The Whig Party in the South

By Arthur Charles Cole | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I.
THE PERIOD OF ORIGINS, 1830-1835.

The national Whig party can truly be regarded as the logical successor of the old Federalist and National Republican parties. Behind the measures eventually brought forward by Whig leaders, there was a fundamental interpretation of governmental powers and relations similar, in all essentials, to the principles which governed Hamilton and his associates in formulating the Federalist policies. So also Clay's controlling personality assures us of the existence of this same relationship between the two parties with which his name is so closely connected.

The strength of these earlier parties, especially the National Republican, was essentially sectional and largely confined to the northern and central states.1 Economic conditions and interests made them the natural strongholds for parties holding nationalist and federalist doctrines. In the South, however, prevailing interests made strict construction and state rights principles popular, a fact which tended to identify the political affiliations of the southern people with parties that occupied that ground. But the Whig party in the South constituted at all times a most powerful minority of the voting strength of that section, capable of being converted by unusual exertions and under favoring cir

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1
Compare, however, Phillips, "The South Carolina Federalists", in American Historical Review, XIV. 529-543, 731-743, 776-790.

-1-

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