The depiction of donkey and elephant as the symbols of the Democratic and Republican parties in America goes back as far as 180 years. It all started with Andrew Jackson who was running for President in 1828. His opponents labeled him a "jackass", as a twist of his last name "Jackson", and also for his populist ideas and his slogan "Let the people rule". Jackson enjoyed this association and made jackass his symbol in the presidential campaign, which he successfully won. Later, cartoonist Thomas Nast, based on Jackson's story, popularized the donkey as the unofficial symbol of the Democratic Party. It was an instant hit with the American public, and it did not take long before the donkey became the party's official symbol. Republican's elephant was also the creation of Thomas Nast. In one of his cartoons he depicted a donkey in lion's skin scaring away all the animals at the zoo. One of the animals was an elephant labeled "The Republican Vote". The cartoon got so popular that the elephant instantly became the Republican's unofficial symbol (and later the official one).
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This contest is fueled by the following news: For majority of people around the world, elephants and donkeys are associated with jungles and agriculture. However, in United States, pictures of these pack animals are logos of two main political parties of the country.
From middle of 19th century, elephant is a logo of Republican Party, to which president Bush belongs to. Its other traditional name – “Great Old Party”. Donkey is logo of Democratic Party, majority of which are now in Congress of USA.
Particularly these two parties dominate the American politics. Some tens of small parties also exist, but at present, their influence appears, mainly, when they intercept key votes for candidates of one of leading parties during elections.
History of Democrats originates in 1800 and Thomas Jefferson's election as third president of United States. First two presidents of the country were members of “Federalistic Party”, which is already nonexistent. Sixteenth president Abraham Lincoln became the first republican to be elected for the president’s post.
The Democratic Party
Democratic Party has given 14 US Presidents.
Main principles: Wealth & status in the society should not grant the right to power. Wisdom and compassion can become integral component of public administration.
Party symbol: Donkey. "Asinine" symbol was accepted by party after appearance of caricature, published in 1874 in newspaper Harper's Weekly. Perplexed republican elephant, attacked by infuriated donkeys – democrats’ picture was published in the newspaper.
Party was founded in 1792 by Thomas Jefferson. It was founded as “All People's Party” & opposed the party of then American elite – Federalist Party. In 1798, party got the name “Democratic- Republican party, and in 1800, Jefferson won presidential elections. In 1920s, party shortened its name and became “Democratic Party”. Democrats are the first ones to pay attention towards potential of immigrants, who migrated to USA in large numbers, and got considerable support amongst new Americans.
Traditionally, presidents-democrats staged fight against poverty, increased taxes on wealth and carried out social reforms. Perhaps, one of the most popular presidents-democrats was Franklin Roosevelt, who endorsed large-scale economic reforms and put an end to difficult economic crisis of “Great Depression”. When Bill Clinton was at the helm, USA witnessed unprecedented economic growth for over a decade, which ended with collapse of Internet companies and crisis. Democrats traditionally uphold balanced budget, increase in expenditure for social programs, hike taxes on wealth, protection of rights of racial, religious & sexual minorities.
The Republican Party
Abbreviation G.O.P (used for the first time in 1875) is often used in USA. Abbreviation is most often decoded as “Grand Old Party”. However, abbreviation had some other sense: “Gallant Old Party”. "Later on , other definition become popular “Get Out and Push”, which was popular among drivers of failure car. In application to politics, it means that supporters of republicans should go to masses and convince them to support the policies of Republican Party.
Republican Party has produced 18 US presidents, including the present owner of White House.
Main principles: Best decisions are taken by the people but not by the governments. Federal laws should reflect traditional views in the field of morals (particularly for this reason, republicans support prohibition of abortions, unisex marriages etc.). All people possess equal rights. Party logo: Elephant.
Party was founded in the beginning of 1850s. It was found by opponents of slave-holding and inhabitants of USA expecting that the government shall provide territories on the West of USA free of charge (formally, these territories were independent, actually, they were occupied by American Indian tribes & none showed interest in this opinion). Constituent assembly of the party was conducted in 1854. Party got the name “Republican”, because it acted with ideas of equality for all citizens of USA before the law and God. Besides, newly formed party declared about its adherence to ideals of father-founders of country, reminding, that initially Jefferson's party was called “Democratic Republican Party”.
Within two years of formation, Republican Party, which earlier fought against the power at city and state levels, came onto national level by proposing presidential candidates. During the elections, republicans were up against two major parties - Democrats & Whigs. Candidate of Republican Party lost the elections. But, after four years, Republican Abraham Lincoln became the president of the country , who destroyed slave holding system and won Civil war.
Initially, Republican Party united the fighters against slave-holding and small farmers. In the end of 19th century, its backbone consisted of prominent businessmen and farmers. Traditionally, conservatives and liberals are fighting for the influence in the party. Nowadays, so-called non-conservatives are extremely influential within the party, who support the return to traditional moral values and also for active foreign policy of USA and for strengthening the military might of USA.