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Whig Party

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The History of the US Whig Party

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History of the United States Whig Party

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Whig Party (United States)

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A Brief History of the Whig Party

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The American Whig Party

The Whig Party was a political party active in the middle of the 19th century in the United States. Four United States Presidents belonged to the party while in office. It emerged in the 1830s as the leading opponent of Jacksonians, pulling together former members of the National Republican and the Anti-Masonic Party. It had links to the upscale traditions of the Federalist Party. Along with the rival Democratic Party, it was central to the Second Party System from the early 1840s to the mid-1860s. It originally formed in opposition to the policies of President Andrew Jackson and his Democratic Party. In particular, the Whigs supported the supremacy of the United States Congress over the presidency and favored a program of modernization, banking and economic protectionism to stimulate manufacturing. It appealed to entrepreneurs, planters, reformers and the emerging urban middle class, but had little appeal to farmers or unskilled workers. It included many active Protestants and voiced a moralistic opposition to the Jacksonian Indian removal. Party founders chose the "Whig" name to echo the American Whigs of the 18th century who fought for independence. The underlying political philosophy of the American Whig Party was not directly related to the British Whig party. Historian Frank Towers has specified a deep ideological divide:Democrats stood for the 'sovereignty of the people' as expressed in popular demonstrations, constitutional conventions, and majority rule as a general principle of governing, whereas Whigs advocated the rule of law, written and unchanging constitutions, and protections for minority interests against majority tyranny.