The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with its rival, the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party.
In its early years, the Party supported individual rights and state sovereignty and opposed banks and the abolition of slavery. Since Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal coalition in the 1930s, the Democratic Party has promoted a social liberal platform, Well into the 20th century, the party had conservative pro-business and Southern conservative-populist anti-business wings; following the New Deal, however, the conservative wing of the party withered outside the South. The New Deal Coalition of 1932–1964 attracted strong support from voters of recent European extraction—many of whom were Catholics based in the cities. After the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the core bases of the two parties shifted, with the Southern states becoming more reliably Republican in presidential politics and the Northeastern states becoming more reliably Democratic. The once-powerful labor union element became smaller and less supportive after the 1970s. White evangelicals and Southerners have become heavily Republican at the state and local level since the 1990s. People living in urban areas, women, post-graduates, sexual and gender minorities, millennials, and Black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans tend to support the Democratic Party.
The Democratic Party's philosophy of modern liberalism advocates social and economic equality, along with the welfare state. It seeks to provide government intervention and regulation in the economy. Policies such as environmental protection, support for organized labor and labor unions, the introduction of social programs, affordable college tuition, universal health care, equal opportunity, and consumer protection form the core of the party's economic policy. On social issues, it advocates campaign finance reform, LGBT rights, police and immigration reform, stricter gun laws, and the legalization of marijuana.
There have been 15 Democrats who have served as president of the United States. The first was Andrew Jackson, who was the seventh president and served from 1829 to 1837. The most recent was Barack Obama, who was the 44th and first African American president and held office from 2009 to 2017. Following the 2018 midterm elections, the Democrats held a minority of the power in the US. They held a majority in the House of Representatives, "trifectas" (the executive branch and both chambers of the legislative branch) in 14 states, and the mayoralty of numerous major American cities. Twenty-three state governors were Democrats, and the party was the minority party in the Senate and in most state legislatures (full control of 18/50, split control of one other). As of June 2019, four of the nine sitting justices of the Supreme Court had been appointed by Democratic presidents.