The Whig Party in the South

By Arthur Charles Cole | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III.
THE GROWTH OF UNITY, 1841-1844.

By laying aside the doubtful issues of bank and tariff the Whigs had been able to unite with remarkable enthusiasm upon the questions which they considered material to the great object of national reform.1 Having elected their candidate, it soon became their duty to redeem the pledges they had made. The important question was as to what was to be included in the Whig program. Should it stop short with the promises of a campaign in which vital issues had been kept in the background as much as possible? Clay stepped forward to give the answer, determined to take the helm and to direct his party in reaping the fruits of a victory that might well have been his own.

According to Wise, Clay, who believed that the constitutional objection to a national bank was confined to the Virginia Whigs, openly rejoiced that, since they had failed to return a majority for Harrison, they could not embarrass the party with their peculiar doctrines.2 It was soon evident that Clay had selected the bank question for the first place on his legislative program as an issue upon which he might hold the Whigs to their party obligations. Clay reminded Congress that the people had returned an overwhelming verdict against the sub-treasury and that some substitute system had to be provided. He did not, however, announce

____________________
1
Log Cabin, Nov. 9, 1840.
2
William and Mary Qtly., XVIII, 225; Tyler, Tylers, I, 600; II, 30.

-64-

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