The Democratic Party is the oldest political party in the United States and among the oldest political parties in the world. It traces its roots to 1792 and the anti-Federalists — followers of Thomas Jefferson. The modern Democratic Party arose after 1828 with the election of President Andrew Jackson.
WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE, 1920: Under the leadership of Democratic President Woodrow Wilson, the U.S. Constitution was amended to grant women the right to vote. In August of 1920, Tennessee’s became the 36th state to ratify women’s suffrage, and it became our nation’s 19th amendment.
SOCIAL SECURITY ACT, 1935: One of the most enduring parts of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, the Social Security Act provides assistance to retirees, the unemployed, widows, and orphans. By signing this act, Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president to advocate for federal assistance for the elderly. It was largely opposed by Republican legislators.
G.I. Bill: In 1944, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the G.I. Bill—a historic measure that provided unprecedented benefits for soldiers returning from World War II, including low-cost mortgages, loans to start a business, and tuition and living expenses for those seeking higher education.
POST-WWII: Harry Truman helped rebuild Europe after World War II with the Marshall Plan and oversaw the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. By integrating the military, President Truman helped to bring down barriers of race and gender and pave the way the way for civil rights advancements in the years that followed.
1960s: Americans again turned to Democrats and elected President John F. Kennedy to tackle the challenges of a new era. President Kennedy dared Americans to put a man on the moon, created the Peace Corps, and negotiated a treaty banning atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.
And after President Kennedy’s assassination, President Lyndon Johnson, offered a new vision of a Great Society and signed into law the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act.
CIVIL RIGHTS ACT, 1964: This landmark legislation outlawed major forms of discrimination against African Americans and women and prohibited racial segregation. Signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, it ended unequal voting requirements and segregated schools, workplaces, and public facilities.
MEDICARE: President Johnson’s enactment of Medicare was a watershed moment in America’s history that redefined our country’s commitment to our seniors—offering a new promise that all Americans have the right to a healthy retirement.
POST-WATERGATE: In 1976, in the wake of the Watergate scandal, Americans elected Jimmy Carter to restore dignity to the White House. He created the Departments of Education and Energy and helped to forge a lasting peace between Israel and Egypt.
1990s: In 1992, after 12 years of Republican presidents, record budget deficits, and high unemployment, America elected Bill Clinton to get America moving again. President Clinton balanced the budget, helped the economy add 23 million new jobs, and oversaw the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in history.
BARACK OBAMA: In 2008, Americans elected the nations’ first African-American president to reverse our country’s slide into the largest economic downturn since the Great Depression and undo eight years of policies that favored the few over the many.
PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, 2010: After decades of trying and despite unanimous opposition from Republicans, President Obama and Democrats passed comprehensive health reform into law in March 2010. The Affordable Care Act will hold insurance companies accountable, lower costs, expand coverage, and improve care for all Americans.