New Political Casualty: Jefferson-Jackson Dinners

Democrats scrapping the tradition over slave-owning legacy
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2015 2:47 PM CDT
New Political Casualty: Jefferson-Jackson Dinners
The statue of Thomas Jefferson on the Tidal Basin in Washington gets a wash in this file photo.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Democrats in Iowa last weekend officially ditched the name of their annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, a move that's part of a larger trend taking place around the country, reports CNN. While the party has long celebrated Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson at such dinners, the pair's own slave-owning history is finally taking a toll. Jackson's role in driving Native Americans out of the southeastern US—the "Trail of Tears"—also is a factor. Democrats in Georgia, Connecticut, Missouri, Maine, New Hampshire, and other states have scrapped their Jefferson-Jackson affairs or are considering doing so.

In Iowa, a Democratic leader said it's all about making sure the party lives up to the values of "inclusiveness, diversity, and equality." The New York Times also has taken notice: Controversy over the Confederate flag may be generating bigger headlines, its story observes, but the efforts by Democrats "to remove Jefferson and Jackson from their official identity underscore one of the most consequential trends of American politics: Democrats’ shift from a union-powered party organized primarily around economic solidarity to one shaped by racial and sexual identity." (More Thomas Jefferson stories.)

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