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.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


Please Log In or add your name and email to post the comment.

  • Whocares386Jan.15 16:00
    When we look at the graph that shows how the national debt changed over the years, We can see that it peaked in 3 periods in particular. One of them was the World War II years and afterwards, which is understandable, the second one is the Reagan years, and the third one is G. W. Bush years. The way we see it, whenever Democrats are in power, the economy gets better, and then the Republicans come back to ruin it again or am I missing something here ? Also there is an article about that:
  • LeafDec.16 15:00
    Follow the constitution, be self-sufficient and quit relying on others to do what you should be doing for yourself. Whether it's education, employment, etc. That's an American. Quit standing around with your hand out and stepping on those who do for themselves. You are a burden on society.
  • Brookelynn Dec.5 04:35
    What is a person to do when you see the good policies and bad politics that both parties poses? I'm in the middle. I can't classify myself as one specific party...... And in the recent election i was very upset with the distasteful campaign of Hillary Clinton. I believe we as Americans should have the right to poses fire arms, marry whoever we love, decide to terminate a pregnancy if we chose to, the rich should pay higher taxes for higher income brackets and heathcare should remain affordable and available to everyone. I also think we need to tighten up our borders. Send back illegals that take our jobs and bleed government programs dry. College should be affordable and loans available. Ivy leage schools should take the smartest not the richest people and we need to make our country the land of opportunity for the citizens who live here. Not for refugees that flood our schools and drain the systems. Why can't their be a political party that believes in making our country great for all not seperating the rich from the poor?
  • JamieDec.3 16:37
    I respect both sides and I agree nor do I disagree with either side I think the people need to band together and get their lives in order and live the way God intended us to live and that's rich and wealthy and it's up to us how we do it I don't need no leader of the US to tell me what I need to do none of this is going to affect me so it is what it is Republicans are in the house let's all deal with it and get some Trump Money by working hard and being dedicated to your own self wealth
  • Rob Dec.3 12:57
    I'm 100% with the Democrats. Thanks for all the great info! This article really puts the main issues out there and addresses the elephant in the room.(see what I did there?)
  • KevinDec.2 09:32
    @amanda November 15 post. First, your comment was thoughtful. As it happens I disagree. But the reason I disagree is not because of a bias.. I simply disagree with your view. I would never insult or demean your intelligence by suggesting that the reason you believe what you believe is due to ignorance. Or perhaps worse, the dreaded bias. In any case, the authors argument listed 10 areas of disagreement between democrats and republicans. Your post motivated me to take a second look at those areas. With that in mind, I have to say that I find it difficult to conclude that the author is biased. It seems to me that he simply laid out differences in how some people or organizations think. But I could be wrong. Having said that.. Bias, to me indicates that, in spite of evidence to the contrary, a writer chooses to believe the thing that his/her ideology demands. And god knows there is evidence of that on a daily basis. People have a tendency to "see" what they already believe. And as a result, report "facts" not in evidence. There is a difference between opinions and news. Please respond if there is a particular fact that would dispel my ignorance. Have a wonderful night. As noted previously, your comments resulted in me mentally justifying my beliefs. And that is always a positive experience!
  • 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
View All Comments /Add Comment