The party of Jefferson or of Lincoln? Although admitting that the modern party bears absolutely no resemblance to that created by Thomas Jefferson, Democrats unabashedly claim to descend from the limited government, strict interpretation of the Constitution, and states' rights principles advocated by Jefferson. This despite the fact that the term "Democrat" was not used by itself to brand the party until about 1832 during Andrew Jackson's campaign for re-election.
Most Republicans, while deservedly proud of the heritage passed down to us through our identity with the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, willingly short shrift themselves by looking at 1854 as the birth of the Republican party. They forget that it was Lincoln himself who chided Democrats for trying to claim the mantle of "the party of Jefferson" since their party, even in 1858, had abandoned every principle for which he had stood.
The history presented in the following pages will be in three parts: Part I is the national story; Part II focuses on the State of Oregon; Part III (to be completed) is the story of the party in Marion County.