Excerpts taken from "The American Democrat" James Fenimore Cooper, 1838. Do you think they've strayed?
"It is the role of the citizen to responsibly exercise his God-given right to self-government. Every citizen must also obey the laws and guard the rights of his fellow man."
"Also, the American democrat must keep his representatives in check, constantly questioning their motives and objectively judging policy initiatives in comparison with the constitution, not their own values, prejudices, or opinions."
In fact, "the elector who gives his vote, on any grounds, party or personal, to an unworthy candidate, violates a sacred public duty, and is unfit to be a freeman."
Additionally, the democrat is "one who is willing to admit of a free competition, in all things ... he is the purest democrat who best maintains his right, and no rights can be dearer to a man of cultivation, than exemptions from unseasonable invasions on his time, by the coarse-minded and ignorant."
You going love this part....
In the U.S., Cooper argues that the most dangerous abuse of the government is taking advantage of the citizens to gain or maintain authority. Consequently, Cooper disparages the demagogue and political manager who pursue their own interest "by affecting a deep devotion to the interests of the people" and by "put[ting] the people before the constitution and the laws in face of the obvious truth that people have paced the laws before themselves."
Now how did the democrat party get from the above, to where they are today? Secret, it was before the progressives hijacked the party. Check the date on the essay! It was prior to the Roosevelts and Woodrow Wilson.