An Introduction To The Different Types Of Democrats And Republicans: This Is A Story Of Factions Switching And Parties Changing
I can’t stress this enough, a major thing that changes in history is the Southern Social Conservative one-party voting bloc .
This is the easy thing to explain given the conservative South’s historically documented support of figures like Calhoun, John Breckenridge and his Socially Conservative Confederates of the Southern Democratic Party, , the other Byrd who ran for President, Thurmond, C. Wallace, Goldwater , and later conservative figures like Reagan, Bush, and Trump .
The problem isn’t showing the changes related to this, or showing the progressive southerners like LBJ, the Gores, and Bill Clinton aren’t of “the same exact” breed as the socially conservative south, the problem is that the party loyalty of the conservative south is hardly the only thing that changes, nor is it the only thing going on in American history .
Not only that, but here we have to note that the north and south have its own factions, Democrats and Republicans have their own factions, and each region and state has its own factions… and that gives us many different “types” of Democrats and Republicans.
Consider, Lindsey Graham essentially inherited Strom Thurmond’s seat, becoming the next generation of solid south South Carolina conservative, now solidly in the Republican party.
When And Why The Democratic And Republican Parties Switched Platforms President Lincoln’s Philosophies Were Actually Democratic
A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICAN PARTY
|The Democratic-Republican Party is the earliest political party in the United States.|
The Whig Party was a political party formed in 1834 by opponents of President Andrew Jackson and his Jacksonian Democrats, launching the ‘two-party system.’ Led by Henry Clay, the name “Whigs” was derived from the English antimonarchist party and was an attempt to portray President Jackson as “King Andrew.” Whigs tended to be wealthy and have an aristocratic background. Most Whigs were based in New England and in New York. While Jacksonian Democrats painted the Whigs as the party of the aristocracy, they managed to win support from diverse economic groups and elect two presidents: William Henry Harrison and Zachary Taylor. The other two Whig presidents, John Tyler, and Millard Fillmore gained office as Vice Presidents next in the line of succession.
|Early Whig Party Campaign Poster.|
Northern Democrats were in serious opposition to Southern Democrats on the issue of slavery. Northern Democrats, led by Stephen Douglas, believed in Popular Sovereignty—letting the people of the territories vote on slavery. The Southern Democrats , reflecting the views of the late John C. Calhoun, insisted slavery was national.
WHY THE DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN PARTIES SWITCHED PHILOSOPHIES
|William Jennings Bryan Legendary “Octopus Poster” from the 1900 Campaign.|
|Abraham Lincoln, photograph by Gardner, 1865.|
A Summary Of The Party Switching By Looking At The Presidents: From The Founding Fathers To Civil War To Civil Rights To Today
In the introduction we provided a chronological summary of the parties by looking at the Party Systems, this section expands upon the story by focusing on the Presidents.
As noted in the introduction, to prove the parties switched platforms clearly, we need to consider at least four political types , not just liberal and conservative. We also need to think about the single issue“third parties” like the Free Soil Party, the People’s Party, and the American Independent Party, and the difference between collectivism and individualism. This is necessary as collective rights vs. individual rights is the issue at the heart of the debate.
Although the political ideologies are best applied to each issue, some issues don’t arise until the late 19th or even 20th century. The parties have been factionalized throughout history. We can describe the parties, using modern language, as Social Liberal , Conservative , Populist/Socialist , and Libertarian/Classic Liberal .
Hamilton, who roughly favors Northern interests and a strong government, was a hands-on Federalist . Jefferson, who roughly favors Southern interests and less government, was a hands-off anti-Federalist . In terms of England and France, Hamilton is Whig-like and Jefferson is a Jacobin supporting admirer of the French Revolution .
John Quincy Adams | 60-Second Presidents | PBS. Adams, Clay, and Jackson’s stories intertwine to describe the end of the First Party and start of the Second Party system.
Other Factors Of Note Regarding Switching Platforms Progressivism The Red Scare Immigration Religion And Civil Rights In 54
Other key factors involve the Red Scare , the effect of immigration, unions, and “the Catholic vote” on the parties.
The Republican party changed after losing to Wilson and moved away from progressivism and toward classical liberal values under Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover. In this time they also became increasingly “anti-Communist” following WWI . While both parties were anti-Communist and pro-Capitalist, Wilson’s brand of progressive southern bourbon liberalism and his New Freedom plan and then FDR’s brand of progressive liberalism and his New Deal were opposed by Republicans like Hoover due to their use of the state to ensure social justice. Then after WWII, the Second Red Scare reignited the conversation, further dividing factions and parties.
Another important thing to note is that the Democratic party has historically been pro-immigrant . Over time this attracted new immigrant groups like Northern Catholics and earned them the support of Unions . Big City Machines like Tammany Hall also play a role in this aspect of the story as well. The immigrant vote is one of the key factors in changing the Democratic party over time in terms of progressivism, unions, religion, and geolocation , and it is well suited to be its own subject.
James A Haught Says Teddy Roosevelt Was The Last Republican Liberal And Was Shifting By The Time His Democratic Nephew
Strangely, over a century, America’s two major political parties gradually reversed identities, like the magnetic poles of Planet Earth switching direction.
When the Republican Party was formed in 1856, it was fiercely liberal, opposing the expansion of slavery, calling for more spending on public education, seeking more open immigration and the like. Compassionate Abraham Lincoln suited the new party’s progressive agenda.
In that era, Democrats were conservatives, partly dominated by the slave-holding South. Those old-style Democrats generally opposed any government action to create jobs or help underdogs.
Through the latter half of the 19th century, the pattern of Republicans as liberals, Democrats as conservatives, generally held true. In 1888, the GOP elected President Benjamin Harrison on a liberal platform seeking more social services.
Then in 1896, a reversal began when Democrats nominated populist firebrand William Jennings Bryan , “the Great Commoner.”
“He was the first liberal to win the Democratic Party presidential nomination,” political scholar Rich Rubino wrote. “This represented a radical departure from the conservative roots of the Democratic Party.”
The Progressive platform attacked big-money influence in politics, vowing “to destroy this invisible government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics.”
Understanding The Basics: How The Parties Changed General Us Party History And Why The Big Switch Isnt A Myth
Above we did an introduction, this next section takes a very general look at how the major parties changed and how factions changed parties.
To sum things up before we get started discussing specific switches, both major U.S. parties used to have notable progressive socially liberal left-wing and socially conservative right-wing factions, and now they don’t.
Originally, like today, one party was for “big government” and one party was for “small government” .
However, unlike today, party lines were originally drawn over elitism and populism and preferred government type more than by the left-right social issues that define the parties today, as the namesake of the parties themselves imply .
In those days both parties had progressive and conservative wings, but the Southern Anti-Federalist, Democratic-Republican, and then Democratic Party was populist and favored “small government”, and the Northern Federalist, Whig, and then Republican Party was elite and favored bigger central government.
However, from the lines drawn during the Civil War, to Bryan in the Gilded Age, to Teddy Roosevelt leaving the Republican Party to form the Progressive Party in 1912, to FDR’s New Deal, to LBJ’s Civil Rights, to the Clinton and Bush era, the above became less and less true.
Instead, today the parties are polarized by left-right social issues, and each party has a notable populist and elitist wing.
A Summary Of Party Systems Realigning Elections And Switching Factions In The Major Us Political Parties
Now that we have the essential basics down, let’s do an overview of all the changes .
Historians refer to the eras the changes resulted in as “party systems“.
Each party system is defined by realigning elections or otherwise important elections like the elections of 1800, 1828, 1860, 1876, 1892, 1896, 1912, 1928, 1932, 1948, 1964, 1968, 1980, 1992, and 2000, key voter issues of the day like states’ rights, workers’ rights, social welfare, equal rights, central banking, and currency debates, and which factions were in which parties at the time like the New Deal Coalition and Conservative Coalition .
Or, in a very general sentence, Solid South States’ Rights and Tea party-esquePopulist Conservatives in the Democratic Party and elite Social Liberal Progressives in the Republican Party essentially switched parties from roughly 1900 to 2000, which resulted in red and blue states flipping from north to south .
That said, to complicate things, the Federalist line was historically anti-immigrant and nationalist and gave birth to the first Tea Party-like entities the Know-Nothings in the North and Anti-Masons in the North.
Despite this truism however, the Civil War forced factions to choose sides over slavery and expansion. Consequently, the Whig-allied nativist populist factions disbanded, the New Republican Party formed, and ultimately the first Republican President Lincoln was “no Know-Nothing“.
An Overview Of The Platform Switching By Party System And President From The Founders To Eisenhower
The First and Second Party Systems included some important changes and debates. Examples included the argument over the Federalist favored Constitution, and the Anti-Federalist favored Articles of Confederation and Bill of Rights and debates over slavery, modernization, and banking. Major changes began at the end of the Second Party System.
The Second Party system ended with the Whig Party dissolving in 1854. They were critically divided by the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the related debate over manifest destiny and popular sovereignty . The heated battle over whether Kansas should be a slave state, and the debate over whether the south could keep expanding southward creating slave states, resulted in the country being split. This had happened in the Mexican-American war. One faction became the Northern Republicans and their allies the Union, who wanted to hold together the Union under a strong central government. The other became the Southern ex-Democrats and their allies the Confederacy, who wanted independence and wanted to expand southward, to for instance Cuba, creating new slave states. By the time Lincoln took office in 1861, the division was inescapable
FACT: The tension was so great the Democratic party ceased to exist from 1861 – 1865 as the Confederacy rejected the concept of party systems; which is why we refer to them ex-Democrats above.
Dinesh Dsouza Gives An Inaccurate Reading Of The Big Switch Myth: His Version Of History Is A Myth
Dinesh D’Souza decided to make a movie about how the Democrats didn’t change and how Northern ghettoes are proof of modern slavery .
This argument shows a lack of an understanding of American history .
Northern ghettoes are a problem because “lots and lots of reasons” . Their problems stem from things like: the nature of capitalism and classism, a push-back against busing and integration, the great migration, immigrant rather than a history of slavery, and even less heartwarming truths of obstructionist factions in both parties .
Northern Ghettoes like South Side Chicago aren’t a product of the Confederate ideology, they are a product of economic inequality. It isn’t “because Socially Liberal Progressives and Neoliberals are racist and have racist policies”, it is because “aristocracy + oligrachy + capitalism + the welfare state = economic inequality for economic minorities ”.
This is very different than Southern Slavery where the “less-thans” were known by skin color rather than pocketbook size.
This is to say:
- The party with the outwardly hurtful policies is generally the party with the Social Conservatives in it .
- The party with the policies that are economically hurtful… is typically the business wing of both parties, always. Not all factions of a given party, but generally the dominate establishment factions; as those are always the factions with the most money and thus the one’s least likely to create policies that don’t help their class first.
The Tension Between Rural Regions And City Regions Is As Old As The Federalists And Anti
With the above covered, there is a reason the Northern Coasts and Cities are in one party and the Rural South and Mid-West are in the other party in almost any era , with this being true even when the parties switch.
This is because a major divide is between the political, economic, and social interests of rural regions and citied regions .
Learn more about How the Tension Between City Interests and Rural Interests Affects Politics, not just on a national level, but on a state and regional level too .
We are all Democrats, we are all Republicans, we are all Federalists, and we all love liberty.
We are all Americans.
We simply disagree on specifics , and thus we form factions and voting blocs around those differences .
The changing factions responding to newly arising voter issues is the main thing that “changed” the parties.
Still, not everything changed . That is explained in excessive detail below.
Now that you know about the rural vs. city split, and the big changes like those of Lincoln’s time, those of Teddy’s time, and the shifting Solid South , take a look at the time-lapse video below which shows the U.S. Presidential election results map, both by state and by county, from 1789 to 2016.
Five Key Takeaways On Immigration From The Democratic And Republican Policy Platforms
With the conclusion of the party conventions last month, we took a detailed look at Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s Plan For Securing Our Values as a Nation of Immigrants and President Donald Trump’s newly released agenda for a possible second term.1 Although immigration is not at the forefront of the public’s mind in the leadup to November 4, 2020, a more detailed look at both the Democratic and Republican plans gave us a window into what a new or continuing administration could bring in terms of immigration reform. After a detailed analysis of Biden’s platform, we found the Democratic nominee made significant updates and expansions from when the platform was first released to his approach on reforming the legal immigration system should he enter the White House in January. In contrast, Trump’s second-term agenda reiterates hardline positions he has held throughout his time in office. It also does not include any specific mention of reforms to legal immigration, instead focusing on ending illegal immigration and protecting American workers. Below, we outline five key takeaways from the candidates’ platforms and their implications for immigration reform in 2021.
The Complexities Of Changing Parties Changing Factions And Changing Party Platforms
Look at the images above, your eyes do not deceive you, the voter map of the Historical Presidential Elections tells a quick visual story of that which we will explain below, “that the political factions that formed around key voter issues in any era have switched parties over time as the major parties and their platforms changed, and this in turn changed the major parties and their platforms”.
The result of this is what we call “the Party Systems” .
The result is also, more specifically, that the major parties no longer reflect their original platforms or namesakes and that in many cases we are left with a full “switch” of underlying ideology
The main problem we have in arguing over Lincoln, Byrd, oddly never Teddy, and Strom Thurmond and whether or not “the parties switched” is that American history is complex and summarizing can take longer than reasonable human attention spans allow.
In other words, it isn’t that nothing changed, it is that it is harder to tell an accurate story than it is to perpetuate simple myths . Meaning, I can’t make my full argument quick enough to sway the casual skeptic, but I promise those of you who want to dig deeper: ours is the most accurate answer you’ll find outside of the history books.
A Quick Summary Of How The Major Parties Changed And Switched With Some Visuals
Above was an overview of the main points, below is a more detailed summary of points that will help one understand “the party switches of the different party systems.” After the summary are some images and videos which help tell the main points of the story:
Also consider the following general notes about the party platforms in any era:
- Northern “City” Interests : Federalists, Whigs, Third Party Republicans, Fourth Party Progressive era Republicans , Fifth Party Democrats , Modern Democrats.
- Southern “Rural” Interests : Anti-Federalists, Democratic-Republicans, Third Party Democrats, Fourth Party Progressive Era Democrats , Fifth Party Republicans , Modern Republicans.
NOTE: Saying there is way too much ground to cover to say it all in a consumable bite is an understatement, so if you are looking for specifics use “command find” or our site search.
TIP: The Confederates wanted free-trade and states rights, meanwhile the northern Republicans wanted a debt-based economy with modernization and protectionist trade. Things have changed considerably, but not every plank changed. What happened was complex.
Below some images that might help tell the story without me even having to say another word:
A map showing realigning elections and Presidents who represent major changes in the U.S. parties. We can see something happened, that is empirically undeniable, but what?
The Fifth Party System And The The New Deal And Conservative Coalitions
Now that we have clearly illustrated the above factions and ideologies, we can move on to the last round of changes which happened from roughly the 1930s, to WWII, to the 1960s, to the 1990s as the FDR supporting Progressive Social Liberal New Deal Coalition faced off against the Socially Conservative anti-New Deal Conservative Coalition .
From the 1930s to the 1990s, from Hoover to Goldwater, to Nixon, to Reagan, to Bush, the “Conservative Coalition” drew southern “solid south”“Dixiecrat” conservative Democrats out of the Democratic Party via their “southern strategy.” By the 1990s, this resulted in the modern American “social conservative” and “sometimes classical liberal” Republican party. Likewise, the New Deal coalition, which opposed the conservative coalition, drew progressives into the Democratic Party and out of the Republican party under FDR’s New Deal, LBJ’s Great Society program, and Clinton’s New Democrats. This resulted in the modern American “social” liberal, and thus necessarily traditionally “classically conservative in terms of authority” party during the same time.
Although the tension between these two factions starts in the 1930s with the New Deal, it comes to a boiling point over issues like States’ Rights, the Second Red Scare, and Brown v. the Board of Education following WWII in the late 40s and 50s.
“We have undertaken a new order of things; yet we progress to it under the framework and in the spirit and intent of the American Constitution”. – FDR
Third Party System: Republicans Versus Democrats The Battle Begins 1854
The Democrats of this era were against “big government” telling states whether or not they can own slaves, and they don’t want big banks. See the Democratic Party Platform of 1856. The Democrats still saw themselves as the Liberal party of Jefferson and Jackson, the small business farm owning “libertarians.” Meanwhile, the Republicans were a new iteration of the parties of Hamilton and Clay, but with different factions supporting them then when they were Whigs.
The Republicans are for modernization. They are against slavery, for central banks, and for bigger industrialized business. They embrace ideas of taxes, credits, and debts in the interest of prosperity and social justice. They embrace many of the economic policies of the Whigs, such as national banks, railroads, high tariffs, homesteads, and aid to land grant colleges .
The Republicans also become known as a “pro-business” party at the time . The Republican coalition consisted of businesspeople, shop owners, skilled craftsmen, clerks, and professionals who were attracted to the party’s modernization policies.
Meanwhile, the race issue pulled the great majority of white southerners into the Democratic Party as “Redeemers.” The Republicans want a more northern style of commerce and banks, and Democrats want a smaller farmer-based economy, with less government and no central bank. See the Republican Party Platform of 1856 here
The “Switch” that Starts With Civil War
Fourth Party System: The Progressive Era Mckinley And Teddy 1896 1932
The election between Theodore Roosevelt William McKinley was pretty heated over social issues, but the parties stay the same. Republican Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt is arguably the last of the “left wing” Republicans. Roosevelt is a very progressive president, and he even started his own “progressive party” after breaking away from the Republicans. The parties are more or less still the same as they were since the split over reconstruction, but the lines are much less clear due to the changing tides of the time.
An Overview Of Platform Switching In The Modern Era From Lbj To Today
The growing tension between progressive southern Democrats and social conservative southern Democrats came to a boil with 1954’s Brown v. Board of Education. This Supreme Court ruling led to divisive issues like Desegregation busing causing further splits in the Democratic Party, which Republicans capitalized on as they did under Hoover.
Other southern politicians and voters followed Strom Thurmond over time. Their exit left the now social-liberal Democrats to support the increasingly socially conservative Republicans under Goldwater-Reagan-Nixon. The “southern strategy” these leaders developed was continued into the 80’s under Lee Atwater, and even extended into the 2000s).
The last major shift happened slowly from the 60s to the 90s and is denoted by groups like “The Reagan Coalition” and Clinton’s “New Democrats.” These groups represent an increasingly modern political realignment, and a tug-of-war involving appealing to different types of blue-collar and conservative populist sentiments. Other key groups of the era include Nixon’s “Silent Majority” and “Reagan Democrats.”
Over the 70s, 80s, and 90s, the southern strategy pulled in white southerners and conservatives to the Republican party, and the Republican party also embraced the religious right.
Third Party Part 2: The Industrial Revolution To The Progressive Era
The string of Presidents between Lincoln and Grover Cleveland includes some important stories of “know-nothing parties” and “populist parties” , but we can’t cover everything here.
Importantly, this era ends with Cleveland’s second presidency and the Panic of 1893 . Cleveland is a right-wing President, who was very popular and supported by the South, ultimately his downfall, the height of the industrial revolution, and an upcoming war set the stage for more changes in American politics.
TIP: Cleveland is a great example of a true Conservative, he is a Democrat by name, but this Bourbon Democrat is great like an Eisenhower, he should be a model for today’s Libertarian who sometimes gets side-tracked by their cousins on the right. The end of his Presidency is arguably more about the changing times than the man.
Gilded Age Politics:Crash Course US History #26. The corruption pointed out in this video starts after Lincoln and continues into the late 1800’s and, of course, some of the arguement hasn’t gone away. At the very, least figures like Cleveland and Roosevelt do a bit to get politics back on the right track before the upcoming Progressive era .The Progressive Era: Crash Course US History #27. The Progressive era, named due to all the parties embracing progressivism to some extent.
Southernization Urbanization And Big Government Vs Small Government
Today the Republican party doesn’t have a notable progressive left-wing and the Democratic Party doesn’t have a notable socially conservative right-wing.
Instead both parties have establishment and populist wings and the parties are divided by stances on social issues.
In other words, regional interests and the basic political identities of liberal and conservative didn’t change as much as factions changed parties as party platforms changed along with America.
The modern split is expressed well by the left-right paradigm “Big Government Progressivism” vs. “Small Government Social Conservatism,” where socially conservative and pro-business conservative factions banded together against socially liberal and pro business liberal factions, to push back against an increasingly progressive Democratic Party and America .
This tension largely created the modern parties of our “two-party system,” resulting in two “Big Tents” who disagree on the purposes of government and social issues. This tension is then magnified by the current influence of media and lobbyists, and can be understood by examining what I call “the Sixth Party Strategy” and by a tactic called “Dog Whistle Politics“).
The result is that today the Democratic Party is dominated by “liberal Democrats and Progressives”.
Meanwhile, most of those who would have been the old “socially conservative Democrats” now have a “R” next to their name.
Just look at the 115th United States Congress under Trump .
An Overview Of Platform Switching Between Republicans And Democrats
Above we gave a summary of the party systems, below we will look at key changes, key voter issues, and provide more details and justifications .
With the above said, there isn’t one change that results in the political realignments and platform switches that define the Party Systems; instead, there are many.
Below is an overview of the most important changes alongside a quick history of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party.
Did The American Political Parties Switch Clarifying The Semantics
People often ask, “did the American political parties switch?”, but this question is semantically wrong, and thus we should address it before moving on.
- People can switch parties .
- Parties can switch general platforms and ideologies .
- Voters can switch parties .
- However, the parties themselves only switch when they hang-up their hat to become a new party .
Where US Politics Came From: Crash Course US History #9. This is one of many videos from CrashCourse. American history is long and complex; if you want to really understand things, I suggest watching the CrashCourse series on U.S. politics.
Notes On Key Aspects Of The Parties Changing / Switching / Evolving
WHAT IS A POLITICAL FACTION? To understand how the parties switched/changed/evolved, one has to understand political factions. A political faction is a group of people who form a coalition around key voter issues or a voter platform . Key voter issues include government size, positions on trade, positions on welfare, positions on social justice, positions on the environment, etc. The major U.S. parties are, from this perspective, best thought of as coalitions of factions. For example, the Democrats contain humanists, environmental activists, business minded “neoliberals,” progressives focused on workers rights, anti-elite progressives, social justice progressives, etc. while the modern Republicans contain the religious right, business minded “neocons,” paleocon Tea Party types, libertarians, constitutionalists, etc. Each party houses elite and populist factions from different geographic regions of the U.S., some cities, some rural areas, who share general ideology regarding key issues. It is the differences between factions in the parties that allow for the many changes
TIP: If you don’t believe that the Solid South switched parties, ask yourself, “which party supports the flying of the Confederate flag?” Lots of things changed; geography and the human condition isn’t one of them. Of course, the other thing that doesn’t lie is “the voting map“.
The Party Of Kennedy V The Party Of Nixon In The Civil Rights Era
Two things started happening at the same time:
- Racist Democrats were getting antsy
- Neither party could afford to ignore civil rights anymore
In 1960 Kennedy defeated Nixon. At the time of his election, the both parties unevenly supported civil rights. But President Kennedy decided to move forward.
After Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, Johnson continued Kennedy’s civil rights focus.
As you can imagine, that did not sit particularly well with most Southern Democrats. This is when Strom Thurmond flew the coop for good.
In fact, a greater percentage of Congressional Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than did Democrats. Support for the Act followed geographic, not party, lines.
Soon after, the Republicans came up with their Southern Strategy — a plan to woo white Southern voters to the party for the 1968 election.
The Kennedy and Johnson administrations had advanced civil rights, largely through national legislation and direct executive actions. So, the Southern Strategy was the opposite — states’ rights and no integration.
As in the Civil War, the concepts of “states’ rights” and “tradition,” were codes for “maintaining white supremacy.”
Starting with Thurmond in 1964, and continuing throughout the Johnson and Nixon administrations, Dixiecrats left the Democrats for the Republicans.
Huge Differences Between Democratic And Republican 2020 Platforms
President Donald Trump, left, and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, right.
America’s two major political parties view the world in different ways. In fact, it’s not an exaggeration to describe the Democrats and Republicans as 180 degrees apart on many issues.
In fact, the parties took different paths over whether to adopt new platforms describing what the believe in as they planned remote conventions due to the coronavirus. The Democrats drafted a new statement of principles while the Republicansdecided to keep the 2016 platform for another four years.
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