Democrats, Republicans, elephants and donkeys, Oh My!

The Republican party was formed when certain members of what was known then as the Democratic-Republican Party left under pressures surrounding the anti-salvery movement in the 1850’s.  It has been more or less recognized as an official party since the later part of the 1800’s but in 1875 the party was referred to, in the Congressional Files, as the “gallant old party”.  Later that name was changed to the “grand old party” and further shortened to GOP.  Also associated with the Republican party is the ever-present elephant.  The elephant was first associated with the GOP in a Harper’s Weekly political cartoon in the late 1800’s.  Prior to the symbolic elephant however the bald eagle was the original Republican mascot.  Additionally, red appears to be the unofficial Republican “team colors” but that wasn’t a reality until the recent 2000 elections.

Initially, the Democrats were known as the Democratic-Republican Party and formed out of anti-Federalist sentiment.  Eventually, the party would split into the two distinct, major parties we have today.  The iconic donkey representing the Democratic Party came about when those opposing Andrew Jackson used a play on his last name to call him and his party “jackasses”.  Though the donkey is most associated with the Democrats the original Democratic mascot was the rooster and can still be seen on some states ballots to this day.

Republicans and Democrats

Mascots of Republicans and Democrats

This entry was posted in Etymology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *