Origins of the Whig Party

By E. Malcolm Carroll | Go to book overview

ORIGINS OF THE WHIG PARTY

CHAPTER I
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS AND THE NATIONAL REPUBLICAN PARTY

THE names of American political parties give a superficial impression of unity that rarely exists in fact. Individual differences of opinion, sectional interests, and conflicting personal ambitions combine to make complete harmony an ideal that can only be approximated by a free use of compromises and adjustments. While contemporary parties face these problems in aggravated form, few have suffered so much from divided opinions and leadership as the Whig party in the Jacksonian period. Organized in 1834, it inherited from diverse sources a perplexing variety of opinions and a divided leadership that made united action exceedingly difficult. Upon one issue alone, that of opposing Jackson and the Democratic party, could its various elements cooperate with any degree of harmony, and when in in 1840 it ceased to be the opposition it promptly reverted to its former divisions. The difficulties of

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