The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War

By Michael F. Holt | Go to book overview

Preface

THIS IS A HISTORY of a nineteenth-century American political party. It encompasses the careers, aspirations, ideas, and actions of many individual Whig politicians and nameless Whig voters. But it is not primarily a collective biography, a study of political ideology and political culture, or an analysis of the social experience and characteristics of the electorate. Rather, it is the story, told chronologically, of the birth, life, and death of a political organization and of its competitive relationship with other political parties. That life was short -- scarcely more than twenty-two years. Yet this history of it, which has taken me almost that many years to write, is a very long book. The reader deserves to know why.

I set five objectives before starting to write. First, I believe that no political party can be fully understood in terms of its own beliefs, actions, and internal quarrels. Its relationships with rival parties must also be incorporated into the analysis. The Whig party operated in a definable two-party system, labeled by historians the Second American Party System, in which its major, but not its only, rival was the Democratic party. A central argument of this study, indeed, is that from the time of the Whig party's birth in the winter of 1833-34 until its death during the 1856 presidential campaign, Democrats played a profound role in shaping its fate. Thus pay close attention to non-Whig and anti-Whig political actors, not just to the Whigs themselves.

Second, the American federal system, with its jurisdictional division of policymaking responsibilities among national, state, and local governments, had unusual importance for the structure and operations of nineteenth-century political parties. What state governments did often had far more impact on people's lives during that century than did actions taken in Washington. Whigs, therefore, often viewed control of state governments as a vital goal. Like its Democratic foe, moreover, the Whig party was a federation of state and local organizations, each of which had its own experience of internal rivalry and external competition. To write the history of the party as an institution -- and not just of a few prominent national leaders -- I was therefore compelled to analyze developments in as many states as possible over a period of some twenty years while simultaneously examining Whig attempts to capture the national government and their actions while in it.

-ix-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 1248

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.