Jefferson–Jackson Dinner

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President and Mrs. Truman at the Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, 1952

A Jefferson–Jackson Dinner is a title traditionally given to an annual fundraising celebration held by Democratic Party organizations in the United States.[1] It is named for Presidents Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, which the party traditionally calls its founders. They are usually held in February or March at a local level providing an opportunity for elected officials, candidates, party staff, advisors, and donors to attend.

The Republican Party's equivalent is usually called a Lincoln Dinner, Reagan Dinner, or Lincoln–Reagan Dinner. Into the 1960s, state and local Democratic Parties across the country depended on well-attended Jefferson–Jackson Day dinners to provide their annual funding.[2] Their financial importance has somewhat dimmed with the development of other political party funding strategies, although they still serve a function for social networking and conferences.

Change of name[edit]

Due to controversies over Jefferson's slaveholding and Jackson's policy toward Native Americans while in office, some Democratic Party organizations have been removing Jefferson and Jackson from the title of party fundraisers.[3] The flow of the State Democratic Parties seeking to change the name of their iconic Jefferson-Jackson dinner is spurred by a desire to embrace a more modern identity.[4] The usual argument made is that while Jefferson and Jackson were both great men and for a time embodied the spirit of the Democratic Party, they now fail to represent the breadth of change that has affected the Democratic Party and its current membership.[5][6]

Many state Democratic Parties have changed the traditional name. For example:

The Republican party has similarly moved away from "Lincoln Dinners" due to American political realignment since the 1960s, especially in the Southern United States where culturally conservative White Southerners now tend to be Republicans, while Black voters now tend to be Democrats.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Obama sets sights on November battle Archived 2008-02-28 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Kari A. Frederickson (2001). The Dixiecrat Revolt and the End of the Solid South, 1932-1968. U of North Carolina Press. p. 80. ISBN 9780807849101.
  3. ^ Martin, Jonathan (11 August 2015). "State by State, Democratic Party Is Erasing Ties to Jefferson and Jackson". The New York Times.
  4. ^ a b Southall, Ashley (2015-08-08). "Jefferson-Jackson Dinner Will Be Renamed". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-10-24.
  5. ^ Berman, Russell. "No Longer the Party of Jefferson and Jackson?". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2016-11-28.
  6. ^ "Democrats Consider Whether To Rename Jefferson-Jackson Dinner". Retrieved 2016-11-28.
  7. ^ Top presidential contenders may show up in Mississippi this month Archived 2012-09-19 at
  8. ^ "Colorado Democrats rename Jefferson Jackson' event 'Obama Dinner'". Retrieved 2023-12-06.
  9. ^ a b "Democrats Consider Whether To Rename Jefferson-Jackson Dinner". Retrieved 2016-10-24.
  10. ^ "Iowa Democrats rebrand fundraiser as Liberty & Justice Celebration". 12 September 2019.
  11. ^ "Morrison Exon Annual Fundraiser and Volunteer Awards". Retrieved 2018-02-12.
  12. ^ "Democrats dump Jefferson, Jackson names from dinners". 12 April 2016.
  13. ^ Bill Clinton to headline DFL’s renamed Humphrey-Mondale Dinner
  14. ^ Christensen, Rob (July 14, 2017). "Democrats split with Jefferson and Jackson". The News & Observer. Archived from the original on December 21, 2020.
  15. ^ "Dems to drop controversial leaders' names from signature dinner". 21 September 2011.
  16. ^ a b Parties swap names on fundraising dinners to reflect modern alignment