Let, get back on track and take a look at why and who was in charge of the domestic policies in the US. Let us look at a few of the Presidents during the last 200 years. First, who and what is a democrat and exactly what do democrats stand for? I will start with John Quincy Adams the last of the true backers of America’s cast system till the present. We must understand that the ideology and makeup of the Republican Party has changed drastically since Lincoln. As a matter of fact what was then the Republican Party is now the Democratic Party.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The party was created in opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act that would have allowed the expansion of slavery into Kansas. Their first official party meeting was held on July 6, 1854 in Jackson, Michigan.
Besides opposition to the expansion of slavery, the new party put
forward a progressive vision of modernizing the United States —
emphasizing higher education, banking, railroads, industry and cities,
while promising free homesteads to farmers. In this way, their economic
philosophy was similar to the Whig Party‘s. Its initial base was in the Northeast and Midwest. The Party nominated Abraham Lincoln and ascended to power in the election of 1860. The party fought for the Union in the American Civil War and presided over Reconstruction. In the election of 1864 a majority of Republicans united with pro-war Democrats to nominate Lincoln to the National Union Party ticket. A faction of Radical Republicans split with the party and formed the Radical Democracy Party. This group chose John C. Fremont as its presidential candidate, before reaching a political agreement and withdrawing from the election in September 1864.
The party’s success created factionalism within the party in the 1870s. Those disturbed by Ulysses S. Grant ran Horace Greeley for the presidency against him. The Stalwarts defended the spoils system; the Half-Breeds pushed for reform of the civil service. The GOP supported big business generally, hard money (i.e., the gold standard), high tariffs, and generous pensions for Union veterans, and the annexation of Hawaii. The Republicans supported the Protestants who demanded Prohibition.
As the Northern post-bellum economy boomed with heavy and light
industry, railroads, mines, fast-growing cities and prosperous
agriculture, the Republicans took credit and promoted policies to
sustain the fast growth. But by 1890, the Republicans had agreed to the
Sherman Antitrust Act and the Interstate Commerce Commission in response to complaints from owners of small businesses and farmers. The high McKinley Tariff of 1890 hurt the party and the Democrats swept to a landslide in the off-year elections, even defeating McKinley himself.
After the two terms of Democrat Grover Cleveland, the election of William McKinley in 1896 is widely seen as a resurgence of Republican dominance and is sometimes cited as a realigning election. McKinley promised that high tariffs would end the severe hardship caused by the Panic of 1893,
and that the GOP would guarantee a sort of pluralism in which all
groups would benefit. The Republicans were cemented as the party of
business, though mitigated by the succession of Theodore Roosevelt who embraced trust-busting. He later ran on a third party ticket of the Progressive Party and challenged his previous successor William Howard Taft. The party controlled the presidency throughout the 1920s, running on a platform of opposition to the League of Nations, high tariffs, and promotion of business interests. Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover were resoundingly elected in 1920, 1924, and 1928 respectively. The Teapot Dome scandal
threatened to hurt the party but Harding died and Coolidge blamed
everything on him, as the opposition splintered in 1924. The
pro-business policies of the decade seemed to produce an unprecedented
prosperity until the Wall Street Crash of 1929 heralded the Great Depression.
The New Deal coalition
of Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt controlled American politics for most
of the next three decades, excepting the two-term presidency of
Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower. African Americans
began moving toward favoring the Democratic Party during Roosevelt’s
time. After Roosevelt took office in 1933, New Deal legislation sailed
through Congress at lightning speed. In the 1934 midterm elections, 10
Republican senators went down to defeat, leaving them with only 25
against 71 Democrats. The House of Representatives was split in a
similar ratio. The "Second New Deal" was heavily criticized by the
Republicans in Congress, who likened it to class warfare and socialism.
The volume of legislation, and the inability of the Republicans to
block it, soon made the opposition to Roosevelt develop into
bitterness. Conservative Democrats, mostly from the South, joined with
Republicans led by Senator Robert Taft to create the conservative coalition, which dominated domestic issues in Congress until 1964.
The second half of the 20th century saw election of Republican presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush. The Republican Party, led by House Republican Minority Whip Newt Gingrich campaigning on a Contract with America, were elected to majorities to both houses of Congress in the Republican Revolution
of 1994. Their majorities were generally held until the Democrats
regained control in the mid-term election of 2006. In the 21st century
the Republican Party is defined by social conservatism, an aggressive foreign policy to defeat terrorism and promote global democracy, a more powerful executive branch, tax cuts, and deregulation and subsidization of industry.
Name and symbols
1874 Nast cartoon featuring the first notable appearance of the Republican elephant
The party’s founding members chose the name "Republican Party" in the mid-1850s in part as an homage to Thomas Jefferson (it was the name initially used by his party). The name echoed the 1776 republican values of civic virtue and opposition to aristocracy and corruption. It is the second-oldest continuing political party in the United States.
The term "Grand Old Party" is a traditional nickname for the
Republican Party, and the initialism "G.O.P." (or "GOP") is a commonly
used designation. According to the Republican Party, the term "gallant
old party" was used in 1875. According to the Oxford English Dictionary,
the first known reference to the Republican Party as the "grand old
party" came in 1876. The first use of the abbreviation GOP is dated
1884. Some media have stopped using the term GOP because they think
More facetiously, the abbreviation is sometimes held to stand for
"God’s own party", in reference to the party’s modern-day constituency
of conservative evangelical Christians. In 2008, the new Washington state top two primary had Republican candidates competing against GOP candidates in the same races.
The traditional mascot of the party is the elephant. A political cartoon by Thomas Nast, published in Harper’s Weekly on November 7, 1874, is considered the first important use of the symbol. In the early 20th century, the usual symbol of the Republican Party in Midwestern states such as Indiana and Ohio was the eagle, as opposed to the Democratic rooster. This symbol still appears on Indiana, New York, and West Virginia ballots.
After the 2000 election,
the color red became associated with the GOP, although it has not been
officially adopted by the party. That election night, for the first
time, all of the major broadcast networks used the same color scheme
for the electoral map: states won by Republican nominee George W. Bush were colored red, and states won by Democratic nominee Al Gore
were colored blue. Although the assignment of colors to political
parties is unofficial and informal, they have come to be widely
recognized by the media and the public to represent the respective
political parties (see Political color and Red states and blue states for more details).
Lincoln Day, Reagan Day,
or Lincoln-Reagan Day, is the primary annual fundraising celebration
held by many state and county organizations of the Republican Party.
The events are named after Republican Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.
The Republican Party includes fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, neoconservatives, Moderates, and libertarians.
Republicans emphasize the role of free market
decision making in fostering economic prosperity. They support the idea
of individuals being economically responsible for their own actions and
decisions. They favor a laissez-faire free market, policies supporting business, economic liberalism, and fiscal conservatism but with higher spending on the military. A leading economic theory advocated by modern Republicans is supply-side economics. Some fiscal policies influenced by this theory were popularly known as "Reaganomics," a term popularized during the Presidential administrations of Ronald Reagan. This theory holds that reduced income tax rates increase GDP
growth and thereby generate the same or more revenue for the government
from the smaller tax on the extra growth. This belief is reflected, in
part, by the party’s long-term advocacy of tax cuts. Many Republicans
consider the income tax system to be inherently inefficient and oppose
graduated tax rates, which they believe are unfairly targeted at those
who create jobs and wealth. They believe private spending is usually
more efficient than government spending.
Most Republicans agree there should be a "safety net" to assist the
less fortunate; however, they tend to believe the private sector is
more effective in helping the poor than government is; as a result,
Republicans support giving government grants to faith-based and other
private charitable organizations to supplant welfare spending. Members
of the GOP also believe that limits on eligibility and benefits must be
in place to ensure the safety net is not abused. Republicans introduced
and strongly supported the welfare reform of 1996,
which was signed into law by Democratic President Clinton, and which
limited eligibility for welfare, successfully leading to many former
welfare recipients finding jobs.
The party opposes a single-payer universal health care system, believing such a system constitutes socialized medicine and is in favor of a personal or employer-based system of insurance, supplemented by Medicare for the elderly and Medicaid, which covers approximately 40% of the poor. The GOP has a mixed record of supporting the historically popular Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid
programs, all of which Republicans initially opposed. On the one hand,
congressional Republicans and the Bush administration supported a
reduction in Medicaid’s growth rate.
On the other hand, congressional Republicans expanded Medicare,
supporting a new drug plan for seniors starting in 2006. Republicans
are generally opposed by labor union management and members, and have supported various legislation on the state and federal levels, including right to work legislation and the Taft-Hartley Act, which gives workers the right not to participate in unions, as opposed to a closed shop, which prohibits workers from choosing not to join unions in workplaces. Republicans generally oppose increases in the minimum wage,
believing that minimum wage increases hurt many businesses by forcing
them to cut jobs and services as well as raise the prices of goods to
compensate for the decrease in profit.
Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party.
It is the oldest political party in continuous operation in the United
States and it is one of the oldest parties in the world. Today, the
party supports a liberal and/or center-left platform. 
The Democratic Party traces its origins to the Democratic-Republican Party, founded by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and other influential opponents of the Federalists in 1792. However, the modern Democratic party truly arose in the 1830s, with the election of Andrew Jackson. Since the division of the Republican Party in the election of 1912, it has gradually positioned itself to the left
of the Republican Party on economic and social issues. Until the period
following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Democratic
Party was primarily a coalition of two parties divided by region.
Southern Democrats were typically given high conservative ratings by
the American Conservative Union while northern Democrats were typically given very low ratings. Southern Democrats were a core bloc of the bipartisan conservative coalition that lasted through the Reagan-era. The economically activist philosophy of Franklin D. Roosevelt, which has strongly influenced American liberalism,
has shaped much of the party’s economic agenda since 1932, and served
to tie the two regional factions of the party together until the late
1960s. In fact, Roosevelt’s New Deal coalition usually controlled the national government until the 1970s.
In 2004, it was the largest political party, with 72 million voters (42.6% of 169 million registered) claiming affiliation. By comparison the Republican Party has 55 million members. 
An August 2008 estimate claims that 51% of registered voters, including
independents, lean toward the Democratic Party and 38% lean toward the
Republican Party. Since the 2008 general elections, the Democratic Party is the majority party for the 111th Congress; the party holds a majority in both the House of Representatives and the United States Senate. Democrats also hold a majority of state governorships and control a majority of state legislatures. Barack Obama, the current President of the United States, is the 16th Democrat to hold that office.
Composition of the Democratic base according to a 2005 Pew Research Center study.
Since the 1890s, the Democratic Party has favored "liberal" positions (the term "liberal" in this sense describes social liberalism, not classical liberalism). In recent exit polls, the Democratic Party has had broad appeal across all socio-ethno-economic demographics.
The Democratic Party is currently the nation’s largest party. In 2004,
roughly 72 million (42.6 percent) Americans were registered Democrats,
compared to 55 million (32.5 percent) Republicans and 42 million (24.8
Historically, the party has favored farmers, laborers, labor unions,
and religious and ethnic minorities; it has opposed unregulated
business and finance, and favored progressive income taxes. In foreign
policy, internationalism (including interventionism) was a dominant
theme from 1913 to the mid-1960s. In the 1930s, the party began
advocating welfare spending programs targeted at the poor. The party
had a pro-business wing, typified by Al Smith, and a Southern conservative wing that shrank after President Lyndon B. Johnson supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The major influences for liberalism were labor unions (which peaked in the 1936–1952 era), and the African American wing, which has steadily grown since the 1960s. Since the 1970s, environmentalism has been a major new component.
In recent decades, the party has adopted a centrist economic and more socially progressive agenda, with the voter base having shifted considerably. Once dominated by unionized labor and the working class,
the Democratic base currently consists of well-educated and relatively
affluent liberals, the socially more conservative working class, middle
class moderates, the young, women, minorities, and LGBTS. Today, Democrats advocate more social freedoms, affirmative action, balanced budget, and a free enterprise system tempered by government intervention (mixed economy). The economic policy adopted by the modern Democratic Party, including the former Clinton administration, may also be referred to as the "Third Way". The party believes that government should play a role in alleviating poverty and social injustice, even if such requires a larger role for government and progressive taxation.
The Democratic Party, once dominant in the Southeastern United States, is now strongest in the Northeast (Mid-Atlantic and New England), Great Lakes region, and the Pacific Coast (including Hawaii). The Democrats are also strongest in major cities.
Opinions of liberals in a 2005 Pew Research Center study.
also referred to as progressives or modern liberals, constitute roughly
half of the Democratic voter base. Liberals thereby form the largest
united typological demographic within the Democratic base. According to
the 2008 exit poll results, liberals constituted 22 percent of the
electorate, and 89 percent of American liberals favored the candidate
of the Democratic Party.
While college-educated professionals were mostly Republican until the
1950s, they now compose perhaps the most vital component of the
Democratic Party. A majority of liberals favor diplomacy over military action, stem cell research, the legalization of same-sex marriage, secular government, stricter gun control, and environmental protection laws as well as the preservation of abortion rights. Immigration and cultural diversity is deemed positive; liberals favor cultural pluralism,
a system in which immigrants retain their native culture in addition to
adopting their new culture. They tend to be divided on free trade
agreements and organizations such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Most liberals oppose increased military spending and the display of the Ten Commandments in public buildings.
This ideological group differs from the traditional organized labor base. According to the Pew Research Center, a plurality of 41 percent resided in mass affluent
households and 49 percent were college graduates, the highest figure of
any typographical group. It was also the fastest growing typological
group between the late 1990s and early 2000s. Liberals include most of academia and large portion of the professional class.
Many progressive Democrats are descendants of the New Left of Democratic presidential candidate Senator George McGovern of South Dakota; others were involved in the presidential candidacies of Vermont Governor Howard Dean and U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio; still others are disaffected former members of the Green Party. The Congressional Progressive Caucus
(CPC) is a caucus of progressive Democrats, and is the single largest
Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives. Its members have
included Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, John Conyers of Michigan, Jim McDermott of Washington, John Lewis of Georgia, Barbara Lee of California, the late Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, now a Senator.
See also: Libertarian Democrat
Civil libertarians also often support the Democratic Party because Democratic positions on such issues as civil rights and separation of church and state
are more closely aligned to their own than the positions of the
Republican Party, and because the Democratic economic agenda may be
more appealing to them than that of the Libertarian Party. They oppose gun control, the "War on Drugs," protectionism, corporate welfare, government debt, and an interventionist foreign policy. The Democratic Freedom Caucus is an organized group of this faction.
See also: Southern Democrats.
The Pew Research Center has stated that conservative Democrats represent 15% of registered voters and 14% of the general electorate. In the House of Representatives, the Blue Dog Coalition, a caucus of fiscal and social conservatives and moderates, primarily southerners, forms part of the Democratic Party’s current faction of conservative Democrats.
They have acted as a unified voting bloc in the past, giving its forty
plus members some ability to change legislation and broker compromises
with the Republican Party‘s leadership. Historically, southern Democrats were generally much more ideologically conservative.
In 1972, the last year that a sizable number of conservatives dominated
the southern wing of the Democratic Party, the American Conservative
Union gave higher ratings to most southern Democratic Senators and
Congressmen than it did to Republicans. Today, Democrats are usually
classified as ‘conservatives’ on the basis of holding some socially conservative views to the right of the national party, even though their overall viewpoint is generally far more liberal than conservative Democrats of years past.
Democrats differ on a variety of issues, they typically foster a mix of
political views and ideas. Compared to other Democratic factions, they
tend to be more supportive of the use of military force, including the
war in Iraq, and are more willing to reduce government welfare, as
indicated by their support for welfare reform and tax cuts. One of the most influential factions is the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), a nonprofit organization that advocates centrist positions for the party. The DLC hails President Bill Clinton as proof of the viability of "Third Way" politicians and a DLC success story. Former Representative Harold Ford, Jr. of Tennessee is its current chairman.
Current structure and composition
Registered Democrats, Republicans and Independents in 2004.
The Democratic National Committee
(DNC) is responsible for promoting Democratic campaign activities.
While the DNC is responsible for overseeing the process of writing the
Democratic Platform, the DNC is more focused on campaign and
organizational strategy than public policy. In presidential elections
it supervises the Democratic National Convention.
The national convention is, subject to the charter of the party, the
ultimate authority within the Democratic Party when it is in session,
with the DNC running the party’s organization at other times. The DNC
is currently chaired by Virginia Governor Tim Kaine.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) assists party candidates in House races; its current chairman (selected by the party caucus) is Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. Similarly the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) raises large sums for Senate races. It is currently headed by Senator Robert Menendez
of New Jersey. The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC),
currently chaired by Mike Gronstal of Iowa, is a smaller organization
with much less funding that focuses on state legislative races. The DNC
sponsors the College Democrats of America (CDA), a student-outreach organization with the goal of training and engaging a new generation of Democratic activists. Democrats Abroad
is the organization for Americans living outside the United States;
they work to advance the goals of the party and encourage Americans
living abroad to support the Democrats. The Young Democrats of America
(YDA) is a youth-led organization that attempts to draw in and mobilize
young people for Democratic candidates, but operates outside of the
DNC. In addition, the recently created branch of the Young Democrats,
the Young Democrats High School Caucus, attempts to raise awareness and
activism amongst teenagers to not only vote and volunteer, but
participate in the future as well.The Democratic Governors Association
(DGA) is an organization supporting the candidacies of Democratic
gubernatorial nominees and incumbents; it is currently chaired by
Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana. Similarly the mayors of the largest cities and urban centres convene as the National Conference of Democratic Mayors.
Each state also has a state committee, made up of elected committee
members as well as ex-officio committee members (usually elected
officials and representatives of major constituencies), which in turn
elects a chair. County, town, city and ward committees generally are
composed of individuals elected at the local level. State and local
committees often coordinate campaign activities within their
jurisdiction, oversee local conventions and in some cases primaries or
caucuses, and may have a role in nominating candidates for elected
office under state law. Rarely do they have much funding, but in 2005
DNC Chairman Dean began a program (called the "50 State Strategy") of
using DNC national funds to assist all state parties and paying for
full-time professional staffers.