For more than 200 years, our party has led the fight for civil rights, health care, Social Security, workers’ rights, and women’s rights. We are the party of Barack Obama, John F. Kennedy, FDR, and the countless everyday Americans who work each day to build a more perfect union. Take a look at some of our accomplishments, and you’ll see why we’re proud to be Democrats.
19th Amendment: Women's Suffrage
Under the leadership of Democratic President Woodrow Wilson, the U.S. Constitution was amended to grant women the right to vote. In August of 1920, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify women’s suffrage, and it became our nation’s 19th amendment.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal
In the 1930s, Americans turned to Democrats and elected President Franklin D. 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.
Social Security Act
One of the most enduring parts of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal, the Social Security Act provides assistance to retirees, the unemployed, widows, and orphans. By signing this act, Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president to advocate for federal assistance for the elderly. It was largely opposed by Republican legislators.
In 1944, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the G.I. Bill—a historic measure that provided unprecedented benefits for soldiers returning from World War II, including low-cost mortgages, loans to start a business, and tuition and living expenses for those seeking higher education. 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 F. 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.
Civil Rights Act
This landmark piece of legislation outlawed major forms of discrimination against African Americans and women and prohibited racial segregation. Signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, it ended unequal voting requirements and segregated schools, workplaces, and public facilities.
From President Johnson to President Obama
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 12 years of Republican presidents, record budget deficits, and high unemployment, Americans turned to Democrats once again and elected Bill Clinton to get America moving again. 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.
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
After decades of trying and despite unanimous opposition from Republicans, President Obama and Democrats passed comprehensive health reform into law in March 2010. The Affordable Care Act holds insurance companies accountable, lowers costs, expands coverage, and improves care for all Americans.
Paving the way
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.
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—and pave the way for a future that lifts up all Americans.