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The Republican Party was formed in 1854 and six years later Abraham Lincoln became its first member elected to the White House. An image of an elephant was featured as a Republican symbol in at least one political cartoon and a newspaper illustration during the Civil War (when “seeing the elephant” was an expression used by soldiers to mean experiencing combat), but the pachyderm didn’t start to take hold as a GOP symbol until Thomas Nast, who’s considered the father of the modern political cartoon, used it in an 1874 Harper’s Weekly cartoon. Titled “The Third-Term Panic,” Nast’s drawing mocked the New York Herald, which had been critical of President Ulysses Grant’s rumored bid for a third term, and portrayed various interest groups as animals, including an elephant labeled “the Republican vote,” which was shown standing at the edge of a pit. Nast employed the elephant to represent Republicans in additional cartoons during the 1870s, and by 1880 other cartoonists were using the creature to symbolize the party.

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. The origins of the Democratic donkey can be traced to the 1828 presidential campaign of Andrew Jackson. During that race, opponents of Jackson called him a jackass. However, rather than rejecting the label, Jackson, a hero of the War of 1812 who later served in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, was amused by it and included an image of the animal in his campaign posters. Jackson went on to defeat incumbent John Quincy Adams and serve as America’s first Democratic president. In the 1870s, influential political cartoonist Thomas Nast helped popularize the donkey as a symbol for the entire Democratic Party.

Difference Between Democrat and Republican

                                               Difference Between Democrat and Republican

​• Categorized under Ideology, Politics | Difference  Between Democrat and Republican

Citizens registered as an Independent, Democrat or Republican.

Democrats and Republicans are the two main parties in the United States. While recently moderate and alternative parties have become more prominent, Democrats and Republicans remain the two historically largest parties, which hold the majority of the seats in the Senate and in the House of Representatives. Democrats and Republicans have opposing views and positions on several key issues, including economic, political, military and social matters.

History and symbols:​

Democrat vs Republican

The main difference between the two parties is, indeed, their political orientation. The Democratic Party is left-leaning, liberal and usually associated with progressiveness and equality. The Republican Party, instead, is right-leaning, traditional and associated with equity and economic freedom and with the ideal of “survival of the fittest”.

Given their different origins and opposing political orientations, the two parties clash on a number of fundamental issues4:


•Republicans believe that both rich and poor should pay the same share of taxes (and possibly receive tax cuts). Even if large tax cuts may lead to a decrease in the revenue collected by the government, Republicans believe that, after tax reductions, rich people and entrepreneurs would be more likely to invest and create jobs – thus initiating a trickledown effect that would eventually benefit the entire society. Republicans also oppose raising minimum wages as such increase could hurt small businesses; and

•Democrats believe in raising taxes for the upper class and lowering taxes for the lower and middle class to allow the government to boost spending for social programs for lower class

Gun laws

•Republicans oppose gun control laws and believe that one should be able to obtain ammunitions with no registration. Republicans also strongly support the right of self-defense; and

•Democrats are in favor of an increase in arm control but recognize that the Second Amendment is an important part of the American tradition and that the right to use firearms should be preserved. Democrats advocate for the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban and believe that the government should make the background check system stronger.

Voter ID laws

•Republicans are requesting photo identification for voting: they believe that such measure would prevent cases of election fraud; and

•Democrats believe that everyone has the right to vote and oppose photo identification, as they believe it may be discriminatory.


•Republicans, largely influenced by religion and tradition, believe that the government should restrict abortion. In fact, Republicans think that an unborn child has the fundamental right to live which cannot be taken away; and

•Democrats support Roe vs Wade and believe that a woman should have the right to make her own decisions regarding her pregnancy and that the government has no right to get involved with any woman’s pregnancy. Instead of eliminating abortion, Democrats want to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies by enhancing the level of sex education in all schools. An increased awareness would also reduce the number of cases of sexually transmitted diseases.

Same-sex marriages

•Republicans do not agree with same-sex marriages and believe that a marriage should be between a man and woman only. Republicans also think that gay couples should not be able to adopt children; and

•Democrats oppose same-sex discrimination at Federal state level and believe that same sex couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples, including the right to adopt a child.

Limits of the government

•Republicans believe that a smaller government is better. According to the Republican view, the government should have less responsibilities and should not interfere in the economic sphere; and

•Democrats believe that the government should have a strong role in helping and supporting Americans. The intervention of the government in the public sphere includes the creation of regulation for businesses and for the health care system.


•Republicans are in favor of strong border controls and push for limits to immigration – in particular from certain countries. Republicans believe that a tighter control on immigration would benefit American workers and would reduce the risks related to terrorist attacks. The Muslim Ban proposed by President Trump few days after the beginning of his mandate is a clear example of the stance of the Republican Party with regard to immigration and integration 5; and

•Democrats are generally more favorable to open immigration policies. Indeed, they do not believe that there should be no control and that anyone should be allowed in the country and granted asylum; but they believe that the process to request asylum should be quicker and that mass deportation is not the solution to all problems related to terrorism and unemployment.

Death penalty

•Traditionally, Republicans are in favor of death penalty and believe it is a just punishment for certain crimes; and

•Most Democrats are against death penalty and believe that capital punishment should be commuted into life sentences.

Health care

•Republicans support private health care systems and believe that the regulation of the national health care system should not be entirely in the hands of the government; and

•Democrats support public universal health care and believe that the government should intervene to assist Americans who struggle to cover their health care expenses.

Individual vs collective rights

•Republicans believe in individual rights and in the “survival of the fittest”; and

•Democrats believe in collective rights over individual rights.

While the differences between the two parties are clear, not all Democrats have the same ideas and not all Republicans support all the traditional beliefs of the GOP. The two parties have become so big that it is almost impossible to understand where they really stand on certain issues. For instance, while traditionally Republicans are against abortion and in favor of death penalty, there are cases in which Republican representatives have expressed their support for free choice and have condemned the use of capital punishment.

Furthermore, while Republicans traditionally advocate for a “small government” that should not interfere in the private sphere, they do support some “big government” stances when they insist on the need of imposing government regulations on abortion. In the same way, while Democrats advocate for a “big government” that should intervene in economic and social decisions, they support free choice and believe that the government should have no say on abortion and should not interfere with a woman’s pregnancy.


The Democratic and the Republican Party are the two main forces that have shaped the political scenario of the United States since the 19th century. It is interesting to note that in the past few decades, Democrat and Republican Presidents have been constantly alternating. Such tendency shows that the American society remains deeply divided over key issues.

The traditional, right-leaning Republican Party opposes the liberal, left-leaning Democratic Party on economic, social and political matters:

•Republicans believe in strong border controls, in tax cuts, in the use of firearms and in death penalty. They are against abortion, same-sex marriages and support private health care systems; and

•Democrats support open immigration policies, believe that rich people should pay higher taxes, advocate for more regulations in the use of firearms and oppose death penalty. They are in favor of free choice, support same-sex marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples and believe that the government should intervene in economic and social matters, including health care.

However, the two parties are so large and diverse that it is quite complex to understand where they really stand and to identify the line that clearly separates them. In fact, we can find extremists and moderates on both sides and the evolution of the national and international assets often leads people to change views and perspectives on key issues, including immigration, gun control, death penalty, same-sex marriage and abortion. Therefore, while the traditional stances of the Democratic and the Republican Party are quite different, the reality is rather blurred and their positions do not oppose as neatly.

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