JACKSONIAN Democracy not only controlled the federal government in the period from 1828 to 1840 but it was also perhaps the most important influence in shaping the character of the opposition. The opposition's chief problem, whether as the National Republican or as the Whig party, was the determination of ways and means of regaining power. This period is, therefore, a unit in the history of the Whig party, in which it gradually, and in some measure against its will, underwent changes under the influence of the dominant Democracy. Old issues and methods were relegated to the background or changed to serve more effectively the party's needs. Old leaders were replaced by new men who had taken no conspicuous part in the past struggles with the democratic movement and who could therefore seek its support. It is the chief purpose of this study to trace the process by which the Whig party was shaped to suit the needs of the political situation.
The brief history of the National Republican party constitutes the first phase of the problem because the causes of its failure go far to explain the weakness of party which followed it. These