"Under a constitutional government", says James Ford Rhodes (I, 2), "the history of political parties is the civil history of the country." If this be true, the general tendency to treat the national political party as a unit has led to a distortion of the history of the ante-bellum South, to the extent, at least, of a failure to realize the local character and importance of the Whig party in the slave-holding states. It is the chief aim of this study to correct the mistakes of a priori reasoning, and to sketch the history of the Whig party in the South in its relations to the local problems and to the national organization. My original plan was to study the Whig party in the South solely with reference to its relations to the slavery controversy. I soon found, from a preliminary survey of the origin and general character of the party, that a more extended treatment of its early history than I had planned was essential to a proper understanding of the later developments. Thus the monograph enlarged its scope until it came to embrace a general study of the Whig party in the South.
The party history is divided by the election of 1844 into two nearly equal periods, each unified by its own peculiar problem. A further subdivision shows five stages of development: (1) At the beginning, in the thirties, the southern Whigs were part of a large anti- Jackson opposition organization which included in the