Democratic-Republican Party

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The Democratic-Republican Party was an anti-federalist party, founded in the early 1790s by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. It was commonly called the Republican Party for short,[1] but it is not related to today's Republican Party.

Democratic-Republicans generally stood for a smaller federal government, states' rights (which wasn't associated with slavery yet) and supported working with the French over the British.

The party had a monopoly on presidencies until 1829, with the party dissolving in 1825. It was officially succeeded by the Democratic Party.[2]


Following George Washington's decision to step down in 1796, the Democratic-Republican Jefferson and the Federalist John Adams faced off for the (then under construction) White House. Adams was elected, but following some unpopular decisions and attempts to suppress his opposition,[3] Jefferson returned and was elected in 1800.

The Federalist platform became increasingly hard to sell as time went on. At the same time, the Democratic-Republican ideas of a reduced military, paying off the national debt, and eliminating a federal bank[4] remained popular. By 1808 both Congress and the Executive branch were under firm control outside of New England.[5] There was some backlash early in the War of 1812, but following the U.S. essentially became a one-party state.

Too big for its own good[edit]

As one would expect for a loosely-organized political organization with no opposition, the party quickly factionalized. In the 1824 election, they failed to decide on a single candidate, and a four-way race resulted.[6] After this, the party gave rise to the Democrats under Andrew Jackson, and the Whigs under everyone who hated Jackson.