To understand the fundamental differences between Republicans and Democrats, it is very important to consider their history as to their intended purpose for becoming a political party. It is equally important to consider what their fundamental core beliefs were and how they have stuck by their beliefs through their voting record.
History of the Democratic Party
The Democratic Party is the oldest existing party to date. The Democratic Party had its beginning with Thomas Jefferson and at the time the party was referred to Republican or Jefferson’s Republicans who strongly apposed the Federalist Party. The Federalist Party was nationalistic in their views. The Federalists wanted national tariffs, a national bank and had a desire to maintain relations with Britain; all of which were not acceptable to the early Democratic Party.
In 1837, the donkey became the Democrats’ political symbol. The Democratic donkey symbol was started from Andrew Jackson’s popular view of “let the people rule” and at the time Jackson was nicknamed, “jackass” and the donkey symbol was that of a donkey kicking with its hind legs sporting the patriotic colors of red white and blue.
In 1848, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was created. During the Civil war, the Democratic Party was split by those who supported slavery and those who opposed it. Those Democrats who strongly opposed slavery were called War Democrats and those Democrats who supported slavery were called Copperheads. This division brought way to a new party.
History of the Republican Party
As civil war decisions about slavery brought the DNC to a split, the Republican Party with its abolition beginnings came into existence. The Republican Party had its beginning in 1854 in Jackson, Michigan and in 1856, with the nomination of John C. Fremont to run for President, the Republican Party became a national party. In 1860, the Republican Party was established as a majority party with the election of President Abraham Lincoln.
The Republican Party symbol was adopted in 1874 from a cartoon that was published in Harpers Weekly depicting the Republican Party as an Elephant.
Core Fundamental Beliefs
When you evaluate the fundamental differences between Republicans and Democrats, from a historical point of view, you will see they were not too different. Both began with their core belief that men (not big government) was to rule over them. Both shared a desire of individual freedom and not government tyranny. The Democrats had strongly opposed the Federalist Party, whose desire was to have national government control, and in doing so the Democrats began the end of the Federalist Party that faded into American history.
Republican’s core beliefs were that Congress did not have the right to recognize slavery in any particular area and that slavery should be abolished. When Republicans won control after the Civil War in what is called,“Reconstruction,” they passed the 14th and 15th amendments that were added to the Constitution giving blacks the right to vote and due process of the law.
Yet, it was during the Civil War and Reconstruction Era that you begin to see that the fundamental differences were starting to take effect. With the Democratic Party split there was animosity between them. Names such as “scalawags” meaning traitor, were given to Southerners who agreed to the Republican’s domination.
The Shift of Core Fundamental Beliefs
The Democratic Party has taken more of an active role in the Civil Rights movement than the Republican Party, as they have had the opportunity to pass laws such as the 19th Amendment allowing women the right to vote.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt is remembered for bringing into existence the Social Security Act that provided aid to the elderly and the signing of the G.I. Bill that gave education benefits to soldiers. In 1960, with the election of Democratic President John Kennedy, Democrats take credit for putting a man on the moon and for the creation of what is known as the Peace Corps. They are also recognized for demanding a cleaner environment with the ban of atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.
Although, the Democratic Party has had an active role in Civil Rights and individual benefits, today you will notice a distinct difference in their fundamental beliefs. The Democratic Party, who once stood against a nationalist government, has proven, by their voting record to favor what they once fought so dearly against.
The Republican Party Strengthens Its Fundamental Beliefs
While the Democratic Party has abandoned its original intent, today, the fundamental differences between Republicans and Democrats can be noted by their voting record. The Democratic Party, who was once anti-nationalism has embraced greater government control of states and individual rights through the passing of federal laws mandating such.
The Republican Party strengthens its fundamental beliefs that individuals, not government intervention are to make a difference in society. Government has its place to help when individuals are unable to act effectively. The end result should be that government does it for the purpose of strengthening the individual, not making them dependent on government.
Here’s a breakdown of “core” Democratic beliefs:
- ANTI-GUN: Democrats are fundamentally against guns in America. If they could, the would ban all guns in the country. Instead, they try to pass legislation banning certain types of weapons they deem “bad” for society. Every time there is a mass shooting, Democrats capitalize on the opportunity to pass restrictive legislation.
- MINIMUM WAGE: Democrats consistently vote to increase the minimum wage. Even though passage of such an increase typically causes inflation and costs business money, this type of effort is politically popular and typically buys the votes of the lowest wage earners. My own personal thoughts are that people should go through lower paying jobs and work into higher paying jobs. This is very rewarding, better for the country, but not instantly gratifying.
- BIG GOVERNMENT: Democrats believe they can solve everyone’s problems through bigger government. This was recently seen in “Obamacare” where the democrats passed “non-partisan” legislation to force their fix for healthcare down the throats of the American people. While this legislation benefits some, most Democrats didn’t actually read the legislation causing higher prices, broken promises (like you “can keep your healthcare plan.”), and being forced to pay for policy provisions that you don’t really need like men having to pay for childbirth when there’s no way for a man to give birth to a child without some miracle of science. They also believe that bigger government and more taxes can be used to create jobs. The problem is simply that government bureaucracy is extremely inefficient and produces very few jobs the money. You’ve probably heard that it takes somewhere in the range of $300,000 dollars for Uncle Sam to pay for one person’s job. Private industry could take those same dollars and hire 5 or 6 people.
- NATIONAL WEALTH: Democrats want to re-distribute wealth across the country to all citizens. In essence, they’d like to take money out of the hands of the wealthy and give it to the poor. The problem with this is that it closely resembles socialism and discourages innovation in the market place as people will no longer have a profit motive to work hard to deliver relevant products to the market place. The capitalistic profit motive is what this country was founded on, and the Democrats would like to level the playing field where CEOs and janitors all make the same thing. While unrealistic, this is and will continue to be the goal of most Democrats.
- PRO ABORTION: Democrats are typically pro abortion. This can be seen in the States where Democrats are in power and in the voting records of Democratic leaders.
- TAXES: Democrats typically demand higher taxes on its citizens. The Supreme Court recently ruled that Obamacare was a “tax” for example. Since this was Democratic legislation, Americans must now either get an Obamacare policy (with all the provisions they don’t need) or pay a stiff penalty during tax time. While there are some segments of the population who need help from the rest of its citizens, most do not. The government should have addressed only that segment who couldn’t afford health insurance. It would’ve been much cheaper.
Here’s a breakdown of “core” Republican beliefs:
- GUNS: Republicans are typically pro-gun! they believe in militias and the right to bear arms.
- SIZE OF GOVERNMENT: Republicans typically believe in a smaller government. They also believe that when government shrinks so should taxes. this is the reason the TEA party came to being. TEA, in this case stands for taxed enough already. If you’ve ever seen Sarah Palin on TV you will know what the tea party. A staunch supporter, Sarah Palin believes that the American people have been taxed enough and deserve a break.
- ABORTION: Most Republicans are anti-abortion. This isn’t to say that some Republicans aren’t pro-choice, it’s just that many of them, tend to choose life over death. this few carries over into their policies. Many Republicans do not support the death penalty, however, they do believe in harsh penalties for bad crimes.
- PRO BUSINESS: Many Republicans support small business and will tend to incentivize hard work. They realize that many small businesses create jobs and support the American economy. More often than not, they will not support a minimum wage.
- PRO JOBS: The vast majority of Republicans believe that Americans jobs are great for the economy. They will typically pass policy that supports job creation.
- MILITARY: Republicans put the military above all other discretionary programs. While Democrats support social programs, Republicans will spend large sums of money on the military in an effort to defend the American borders and its sovereignty.
These fundamental differences between Republicans and Democrats are seen in other issues such as the economy, taxes, and government spending. Further differences are found in their voting decisions of education, immigration and national defense.
When you boil it down, the fundamental differences between Republicans and Democrats (from a historic perspective) was that both parties did not differ much in that less government was their desire. The years now gone by, there are fundamental differences in their voting record.
The current fundamental differences are Republicans seek less national government intervention and desire individual states to govern themselves, while the Democratic Party seeks to involve government more in the lives of the American people.
This video shows us many of the fundamental differences between democrats and republicans.