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The Rise and Fall of the Whig Party

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The Whig Party, formed in the 1830s, opposed President Andrew Jackson's policies and advocated for economic modernization and a strong legislative branch. It supported protective tariffs, a national bank, and federal infrastructure investment. The party's decline in the 1850s was hastened by internal divisions over slavery, leading to its dissolution and the rise of the Republican Party. The Whigs' principles influenced future American political and economic policies.

Formation of the Whig Party

The Whig Party emerged in the early 1830s as a coalition of anti-Jackson politicians, including remnants of the National Republicans, disaffected Democrats, and other groups opposed to the policies of President Andrew Jackson. The party's formation was a response to the perceived autocratic leadership style of Jackson and his supporters, who had coalesced into the Democratic Party. The Whigs saw themselves as defenders of traditional republican values and the Constitution, advocating for a balanced government and opposing what they viewed as the "tyranny" of Jackson's presidency.
Mid-19th century political meeting in a grand hall with diverse men in period attire engaged in earnest discussion, bathed in soft natural light.

Divergent Philosophies of Democrats and Whigs

The Democrats, under Andrew Jackson, championed the rights of the "common man," promoting an agrarian-based democracy, westward expansion, and opposition to centralized banking. They sought to extend voting rights to all white men, regardless of property ownership, and favored a limited federal government. Conversely, the Whigs supported a strong central government to promote economic development through protective tariffs, a national bank, and internal improvements. They believed in a more diversified economy, including industrialization and commerce, and were more cautious about westward expansion due to its implications for the balance of power between free and slave states.

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Whig Party's political alignment

Anti-Jackson coalition; included National Republicans, disaffected Democrats, others against Jacksonian policy.


Whig Party's stance on government

Advocated for balanced government; opposed perceived executive overreach by Jackson.


Whig Party's core values

Defended traditional republican values and the Constitution; stood against 'tyranny' of Jackson's presidency.


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