Agar holds firmly to his belief that the Democratic Party was founded by Jefferson ""to promote equality of rights and privileges, and that presupposed democracy in politics and the refusal of special favors in the economic sphere."" He is convinced that the party has failed wherever and whenever it has lost these ideals, and that the means to the end must necessarily vary with the times. If it is achieved, today, through increasing power in Washington, so be it. It is the ends -- not the means that count in the long run. To bear out his points, he traces the history of the party, through its glory in early days, its gradual loss of prestige, and the part it played in precipitating the Civil War. Then of the results of the Reconstruction Period, the occasional emergence of the party from the shadow in Cleveland's and Wilson's periods -- and the reasons for subsequent failure, through losing sight of the tenets. Not an easy subject, but Agar makes it, to a large extent, readable and challenging. Unfortunately, he stops with the defeat of Davis.