The history of our country is a history of change. Year after year, we have evolved, innovated, and overcome the major challenges of our time. America’s genius throughout has been its ability to renew our promise to provide citizens the opportunity for a better life—and though our own history isn’t perfect, the mission of the Democratic Party has been to make that promise a reality.
Founded more than 200 years ago, the Democratic Party was born in response to the idea that government should represent the people and that wealth and status should not be an entitlement to rule.
Change is the inescapable driver of history in the United States. Our party’s founders believed then, just as we do now, that being a Democrat means meeting the challenges of changing times so that all Americans can prosper. That’s why the people of this county have always turned to Democrats when times got tough.
In the 1930s, Americans turned to Democrats and elected President Franklin Roosevelt to end the Great Depression. President Roosevelt offered Americans a New Deal that put people back to work, stabilized farm prices, and brought electricity to rural homes and communities.
Under President Roosevelt, Social Security established a promise that lasts to this day: growing old would never again mean growing poor.
In 1944, FDR signed the G.I. Bill — a historic measure that provided veterans with the opportunity to go to college and help move our country forward.
These investments helped restore America’s promise to be the land of opportunity and offered new avenues to expand the middle class.
Harry Truman helped rebuild Europe after World War II with the Marshall Plan and oversaw the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. By integrating the military, President Truman helped to bring down barriers of race and gender and pave the way the way for civil rights advancements in the years that followed.
In the 1960s, Americans again turned to Democrats and elected President John Kennedy to tackle the challenges of a new era. President Kennedy dared Americans to put a man on the moon, created the Peace Corps, and negotiated a treaty banning atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons.
And after President Kennedy’s assassination, Americans looked to President Lyndon Johnson, who offered a new vision of a Great Society and signed into law the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act.
President Johnson’s enactment of Medicare was a watershed moment in America’s history that redefined our country’s commitment to our seniors—offering a new promise that all Americans have the right to a healthy retirement.
In 1976, in the wake of the Watergate scandal, Americans elected Jimmy Carter to restore dignity to the White House. He created the Departments of Education and Energy and helped to forge a lasting peace between Israel and Egypt.
In 1992, after twelve years of Republican presidents, record budget deficits, high unemployment, and increasing crime, Americans turned to Democrats once again and elected Bill Clinton to get America moving again. As President, Clinton balanced the budget, helped the economy add 23 million new jobs, and oversaw the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in history.
And in 2008, Americans turned to Democrats and elected President Obama to reverse our country’s slide into the largest economic downturn since the Great Depression and undo eight years of policies that favored the few over the many.
Under President Obama’s direction and congressional Democrats’ leadership, we reformed a health care system that was broken and extended health insurance to 32 million Americans.
We reined in a financial system that was out of control and delivered the toughest consumer protections ever enacted.
We reworked our student loan system to make higher education more affordable and won the fight for equal pay for women.
We passed the Recovery Act, which created or helped to save millions of jobs and made unprecedented investments in the major pillars of our country.
From America’s beginnings to today, people have turned to Democrats to meet our country’s most pressing challenges. We are America’s best hope to foster the promise and opportunity ingrained in our history. And we will succeed if we continue to govern by the same principles that have made America the greatest nation on earth.