Rise and Decline of the Whig Party

The Whig Party was formed in mid-1834. Its founders were averse to Andrew Jackson’s policies. Notably, they formed the party following the “Good Feelings” era. During the era, the upper-class founders felt threatened by Jackson’s closing down of the BUS (Bank of the United States). They took the BUS as favorable to their desire to utilize government authority to put together a dependable fiscal system and improve the union’s infrastructure. The planters in the South were supported by industrialists and bankers in the North in campaigning for the assumption of these roles by the government.

Even then, that agenda failed to get sufficient political traction. That was because of the then growing democratic ideals and politics. The agenda only gained the traction when the Whigs brought to their side generals who were highly regarded for their exploits in wars. Such generals included Zachary Taylor along with William Harrison. However, the slavery question became a more and more significant political issue across the union. For much of the 1850s the issue split that party (Anderson, 1983).

Northern Conscience Whigs were in support of slavery’s eradication. They fought against the spread of slavery into additional territories. The southern Cotton Whigs opposed the eradication. The party performed dismally in 1852, which saw the Cotton Whigs turn into Democrats and the Conscience Whigs into Republicans. The Republicans increased in their numbers rather fast since their party easily brought the two sets of former Whigs into its fold, particularly between 1855 and 1860.

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