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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Friday, May 22, 2009

The "Democrat" Party

Certain people-- lots of them nowadays-- routinely refer to the party founded by Thomas Jefferson as the "Democrat" Party. Not only is this petty, it's also historically inaccurate.

Jefferson started it as the Republican Party, and it later was known as the Democratic-Republican Party. Andrew Jackson was the first president (1829-1837) to be called a Democrat, and the delegates to the 1840 national convention officially gave it the name it has had ever since: the Democratic Party.

Two Mississippi newspapers, the Natchez Democrat (1865) and the Woodville Republican (1823), are named for the same party (several other papers in the Magnolia State feature "Democrat" in their titles).

To be sure, if the Democrats were completely honest, they would call themselves the Socialist Democratic Party.

Which reminds me: The Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks made up the Social Democratic Party in Russia. The Bolsheviks ("the larger") were the majority and more extreme wing, while the Mensheviks ("the littler") were the minority wing. I suppose if the Mensheviks had become the majority, the two factions would have had to trade monikers.

At any rate, in 1919, the Bolsheviks were renamed the Communist Party.

Today's Republican Party, incidentally, was founded in 1854. The site and date most generally credited are Ripon, Wisconsin, on March 20 of that year.


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