US Presidents Who Were Democrats

The Democratic National Headquarters in Washington, DC. Editorial credit: Mark Van Scyoc /
The Democratic National Headquarters in Washington, DC. Editorial credit: Mark Van Scyoc /

The Democratic Party is one of the two major parties in the US. It is also one of the oldest active political parties in the world, having been founded in 1828 by Andrew Jackson and his supporters. The origin of the Democratic Party can be traced back to the Democratic-Republican Party which was formed by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson in 1792. Since its founding, a total of 15 Democrats have been presidents of the United States. Here are some of the presidents who were Democrats.

Democrats Who Served as President

Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson was an army general and the the 7th president of the US for two terms from 1829 to 1837. He was also the first Democrat to be elected president. Following the split over President Monroe’s successor, Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren led a breakaway from the Democratic-Republican Party and formed the Democratic Party. In October 1825, Jackson was nominated for president, about three years before the 1828 presidential election. As the first Democrat president, Jackson remained true to the party’s philosophy of promoting social liberalism.

Martin van Buren

When Andrew Jackson retired in 1837, he was succeeded by his Vice President Martin Van Buren who was the 8th president from 1837 to 1841. Van Buren won the 1836 presidential election partly because of his promise to continue with the popular policies of his predecessor. However, when he entered the office, the country’s economy had taken a turn for the worse. In May 1837, the country entered into a financial crisis (Panic of 1837) followed by 5-year depression. Van Buren’s presidency became a difficult affair. He lost the 1840 presidential election to William Henry Harrison of the Whig Party.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

The history of the US presidents is never complete without the mention of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. FDR was the 32nd president of the US and the 9th Democrat president. He was elected to unprecedented four terms and served for a record 13 years from 1933 to 1945 and would have served for more if he would he not died in the office one year into his fourth term. Roosevelt led the country through the Great Depression by implementing the New Deal Coalition of social reform programs. His last two terms were dominated by World War II. According to scholars, FDR is considered one of the three greatest presidents in US history. The others are Abraham Lincoln and George Washington.

Barack Obama

Barack Obama was the 44th president and the 15th Democrat to become the president of the US. He is also considered the first African-American to occupy the office. Obama served for two terms from 2009 to 2017. He is best remembered for “Obamacare” which was meant to offer affordable healthcare as well as protect the patient. President Obama also signed several landmark bills into law including American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. He also ended the US military engagement in Iraq War and championed for same-sex marriages.

Democratic Party Structure

The Democratic Party comprises of the national committee, the state party, and the major party group. The Democratic National Committee is responsible for the campaign activities of the party. It supervises the presidential election by administering the Democratic National Convention. Each of the 50 states has a state party committee which coordinates campaign activities and oversees local conventions. The senatorial and Congressional campaign committees assist party candidates who are running for the respective positions.

US Presidents Who Were Democrats

RankPresident NameYears Served
1Andrew Jackson1829-1837
2Martin van Buren1837-1841
3James K. Polk1845-1849
4Franklin Pierce1853-1857
5James Buchanan1857-1861
6Grover Cleveland1885-1889, 1893-1897
7Woodrow Wilson1913-1921
8Franklin D. Roosevelt1933-1945
9Harry S. Truman 1945-1953
10John F. Kennedy1961-1963
11Lyndon B. Johnson1963-1969
12Jimmy Carter1977-1981
13Bill Clinton1993-2001
14Barack Obama2009-2017
15Joe Bidden2021-

Sometimes Andrew Johnson is listed a Democrat President he however was not elected on a democratic party ticket. Andrew Johnson ran under the National Union Party as Vice President to Abraham Lincoln, the name used by the republican party to attract War Democrats and Unionists. Andrew Johnson was a War Democrat himself and after his term ended many War Democrats joined the Republican Party while others returned to the Democrats. The 1864 election of the National Union Party is considered a "Republican" ticket. Therefore technically Andrew Johnson became president under a Republican ticket and should be considered a Republican President.


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