The Democratic Party traces its origins back to the National Democratic Party founded by James Madison and other influential opponents of the Federalist Republicans in 1792; however, in the early years following the War of Secession, it became difficult to identify the party in the C.S., as most of its politicians claimed to be Democrats, despite political ideologies that ranged from Liberalism to Conservatism and everything in between. It was not until the founding of the Whig Party, in 1870, that Confederate Democrats like Andrew Johnson and others were able to establish the party as the pro-agrarian opposition to Robert E. Lee's pro-industry Whigs.
The late 19th century would see the Democratic Party turn Populist; however as the turn of the century approached, the Conservative faction of the party began to take control of the party.
The early 20th century would once again see the Democratic Party struggle to find its own political identity, as Conservatives and Liberals within the Party struggled for power; however, the election of Huey Long as President in 1934, would see the majority of the Democratic Party begin to grow increasingly liberal in support of Long's Fair Share policies.
The transformation of the Democratic Party in the 1930s and 1940s, was upsetting to many conservative Democrats and after being forced to decide between two anti-segregationalists in the 1951 presidential election many conservatives abandoned the party to join with conservatives from the Whig Party in forming the Confederalist Party.
Attempts to compromise with remaining moderates and conservatives in the party led to nomination of Robert E. Howard in 1958, but his ineffectiveness as President to deal with civil rights issues, along with bitterness from many liberals at members of the party who voted for the slightly more moderate George Marshall instead of Party nominee Dwight Eisenhower in 1951, would lead to the dissolution of the Democratic Party and the formation of the Liberal Party