Posted by Lilly from ? (188.8.131.52) on Wednesday, June 19, 2002 at 3:40PM :
In Reply to: Federalists posted by Lilly from ? (184.108.40.206) on Wednesday, June 19, 2002 at 2:38PM :
this is from Grolier's Encyclopedia Americana:
Democratic Party, the older of the two major U. S. POLITICAL PARTIES. Tracing its origin to Thomas JEFFERSON's Antifederalist views, the modern party was established by President Andrew JACKSON. Subsequent Democratic presidential leaders included Martin VAN BUREN, James POLK, Grover CLEVELAND, Woodrow WILSON, Franklin D. ROOSEVELT, Harry S TRUMAN, John F. KENNEDY, Lyndon B. JOHNSON, Jimmy CARTER, and Bill CLINTON. Jackson initiated the party's "strong president" tradition; Wilson and his successors augmented it.
From its beginning the party has achieved power through successful coalitions. But early regional factionalism, stemming from the tariff, states' rights, national expansion, and slavery issues, in time split the party and led to the Civil War. Out of power for 24 years thereafter, the Democrats again became the majority party throughout most of the 20th century. But the party's Northern urban, labor, and black supporters were uneasy partners of the solid, conservative South. By mid-century, further exacerbated by such issues as civil rights, Southern Democrats were bolting the party for regional presidential candidates and also were supporting REPUBLICANS.
National party leadership exists in two wings: presidential and congressional. Historically, the party has held a near monopoly on the boss and machine type of urban organization.
History of the Party
Since the first days of the republic numerous major political parties have appeared and disappeared as a consequence of changing leaderships and coalitions. Party organizational lineage was difficult to follow, except through the movements of previous leaders and old interest coalitions. Federalists, who prevailed under Presidents WASHINGTON and John ADAMS, began to disappear during the administration of President Jefferson (1801-1809). They reappeared some 20 years later as National Republicans, followed by the Whigs during the decades between 1836 and 1856. The modern Republican party succeeded the Whigs.
The Democratic lineage was less broken. The Antifederalists soon called themselves Democratic-Republicans or Jeffersonians. They also referred to themselves as "Republicans" and, later, Jacksonians. In 1840, at their third national nominating convention, Democratic-Republicans adopted "Democratic party" as their official name.
Early Factional Divisions
The Federalists had practically disappeared as an opposition party by 1816. Most leading politicians considered themselves Democratic-Republicans whose factionalism began to press certain regional interests. Most aggressive were the Western "War Hawks," led by Henry Clay. The War Hawks wanted internal improvements, particularly in transportation, that would link the frontier with the rest of the country. They also insisted on adequate military protection from Native Americans, early annexation of Florida from Spain and of Canada from Britain, and greater federal control over state militia and creation of a federal army and navy.
On the other hand, southerners and eastern farmers sought tariff protection against foreign competition; they were joined by the incipient manufacturing industry of the Northeast. Democratic-Republicans in general favored easy credit and "cheap money," and they preferred, therefore, state banking to a central national bank such as the one chartered during the Federalist era. These policy positions set the general content of debate within the Democratic party over several decades.
Jacksonian Coalitions and Compromises
In the presidential contest of 1824, the popular frontier figure Andrew Jackson, despite the largest number of popular votes, lost the election in the House of Representatives. The Jacksonians condemned "King Caucus" and were soon joined by one of the period's most skillful politicians, Sen. Martin Van Buren, leader of the Albany Regency (New York State's political "machine"). The Jacksonians thus produced an alliance between frontiersmen and Eastern city organizations.
Almost as friendly to Jackson were the followers of Georgia's Sen. William H. Crawford, representing the old Richmond Junto (the Virginia machine). Opposed to Jackson were the neo-Federalists of New England, whose spokesman was Daniel Webster, the Clay followers, and a Southern faction led by John C. CALHOUN of South Carolina.
Jackson, as president, acted to reinforce the new coalition and, in doing so, built the foundations of the modern Democratic party. For a time, he had to straddle (1) Western demands for internal improvements and Northeastern objections to large federal expenditures, (2) Northeastern demands for a protective tariff and southern insistence on tariff reduction, and (3) Calhoun's view that any state could nullify a national law (specifically, the protective tariff) as opposed to Western pressure for stronger national government, particularly in its military departments. The problem of pleasing all factions was in part resolved by Jackson's stand on an issue around which all Jacksonians could unite, that is, presidential veto of the national bank's petition for recharter in 1832. Democratic unity resulted in victory over Clay's National Republicans in 1832.
Calhoun would not drop the issue of states' rights. His followers in South Carolina called a special state nullification convention to proclaim the federal tariffs of 1828 and 1832 null and void within the jurisdiction of South Carolina. Jackson responded with a proclamation declaring the federal government sovereign and indivisible, denying that any state could refuse to obey the law, and rejecting the notion that any state could leave the Union. Jackson requested and received from Congress a force bill that empowered the president to use armed forces to execute federal law in South Carolina or any other state.
Following this showdown, Southern Democrats began to split between pro-Calhoun nullifiers and pro-Jackson unionists. Slavery was emerging as a troublesome issue, when the annexation of Texas became a policy question in 1835. The Democratic party was confronted by a set of pressures it could not escape or reconcile: westward expansion and the issue of incorporating new territories as either free or slave states.
Van Buren's administration (1837-1841) hedged on Jackson's unionist views by agreeing in part to a Calhoun-sponsored resolution that a state had jurisdiction over slavery within its own boundaries. The Polk administration (1845-1849) pleased the annexationists by acquiring Oregon in a settlement with the British and by launching a war against Mexico that won lands from the Rio Grande to upper California, thereby, ironically, elevating the issue of extension of slavery to first place in Democratic factional debate.
Democrats began to refer to each other as "Barnburners" (so antislavery as to be willing, like the Dutch farmer, to burn the barn in order to rid it of rats) and "hunkers" (whose hunger, or "hunker," for officeholding was so great as to lead to cooperation with slaveholders). The issue divided local as well as national Democrats. Compromise presidential candidates were chosen from the Northwest (Lewis Cass) in 1848 and New England (Franklin PIERCE in 1852. Cass lost, but Pierce was elected. In 1856 a "balanced" national ticket consisted of a Northern moderate (James BUCHANAN) and a Southern moderate (John C. BRECKINRIDGE). Throughout this period the party's slavery plank was usually a masterpiece of ambiguity.
Factional lines hardened when Sen. Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois broke with President Buchanan over administration support of a pro-slavery (Lecompton) constitution for the Kansas territory. Consistent with his local-option "squatter sovereignty" position, Douglas pronounced his "Freeport Doctrine," denying that Congress had power to force slavery upon a territory against the will of its people.
The 1860 Democratic National Convention in Charleston witnessed an embittered factional showdown. The most prominent candidates before the convention were Vice President Breckinridge and Senator Douglas. The Southern-dominated platform committee insisted on a plank promising congressional protection of slave property. The Douglas position reiterated his "squatter sovereignty" principle. All or part of eight Southern delegations walked out. Douglas was still unable to muster a two-thirds majority for the nomination.
Meeting again in Baltimore six weeks later, the national convention had no more success. Ten delegations now bolted to organize a Constitutional Democratic Convention and nominate Breckinridge, apparently with the tacit approval of Buchanan. The Baltimore convention nominated Douglas, leaving the majority party thoroughly divided, and the election was lost.
The Civil War
After Southern Democrats seceded from party and nation, new factional groupings emerged along East-West, war-peace, mercantile-agrarian lines. National chairman August Belmont of New York led the "War Democrats" in support of President LINCOLN's conduct of the war and "sound money" programs for the postwar economy. Hoping to succeed the late Senator Douglas as leader of Western Democrats, Representative Clement L. Vallandigham of Ohio became the major spokesman of the "Peace Democrats," who criticized Lincoln's conduct of the war.
Democrats, in 1864, succeeded in nominating a Civil War general, George B. McClellan, for president and giving him a peace platform on which to run. Meanwhile, President Lincoln recruited a well-known War Democrat, Gov. Andrew JOHNSON of Tennessee, for second place on his "Union" ticket. Thus, Lincoln's assassination put a former War Democrat into the WHITE HOUSE. Distrusted by the Democrats and rejected by the Republicans, Johnson was unable to muster support for Lincoln's moderate plan for Southern reconstruction.
National and Party Reconstruction
As the minority party, the Democrats became absorbed in the problems of postwar inflation and agricultural depression. Factional interests vigorously debated "hard" versus "soft" currency and credit policies. In 1868, after a 22-ballot stalemate, a "hard money" leader, Horatio Seymour of New York, reluctantly agreed to be the nominee of a convention that had just written a "soft money" platform. One significant development of the campaign of 1868 was the emergence of Samuel J. Tilden, corporation lawyer, New York state party chairman, and campaign manager for Seymour.
Virtually leaderless, the Democrats watched GRANT's administration (1869-1877) do battle with liberal Republicans. The liberals opposed severe Reconstruction policies and pressed for civil service reform to rectify the corruption of the Grant administration. By 1871 the Liberal Republican party was established. Democrats agreed on a plan to endorse the 1872 Liberal Republican nominee, who, unexpectedly, turned out to be Horace Greeley.
Within two years, Tilden became governor of New York and won the presidential nomination in 1876. In the election, Tilden received approximately 250,000 more popular votes than Republican Rutherford B. HAYES. However, the validity of 19 ELECTORAL votes (Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida) plus another from Oregon remained in doubt. A special Electoral Commission judged the election returns in Hayes' favor. Tilden and his New York and Southern associates retained general control of the national party machinery over the next eight years and were instrumental in the 1884 nomination of New York's Gov. Grover Cleveland.
Silver and Gold
After 24 years "in the wilderness," Cleveland returned the Democrats to control of the White House. He found an oversized federal patronage to distribute, a federal treasury overflowing from tariff and excise revenues, a farm depression, and a South overburdened with reconstruction costs. Currency and tariff policies became the major issues of the Cleveland era, complicated by a rising output from silver mines and the need to establish an appropriate balance between gold and silver coinage.
Cleveland struck hard for tariff reduction, opposed by Democratic as well as Republican protectionists. Cleveland was defeated for reelection by a small margin in 1888 but was reelected in 1892. By 1892, however, cheap currency, easy credit, and "free silver" had become the major panaceas for dealing with a severe agrarian depression. William Jennings Bryan led those in the party propounding the free silver cause. The silverites dominated the 1896 national convention, at which gold delegates refrained from voting. Bryan won the nomination from older free silver leaders, to become the out-party's titular chief during a generation of great national economic growth and territorial expansion.
For 20 years Democratic factions argued gold versus silver, monopoly versus free enterprise, and imperialism versus liberation of territories acquired in the war with Spain in 1898. Bryan endeavored to forge an alliance out of agrarian discontent in the South and Midwest and the aspirations of the labor movement.
Progressives and Conservatives
By 1912, an era of progressivism was in full swing, a consequence of boss and machine excesses in cities and state legislatures, the popularity of trust-busting, muckraking exposés in the reformist press, and growing concern for a rise in racism and antiforeign attitudes. Only after 46 ballots at the convention of 1912 did an avowed progressive, Gov. Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey, win the Democratic nomination.
Wilson conceived his party leadership essentially as a parliamentary role. This shaped his approach to his legislative program, which he promoted vigorously and successfully, and his impatience with patronage and other organizational needs of his party.
Particularly disturbing to Wilson progressives was the emergence in the South of the Ku Klux Klan, a secret society expounding white supremacy and extreme nativism. As a vote organizer, the Klan was almost without challenge in many constituencies of the South, a factor to be reckoned with in the Democratic party.
Despite efforts to "keep us out of war," Wilson asked Congress to declare war against the Central Powers in 1917. Allied victory in World War I came in 1918, but Wilson was a lame-duck president whose party lost control of Congress during the midterm. Consequently, the peace treaty he negotiated, particularly its provision for a League of Nations, received harsh treatment in Congress and was eventually rejected.
Factionalism of the 1920's
For the next dozen years, the Democratic party was a patchwork of factions. Urban machines in major states stood their ground against Wilson progressives. Following the Russian Revolution (1917), a virulent anticommunism soon became meshed with nativist hostility to immigrants. Problems generated by the 18th (Prohibition) Amendment set "wets" against "drys." Once again the South closed ranks to deadlock the nation convention of 1920. By 1924, factional interests converged on William Gibbs McAdoo, a Protestant, "dry," Wilsonian, and favorite of the Klan, whose support he never disavowed, and Gov. Alfred E. Smith of New York, a Catholic, "wet," and candidate of urban bosses. The McAdoo-Smith struggle concluded in a 103-ballot nominating convention whose compromise candidate was John W. Davis.
In 1928, with McAdoo retired, the nomination went to Smith, whose defeat in the election was assured when several Southern states went Republican. Nevertheless, as the first Catholic to be nominated for the presidency, Smith raised the Democratic turnout by a substantial percentage, particularly in the large cities.
A staunch supporter of Smith over the years, Franklin D. Roosevelt, as governor of New York at the height of the Depression, became Smith's principal opponent for the nomination in 1932. A coalition of Southerners and former McAdoo supporters, carefully nurtured by Roosevelt's campaign manager, James A. Farley, won Roosevelt the nomination.
The election came at a time of grave national economic crisis. Ten million Americans were unemployed. Banks were closing. Business and farm bankruptcies were rising. One hundred days of frantic Congressional activity and Roosevelt's reassuring radio "fireside chats" inaugurated the NEW DEAL.
Direct relief for the starving was distributed through the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. The Civilian Conservation Corps put 300,000 youths to work on public projects. A bank moratorium was followed by emergency banking reform. A social security act provided for old-age pensions and unemployment insurance. These and other New Deal policies shaped public discourse for the next three decades.
In an atmosphere of growing international crisis, President Roosevelt was renominated for an unprecedented third term in 1940, but not without objection from many distinguished Democrats. World War II witnessed a new factionalism. The South prepared to reassert itself. Labor unions now had potent vote-getting capacity. Urban Democratic machines were anxiously attempting to modernize themselves.
As he prepared for a historic fourth nomination in 1944, Roosevelt acquiesced to Southern pressures by withholding support for renomination of Vice President Henry A. WALLACE and accepting the convention's nomination of Harry S Truman, whose competent investigations of defense spending had given him national prominence. Within a year, Truman assumed the presidency on Roosevelt's death. Truman's message to Congress on Sept. 6, 1945, officially launched the Fair Deal.
Truman responded promptly to the problems of the postwar period. The Republican 88th Congress, seeking to limit union activity, passed the Taft-Hartley Act over Truman's veto. Spurred by ideological New Dealers and large-scale migration of black citizens, Truman also appointed the controversial Committee on Civil Rights to help develop a program in the race-relations field. The resulting Civil Rights Bill so inflamed the South that, after an attempt to forestall Truman's nomination in 1948 failed, Democratic regulars in several Southern states supported a Dixiecrat ticket. Despite defections by Dixiecrats and Progressives, who nominated former Vice President Wallace, Truman was elected.
President Truman decided not to run again in 1952. At the national convention, ideological New Dealers, organized as Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), fought successfully to establish a "loyalty pledge" that would bind delegates to the convention's choices. Despite efforts to avoid candidacy, Gov. Adlai E. STEVENSON of Illinois was the compromise choice over the sectional candidacy of Sen. Richard B. Russell of Georgia and an insurgent movement led by Sen. Estes Kefauver of Tennessee. The Republicans nominated the popular wartime commander, Gen. Dwight D. EISENHOWER.
During eight years of out-party titular leadership, Stevenson made unprecedented efforts to improve party organization and to serve as an active party spokesman. His efforts ran against the traditional prerogatives of congressional leaders to speak for the party, particularly when 1954 Democratic majorities gave new initiatives to Speaker Sam Rayburn and his protégé, Senate majority leader Lyndon B. Johnson. Rayburn and Johnson carried on a program of relatively quiet "constructive criticism" of the Eisenhower administration.
At the grassroots level, urban machines, with varying degrees of success, were working assiduously to incorporate their new black constituents into the party. In the South, industrialization, political organization among blacks, unionization, and the Supreme Court's school desegregation decision were creating a new, moderate Democratic leadership in all but the most segregationist areas. The club movement had become the organizational base for many New Deal-Fair Deal liberals. During the presidential primary campaign of 1960, a new force came into view: the Kennedy organization.
The New Frontier
The Kennedy family had roots deep in the Democratic politics of Massachusetts and the New Deal. John F. Kennedy's victory over Hubert H. Humphrey in the 1960 West Virginia primary demonstrated that Catholicism need not be the handicap that it was for Al Smith in 1928. The Kennedy-Johnson ticket conducted a thoroughly united campaign that brought a narrow victory over Richard NIXON.
The 1960 election also brought a further breakup of the one-party solid South. Kennedy's New Frontier program included significant new protections for civil rights in the South and for bringing blacks, as swiftly as they could be registered, into the ranks of the Democratic party. His brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, had a major responsibility for implementation of civil rights legislation as well as registration.
Overseas, the contest with the Communists became further aggravated. The Castro regime of Cuba defeated an American-sponsored invasion by anti-Castro exiles at the Bay of Pigs. In East Asia, Kennedy responded to increased Communist pressure on South Vietnam by sending economic and military aid to Saigon.
Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, and Lyndon Johnson assumed office. Senator Hubert HUMPHREY mediated an end to a filibuster against Kennedy's civil rights bill, and at the 1964 convention Johnson chose Humphrey as his running mate. Johnson's popularity in the wake of the assassination and the extreme conservatism of his Republican opponent, Barry Goldwater, gave the Democrats an overwhelming victory.
Loss of Power
Many antiwar Democrats turned in 1968 to the candidacy of Sen. Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota or that of Sen. Robert Kennedy of New York. In March, Johnson announced that he would not seek renomination. The murder of Kennedy during the California primary shook the nation and the party. Most Democratic leaders supported Vice President Humphrey, who narrowly lost the presidency to Richard Nixon.
Senator George McGovern of South Dakota sought the 1972 presidential nomination. His principal issue was the Vietnam War, which he had opposed for years. Supported widely by newly enfranchised college students, McGovern prevailed over better-known rivals, including Humphrey, who was once again a senator.
After he won the nomination, McGovern's fortunes declined swiftly. His choice for vice president, Sen. Thomas Eagleton of Missouri, resigned from the ticket after confirming that he had received electroshock treatments for depression. At McGovern's request, the national committee chose R. Sargent Shriver, former director of the Peace Corps, as the new nominee. Administration reports of an impending cease-fire in Vietnam undercut McGovern's major issue. He lost decisively, carrying only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. Shortly thereafter, in 1974, the Democrats adopted a charter that sought to ensure participation in party affairs at all levels by all groups and minorities.
The WATERGATE scandal and an economic recession opened the way to a Democratic revival in 1976. Former governor Jimmy Carter of Georgia swept the primaries and succeeded in unseating Pres. Gerald FORD in a close contest in which labor, blacks, and the South joined to bring a Southerner once more to the presidency.
The Democrats' return to power after eight years was heralded by Carter as a " new beginning." But high unemployment and inflation plagued his administration and eroded public support. The seizure of the U.S. embassy and the taking of American hostages in Iran was perhaps the final straw. In the 1980 election, President Carter and his party suffered a major defeat in the landslide election of Republican Ronald REAGAN. For the first time in 24 years, the Republicans won control of the Senate, increasing their membership in the House by 33 seats.
The Democrats, with a ticket of former vice president Walter MONDALE and Rep. Geraldine Ferraro (N.Y.) for vice president, were defeated in the 1984 elections by a margin greater than in 1980. The Democrats lost more than a dozen seats in the House, and the Republicans maintained control of the Senate. In the midterm elections of 1986 the Democrats won control of the Senate, winning nine Republican seats, and they gained modestly in the House of Representatives.
Although the 1988 Democratic presidential nominee, Gov. Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts, had chosen Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas as his running mate, the South and West carried the Republicans to victory. Yet despite again having failed to win the presidency, the Democrats strengthened their hold on the House and the Senate; the 1988 election marked the first time since 1960 that a party gained seats in the House while losing the presidential race. The 1990 midterm elections produced a gain of one Senate seat and eight House seats for the Democrats.
In 1992, after 12 years of Republican presidential rule, Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas reclaimed the presidency for the Democratic party after a close and bitterly fought campaign against incumbent George BUSH and independent H. Ross Perot. With the country in a recession and unemployment at 7.5%, the Democrats succeeded in rallying the public around the call for change and a commitment to domestic jobs programs. They retained control of the Senate without adding new seats and held on to their majority in the House. For the first time in history, women made their presence felt in the Senate as four new women Democrats, one of them African American, were elected to the upper chamber. The 1994 elections brought a stunning defeat to the Democrats as the Republicans gained control over both houses of Congress. Democratic support in the South had clearly eroded, but the size of the victory indicated that dissatisfaction with Democratic rule was nationwide.
Leadership and Support
Among the evolving factors in the Democratic party's efforts to gain power and to remain in office are the nature of and interplay between presidential and congressional leadership, and organization at state and local levels.
The Jeffersonians, while in the presidency, explicitly deferred to party leadership in Congress. Thus President MONROE referred to Congress as the principal branch of government. Andrew Jackson, on the other hand, came to the presidency by circumventing congressional politics and by "grass roots" electoral organizing. He revolutionized the presidency by shifting its power base from Congress to the electorate. In this tradition the Democratic party tends to favor strong presidential leadership. President Jackson's party organization was his "kitchen cabinet." This informal group of advisers initiated the first Democratic national nominating convention (1832), which endorsed Jackson for a second term.
The Democratic convention remained perfunctory only briefly. By 1844 its rules were exploited to veto the renomination efforts of former president Van Buren. The national convention became the principal vehicle for reincorporating the South into the party and the nation during Reconstruction. After the Cleveland administration, the South became a one-party Democratic region whose major fortress was its veto power under the two-thirds rule at the national convention. When the rule was repealed in 1936, the South was no longer able to block the nomination of liberal presidential candidates.
State and Local Levels
The one-party Southern state phenomenon should not be interpreted as evidence of strong party organization. On the contrary, the party's organizational activity at the state level has been undistinguished. Only in Virginia has the Democratic party developed, in the Byrd "machine," a degree of organization comparable to its city structure.
Urban political organization has been a Democratic party specialty from the beginning. Between 1792 and 1800 the Revolutionary committees of correspondence were replaced by democratic societies and Tammany clubs, particularly in cities along the eastern seaboard. The Tammany Society was founded in 1789. The main Tammany club, in New York City, became the prototype of the urban political machine. As a pivotal organization in a pivotal state, Tammany grew in size and influence over the years.
By 1900, Tammany was a hierarchy of block captains, precinct captains, and district leaders, headed by a "boss." It functioned as a major employment agency, a welfare and benevolent society, and an ombudsman handling citizen complaints.
During the mid-1900's, regular Democratic organizations at the local level encountered, from organized labor, new competition for influence within the party. Another source of competition within the local parties, especially in California and New York, was the club movement. Dissatisfied with the nonideological and nonissue-oriented concerns of the regular party organizations, many Democrats sought another avenue for influencing the party's direction. Democratic successes in rural party organization have occurred mainly in the South, at the county level.
The Democratic Rank and File
From the beginning the party appealed to workers and newly arrived Europeans. Jeffersonian leaders also gave attention to small farmers. By the mid-1800's, government jobholders (usually from the party organization itself) had assumed great importance for the party. From the Wilson administration onward, the party courted union members.
The 1920's revealed impossi
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