William P. Meyers
Genocide, Hickory and Slavery: The Origins of the Party
After the U.S. Constitution came into effect the voters and elected officials, then consisting by law of property-owning white men in most states, divided largely into two parties. The Federalist Party favored a strong national government ruled by a wealthy elite (themselves). The Democratic-Republican Party favored dispersing power more broadly among white male property owners. By 1820 the Federalists had run out of steam and the Democratic-Republican Party had moved towards the center, so that the U.S. essentially had only one political party. In 1824 all four major candidates for the Presidency were Democratic-Republicans.
The Democratic Party, as a party distinct from the Democratic-Republican Party, began with the beliefs and ambitions of one man: Andrew Jackson. Nicknamed Old Hickory, he became the President of the United States from 1829 to 1837. However, had not Jackson's ideas and ambitions appealed to many Americans in the 1820's and 30's, the Democratic Party would never have formed around him.