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The Change of the Democratic Party

by Nicholas Bridenstine

Political parties over the world are ever changing, especially the Democratic party, a now 185 year old party. The democratic party used to support slavery and racial injustice, but now they support the opposite supporting racial equality and many other things. What happened to the party and why did it change?

The democratic party majorly changed over the years. The new party was formed to oppose the Federalists and to get Andrew Jackson into office. People that mainly voted for the democratic party were white southerners looking to keep slaves and have a voice in congress. Jackson after he was elected 7th president of the US immediately started expelling Native Americans off their lands to be known as the “Trail of Tears”. The Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole tribes were expelled from their homelands stretching over Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, thousands died on the trail. Over the next 100 years most of their cultures died out and are never touched upon again. In the next 50 years Manifest destiny is adopted and all white Americans are destined to claim land out West for their country.

Then, in 1860 when a new rival popped up, Lincoln the Republican Party representative, the country was divided. The Union was split over a election since the northern states did not want slavery when the southern states relied on it. That is when the civil war began. The democrats took the south and seceded from the Union and formed the Confederacy.

In 1865 the Union was victorious and the country was whole again.


Not entirely.

Even though the Union won and slavery was abolished that does not mean racism ended. The reason white people in the south voted for democrats in the 1800’s is because they did not like big government (Not liking the government in control of everything) and also they did not want black people in the government.

Fast forward to the 20th century and there were problems like robber barons who were company owners that were rich and powerful. More people started to push progressivism saying how the government should have a big role in society and to be able to control big businesses. Then, Woodrow Wilson who made the Democratic party a home for progressives and the Republicans became the business party. Finally, the Great depression hammered the fact that Democrats were the party of more government power while the Republicans were the opposite.

In an attempt to stop the depression President Roosevelt signed the biggest amount of government funded organizations to help the country. In addition, it was the largest in American history, it was called the ‘New Deal’. The country was still split over race, in 1964 when the senate voted on anti-segregation it showed how there were more progressives in the party then conservatives. Furthermore, the party started to turn to equality instead of segregation, but that doesn’t mean the southern democrats started to change. Black voters started to lean towards the democratic party and started to move away from the republican party.

White voters started to move away from the democratic party and moved to the republican side, mostly because of the civil rights act of 1964 and a fear of big government. From 1968-1988 democrats lost 5 of the 6 elections mostly to huge results and that was bad for the Democrats because the country started to turn Red (Republican). But lately Democrats have had a comeback since minority voters are increasingly starting to vote. That's in part to the Hispanic voters that have impacted the democratic change enormously. Finally, in 2008 when the first African-American president Barack Obama was elected the country started to change.

The country has been through many changes as the parties change. The Democrats used to support slavery and racism but now they lead minorities and try to stop racism.

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