Initially, the Democratic Party supported conservative, free trader, agrarian and imperialist policies, but after the 1912 became slowly more progressive and liberal.
Founded in 1828 by Andrew Jackson's supporters, the Democratic Party was characterized for a populist approach on fiscal issues (Jackason was famous for his "Bank War") and the non-interference on slavery. The Democrats maintained a strong leadership for almost 30 years, but under Pierce and Buchanan administrations in the 1850s, the slavery became a national problem, and the differences between the industrialized North and the agrarian South exploded in a Civil War in 1861, some months after the election of the Republican Abraham Lincoln. After the end of the Civil War, the Democratic Party lost its national influence, caused by its association with the Confederate cause and slavery, and the Reconstruction Era was dominated by Republicans. Only in 1884 and 1892 the Democrat candidate, Grover Cleveland, won the election with small majority. From the 1900s, the Democrats became more progressive and liberal on some themes, and finally the Democrat Woodrow Wilson became President thanks to a Republican split and his reformist views. However, the Wilson Administration became progressively unpopular, and the Republican Warren G. Harding won the 1920 election. The Republicans dominated again the national politics until the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the consecutive Great Depression. In 1932, the Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt won the election by a landslide against the Republican Herbert Hoover.