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United States Whig Party

United States Whig Party was a political party of the United States. The party was created in order to oppose the policies of Andrew Jackson and called itself the Whig Party by analogy with the English Whigss, who had opposed the power of the King in Restoration England.

Table of contents
1 Creation
2 Victory and catastrophe
3 Dissolution
4 Presidents from the Whig Party
5 Further reading


The party was initially formed in 1833-1834 as an alliance between the Northern and border state National Republican Party, led by men like Henry Clay and Daniel Webster. It was a nationalistic party devoted to Clay's American System, with Southern states-rights opponents of Jackson, united only by their dislike of Jackson.

In 1836 the party was not yet sufficiently organised to run one nationwide candidate. Instead William Henry Harrison ran in the northern and border states, Hugh L. White ran in the South, and Daniel Webster ran in his home state of Massachusetts. It was hoped that between them they would win enough U.S. Electoral College votes to deny Martin Van Buren a majoirty and so throw the election into the House of Representatives and there select the most popular Whig candidate as President. This tactic failed and they were soundly defeated.

Victory and catastrophe

In the years that followed, the Whigs began to develop a more comprehensive platform, favoring a protective tariff, the creation of a new Bank of the U.S., and use of the proceeds of public land sales to aid the states in internal improvements. In 1839, the Whigs held their first national convention, giving the nod to Harrison, who was elected president next year, largely as a result of the terrible state of the economy.

(not finished)


The party ultimately collapsed on the eve of the Civil War in response to the growing sectionalism in the nation. Northern Whigs, in particular, deserted the party in large numbers in favor of the newly formed Republican Party.

Presidents from the Whig Party

Presidents of the United States, dates in office
  1. William Henry Harrison (1841)
  2. John Tyler (see note) (1841-1845)
  3. Zachary Taylor (1849-1850)
  4. Millard Fillmore (1850-1853)

Note: Although Tyler was elected vice president as a Whig, his policies soon proved to be opposed to most of the Whig agenda, and he was officially expelled from the party in 1841, a few months after taking office.

See also: List of political parties in the United States

Further reading