In the 19th century, Southern Democrats comprised whites in the South who believed in Jeffersonian democracy. In the 1850s they defended slavery in the United States, and promoted its expansion into the West against northern Free Soil opposition. The United States presidential election of 1860 formalized the split, and brought war. After Reconstruction ended in the late 1870s they controlled all the Southern states and disenfranchised blacks (who were Republicans). The “Solid South” gave nearly all its electoral votes to Democrats in presidential elections. Republicans seldom were elected to office outside some Appalachian mountain districts and a few heavily German-American counties of Texas.[a]
The monopoly that the Democratic Party held over most of the South first showed major signs of breaking apart in 1948, when many Southern Democrats, dissatisfied with the policies of desegregation enacted during the administration of Democratic President Harry Truman, created the States Rights Democratic Party, which nominated South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond for president and Mississippi Governor Fielding L. Wright for vice president. The “Dixiecrats” managed to win many Southern states, but collapsed as a party soon after the election. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat from the Southern state of Texas, led many Southern Democrats to vote for Goldwater at the national level. In the ensuing years, the increasing conservatism of the Republican Party compared to the liberalism of the Democratic Party led many more conservative white Democrats in the South to vote Republican. Many continued to vote for Democrats at the state and local levels for years after. By the start of the 21st century, Republicans had gained a solid advantage over Democrats at all levels of politics in most Southern states.
Today, Southern Democrats largely consist of blacks and those living in urban areas of the region.
The title of “Democrat” has its beginnings in the South, going back to the founding of the Democratic-Republican Party in 1793 by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. It held to small government principles and distrusted the national government. Foreign policy was a major issue. After being the dominant party in U.S. politics from 1800 to 1829, the Democratic-Republicans split into two factions by 1828: the federalist National Republicans, and the Democrats. The Democrats and Whigs were evenly balanced in the 1830s and 1840s. However, by the 1850s, the Whigs disintegrated. Other opposition parties emerged but the Democrats were dominant. Northern Democrats were in serious opposition to Southern Democrats on the issue of slavery; Northern Democrats, led by Stephen Douglas, believed in Popular Sovereignty—letting the people of the territories vote on slavery. The conservative Southern Democrats, reflecting the views of the late John C. Calhoun, insisted slavery was national.
The Democrats controlled the national government from 1852 until 1860, and Presidents Pierce and Buchanan were friendly to Southern interests. In the North, the newly formed anti-slavery Republican Party came to power, and dominated the electoral college. In the 1860 presidential election, the Republicans nominated Abraham Lincoln, but the divide among Democrats led to the nomination of two candidates: John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky represented Southern Democrats, and Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois represented Northern Democrats. Nevertheless, the Republicans had a majority of the electoral vote regardless of how the opposition split or joined together and Abraham Lincoln was elected.
Who are We: I recommend reading the this article to get a better understanding of the demographics in play to counter the the Imperial Wizard of the Modern Day Klan Congressman Steve King of Iowa.
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