The Southern Democrats was a historic faction of the US Democratic Party that was composed of conservative Democratic politicians from the American South. During the 1800s, they were a reactionary political party, supporting slavery and opposing reforms in favor of strict maintenance of the status quo. The Southern Democrats made up the majority of the government of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War, with former 1860 US Democratic Party presidential nominee John C. Breckinridge serving as Secretary of War for the CSA in the last few months of the war. Although they were defeated in the civil war, their popularity rose in the aftermath of the war, continuing to rise into the 20th century. The Southern Democrats, however, would begin to lose touch with the Democratic Party's values after William Jennings Bryan transformed the party into a liberal party during the 1890s and 1900s.
George Wallace, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Jimmy Carter were prominent 20th century Southern Democrats, and they were politicians during a time of great change for the party. By 1968, the Southern Democrats had been split into two camps; those who were liberal joined the mainstream Democratic Party, while those who were conservative would defect to the US Republican Party. Today, the Republican Party dominates the south, as the Republicans had established themselves as a conservative party during the 1910s and had effectively ended the Democrats' Solid South with the 1980 election. While there is still some support for the Democrats in southern cities, the reactionary and pro-slavery/segregation Southern Democrats cease to exist in their traditional form, as most Democrats in the South are African-Americans or urban whites. Today, there are still a few conservative Democrats in the south, such as the Clinton family and John Bel Edwards.