Member of the party founded by Andrew Jackson whose roots trace to Thomas Jefferson, leader of the "Anti-Federalists" (1790s), then "Republicans" (1798 - 1809), then "Democrat-Republicans" (1809-1825).
The party was known throughout the 19th century as the party for MINIMAL government. Democrat Congressmen and Presidents from Jefferson to Grover Cleveland (1885 - 1889, and 1893-1897) were positioned to the "individualist/freedom" side of their Federalist, Whig, and Republican counterparts. Democrats typically sided with states rights and low tariffs.
Turn-of-the Century progressives attracted many Democrats, and by the 1930s the party, led by Franklin Roosevelt, became the one seeking more government fixes for social and economic ills. FDRs success brought more government into the mainstream discourse, even for Republicans.
Today "Democrat" leaders have become those for government at the expense of individualism and freedom. They do not resemble the attitudes of Jefferson and Jackson, and in the process often eviscerate the meaning in "small d" democracy.
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