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The Rise and Fall of the American Whig PartyJacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War$
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Michael F. Holt

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195161045

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195161045.001.0001

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“Fillmore … Is Precisely the Man for the Occasion”

“Fillmore … Is Precisely the Man for the Occasion”

(p.598) Chapter 17 “Fillmore … Is Precisely the Man for the Occasion”
The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party

Michael F. Holt

Oxford University Press

Developing tremendous momentum during the winter of 1850–1, the Union party movement challenged Millard Fillmore's hope of saving the Whig party as much as did the defiance he encountered from northern anti-Compromise Whigs. Their defection would abdicate control of northern Whig organizations to anti-Compromise men and possibly drive them into an explicitly anti-southern alliance with Free Soilers that could provoke the disunion he sought to avert. To Fillmore, therefore, the dangers from the South included both the secession movement and the Union party movement formed to prevent it. To demonstrate that neither secession nor a new party was necessary, he set out to prove that the Whig party was reliably pro-Union and could win elections on those grounds. This course enormously enhanced Fillmore's popularity among southern Whigs, who by 1852 clearly wanted him as the party's presidential nominee.

Keywords:   Union party, Millard Fillmore, Whig party, defection, secession, anti-Compromise, Free Soilers, South

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