History of the Democratic and Republican parties in the USA: What are the differences between them

2024-05-23 19:16:34Fokus SHKRUAR NGA REDAKSIA VOX

The United States has two major parties: the Democratic and the Republican.

VOA takes a look at the history of the two parties.

Democratic Party

The Democratic Party is known as a supporter of a greater role of the federal government in the life of the country and social policies.

However, this has not always been the case.

In 1792 Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, founders of the Democratic-Republican Party, which later became the Democratic Party, aimed to reduce the role of the federal government and involve more people in the democratic process.

In 1829, President Andrew Jackson further expanded these principles. He wanted to further shrink the federal government and extend the right to vote from landowners to white men of all socioeconomic classes.

African-American men did not gain the right to vote for another 41 years, when the 15th Amendment was passed. Women had to wait another 91 years for the right to vote, until the 19th Amendment was passed. The Voting Rights Act that removed all barriers to African-American voters was not passed for another 136 years.

Andrew Jackson's successful presidential campaign originated the symbol of the Democratic Party - the donkey. His rivals called him "donkey", while he and his supporters adopted the animal as a symbol.

In 1860, during the beginning of the Civil War, the Democratic Party split along geographic lines. Northern Democrats and Southerners who disagreed over slavery and the Union.

After the defeat of the "South" in the Civil War of 1865, the Democratic Party lost national importance for several generations, while President Abraham Lincoln's Republican Party dominated the political scene.

In 1912, when the first Democrat from the South was elected president since the Civil War, the party began to become more progressive. President Woodrow Wilson strengthened federal labor laws and supported women's right to vote, which was ratified in 1920.

Democrats resumed dominating political life during the Great Depression, when President Franklin Roosevelt expanded the role of the federal government through a series of programs known as the New Deal.

Many African-American voters switched to the Democratic Party because of President Roosevelt's policies.

The Democrats continued to control the political scene for the next 50 years, as the party began to move toward leftist policies.

In the mid-1960s, President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act and several major social programs. This sparked resentment among southern Democrats, many of whom joined the Republican Party.

Over the past few decades, Democrats and Republicans have traded as presidents.

Barack Obama, the first African-American president, further expanded the role of government by enacting the affordable health insurance program known as Obamacare.

President Joe Biden, who took office during the pandemic, passed a $1.8 trillion COVID-19 aid package, a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and a $369 billion climate initiative.

The Republican Party

The Republican Party is known as a supporter of a smaller federal government and conservative policies.

However, this has not always been the case.

The party was founded in 1854 by 'Northerners' who wanted a stronger federal government to oppose the expansion of slavery into the western states.

The party's second candidate for president, Abraham Lincoln, won the presidency in 1860 and was committed to preserving the Union and ending slavery.

After the victory of the 'North' in the Civil War, the Republican Party dominated the country's politics for the next 70 years.

During this period, the party advocated the expansion of the role of the federal state.

Party leaders also supported the 15th Amendment, which guaranteed African-American men the right to vote.

The dominance of the party in the life of the country declined during the period of the "Great Depression". Democrats blamed Republicans' pro-business policies for the deep economic crisis.

For the next 50 years, Democrats controlled national politics, with only one Republican president in power.

Republicans responded with conservative policies against the Democrats' initiative to expand the federal government that began during the Great Depression.

Changes in party politics brought about demographic changes, with African Americans switching to the Democratic Party and many whites in the South switching to the Republican Party.

In the 1980s, Republican President Ronald Reagan won convincingly with his policies.

Over the past few decades, Democrats and Republicans have traded as presidents.

Republican Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump advocated an even smaller role for the federal government and moved toward more right-wing conservative policies.