Whig Party

Whig Party

The Whig Party was established in 1834 by politicians opposed to the "executive tyranny of Andrew Jackson. The party was named after to the Whig Party in the House of Commons that at the time was advocating democratic reforms in Britain.

In 1840 the party's presidential candidate, was William Henry Harrison. He defeated Martin Van Buren of the Democratic Party by 1,275,017 votes to 1,128,702. However, four years later, the decision by the anti-slavery Liberty Party to put up a candidate, James Birney (62,300), split the vote and enabled James Polk (1,337,243) to defeat Henry Clay (1,299,068).

The Whig Party returned to power in 1848 when Zachary Taylor (1,360,101) defeated Lewis Cass (1,220,544) and Martin Van Buren (291,263). The party disintegrated following its refusal to take a stand on slavery issue. In 1852 the war hero Winfield Scott was nominated as its candidate. The party was badly divided with Southeners deeply suspicious of Scott's views on slavery. Franklin Pierce won 1,601,474 votes against Scott's 1,386,578. Most Whigs joined the newly created Republican Party in 1854.

Primary Sources

(1) Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz (1947)

Last spring the Germans had constructed huge tents in an open space in the Lager. For the whole of the good season each of them had catered for over 1,000 men: now the tents had been taken down, and an excess 2,000 guests crowded our huts. We old prisoners knew that the Germans did not like these irregularities and that something would soon happen to reduce our number.