The Democratic Emblem (the Rooster) Started in Indiana in 1840 before the Donkey in 1870! (The Indiana State Sentinel, 1845)

Indiana State Sentinel, December 25, 1845. Hoosier State Chronicles.

Although the donkey is used as a symbol of the U.S. Democratic Party, it has never been officially adopted. The rooster, however, was. The story begins in 1840, when the famous “Log Cabin Campaign” occurred.

It must be said that the donkey did come first. In 1828, Democrat Andrew Jackson was ridiculed and called a “jackass” by the supporters of John Quincy Adams during the heated presidential campaign. However, it wasn’t used until 1870 when Thomas Nast used it as a symbol for the Democratic Party. And it has been widely recognized as the party’s unofficial symbol since that time.

Now for the rooster. The origin of the rooster as the emblem of the Democratic Party was in Greenfield, Indiana. Joseph Chapman, a native of Greenfield, a Jacksonian Democrat, and a state legislator, was an acclaimed orator and derided by the opposition Whigs for his “crowing.” During his campaign for a seat in the lower house of the Indiana State Legislature, the Whigs’ critical “Crow, Chapman, Crow!” was seized by the Democrats and used in support of their candidate and Chapman won, despite the Whigs’ nationwide victory that year. Indiana Democrats, followed by the national party, soon chose the rooster as their symbol, and Chapman was hereafter known as “Crowing Joe Chapman.”