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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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“The Whig Party, as a Party, Are Entirely Disbanded”

“The Whig Party, as a Party, Are Entirely Disbanded”

(p.836) Chapter 23 “The Whig Party, as a Party, Are Entirely Disbanded”
The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party

Michael F. Holt

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the process by which new political parties displaced the Whig party as vehicles for anti-Democratic political action during 1854 and 1855, outlines the divergent reactions of Whig voters and politicians to it, and suggests why it occurred. The congressional, state, and local elections between August 1854 and December 1855 were the most labyrinthine, chaotic, and important off-year contests in all of American political history. To help create a comprehension about what occurred during them, therefore, certain themes and conclusions must be elaborated. The central point in this chapter is that the demise of the Whig party refers to the cessation of its activities as a political institution. It does not connote the death of individual Whigs, their loss of a sense of identity as Whigs, or their abandonment of Whig principles, for which many expressed admiration long after the party itself ceased to operate.

Keywords:   Whig party, elections, political parties, political action, politics, political history, United States

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