The Democratic Party is one of the two major political parties in the United States today (the other being the Republican Party). In general, the Democratic Party represents the liberal, or left, side of the political debate and champions such issues as abortion rights, gender equality, health care, and social welfare.
The modern Democratic Party traces its roots to Andrew Jackson. It is the successor to the Democratic-Republican Party founded by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. However, factions coalesced around Jackson in 1828, leading to the modern party, as it exists today.
In 1860, Democrats split North and South in opposition to Abraham Lincoln. Following the Civil War, the Democrats were largely out of the White House, with the notable exception of Grover Cleveland, the only president to serve two nonconsecutive terms (1884 and 1892).
In the 1930s, under Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Democratic Party came to champion many social welfare programs, known as the New Deal, attempting to alleviate the worst of the Great Depression. The modern Democratic Party embraced Civil Rights, and established Medicare under Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society program. Bill Clinton’s 1992 election signaled another transformation of the Democratic Party, a Northeast and West Coast coalition continued under Barack Obama.