Page 2 of 3The election of John Quincy Adams in 1824 was highly contested and led to a four-way split among Democratic-Republicans. A result of the split was the emergence of Andrew Jackson as a national leader. The war hero, generally considered — along with Jefferson — one of the founding fathers of the Democratic Party, organized his supporters to a degree unprecedented in American history. The Jacksonian Democrats created the national convention process, the party platform, and reunified the Democratic Party with Jackson's victories in 1828 and 1832. The Party held its first National Convention in 1832 and nominated President Jackson for his second term. In 1844, the National Convention simplified the Party's name to the Democratic Party.
In 1848, the National Convention established the Democratic National Committee, now the longest running political organization in the world. The Convention charged the DNC with the responsibility of promoting "the Democratic cause" between the conventions and preparing for the next convention.
As the 19th Century came to a close, the American electorate changed more and more rapidly. The Democratic Party embraced the immigrants who flooded into cities and industrial centers, built a political base by bringing them into the American mainstream, and helped create the most powerful economic engine in history. Democratic Party leader William Jennings Bryan led a movement of agrarian reformers and supported the right of women's suffrage, the progressive graduated income tax and the direct election of Senators. As America entered the 20th Century, the Democratic Party became dominant in local urban politics.
In 1912, Woodrow Wilson became the first Democratic president of the 20th Century. Wilson led the country through World War I, fought for the League of Nations, established the Federal Reserve Board, and passed the first labor and child welfare laws.
A generation later, Franklin Roosevelt was elected president running on the promise of a New Deal. Roosevelt pulled America out of the Depression by looking beyond the Democratic base and energizing citizens around the belief that their government could actively assist them in times of need. Roosevelt's New Deal brought water to California's Central Valley, electrified Appalachia and saved farms across the Midwest. The Civilian Conservation Corps, the WPA and Social Security all brought Americans into the system, freeing us from fear, giving us a stake in the future, making the nation stronger.