Democratic-Republican Party


July 5, 2022

The Democratic-Republican Party was a US political party, founded in 1792 by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and disbanded in 1825. It soon became the dominant party on the US political scene, electing all presidents from the 1800s until the 1820s, when it split into a few factions, one of which became the current Democratic Party and the other, after an initial intermediate transformation. , evolved into the modern Republican Party. The party split following the presidential elections of 1824 into the Jacksonian movement (which later became the Democratic Party in 1828) and into the ephemeral National Republican Party (United States of America) (later succeeded by the Whig Party, forerunner of the Republican Party).


The Democratic-Republican Party was founded in 1792 by Jefferson and Madison in opposition to the economic and foreign policies of the Federalist Party, founded about a year earlier by Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, during the presidency of George Washington. Jefferson opposed the Treaty of London of 1794 (and therefore the war with France) and was instead in favor of good relations with France before 1801. His party denounced many of Hamilton's proposals as unconstitutional, and opposed, between 1796 to 1812, many Federalist measures such as high customs duties, the construction of a national navy, military spending, the establishment of a national bank. After the defeat in the war of 1812, however, many of these ideas were abandoned, and some prominent party members, such as Henry Clay, John Quincy Adams, and John C. Calhoun, became in favor of building a strong national defense. The elected presidents of this party were Thomas Jefferson (1800 and 1804), James Madison (1808 and 1812), James Monroe (1816 and 1820) and John Quincy Adams (1824). The Democratic-Republicans looked after the interests of the landowners (yeoman) of the middle class rather than those of bankers, industrialists, merchants. The party was divided into some currents. The Jeffersonian faithful, or "ancient republicans", also called tertium quids, formed the wing led by Jefferson, John Randolph, William H. Crawford and Nathaniel Macon, were in favor of low customs duties, affirmed the rights of individual states with respect to the federal government, called for a strict and literal interpretation of the Constitution and the reduction of public spending. They opposed the professional and career army. The current of "national republicans", led by Henry Clay, John Quincy Adams and John C. Calhoun, favored higher customs duties, stronger national defense, and "internal improvements" (public works projects). . After the Federalist Party disbanded in 1815, many former members of the Federalist faction merged into the nationalist current of the Democrats-Republicans. The party invented some organizational techniques of modern electoral campaigns, later also adopted by the Federalists and which became practice. For example, it was particularly effective in building a network of newspapers in large cities to convey their own statements and communication policies. Already during the presidency of James Monroe, the Federalist Party had almost disappeared and the Democrats-Republicans were practically the only party. Four Democratic-Republican candidates stood in the presidential election of 1824: Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, John Quincy Adams, and William H. Crawford. Since no one got an absolute majority of the big voters, it was the House of Representatives that had to elect the new president, choosing Adams, who had fewer voters than Jackson but who won Clay's support. Andrew Jackson then decided to stand in opposition to Adams and Clay and created his own faction, which would become the m