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United States Democratic-Republican Party

The Democratic-Republican party, or Anti-Federalist party, of the United States was a party that evolved in the early days of the United States. It was formed around opposition to the centralized federal controls proposed by Alexander Hamilton and the Federalist Party. They were against the United States Constitution in its original form, but under the leadership of Thomas Jefferson, were able to pass the Bill of Rights, amending the document to a more acceptable form. Besides Jefferson, James Madison was also a major figure in its founding. Members of the Democratic-Republican Party believed that a strong federal government would weaken and not respect the rights of the states and the people.

For a brief period, the Democratic-Republican Party was the sole dominant party in U.S. politics. At its apex, James Monroe ran virtually unopposed in the 1820 presidential election. This period was known as the Era of Good Feeling. Shortly afterward, the party would split into two factions: the United States Democratic Party, led by Andrew Jackson, and the United States Whig Party, which was formed from the anti-Jackson coalition.

The following United States Presidents were members of the Democratic-Republican party:

  1. Thomas Jefferson (1801 - 1809)
  2. James Madison (1809 - 1817)
  3. James Monroe (1817-1825)
  4. John Quincy Adams (1825-1829)

Modern Claims To Democratic-Republican Heritage

The stature of the Presidents who identified themselves with the Democratic-Republican Party during its heyday makes it an enviable institution for modern political parties to identify themselves with. As a result, both major political parties today identify themselves with the party.

As noted above, the Democratic Party is a direct descendant of the Democratic-Republican Party. The Republican Party also sees itself as a spiritual descendant of the Democratic-Republicans, though it has much looser ties from their broad base of former Whig voters and politicians. Neither the modern-day Democratic nor Republican party has identifiable ties to the Federalist Party, which was the only opposition party to the original Democratic-Republican party.



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