Which politician or organization was the first to formally use the name "Democratic Party" for the party of Andrew Jackson? When and where did this happen?
Background: Thomas Jefferson's political party was called the Republican Party by its supporters and the Democratic Party by its detractors. The name "Democratic-Republican" in this early period is an anachronism coined by waffling historians:
The followers of Thomas Jefferson almost always referred to themselves as Republicans. However, the Federalists nearly always called them Democrats. The Republicans were also called Anti-Federalists, Whigs, and Jacobins. . . One term that was not used by either party during this time was the infamous label Democratic-Republican. Neither the followers of Thomas Jefferson nor the Federalists used this term. It was invented by historians because they could not decide which term should be used to describe the party of Thomas Jefferson.
By 1827, the Republicans were the only party that mattered at the national level. When it came time to nominate a presidential candidate in 1828, Republican state parties failed to agree on a single candidate, and so the Republican state parties split into competing caucuses.
The state caucuses that nominated Adams called themselves "National Republicans" or "Administration Republicans" to indicate that the national administration represented continuity with the Republican Party. For example, in Rhode Island the rival caucuses called themselves "Friends of the National Administration" and "Friends of Jackson." In most northern states, pro-Jackson caucuses called themselves some variant of "Jacksonian Party" or "Jacksonian Republicans." In southern states where there was no significant Adams wing of the Republican Party, Jacksonians just called themselves "Republicans."
By 1832 I think the national party was calling itself the Democratic Party, as were most pro-Jackson state parties (at least in the North and Mid-Atlantic states), but I don’t know when and where this renaming occurred. I want to know who formally named the party and when for two reasons:
- The new name indicates not just acceptance, but perhaps also a desire, that the Adams/Jackson split in the party would become permanent. The renaming implied that the old Republican Party was dead, even though strictly speaking that was not yet a fait accompli.
- It was a significant decision to use a name that had, in living memory, been a term of abuse. Whoever chose to use "Democratic" was embracing the party's increasingly populist direction.
Caution: I won't accept as evidence a historian casually referring to the founding of the Democratic Party by Martin Van Buren in 1828. Even good historians can be loose with party terminology in this period, and most just mean that in 1828 Van Buren created the national organization that would soon be known as the Democratic Party. The answer may very well be Van Buren, but I’d like to see that claim sourced. I would be thrilled if someone found an account of a convention or caucus where Jackson men debated the merits of possible names for their party.