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, African Americans and the Democratic Party

Historically, African Americans were strong supporters of the Republican Party after the Civil War. Throughout the nineteenth century, The Republican Party were perceived as the champions of Emancipation while the Democrats were associated with white supremacy. However, by the Great Depression and Franklin Delano Roosevelt's 1936 presidential campaign, African Americans had made a dramatic shift toward supporting the Democratic Party. African American support for the Democratic Party has remained steadfast in the sixty years since the New Deal. To a great extent, the change in African American perceptions of the two parties has changed because of the remarkable transformation these parties underwent from the beginning of the twentiethcentury through FDR's 1936 election. This paper will focus on the three presidential elections between 1928 and 1936 because this period saw the dramatic shift of the black vote to the Democratic Party. It will also look at the relationship between black political activity and the Democratic Party in the decades after the 1936 presidential election.

Although generally disenfranchised from the political process in America, African Americans had been strong supporters of the Republican Party through the end of Reconstruction. However, the Republican and Democratic Parties began changing their respective focus on their political base as American industrialism became more sophisticated and developed. John Whiteclay Chambers II described this era as a time when a "new spirit [was infused] into the national government, rekindling public faith in Washington's ability to respond to national problems" (Chambers, 1992, 199).

However, this new spirit of participation in the national government did not extend to African Americans. Partly motivated by the Progressive activism of the day, partly due to the frustrations at lack of participation in government policies, African Americans began many of th...

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, African Americans and the Democratic Party. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 13:44, May 21, 2019, from