I recently did some research trying to achieve a fuller understanding of the philosophy that motivates the Democratic party. It had always seemed rather irrational to me. It was clear that the Democratic leadership was well educated; at least they had attended major universities, had their graduate degrees, etc. I had read quite a bit about the Founding Fathers and understood why they promoted limited government. I didn't understand the motivation behind the drive for bigger government and weaker international standing, etc.
My first feeling of understanding came from reading "A Conflict of Visions" by Thomas Sowell. It is a rather difficult read unless you are interested in philosophy. It follows mainstream philosophy from before the American Revolution up to current times. I recommend it highly if you want an in-depth understanding. I decided to write a condensed historical look at the evolution of these ideas intermingled with the historical events that helped to shape them. The results of my effort are posted on-line and available to all. See http://cedarstrip.wordpress.com/
My work got somewhat longer than I originally expected. I found a number of surprising aspects to major events in the 20th century that I had to include. You may find it interesting.