained: "Let’s say that they do a job that’s not good, or a job that they didn’t finish, or a job that was way late. I’ll deduct from their contract, absolutely. That’s what the country should be doing."

That the 2016 Democratic Platform would offer a wide-spread, fallacious talking point in its important document is unconscionable. Yet, it gets worse. The party platform claims it will "grow jobs faster in America," ostensibly by "cut[ting] the red tape that holds back small businesses and entrepreneurs." However, it is the Democratic Party under the Obama administration while controlling the congress and presidency that put that "red tape" in place, rendering it impossible to believe that the party of high taxation and over-regulation would "cut the red tape," for which it is responsible. After only two years in power, the Trump administration has already cut a significant number of Obama era regulations that have been making business sluggish for the past eight years of the that administration.

The 2016 Democratic Party Platform continues in the same vain for 45 pages! Thus, one still is left with the question: what are Democrats actually for? Of course, the answer is simple: power—they want power to amass personal fortunes at the expense of American tax-payers. The Clintons and Obamas have acquired their massive fortunes through political name recognition which sells books and draws huge stipends for delivering their vacuous speeches.

Donald Trump has been a working, contributing member of American society for decades, and as president he is donating his salary to charities; he continues to work to apply the campaign promises that got him elected. Yet, the Democrats continue to resist and attempt to discredit a man, who has actually served his fellow citizens through his successful business ventures, while the congressional and senatorial Democrats twist the truth, obfuscate facts, and blatantly prevaricate their way to power.

Therefore, it remains easier to identify what the Democratic Party is against than to pinpoint what it is for, with the notable exception of the acquisition of power. Through the decades, the party of the "common man" has opposed the following policies designed to improve the lives of the "common man":

  • Civil Rights Act 1866
  • Reconstruction Act of 1867
  • Freedmen’s Bureau Extension Act of 1866
  • Enforcement Act of 1870
  • Force Act of 1871
  • Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871
  • Civil Rights Act of 1875
  • Civil Rights Act of 1957
  • Civil Rights Act of 1960
  • Right to Work 1968 to present
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Act 1972
  • Veterans Health Care Reform 2018
  • Charter Schools
  • School Choice

In the 21st century, with its stance against school choice and advocacy for abortion, the Democratic Party remains the party of slavery and segregation. Those two issues negatively affect the African American citizens of America more directly than any of the other issues.

Democratic Party Campaign Poster 1856


D'Souza exposes the secret history of LBJ

The LBJ Distraction

In the attempt to rehabilitate their undisputed past of racism, Democrats like to point to the fact that President Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat, signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Acts of 1965. But he did so out of political expediency, not because he had changed his original position on racism. He had remained squarely against both of these bills before he was for them.

Johnson bemoaned that decision by stating that signing those bills would cause him to lose his party. Johnson and the Democratic Party had filibustered in congress against both of those legislative acts. And then in 1972, the same party opposed the Equal Employment Opportunity Act.

Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin has reported that Johnson once declaimed in the following racist rant:

These Negroes, they're getting pretty uppity these days and that's a problem for us since they've got something now they never had before, the political pull to back up their uppityness. Now we've got to do something about this, we've got to give them a little something, just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference. For if we don't move at all, then their allies will line up against us and there'll be no way of stopping them, we'll lose the filibuster and there'll be no way of putting a brake on all sorts of wild legislation. It'll be Reconstruction all over again. —Said to Senator Richard Russell, Jr. (D-GA) regarding the Civil Rights Act of 1957 [my emphasis added]

Johnson is also credited with saying: "I'll have them ni**ers voting Democratic for the next two hundred years." He supposedly said this after signing the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Although left-leaning fact-checker,, which routinely goes through verbal gymnastics to support the Democratic Party, cannot confirm the accuracy of this statement calling it "unproven," they do report that Johnson once made the following remark after having nominated the black judge, Thurgood Marshall, to the Supreme Court: “Son, when I appoint a ni**er to the court, I want everyone to know he’s a ni**er.”

In his later years, Johnson's opportunism was likely more responsible for his racist sounding rhetoric than actual animus against blacks. But the same fact continues to drive the party of the "common man" today. Their unabashed using of and pandering to the black community to gain votes in order to acquire power remains the steady focus of that party, not the progress of any of the afflicted minority groups that have been unveiled in recent years, including the LGBT community.

"Socialism is theft" Ben Shapiro SLAMS Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez while debunking Socialism

Big Government Leading to Socialism

The putative party of the "common man" that supports high taxation to fund a welfare state got its toehold in American culture curing the Franklin Delano Roosevelt administration (1933-1945). Against the grain of Americanism that has from the beginning of the country's founding promoted individual success and achievement, the Democratic Party is hurtling towards a socialistic ordering of society, accounting for the popularity of Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. That party campaigns with promises of hand-outs rather than fostering an atmosphere conducive to independent growth and success. Supervising the lives of citizens replaces offering education that encourages the ability to think and critically oppose tyranny.

The Democratic Party favors systems which allow more and more citizens to rely on government largess instead of on their ability to self-provide—thus their stance against vouchers for school choice. They want children to be taught (or more accurately "trained") in government run "public" schools directed by the government agency, the Department of Education. Keeping children tied to failing schools becomes as necessary as offering abortion, while attempting to reign in the influence of religion in society.

Famous Black Republicans


Blacks Are Waking Up to Democrats' Deception

While LBJ's prediction that he would have black citizens voting for Democrats for 200 years seems to have materialized with a vengeance, yet in the age of Trump, things are changing, and actually the change has been in the making for a decade or so. While the majority of blacks still vote for Democrats, many black intellectual leaders and other prominent black citizens have emerged to help explain why voting for Democrats is the bane of black American lives. For example, black columnist Armstrong Williams unveils examples of the racial hypocrisy from both the Clinton and the Obama administrations.

A list of black conservatives features such notable names as Senator Tim Scott, former Representative Mia Love, Condoleezza Rice, Dr. Ben Carson, Clarence Thomas, Thomas Sowell, Larry Elder, Alveda King, and many others. While Donald Trump received 8% of the black vote in 2016—more than Mitt Romney in 2012—black approval rating of Trump had jumped to 36% by 2018.

In 2000 during the presidential campaign, group of young black members of his church asked Rev. Wayne Perryman for whom they should vote. He recommended they vote "Democrat" because the Democrats have done more for blacks than Republicans. They asked him for support for that statement, and he then began to do research. He discovered that he had been wrong, and he shared his findings in his book, Unfounded Loyalty: An In-Depth Look into the Love Affair Between Blacks and Democrats.

The thorough job of brainwashing done on the culture by the Democratic Party since the 1930s will take time to remedy. The wholesale acceptance of the notion that the two parties switched platforms is so deeply ingrained that only time and the slow process of winning hearts and minds one at a time will eventually wake up the culture, especially the black community along with other minorities, to the fact that the Democratic Party is not now nor has it ever been the party of the "common man."

It would be a beneficial transformation and would raise the stature of party politics and American citizens' relationship to their government if the Democratic Party could one day become viable as a party of "common decency," but that transformation is not yet on the horizon. With the current crop of Democrats in the House and the Senate, it is not likely that such a transformation will anytime soon be in the offing.

Wayne Perryman


The Secret History of the Democratic Party

© 2018 Linda Sue Grimes


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