One historian notes that Humphrey’s assignment amounted to an “audition for the role of Johnson’s running mate in the fall presidential election.”99 Humphrey, joined by Republican Thomas Kuchel of California, performed brilliantly, lining up the support of influential Minority Leader of Illinois.
McCulloch and Celler forged a coalition of moderate Republicans and northern Democrats while deflecting southern amendments determined to cripple the bill.
After the U.S. Constitution came into effect the voters andelected officials, then consisting by law of property-owning whitemen in most states, divided largely into two parties. The FederalistParty favored a strong national government ruled by a wealthyelite (themselves). The Democratic-Republican Party favored dispersingpower more broadly among white male property owners. By 1820 theFederalists had run out of steam and the Democratic-RepublicanParty had moved towards the center, so that the U.S. essentiallyhad only one political party. In 1824 all four major candidatesfor the Presidency were Democratic-Republicans.
The Democratic Party, as a party distinct from the Democratic-RepublicanParty, began with the beliefs and ambitions of one man: AndrewJackson. Nicknamed Old Hickory, he became the President of theUnited States from 1829 to 1837. However, had not Jackson's ideasand ambitions appealed to many Americans in the 1820's and 30's,the Democratic Party would never have formed around him.
- Jacksonian Democracy research papers look into the split of the single poltical party of America that led to the development of the modern two-party system.
The alliance of conservative southern Democrats and Republicans in Congress who successfully blocked many of Truman’s initiatives is portrayed by the worm labeled “Coalition.”During the 1940s and 1950s, executive action, rather than legislative initiatives, set the pace for measured movement toward desegregation.
In 1928, with the stock market soaring, the economy booming,jazz playing, liquor illegal yet plentiful, and the Republicanadministration plagued by scandal, the reform-minded Herbert Hooverdestroyed Democrat Al Smith in the Presidential contest. Eventhe Solid South fragmented, with only 6 states going for Smith(it is important to recall that the Democratic Party denied non-whitecitizens the right to vote in the South). The Democratic Partylooked like it was on its last legs.
Woodrow Wilson would be relegated to a footnote within DemocraticParty history had his term of office (1913 - 1920) not coincidedwith the First World War. No major changes in the Democratic Partytook place during his presidency. Wilson was elected in 1912 becausethe Republicans were divided, the progressive Republicans backingTeddy Roosevelt, who used the pre-existing Progressive Party ashis vehicle (popularly called the Bull Moose Party that year).The conservative Republicans nominating William H. Taft. As usualfor a Democrat, Wilson swept the south, where African-Americanswere prohibited from voting, and won enough other states to becomePresident, despite receiving only 41% of the popular vote.
The New Deal program of Roosevelt brought America closer tothe advanced European countries in socializing the consequencesof an industrial economy. Social Security type programs had longbeen in place in Germany, France, and England. National, universalhealth care was introduced in Germany in 1883 and Theodore Rooseveltmade national health insurance a plank of the Progressive (BullMoose) party in 1912. New Deal Democrats did not pass such a plan,so the U.S. remains the only industrialized nation without a universalhealth care system.
The Democratic Party's experiment with economic justice, orPopulism, was over with Bryan's second defeat, with similar margins,in 1900. In 1904 the Democratic Presidential nominee, Alton Parkerwas more conservative and pro-business than the Republican, TheodoreRoosevelt. Until 1932 the voters would again have to choose betweentwo parties trying their best to represent the interests of thebusiness class.
This brings us to the election of 1896, in which the DemocraticParty nominated William Jennings Bryan, and seemed, briefly tostand for something. But in order to understand Bryan's role weneed to backtrack and understand the rise of the Populist Movement.
Social Security was passed by a bipartisan vote in both housesof Congress. In fact the Republican Party's progressive wing grewduring the New Deal. But a number of other New Deal programs wererejected by a majority of Republicans in congress, for instancethe Wages and Hours bill of 1938 and the Tennessee Valley Actof 1933.
A pattern would emerge that remained true until the 1970's:overall control of the Democratic Party was held by southern Democrats,who also controlled Congress (if the Democrats controlled it).But to win the Presidency, usually a northern (or Western) Democrathad to run. Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson, both southern Vice-Presidentsof northern Presidents, were exceptions.