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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 Is Dead and Buried”

“The Whig Party Is Dead and Buried”

(p.951) Chapter 26 “The Whig Party Is Dead and Buried”
The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party

Michael F. Holt

Oxford University Press

The Whig party died of too much respectability and not enough people”. That, at least, was the opinion of Edward Stafford, a Republican newspaper editor from Jackson, Mississippi, five years after the Civil War. A review of the reasons for the party's rise and fall demonstrates the manifold inadequacies of Stafford's witty epitaph. As this chapter seeks to show, however, Stafford quite accurately described the party's final death throes in 1856. By the end of 1855, so many one-time Whig voters and leaders had deserted their former organization for new political parties that it did indeed have far too few people to contest the presidency in 1856. However, Stafford's sarcastic gibe fails to explain why the Whigs had been reduced to that condition by the start of 1856.

Keywords:   Whig party, Edward Stafford, presidency, political parties, politics, elections, United States

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