The political landscape of the United States is dominated by two major parties, the Democrats and Republicans. Though there are some differences between democrats and republicans, it’s next to impossible to classify everyone based on every political issue, there are many specific important points that members of each party agree with. These important points are generally found in each party’s platform.

History of Democrats and Republican

In order to understand the fundamental differences and beliefs of each party, we must look at the histories of Democrats and Republicans to understand their motives for becoming a party. It is also necessary to understand their fundamental beliefs and positions and how they have stuck with these positions through their voting records.

History of the Democratic Party

The party can trace its roots all the way back to Thomas Jefferson when they were known as Jefferson’s Republicans and they strongly opposed the Federalist Party and their nationalist views. The Democrats adopted the donkey as their symbol due to Andrew Jackson who was publicly nicknamed “jackass” because of his popular position of “let the people rule”. The Democratic National Committee was officially created in 1848. During the civil war a rift grew within the party between those who supported slavery and those who opposed it. This deep division led to the creation of a new Democratic party, the one we now know today.

History of the Republican Party

The Republican Party came into existence just prior to the Civil War due to their long-time stance in favor of abolition of slavery. They were a small third-party who nominated John C. Freemont for President in 1856. In 1860 they became an established political party when their nominee Abraham Lincoln was elected as President of the United States. Lincoln’s Presidency throughout the war, including his policies to end slavery for good helped solidify the Republican Party as a major force in American politics. The elephant was chosen as their symbol in 1874 based on a cartoon in Harpers Weekly that depicted the new party as an elephant.

Differences Between Democrats and Republicans

With the establishment of a powerful two-party political system in the United States—the Democrats beginning in 1824 and the Republicans beginning in 1854—there are some core differences between the two based on very strong political beliefs.
1

Tax Policy

Both parties favor tax cuts, but each party takes a different view on where those tax cuts should be applied. The Democrats believe there should only be cuts for middle and low income families, but believe they should be higher on corporations and wealthy individuals. The Republicans believe there should be tax cuts for everyone, both corporations and people of all income levels.

2

Social Issues

One of the differences between democrats and republicans lies in their views towards social issues. The Republicans tend to be conservative on social issues. They tend to oppose gay marriage and promote marriage being between a man and a woman. They also oppose abortion and promote the right of gun ownership. Democrats tend to be more progressive in their views, favoring abortion and gay marriage, but are strongly for strict gun control laws that limit ownership.

3

Labor and Free Trade

Republicans and Democrats have very different ideas when it comes to the business environment. Republicans tend to oppose increases to the minimum wage, citing the need for business to keep costs low so they can prosper and all Americans can have access to products and services. The Democrats favor increasing the minimum wage so that Americans have more money with which to purchase goods. They also favor trade restrictions to protect American jobs while Republicans favor free trade in order to keep costs low for consumers and make businesses more profitable so they can grow.

4

Health Care

Democrats generally prefer a lot of government regulation and oversight of the health care system, including the passage of the Affordable Care Act, because it makes the health care system accessible to everyone. Republicans, who opposed the Affordable Care Act, believe too much government involvement in the industry will drive up costs and have a negative impact on the quality of care that consumers receive.

5

Social Programs

Democrats across the board believe that government should run such social programs as welfare, unemployment benefits, food stamps, and Medicaid that support people in need. They believe more tax dollars should be funneled into these programs. Republicans acknowledge a need for these social programs, but favor less funding and tighter control. Republicans favor supporting private organizations that support people in need.

6

Foreign Policy

When it comes to differences between democrats and republicans, the foreign policy can not be missed. Each party has had differing stances in relation to foreign policy over the years depending on the situation. Generally speaking, when military involvement may be required, the Democrats favor more targeted strikes and limited use of manpower while Republicans favor a full military effort to displace regimes that are totalitarian and detrimental to their own people and who are threatening others. Both parties typically agree that sending aid to other countries is a good thing, but disagree on the nature of that aid and who should be receiving it.

7

Energy Issues and the Environment

There have always been clashes between the parties on the issues of energy and the environment. Democrats believe in restricting drilling for oil or other avenues of fossil fuels to protect the environment while Republicans favor expanded drilling to produce more energy at a lower cost to consumers. Democrats will push and support with tax dollars alternative energy solutions while the Republicans favor allowing the market to decide which forms of energy are practical.

8

Education

The parties have different views on the education system of the country, but both agree there needs a change. Democrats favor more progressive approaches to education, such as implementing the Common Core System, while Republicans tend to favor more conservative changes such as longer hours and more focused programs. They are also divided on student loans for college, with Democrats favoring giving students more money in the form of loans and grants while Republicans favor promoting the private sector giving loans and not the government.

9

Crime and Capital Punishment

Republicans generally believe in harsher penalties when someone has committed a crime, including for selling illegal drugs. They also generally favor capital punishment and back a system with many layers to ensure the proper punishment has been meted out. Democrats are more progressive in their views, believing that crimes do not involve violence, such as selling drugs, should have lighter penalties and rehabilitation. They are also against capital punishment in any form.

10

Individual Liberty

Individual liberty has been a sore subject of late. Political correctness is on the rise and many people believe that people need to be protected against themselves. Democrats have tended toward favoring legislation that restricts some freedoms, including foods we may have access to. Republicans favor personal responsibility, in that individuals should be able to choose for themselves what they do and what they do not do if it doesn’t break existing laws.

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  • BrandonNov.30 20:25
    Great for my school essay!
  • ZaneyHaydoNov.29 01:08
    Very useful tool your article is. You should continue posting these... you could make a living off of this.
  • michael o. bradleyNov.28 16:24
    Very Interesting. At the end of the day as a functioning society we need protection from ourselves! If everyone could really do what they wanted to do our country would slip into total Chaos and Anarchy!! So left to our own devices we would destroy ourselves!! We should take these changing landscapes with a grain of salt and stop being so mean spirited towards each other!! Regardless of who is in charge every 4 years we have a "Choice" to make! We all have a fighting chance that every 4 years we can advance our individual points of view!! Regardless of who is in charge this is still America and everyone around the world wants to come here and have a chance to succeed and be happy albeit our unhappiness with the current administration. I think a lot of problems regarding race comes down to Education or the lack thereof. If we were "all" better Educated it would level the playing field!! To be uneducated breeds misunderstanding, poverty, anger, discontent, revenge, crime, drug addiction. So if we keep this or that class of people uneducated is to control this or that class. What are we afraid of?? Are we afraid that if we were to educate more blacks they might take over?? Sorry but we have had a Black educated president for the past 8 years and from my perspective he has worked his ass off to preserve our Democracy with more than a little resistance from his White counter parts. Now that is real, blind, unreasonable hate. Oh well, I'm a 62 year old Veteran that will never have to worry about health care because of my brief service. and now my Government, Republican or Democrat says because I worked my but off for 48 years participating in our Democracy they will now issue me a check every month as a condition of their gratitude!!! How can old Mike be pissed off about anything??!! Life is good in America!! Peace and cheers everyone!! m.b.
  • CorbinNov.28 04:12
    Awesome, thank you. This was very helpful. Go Republicans
  • Jonathan MortonNov.16 09:33
    Do we have an "Every Situation is Not the Same" or a "Meet in the Middle and Actually Think" Party? If I read this correctly, we essentially have no choice but to keep this Battle of Values (who actually ever "wins such a battle?) going. Since when values actually prevent one's thinking? Evaluation, application of Critical Thinking -- these can be mutually inclusive. These two lists are the summary output from a group of people openly stating that, about those issues, they refuse to think. More than that, they essentially put themselves over countless lives, yet base their bickering on, well, not real life. Is life really black and white? Always one or the other? Can't put a sense of duty over the sense of oneself? Again, if I read this for correctly with minimum synthesis: Republicans are against abortion but not necessarily champion the social programs that a single mother may need after having been made to deliver a child? Don't favor minimum wage increases to support a family, especially when trying do away with welfare or programs of the type? These counter-intuitive values give rise to a level of implied control over how a person should live, right down to religion (Pro-Life, no conctraception, no gays -- suspiciously Catholic and aligns closely with the Republican Party). What happened to religious freedom? If your party affiliation drives your religious choices, then you had your freedom taken...that or you are lying to your party. See? We need the damn middle; the Democrats can keep that damn Common Core!
  • Kay geeNov.15 22:41
    Well looks like im either both or im neither got views from both parties fuck politics
  • AngelaNov.15 16:47
    I'm not on here to start a fight, so I'll just drop a comment and be done with it, but this article was clearly written in favor of the Republican Party. If you're old and experienced like me, you can weed your way through your bias and get an idea of the parties, so I genuinely commend you for that. But if you want to make your career as a journalist, I recommend you work at being a non-biased one (unless your goal is to work at Fox News or CNN (See? I'm not speaking for either political party.) But this article is CLEARLY severely biased toward one party. Good luck to you. It's refreshing to see that someone so young is even interested in politics!
  • Gun laws...our forefathers wrote these laws when weapons were muskets, I do not believe they meant machine guns, and weapons of today
  • carl johnny Nov.14 05:51
    To be honest...I can agree on one party on one thing and also agree on the other party on one thing...There is some points on both parties that I agree and disagree with
  • PMHomeschoolerNov.12 21:02
    It's very informative. I don't feel they tried to sway me to prefer either party. Good addition to our homeschool curriculum. Thank You!!
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