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Helen Keller

Helen Adams Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968) was a deafblind American author, activist and lecturer.

Helen Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Her disabilities were caused by a fever in February, 1882 when she was 19 months old. Her loss of ability to communicate at such an early developmental age was very traumatic for her and her family and as a result she became quite unmanageable.

Biography

Childhood

Keller was born at an estate called Ivy Green, on June 27, 1880 to parents Captain Arthur H. Keller and Kate Adams Keller. She was not born blind and deaf, but was actually a typical, healthy infant. It was not until nineteen months later that she came down with an illness that the doctors described as "an acute congestion of the stomach and the brain" - Scarlet Fever. The illness did not last for a particularly long time, but it left her blind, deaf, and unable to speak. By age seven she had invented over sixty different signs that she could use to communicate with her family.

In 1886, her mother Kate Keller was inspired by an account in Charles Dickens' American Notes of the successful education of another deaf/blind child, Laura Bridgman, and travelled to a specialist doctor in Baltimore for advice. He put her in touch with local expert Alexander Graham Bell, who was working with deaf children at the time. Bell advised the couple to contact the Perkins Institute for the Blind, the school where Bridgman had been educated, which was then located in South Boston, Massachusetts. The school delegated teacher and former student Anne Sullivan, herself visually impaired and then only 20 years old, to try to open up Helen's mind. It was the beginning of a 49-year period of working together.

Sullivan demanded and got permission from Helen's father to isolate the girl from the rest of the family in a little house in their garden. Her first task was to instill discipline in the spoiled girl. Helen's big breakthrough in communication came one day when she realized that the motions her teacher was making on her palm, while running cool water over her palm from a pump, symbolized the idea of "water" and nearly exhausted Sullivan demanding the names of all the other familiar objects in her world (including her prized doll).

Anne was able to teach Helen to think intelligibly and to speak, using the Tadoma method: touching the lips of others as they spoke, feeling the vibrations, and spelling of alphabetical characters in the palm of Helen's hand. She also learned to read English, French, German, Greek, and Latin in braille.

Education

In 1888, Helen attended Perkins Institute for the Blind. In 1894, Helen and Anne moved to New York City to attend the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf. In 1898 they returned to Massachusetts and Helen entered The Cambridge School for Young Ladies before gaining admittance, in 1900, to Radcliffe College. In 1904 at the age of 24, Helen graduated from Radcliffe cum laude, becoming the first deaf and blind person to graduate from a college.

Helen Keller, graduation from Radcliffe College, c. 1904

Political activities

With tremendous willpower Helen went on to become a world-famous speaker and author. She made it her own life's mission to fight for the sensorially handicapped in the world. In 1915 she founded Helen Keller International, a non-profit organization for preventing blindness. Helen and Anne Sullivan traveled all over the world to over 39 countries, and made several trips to Japan, becoming a favorite of the Japanese people. Helen Keller met every U.S. President from Grover Cleveland to John F. Kennedy and was friends with many famous figures including Alexander Graham Bell, Charlie Chaplin and Mark Twain.

Helen Keller was a member of the socialist party and actively campaigned and wrote in support of the working classes from 1909 to 1921. She supported Socialist Party candidate Eugene V. Debs in each of his campaigns for the presidency. Her political views were reinforced by visiting workers. In her words, "I have visited sweatshops, factories, crowded slums. If I could not see it, I could smell it."

Newspaper columnists who had praised her courage and intelligence before she came out as a socialist now called attention to her disabilities. The editor of the Brooklyn Eagle wrote that her "mistakes sprung out of the manifest limitations of her development." Keller responded to that editor, referring to having met him before he knew of her political views:

"At that time the compliments he paid me were so generous that I blush to remember them. But now that I have come out for socialism he reminds me and the public that I am blind and deaf and especially liable to error. I must have shrunk in intelligence during the years since I met him...Oh, ridiculous Brooklyn Eagle! Socially blind and deaf, it defends an intolerable system, a system that is the cause of much of the physical blindness and deafness which we are trying to prevent."

Helen Keller also joined the industrial union, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), in 1912 after she felt that parliamentary socialism was "sinking in the political bog." Helen Keller wrote for the IWW between 1916 and 1918. In "Why I Became an IWW" Helen wrote that her motivation for activism came in part due to her concern about blindness and other disabilities:

"I was appointed on a commission to investigate the conditions of the blind. For the first time I, who had thought blindness a misfortune beyond human control, found that too much of it was traceable to wrong industrial conditions, often caused by the selfishness and greed of employers. And the social evil contributed its share. I found that poverty drove women to a life of shame that ended in blindness."

Helen Keller wrote glowingly of the emergence of communism during the Russian Revolution (See ISBN 0684818868). Her contacts with suspected communists were frequently investigated by the FBI.

In 1920 she was one of the founders of the American Civil Liberties Union. In the 1920s, she sent a hundred dollars to the NAACP with a letter of support that appeared in its magazine The Crisis.

In 1925 she addressed a convention of Lions Clubs International giving that organisation a major focus for its service work which still continues today.

Writings

In 1960 her book Light in my Darkness was published in which she advocated the teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg. She also wrote a lengthy autobiography. She wrote a total of eleven books, and authored numerous articles.

Honors

On September 14, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honor.

Alabama honors her, a native daughter, on its state quarter [1].

Later life

Keller devoted much of her later life to raising funds for the American Foundation for the Blind.

Helen Keller died on June 1, 1968 at the age of 87, more than thirty years after the death of Anne Sullivan. She was cremated and her remains were placed in the Chapel of St. Joseph of Arimathea in Washington National Cathedral.

Helen Keller in the arts and popular culture

A silent film, Deliverance, first told Keller's story.

The Miracle Worker, a play about how Helen Keller learned to communicate, was made into a movie three times. The 1962 version of the movie won Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Anne Bancroft who played Sullivan and Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Patty Duke who played Keller.

Another recent movie about Helen Keller's life is The Miracle Continues. This semi-sequel to The Miracle Worker recounts her college years and her early adult life. None of the early movies hint at the social activism that would become the hallmark of Helen's later life, although the Disney version produced in 2000 states in the credits that Helen became an activist for social equality.

The Hindi movie Black released in 2005 was largely based on Keller's story, from her childhood to her graduation.

In the comedy cartoon series South Park Helen Keller's life was shown in a musical.

Her life and achievements are celebrated annually in Tuscumbia, her hometown, in the Helen Keller festival.

In the animated series Family Guy, the final scene from The Miracle Worker was shown in one episode with the characters speaking in binary.


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In the animated series Family Guy, the final scene from The Miracle Worker was shown in one episode with the characters speaking in binary. Boxer, D-Calif.". Her life and achievements are celebrated annually in Tuscumbia, her hometown, in the Helen Keller festival. Barbara L. In the comedy cartoon series South Park Helen Keller's life was shown in a musical. Sen. The Hindi movie Black released in 2005 was largely based on Keller's story, from her childhood to her graduation. Boxer (D-CA)" or, in Associated Press style, "U.S.

None of the early movies hint at the social activism that would become the hallmark of Helen's later life, although the Disney version produced in 2000 states in the credits that Helen became an activist for social equality. Barbara L. This semi-sequel to The Miracle Worker recounts her college years and her early adult life. Sen. Another recent movie about Helen Keller's life is The Miracle Continues. senator from California may be referred to as "U.S. The 1962 version of the movie won Academy Awards for Best Actress in a Leading Role for Anne Bancroft who played Sullivan and Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Patty Duke who played Keller. For example, Barbara Boxer, a Democratic U.S.

The Miracle Worker, a play about how Helen Keller learned to communicate, was made into a movie three times. When identifying an elected representative, the single letter "D" is used to denote a Democrat, followed by a hyphen and an abbreviation of the locale he or she represents. A silent film, Deliverance, first told Keller's story. The abbreviation "Dems" is sometimes used to refer to members of the Party, but unlike "GOP", it is generally not acceptable in formal contexts, such as the text of news articles. Joseph of Arimathea in Washington National Cathedral. In order to avoid the arguably positive connotation of the word "democratic", Republicans will occasionally use "Democrat" as the adjective form, but this is relatively rare and generally regarded as incorrect. She was cremated and her remains were placed in the Chapel of St. The usual adjective used in connection with the party is "Democratic", e.g., "Democratic Party" or "Democratic candidates", whereas members of the party are "Democrats".

Helen Keller died on June 1, 1968 at the age of 87, more than thirty years after the death of Anne Sullivan. See List of state Democratic Parties in the U.S. Keller devoted much of her later life to raising funds for the American Foundation for the Blind. However, two of its state Party organizations have different names due to historical mergers and state politics, the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party. Alabama honors her, a native daughter, on its state quarter [1]. In most states the Democratic Party is simply known as the "Democratic Party". Johnson awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honor. (Years of birth and death are indicated.).

On September 14, 1964, President Lyndon B. (Years of birth are indicated.). She wrote a total of eleven books, and authored numerous articles. [ref5]. She also wrote a lengthy autobiography. The Senate did not vote on either proposal. In 1960 her book Light in my Darkness was published in which she advocated the teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg. Reid convinced the Democratic Senators to vote more as a bloc on some important issues, something which forced the Republican majority to abandon its push for Privatization of Social Security and instatement of the so-called "nuclear option" to end judicial filibuster.

In 1925 she addressed a convention of Lions Clubs International giving that organisation a major focus for its service work which still continues today. When the 109th Congress convened, the Democratic Senators chose Harry Reid of Nevada as their leader and Richard Durbin of Illinois to replace Reid as their Assistant Minority Leader. In the 1920s, she sent a hundred dollars to the NAACP with a letter of support that appeared in its magazine The Crisis. Dean also asserted, of the issue of bipartisanship, that "there are some things we can support the President on", but that the Democrats' should oppose the President's agenda "when he's wrong." [ref10]. In 1920 she was one of the founders of the American Civil Liberties Union. Dean sought to move the Democratic strategy away from the establishment of Washington, DC, and bolster support for the party's state and local chapters. Her contacts with suspected communists were frequently investigated by the FBI. These debates were reflected in the 2005 campaign for chair of the Democratic National Committee, which Howard Dean won over the objections of many party insiders.

Helen Keller wrote glowingly of the emergence of communism during the Russian Revolution (See ISBN 0684818868). [ref9] In What's the Matter with Kansas?, commentator Thomas Frank wrote the Democrats needed to return to campaigning on economic populism. I found that poverty drove women to a life of shame that ended in blindness.". Rethinking the party's position on gun policy became a matter of discussion, brought up by Howard Dean, Bill Richardson, Brian Schweitzer and other Democrats who had won governorships in states where Second Amendment rights were important to many voters. And the social evil contributed its share. One topic of discussion is the party's policies surrounding reproductive rights, especially abortion. For the first time I, who had thought blindness a misfortune beyond human control, found that too much of it was traceable to wrong industrial conditions, often caused by the selfishness and greed of employers. Some have suggested moving towards the center to regain seats in the House and Senate and possibly win the presidency in 2008.

"I was appointed on a commission to investigate the conditions of the blind. In this situation, some prominent Democrats - including the party's leaders - began to rethink the party's direction, and a variety of strategies for moving forward were voiced. In "Why I Became an IWW" Helen wrote that her motivation for activism came in part due to her concern about blindness and other disabilities:. Since then, many Democrats have voiced serious concern over the future of their party. Helen Keller also joined the industrial union, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), in 1912 after she felt that parliamentary socialism was "sinking in the political bog." Helen Keller wrote for the IWW between 1916 and 1918. Overall, President Bush increased his percentage among Hispanics by 9 percent, from 35 in 2000 to 44 percent in 2004. I must have shrunk in intelligence during the years since I met him...Oh, ridiculous Brooklyn Eagle! Socially blind and deaf, it defends an intolerable system, a system that is the cause of much of the physical blindness and deafness which we are trying to prevent.". In 1996, President Clinton won 72 percent of the Latino vote and in 2000 Al Gore won 65 percent of the Latino voters, however in 2004 John Kerry only received 55 percent of the Latino vote.

But now that I have come out for socialism he reminds me and the public that I am blind and deaf and especially liable to error. Another aspect of the Democratic Party's defeat in 2004 was the apparent loss of overwhelming popularity the party once had with Hispanic voters. "At that time the compliments he paid me were so generous that I blush to remember them. Representatives to force a Congressional debate on the issue when the 109th Congress first convened and in such propose working together to fix problems with the election system. The editor of the Brooklyn Eagle wrote that her "mistakes sprung out of the manifest limitations of her development." Keller responded to that editor, referring to having met him before he knew of her political views:. Barbara Boxer of California and several Democratic U.S. Newspaper columnists who had praised her courage and intelligence before she came out as a socialist now called attention to her disabilities. Sen.

If I could not see it, I could smell it.". presidential election controversy and irregularities) The controversies led U.S. In her words, "I have visited sweatshops, factories, crowded slums. (see 2004 U.S. Her political views were reinforced by visiting workers. In Florida, Bev Harris discovered garbage bags full of ballots on which votes had been switched. Debs in each of his campaigns for the presidency. [ref8] Some voters, especially in Ohio, have alleged that votes in Ohio and other states were illegally suppressed and mistabulated in favor of the Republican candidate, resulting in substantial uncertainty about the actual outcome.

She supported Socialist Party candidate Eugene V. [ref7] A commonly accepted argument is that the Republicans ran in opposition to gay rights and used state ballot initiatives against same-sex marriage to attract more so-called "values voters" to vote. Helen Keller was a member of the socialist party and actively campaigned and wrote in support of the working classes from 1909 to 1921. [ref6] Some suggested that the Democrats had received too negative a public image and that Republicans exploited that image. Kennedy and was friends with many famous figures including Alexander Graham Bell, Charlie Chaplin and Mark Twain. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has asserted that Kerry lost because he did not do enough to reach out to rural citizens. President from Grover Cleveland to John F. Sen.

Helen Keller met every U.S. U.S. Helen and Anne Sullivan traveled all over the world to over 39 countries, and made several trips to Japan, becoming a favorite of the Japanese people. [ref5]. In 1915 she founded Helen Keller International, a non-profit organization for preventing blindness. Bush, "met the call of duty" in the aftermath of 9/11). She made it her own life's mission to fight for the sensorially handicapped in the world. [ref4] Others said that the Democrats did not have an inspiring story to tell (whereas Republicans touted that their candidate, Pres.

With tremendous willpower Helen went on to become a world-famous speaker and author. In these arguments, the platform adopted at the 2004 Democratic National Convention is sometimes cited; three partisan insiders authored it and mostly vaguely addressing a minimal number of issues across its 56 pages, and with only passing mentions of women's rights, gay rights, environmental protection and other issues that were previously consistent strongholds of the Democratic Party. In 1904 at the age of 24, Helen graduated from Radcliffe cum laude, becoming the first deaf and blind person to graduate from a college. Some argued that the Democratic Party had lost Clinton's "vision thing," and lacked clear policies or alternatives. In 1898 they returned to Massachusetts and Helen entered The Cambridge School for Young Ladies before gaining admittance, in 1900, to Radcliffe College. Following the elections of 2004 was debate of why and how the Democrats lost. In 1894, Helen and Anne moved to New York City to attend the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf. However, the Democrats lost the governorship of Missouri and a legislative majority in Georgia - which had once been a Democratic stronghold since Reconstruction.

In 1888, Helen attended Perkins Institute for the Blind. In the end there were 3,660 Democratic state legislators across the nation to the Republicans' 3,557, and Democrats gained governorships in Louisiana (after a statewide election in 2003), New Hampshire and Montana. She also learned to read English, French, German, Greek, and Latin in braille. Also, for the first time since Barry Goldwater of Arizona won his first election to the Senate, the Democratic leader of the Senate lost reelection. Anne was able to teach Helen to think intelligibly and to speak, using the Tadoma method: touching the lips of others as they spoke, feeling the vibrations, and spelling of alphabetical characters in the palm of Helen's hand. Republicans gained four seats in the Senate and three seats in the House of Representatives. Helen's big breakthrough in communication came one day when she realized that the motions her teacher was making on her palm, while running cool water over her palm from a pump, symbolized the idea of "water" and nearly exhausted Sullivan demanding the names of all the other familiar objects in her world (including her prized doll). Kerry narrowly lost both the popular and electoral vote.

Her first task was to instill discipline in the spoiled girl. Bush and the Republican Party, the Democrats were not victorious nationally. Sullivan demanded and got permission from Helen's father to isolate the girl from the rest of the family in a little house in their garden. Despite strong campaigning and the faltering image of George W. It was the beginning of a 49-year period of working together. That year, Democrats generally campaigned on surmounting the jobless recovery, exiting Iraq, and their own proposals for policies on counterterrorism. The school delegated teacher and former student Anne Sullivan, herself visually impaired and then only 20 years old, to try to open up Helen's mind. Bush's administration to find weapons of mass destruction, mounting combat casualties in Iraq, and the lack of any end point for the War on Terror were also issues in the American national elections.

Bell advised the couple to contact the Perkins Institute for the Blind, the school where Bridgman had been educated, which was then located in South Boston, Massachusetts. By 2004, the failure of George W. He put her in touch with local expert Alexander Graham Bell, who was working with deaf children at the time. Howard Dean of Vermont and Senatorial candidate Erskine Bowles of North Carolina) began to refine their positions on free trade and some even question their past support for it. In 1886, her mother Kate Keller was inspired by an account in Charles Dickens' American Notes of the successful education of another deaf/blind child, Laura Bridgman, and travelled to a specialist doctor in Baltimore for advice. In 2003-2004, with layoffs of American workers occurring in various industries due to the "shipping of jobs abroad," some Democrats (including John Kerry, ex-Gov. By age seven she had invented over sixty different signs that she could use to communicate with her family. John Kerry, though, received the nomination because he was widely seen as more "electable" than the often blunt Dean.

The illness did not last for a particularly long time, but it left her blind, deaf, and unable to speak. Clark and, in particular, Dean both had immense grassroots support. It was not until nineteen months later that she came down with an illness that the doctors described as "an acute congestion of the stomach and the brain" - Scarlet Fever. Howard Dean of Vermont, another opponent of the war and a critic of the Democratic establishment, was the frontrunner leading into the Democratic primary elections. She was not born blind and deaf, but was actually a typical, healthy infant. Ex-Gov. Keller and Kate Adams Keller. Wesley Clark, an opponent of the war in Iraq, was the frontrunner for the nomination.

Keller was born at an estate called Ivy Green, on June 27, 1880 to parents Captain Arthur H. For a time, Gen. . The Democrats began fielding Presidential candidates as early as 2002 Dec., when Gore announced he would not run in 2004. Her loss of ability to communicate at such an early developmental age was very traumatic for her and her family and as a result she became quite unmanageable. [ref3]. Her disabilities were caused by a fever in February, 1882 when she was 19 months old. In considering that most Americans had become more concerned about corporate crime and other economic issues, the election was preceded with widespread debate over how and why the Democrats lost.

Helen Keller was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama. Also, while Democrats gained governorships in New Mexico (where Bill Richardson was elected), Arizona (Janet Napolitano) and Wyoming (Dave Freudenthal), other Democrats lost governorships in South Carolina (Jim Hodges), Alabama (Don Siegelman) and, for the first time in more than a century, Georgia (Roy Barnes). Helen Adams Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968) was a deafblind American author, activist and lecturer. House of Representatives and three seats (Georgia as Max Cleland was unseated, Minnesota as Paul Wellstone died and his succeeding Democratic candidate lost the election, and Missouri as Jean Carnahan was unseated) in the Senate, failing to regain the majority in the House and losing their majority in the Senate. The Democratic Party lost a few seats in the U.S. With job losses and bankruptcies across regions and industries increasing in 2001 and 2002, the Democrats generally campaigned on the issue of economic recovery.

Bush signed it into law. In the wake of the financial frauds of Enron and other corporations, Congressional Democrats were integral in pushing for and developing a legal overhaul of business accounting with the intention of preventing further accounting fraud; Congress unanimously approved it and Pres. The Democrats were split over the 2003 invasion of Iraq and increasingly expressed concerns about both the justification and progress of the War on Terrorism and the domestic effects including challenges to civil liberties and privacy from the USA PATRIOT Act. Daschle pushed for his party to approve what are arguably two of the most controversial and inflammatory (to opponents) measures the Senate has ever approved: the USA PATRIOT Act and the invasion of Iraq.

All but one Congressional Democrat voted with their Republican colleagues to authorize President Bush's 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the nation's focus changed to issues of national security and increasing isolation of the United States as the sole remaining and increasingly proactive superpower. Tom Daschle of South Dakota continued to lead the Senate Democrats with an agenda of compromise. Sen.

Jim Jeffords (Vermont) changed party affiliation from Republican to independent, which effectively returned majority privileges back the Democratic Senators. However, that changed when Sen. The Democratic Senators went from the majority in the 106th Congress to a split minority in the 107th Congress. Winning either Florida or New Hampshire would have given Gore enough electoral votes to win the presidency.

In Florida, Nader received 97,000 votes; Bush defeated Gore by a mere 1,000. They pointed to the states of New Hampshire (4 electoral college votes) and Florida (57 electoral college votes), where Nader's total votes exceeded Governor Bush's margin of victory. Some election observers blamed the Nader candidacy for Gore's defeat. On election day, Gore won the popular vote by just over 500,000 votes, but lost in the Electoral College by four votes.

Many such critics also opposed Gore on the basis of votes he had made while serving in Congress, which seemed to indicate that he had been anti-abortion, anti-gun control, and anti-tax, views which he later reversed. Bush, the candidate of the Republican Party, clearly disagreed on issues such as abortion, tax cuts, gun control, environmentalism, foreign policy, public education, support for trade unions, alternative energy research, global warming, and affirmative action, some critics -- Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader in particular -- asserted that Bush and Gore were too similar because they held the same views on free trade, the "War on Drugs," a refusal to eliminate what critics have called corporate welfare, reductions in government-provided social welfare, and defense spending. Although Gore and Governor George W. Having previously upset many members of his party's liberal wing by voicing his full support of the North American Free Trade Agreement and a 1996 welfare reform bill that, some claimed, destroyed the welfare system, Gore was seen by some as further antagonizing the left in his selection of Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut as his running mate.

In the 2000 presidential election, the Democrats ran then-Vice President Al Gore, a founding member and former chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council. This party believed that centrist Democrats were not safeguarding progressivism in government. The far-left Green Party emerged as a vehicle for resentment against the Democrats in the 2000 election. Democrats challenged the validity of such critiques, citing the important Democratic role in pushing progressive reforms in many states and localities.

Some liberals and progressives felt alienated from the Democratic Party, which they felt had become unconcerned with the interests of common people. In addition to its perceived abandonment of labor unions, Democratic candidates' acceptance and use of large sums of corporate donations for campaign finances; the inconsistency of some Democratic officeholders (including Democratic leaders) on environmental, financial, laboral and other issues that were core to the party; and the D.N.C.'s, D.L.C.'s and N.D.N.'s acceptance of monied interests, all unintentionally contributed to a negative public image of the Democratic Party in some people's eyes. When the New Democrat movement attempted to move the Democratic agenda in favor of a more centrist approach, prominent Democrats from the moderate and conservative factions (such as Chairman Terry McAuliffe) assumed leadership of the party and its direction. Those on the left of the party were dismayed at this agreement as well.

Labor unions, which had been steadily losing membership since the 1960s, found they had also lost political clout inside the Democratic Party: Clinton enacted the NAFTA free trade agreement with Canada and Mexico over the strong objection of the unions. President Bill Clinton, who defeated the incumbent President Bush in 1992, implemented a balanced federal budget and welfare reform, traditionally Republican causes. In the 1990s the Democratic Party re-invigorated itself, in part by moving to the right on economic and social policy. This includes organized labor, educators, environmentalists, supporters of civil rights, progressive taxation proponents, gays, lesbians, blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Native Americans, supporters of gun control, pro-choice groups and other opponents of the social conservatism favored by many Republicans.

With the Party retaining left-of-center supporters as well as supporters holding moderate or conservative views on some issues, the Democrats became generally a catch all party with widespread appeal to most opponents of the Republicans. In response to these losses, the Democratic Leadership Council worked to move the Party more towards the ideological center. Bush. W.

Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis also lost in 1988 to Reagan Vice-President George H. The 1980s are often seen as the era in which the old New Deal coalition finally collapsed as Reagan handily defeated former Vice-President (under Carter) and Minnesota Senator Walter Mondale, a New Deal stalwart, in 1984. After the election of Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1980, Democrats who supported many conservative policies were called "Reagan Democrats." Many in the so-called "Reagan Democrats" faction of the party eventually joined the Republican Party. In 1980, Carter lost after one term to Ronald Reagan.

Mistrust of the administration, complicated by a combination of economic recession and inflation, sometimes called "stagflation", led to Ford's loss in 1976 to Democrat Jimmy Carter, a former governor of Georgia. Ford soon pardoned Nixon. Thus, when Nixon resigned, Ford became the first President in the nation's history to have been neither elected President nor Vice-President. After Agnew resigned, Nixon appointed Gerald Ford a Republican House Member from Michigan as his replacement.

Prior to that, his Vice-President, Spiro Agnew had been forced out by a separate scandal. Nixon, because of the Watergate scandal, had been forced to resign the presidency in 1974. By 1976, however, things had changed dramatically. McGovern was defeated in a landslide by incumbent Republican President Richard Nixon, the former winning only Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.

In 1972, the Democrats nominated South Dakota Senator George McGovern as the party's presidential candidate on a platform which advocated, among other things, withdrawal from Vietnam and a guaranteed minimum income for all Americans. Defeated Democrat Hubert Humphrey's electoral votes came mainly from the Northern states, marking a dramatic shift from the 1948 election 20 years earlier, when the losing Republican candidate's electoral votes were mainly concentrated in the Northern states. The degree to which the Southern Democrats had abandoned the party became evident in the 1968 Presidential election when every former Confederate state except Texas voted for either Republican Richard Nixon or independent George Wallace, the latter a former Southern Democrat. Southern Democrats took notice of the fact that 1964 Republican Presidential candidate Barry Goldwater had voted against the Civil Rights Act (an unusual departure from his previous support for such legislation), and in the presidential election of 1964, Goldwater's only electoral victories outside his home state of Arizona were in the states of the deep south.

The Republicans began their Southern strategy, which aimed to woo the conservative Southern Democrats. Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The party's dramatic reversal on civil rights issues culminated when Democratic President Lyndon B. On the other hand, African-Americans, who had traditionally given strong support to the Republican party since its inception as the "anti-slavery party", shifted to the Democratic party due to its New Deal economic opportunities and support for civil rights.

Over the next few years, many white Democrats in the "Solid South" drifted away from the party. Senator, would later join the Republican party). When Harry Truman's platform displayed support for civil rights and anti-segregation laws during the 1948 Democratic National Convention, many Southern Democratic delegates split from the party and formed the "Dixiecrats", led by South Carolina governor Strom Thurmond (who, as a U.S. The New Deal Coalition began to fracture as more Democratic leaders voiced support for civil rights, upsetting the party's base of Southern Democrats.

This resolution later passed during the 1948 national convention as part of a larger resolution endorsing civil rights. After considerable debate, the resolution failed by a single vote. In 1924 at the Democratic national convention, a resolution denouncing the white-supremacist Ku Klux Klan was introduced. This united voter base allowed Democrats to control the government for much of the next 30 years.

His policies soon paid off by uniting a diverse collection of Democratic voters called the New Deal Coalition, which included labor unions, minorities (most significantly, Catholics and Jews), liberals, and the traditional base of Southern whites. Roosevelt's New Deal programs focused on job-creation through public works projects as well as on social welfare programs such as Social Security. (Thirty years later, the party did find itself largely divorced from its southern conservative wing, but with much less satisfaction at the result than Roosevelt might have anticipated.). However, Roosevelt's attempt to purge the party of its conservatives failed when all five senators won re-election despite Roosevelt's efforts.

Frustrated by the conservative wing of his own party, Roosevelt made an attempt to rid himself of it; in 1938, he actively campaigned against five incumbent conservative Democratic senators. After winning re-election in 1936, Roosevelt claimed a mandate and embarked on an ambitious legislative program he termed the "New Deal." He was stymied, however, by an alliance of Republicans and conservative Democrats. Roosevelt won a landslide victory in the election of 1932, campaigning on a platform of "relief, recovery, and reform". The stock market crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression set the stage for a more interventionist government and Franklin D.

That reign was interrupted in the election of 1912 when Theodore Roosevelt's independent Bull Moose candidacy split the Republican vote, giving Woodrow Wilson a popular plurality and victory in the electoral college, but Republican Warren Harding regained the White House in the election of 1920. Bryan, perhaps best known for his "Cross of Gold" speech delivered at the 1896 convention, waged a vigorous campaign attacking Eastern monied interests, but lost to Republican William McKinley in an election which was to prove decisive: the Republicans controlled the presidency for 28 of the following 36 years. In the presidential election of 1896, widely regarded as a political realignment, Democrats favoring Free Silver defeated their conservative counterparts and succeeded in nominating William Jennings Bryan for the presidency (as did the agrarian Populist Party). Tilden in the election of 1876.

In the election of 1884, Grover Cleveland, the reforming Democratic Governor of New York, won the Presidency, a feat he repeated in 1892, having lost (but won the popular vote) in the election of 1888 (as had Samuel J. Though Republicans continued to control the White House until 1885, the Democrats remained competitive, especially in the mid-Atlantic and lower Midwest, and controlled the House of Representatives for most of that period. Once Reconstruction ended, and the disenfranchisement of blacks was re-established, the region was known as the "Solid South" for nearly a century because it reliably voted Democratic and there was, in many places, effectively only one party, there being no significant Republican presence. The Democrats were shattered by the war but nevertheless benefited from white Southerners' resentment of Reconstruction and consequent hostility to the Republican Party.

From 1856 onward, the Democratic Party's main opposition has come from the modern Republican Party. During the war, Northern Democrats fractured into two factions, War Democrats, who supported the military policies of President Abraham Lincoln, and Copperheads, who strongly opposed them. As a result, the Democrats went down to defeat with the election of Republican Abraham Lincoln, a link in the chain of events leading up to the Civil War. presidential election, 1860).

Democrats in the Northern states opposed this new trend, and at the 1860 nominating convention the Party split and nominated two candidates (see U.S. In the 1850s, following the disintegration of the Whig Party, the Democratic Party became increasingly divided, with its Southern wing staunchly advocating the expansion of slavery into new territories, in opposition to the newly founded Republican Party, which sought to prohibit such expansion. From 1833 to 1856, the Democratic Party was opposed chiefly by the Whig Party. The Jacksonian "Democratic-Republicans" soon became known as simply "Democrats," and the Democratic Party was formed from the Andrew Jackson-led "Democratic-Republican" faction of the old Republican Party.

The coalition that Jackson built was the foundation of the subsequent Democratic Party. Following his defeat in the election of 1824 despite having a plurality of the popular vote, Andrew Jackson set about building a political coalition strong enough to defeat President John Quincy Adams in the election of 1828. The Presidency of Andrew Jackson, however, destroyed the unity of the Party, with the forming the Democratic-Republican faction, opposed by the National Republicans, led by John Quincy Adams. After the disintegration of the Federalist Party, the Democratic-Republicans were the only major party in American politics.

(Today, this party is usually referred to as the "Democratic-Republican Party" to avoid confusion). The Democratic Party's origins lie in the original Republican Party founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1794. Senate races (Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee), gubernatorial races (Democratic Governors Association), and state legislative races (Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee). House races (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee), U.S.

The Democratic Party also has fundraising and strategy committees for U.S. The current chair of the DNC is Howard Dean. This structure can be considered the counterpart of the Republican National Committee (RNC) and Republican state and local organizations. counties (though in some states, Party organization lower than the state-level is arranged by legislative districts).

state and most U.S. There are similar committees in every U.S. It is responsible for developing and promoting the Democratic political platform, as well as coordinating fundraising and election strategy. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) provides national leadership for the United States Democratic Party.

For more information on how American political parties are organized, see Politics of the United States.. Democratic campaign rhetoric is full of symbolic references to these achievements.". Year after year, the Democrats took ideas that were considered impractical and converted them into programs considered to be necessities by many Americans. Cohen of Philadelphia, said, "One cannot fully understand Democratic policy proposals unless one understands the past.

A Democratic activist over the last four decades, and a delegate to the 2004 Democratic National Convention, State Representative Mark B. citizens, progressive taxation, and an internationalist foreign policy). Kennedy), programs (Social Security, minimum wage, Medicare) and goals (expanded health insurance, greater incomes for average U.S. Roosevelt, John F.

The Democratic Party draws on its history of politicians (Franklin D. In the media, Democrats (and states which consistently vote Democratic) have relatively recently been depicted as blue, while Republicans, and the states in which they dominate, as red. From 1995 until 2004 there was some confusion among voters, as the Democratic ticket was marked with the Statue of Liberty, and it seemed that the Libertarians were using a donkey. Missouri Libertarians instead used the Liberty Bell until 1995, when the mule became Missouri's state animal.

This meant that when Libertarian candidates received ballot access in Missouri in 1976, they could not use the Statue of Liberty, their national symbol, as the ballot emblem. For the majority of the 20th Century, Missouri Democrats used the Statue of Liberty as their ballot emblem. This symbol still appears on Kentucky and Indiana ballots. In the early 20th century, the traditional symbol of the Democratic Party in Midwestern states such as Indiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Ohio was the rooster, as opposed to the Republican eagle.

The DNC's official logo, pictured above, depicts a stylized kicking donkey. Since then, the donkey has been widely used as a symbol of the Party, though unlike the Republican elephant, the donkey has never been officially adopted as the Party's logo. On January 19, 1870, a political cartoon by Thomas Nast appearing in Harper's Weekly titled "A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead Lion" for the first time symbolized the Democratic Party as a donkey. Keeping that in mind, there are several ideological groups widely recognized within the modern-day Democratic Party:.

It should be noted that defining the views of any "faction" of any political party, especially a major political party in the United States, is difficult at best, and that any attempt to apply labels within a single political party is no more effective than the application of broad labels to political parties as a whole. The following will give readers a summary of the position expressed in the platforms that the Democratic Party adopted in 2000 and 2004. However, it is important to give researchers and other readers a general idea of a particular party's position on the issues. Some members may disagree with one or more plank of his or her party's platform.

There is always debate within either American major political party. The principles and values of any political party - especially one as factional as the Democratic Party - are difficult to define and apply generally to all members of the party. . (See that article for a full discussion of the various meanings of the term).

it is often referred to as the more "liberal" party. In the U.S. parties, the Democratic Party is to the left of the Republican Party, though its politics are not as consistently leftist as the traditional social democratic and labor parties in much of the rest of the world. Of the two major U.S.

Ten states are divided legislatures. The party also trails in state legislaturesas the Republican Party controls 31 legislatures and Democrats control 19. Senate, House of Representatives, and among United States Governors. The Party is currently (as of 2005) the minority party in the U.S.

The Democratic Party is one of two major political parties in the United States. senator from Ohio. Young (1889–1984), U.S. Stephen M.

senator from Texas. Ralph Yarborough (1903–1996), U.S. senator from Pennsylvania. Harris Wofford, U.S.

senator from New Jersey. Harrison Williams, U.S. Doug Wilder, (1931) Governor of Virginia, candidate for Democratic nomination for president, current independent Mayor of Richmond, Virginia. senator from Minnesota.

Paul Wellstone (1944–2002), U.S. representative from Arizona, candidate for Democratic nomination for president. Morris "Mo" Udall, U.S. senator from Massachusetts, candidate for Democratic nomination for president.

Paul Tsongas (1941–1997), U.S. Senator in history (from South Carolina), later became a member of the Republican Party. Strom Thurmond (1902–2003), the oldest serving U.S. Taney (1777–1864), Chief Justice of the United States.

Roger B. senator from Georgia. Herman Talmadge (1913–2002), U.S. senator from Missouri.

Stuart Symington (1901–1988), U.S. senator from Mississippi. John Stennis (1901–1995), U.S. senator from Alabama, nominee for Vice President of the United States.

John Sparkman (1899–1985), U.S. senator from Illinois, candidate for Democratic nomination for president. Paul Simon (1928–2003), U.S. senator from Tennessee.

Jim Sasser, U.S. senator from Georgia. (1897–1971), U.S. Russell Jr.

Richard B. Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962), First Lady. senator from Michigan. Don Riegle, U.S.

senator from Connecticut. Abraham Ribicoff (1910–1998), U.S. Sam Rayburn (1882–1961), Speaker of the House. senator from Wisconsin.

William Proxmire, U.S. senator from Rhode Island. Claiborne Pell, U.S. senator from Rhode Island.

John Pastore, U.S. Tip O'Neill (1912–1994), Speaker of the House. Frank O'Bannon (1930–2003), Governor of Indiana. senator from Georgia.

Sam Nunn, U.S. senator from Maine, nominee for Vice President of the United States, United States Secretary of State. Edmund Muskie (1914–1996), U.S. senator from New York.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan (1927–2003), U.S. senator from Utah. Frank Moss (1911–2003), U.S. senator from Oregon.

Wayne Morse (1900–1974), U.S. senator from Maine. George Mitchell, U.S. senator from Ohio for 18 years.

Howard Metzenbaum, U.S. representative from Massachusetts for 43 years, Speaker of the House. McCormack (1891–1980), U.S. John W.

senator from Arkansas for 34 years. John McClellan, U.S. senator from Minnesota, candidate for Democratic nomination for president. Eugene McCarthy, U.S.

senator from Montana for 24 years, Senate Majority Leader for 16 years. Mike Mansfield (1903–2001), U.S. senator from Louisiana for 39 years. Long (1918–2003), U.S.

Russell B. senator from Louisiana, candidate for Democratic nomination for president. Huey Long (1893–1935) Governor of Louisiana, U.S. Hamilton Lewis (1863-1939), Senator from Illinois and first Whip of the United States Senate.

J. senator from Ohio for 12 years, Governor of Ohio for eight years. Frank Lausche (1895–1990), U.S. Richard Lamm (1935), Governor of Colorado from 1975 to 1987.

senator from New York, candidate for Democratic nomination for president. attorney general, U.S. Kennedy (1925–1968), U.S. Robert F.

Barbara Jordan (1936–1996), Congresswoman from Texas. senator from Louisiana for 25 years. Bennett Johnston, U.S. senator from Washington for 30 years, candidate for Democratic nomination for president.

Henry "Scoop" Jackson (1912–1983) U.S. Cordell Hull (1871–1955), Secretary of State. senator from Florida for 26 years. Holland (1892–1971), U.S.

Spessard L. senator from Arizona for 42 years. Hayden (1877–1972), U.S. Carl T.

senator from Colorado, candidate for Democratic nomination for president. Gary Hart, U.S. senator from Tennessee for 18 years. (1907–1998), U.S.

Albert Gore, Sr. senator from Ohio for 24 years, candidate for Democratic nomination for president. John Glenn, U.S. Representative from Missouri, former House Minority Leader, candidate for Democratic nomination for president.

Dick Gephardt (1941), former U.S. senator from Arkansas for 29 years. William Fulbright (1905–1995), U.S. J.

senator from Kentucky for 25 years. Wendell Ford, U.S. senator from North Carolina for 20 years. Sam Ervin (1896–1985), U.S.

senator from Mississippi for 36 years. James Eastland (1904–1986), U.S. senator from Missouri for 27 years; nominee for vice president in 1972 (resigned from ticket). Tom Eagleton, U.S.

Supreme Court justice for 36 years. Douglas (1898–1980), U.S. William O. Daley (1902–1976), mayor of Chicago, Illinois.

Richard J. senator from California for 24 years, candidate for Democratic nomination for president. Alan Cranston (1914–2000), U.S. Mario Cuomo (1932), former Governor of New York.

Senator from Georgia. Max Cleland, (1942), former U.S. Champ Clark (1850–1921), Speaker of the House. senator from Idaho for 24 years, candidate for Democratic nomination for president.

Frank Church (1924–1984), U.S. senator from Florida for 18 years, governor of Florida. Lawton Chiles, U.S. ambassador to India.

Dick Celeste, Governor of Ohio, U.S. senator from Nevada for 24 years. Howard Cannon, U.S. Jane Byrne, first female mayor of a major city.

senator from North Dakota for 32 years. Burdick, U.S. Quentin N. senator from Arkansas for 24 years.

Dale Bumpers, governor of Arkansas, U.S. Pat Brown (1905–1996), Governor of California, candidate for Democratic nomination for president. Supreme Court. Louis Brandeis (1856–1941), associate justice of the U.S.

senator from Texas, nominee for Vice President of the United States, United States Secretary of the Treasury. Lloyd Bentsen, U.S. senator from Indiana for 18 years, candidate for Democratic nomination for president. Birch Bayh, U.S.

Bruce Babbitt, Governor of Arizona and United States Secretary of the Interior, candidate for Democratic nomination for president. Reubin Askew, Governor of Florida, candidate for Democratic nomination for president. senator from New Mexico for 24 years. Clinton Anderson, U.S.

Carl Albert (1908–2000), Speaker of the House for six years (1971-1977). Mark Warner (1954), governor of Virginia. Tom Vilsack (1950), governor of Iowa, chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council. Antonio Villaraigosa, mayor of Los Angeles, California.

Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General of New York, candidate for governor of New York. congresswoman from New York, Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee. Louise Slaughter (1929), U.S. Al Sharpton (1954), civil rights activist, candidate for Democratic nomination for president.

senator from New York, chairman of Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Charles Schumer (1950), U.S. Bill Richardson (1947), governor of New Mexico, former Energy Secretary. Harry Reid (1939), Senate Minority Leader from Nevada.

Nancy Pelosi (1940), House Minority Leader from California. Martin O'Malley, mayor of Baltimore, candidate for governor of Maryland. senator from Illinois. Barack Obama (1961), U.S.

congresswoman from Georgia. Cynthia McKinney (1955), U.S. Norman Mineta (1931), Secretary of Transportation, only Democrat in the Bush cabinet. senator from Vermont.

Patrick Leahy (1940), U.S. congressman from Ohio, candidate for Democratic nomination for president. Dennis Kucinich (1946), U.S. senator from Massachusetts, candidate for Democratic nomination for president.

Ted Kennedy (1932), U.S. Jesse Jackson (1941), civil rights activist, candidate for Democratic nomination for president. senator from Iowa, candidate for Democratic nomination for president. Tom Harkin (1939), U.S.

senator from Wisconsin. Russ Feingold (1953), U.S. senator from North Carolina, candidate for Democratic nomination for President, Democratic Vice Presidential nominee 2004. John Edwards (1953), former U.S.

senator from Illinois, Senate Minority Whip. Richard Durbin, (1944), U.S. Howard Dean (1948), former governor of Vermont, candidate for Democratic nomination for president, current chair of the Democratic National Committee. senator from South Dakota, former Senate Minority Leader.

Tom Daschle (1947), former U.S. Daley (1942), mayor of Chicago, Illinois. Richard M. congressman from Michigan.

John Conyers (1929), U.S. senator from New York, former First Lady. Hillary Clinton (1947), U.S. Wesley Clark (1944), former NATO commander, candidate for Democratic nomination for president.

senator from West Virginia, former Senate Majority Leader, candidate for the Democratic nomination for president. Robert Byrd (1917), U.S. Jerry Brown (1938), mayor of Oakland, California, former governor of California, candidate for Democratic nomination for president. senator from California.

Barbara Boxer (1940), U.S. senator from Delaware, candidate for the Democratic nomination for president. Joseph Biden (1942), U.S. senator from Indiana.

Evan Bayh (1955), U.S. The Democratic Freedom Caucus is the current example of this faction. foreign policy. They oppose the "War on Drugs," preventive law, protectionism, corporate welfare, immigration restrictions, governmental borrowing, and an interventionist, war-centered U.S.

Civil libertarians often support the Democratic Party because its positions on such issues as civil rights and separation of church and state are more closely aligned to their own than are the positions of the Republican Party, and because the Democrats' economic agenda may be more appealing to them than that of the Libertarian Party. Barack Obama, a newcomer, Jesse Jackson, and John Conyers are prominent leaders. Democratic African-American leadership coalesces around the Congressional Black Caucus and civil rights activists and is generally considered liberal in outlook. African-Americans - This minority group votes consistently for Democratic Party candidates in the 85 to 90% range, and as such can be considered a faction in the party.

Former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt was a leading supporter of Labor's agenda in Congress. Organized Labor - As a key source of political contributions, volunteers, and field organizing expertise, labor unions hold significant sway in the Democratic Party. Zell Miller, a former Democratic Senator from Georgia, actually spoke in favor of President Bush at the 2004 Republican convention. Southern Democrats - Socially conservative southern white Democrats, previously a key element in the Democratic coalition, are increasingly rare, many having lost, or opting not to run, in the 1994, 2002, and 2004 elections.

Progressive Democrats of America - The supporters of Kucinich's 2004 presidential campaign also started an organization to press their ideas after the election, although it is not restricted to Kucinich supporters. [1] [2]. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).The CPC advocates universal health care, fair trade agreements, living wage laws, the right of all workers to organize into trade unions and engage in strike actions and collective bargaining, the abolition of significant portions of the USA PATRIOT Act, the formation of a Department of Peace, the legalization of gay marriage, strict campaign finance reform laws, a complete pullout from the war in Iraq, a crackdown on corporate crime and what they see as corporate welfare, an increase in income tax on the wealthy, tax cuts for the poor, and an increase in welfare spending by the federal government. Barbara Lee (D-TX), and Rep.

John Lewis (D-GA), Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Rep. Well-known members include Rep. It is the single largest Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives, although it currently has no members from the Senate.

Congress. Congressional Progressive Caucus - The CPC is a caucus of progressive Democrats, along with one independent, in the U.S. It has strong ties to veterans of Paul Wellstone's campaigns. It targets specific campaigns it sees as important.

Its strategy puts emphasis on training large numbers of organizers to work at the grassroots level. 21st Century Democrats - political organization active since 2000 in assisting candidates it describes as "progressive" or "populist" in winning elections. Critics contend that the DLC is effectively a powerful, corporate-financed mouthpiece within the Democratic party that acts to keep Democratic Party candidates and platforms sympathetic to corporate interests and the interests of the wealthy. The DLC hails President Clinton as proof of the viability of third way politicians and a DLC success story.

The founders believed the Democratic Party needed to reform their political philosophy if they were to ever retake the White House, a goal which had eluded the Democrats since the 1976 election of Jimmy Carter. Moderate party leaders founded the DLC in response to the landslide victory of Republican candidate Ronald Reagan over Democratic candidate Walter Mondale during the 1984 Presidential election. The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) - An influential non-profit organization that advocates neoliberal positions for the United States Democratic Party. Dean's internet campaign.

Many Deaniacs became politically active and contributed financially to other progressive candidates because of Gov. His campaign organization, "Dean for America," became a new group, Democracy for America, which advocates progressive policies. Supporters of Howard Dean, a failed candidate for the party's 2004 presidential nomination, currently serves as chairman of the Democratic National Committee and is a leading opponent of the New Democrats group. Though formally a New Democrat, Hillary Clinton is generally considered more liberal than the DLC.

Clinton Democrats - Political journalists often speak of the political advisors and allies surrounding Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary Clinton as a kind of faction, though such individuals hardly have a unified ideological leaning. The name appears to be both a reference to several well-known Louisiana paintings featuring blue dogs, as well as a reference to the old "yellow dog" Democrats having been "choked blue." Oddly, blue is the color chosen by the media to represent Democrats. They have acted as a unified voting bloc in the past, giving its thirty members some ability to change legislation. The Blue Dog Democrats - A congressional grouping of fiscal and social conservatives and moderates, primarily southerners, willing to broker compromises with the Republican leadership.

Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa is the current chairman. The group was founded and continues to be led by Al From. The organization became particularly prominent during and after Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign. The New Democrats - A grouping of centrists, formally organized as the Democratic Leadership Council.

Most notable of these is the National Firearms Act of 1934 (signed into law by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 1939 Gun Control Act (also signed into law by FDR), the 1968 Gun Control Act (introduced by Senator Dodd and heavily endorsed by Senator Edward Kennedy), the Brady law of 1993 (signed by President Bill Clinton), and the Crime Control Act of 1994 (signed by Bill Clinton). Gun Control: The Democratic Party has supported and introduced various gun-control measures over the last 100 years. A stand on abortion rights is sometimes more influenced by religious or personal beliefs than by political party preference. (See Democrats for Life.) It should be noted that not all Democratic party members are pro-choice; Democratic Senate minority leader Harry Reid, the party's ranking Congressional leader, is anti-abortion.

However, in the platform adopted in 2000, the Democrats stated a respectful inclusiveness of Democrats who feel differently about the issue. (NAF Abortion Facts) Their proposal (in 2000 and 2004) for public policy on termination of pregnancy is for abortion to be "safe, legal and rare" - namely, keeping it legal by rejecting laws that include governmental interference in any individual matter, and reducing the number performed by promoting both knowledge of reproduction and incentives for adoption. In September 1993 Congress rewrote the Hyde Amendment to allow for federal funding of abortions. Many Democratic politicians include in this right practical access to abortion through government subsidies.

Wade to surgical termination of pregnancy. This includes access under Roe v. Wade. Thus as a matter of privacy and gender equality, women should be allowed to control their fertility and child bearing, including access to termination of pregnancy, in accordance with Roe v.

Choice/Abortion: The Democrats believe that privacy is a constitutional right under the 14th Amendment. Health Care: In their 2004 platform, the Democrats affirmed the pursuit of federally funded zygotic stem-cell "research under the strictest ethical guidelines, but we will not walk away from the chance to save lives and reduce human suffering." Democrats also typically call for "affordable health care," and many advocate an expansion of government funding in this area. Many Democrats consider gay marriage to be a civil right of the American people. Most Democrats support the continued legalization of same-sex marriage and/or unions and progress in their nationwide acceptance.

In the campaigns for the Party candidacy for the 2004 presidential election, candidates were divided, with John Kerry supporting civil unions while Howard Dean supported same-sex marriage. The legal standing of gay marriage is a subject of debate within the Democratic Party. Legal standing of same-sex unions: Many Democrats have publicly supported civil unions or same sex marriage, but it is not yet an official position of the party as a whole, or any of the members of the party leadership in Congress. The Democrats cite affirmative action as a method with which to redress past discrimination and to ensure equitable employment regardless of ethnicity or gender.

The Democrats wish to uphold the Americans with Disabilities Act to prohibit discrimination against people on the basis of physical or mental disability. Equality and nondiscrimination: Citing that "a day's work is worth a day's pay," and that on average a woman continues to earn 77% of what a man does, the Democrats call for laws for equitable pay. The 2004 platform also calls for rehabilitation for prisoners, in order to "reintegrate former prisoners into our communities as productive citizens." Their platforms have also particularly addressed the issue of domestic violence, calling for strict penalties for offenders and protections for victims. Their platforms for 2000 and 2004 also cite crackdowns on gangs and drug trafficking as preventive methods.

They emphasize improved community policing and more on-duty police officers in order to help accomplish that. Crime: Democrats place more focus on methods of prevention of crime rather than on what penalties are applied to crimes. Civil Liberties: In regards to the USA PATRIOT Act, the Democratic agenda is to "change the portions of the Patriot Act that threaten individual rights, such as the library provisions." They further explained in their platform, "Our government should never round up innocent people only because of their religion or ethnicity, and we should never stifle free expression." The party is against racial profiling in the war against terror. They also stated that they seek "a Constitutional version of the line-item veto to make it easier to root out pork-barrel spending.".

Economy: In the platform of 2004, the Democrats swore to halve the yearly federal budget deficit by 2009.

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