What Is the Difference Between Republicans and Democrats?

Republican and Democratic philosophies differ on controversial topics such as the role of the military, gun laws, gay and lesbian rights, health care, social welfare programs, tax policy, environmental and energy issues and free trade. Republicans also believe that the government should adopt a "less is more" approach when passing legislation whereas Democrats believe that a strong central government is important to maintaining a stable and inclusive society.

The divide between the two parties regarding the military boils down to the strength of the intervention required in a given situation. Historically, Democrats are less inclined to turn to a military option, and this is reflected in their desires for a smaller military budget. Republicans, on the other hand, are more likely to take a hard-line approach to military matters and generally see a correlation between increased military spending and national safety.

In terms of gun laws, Democrats push for legislation that regulates an individual's ability to carry a concealed weapon, for example. However Republicans view such legislation as imposing on individuals' rights under the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Republicans also believe that having fewer taxes allows for greater freedom for businesses and the overall market, ultimately leading to a healthy economy. Democrats believe that individuals who make more money should be taxed at a higher rate in order to pay for government programs like social welfare.