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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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“No Opposition Man Can Be Elected President”

“No Opposition Man Can Be Elected President”

(p.33) Chapter 3 “No Opposition Man Can Be Elected President”
The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party

Michael F. Holt

Oxford University Press

Convinced of Andrew Jackson's unpopularity in the spring of 1834 and concerned primarily with resisting the tyranny of the national executive, the Whig party's national leaders hoped to transplant their party to the states in 1834 and 1835 and build momentum for the 1836 presidential election by stressing national issues—presidential despotism and Democratic depression. That emphasis, however, proved to be flawed. Exclusive reliance upon the issue that allowed the creation of the Whig party, in other words, ultimately stunted its growth and hindered its competitiveness at the vital state level. Whigs might initially convert voters with their attacks on Jackson, but to sustain that allegiance they had to demonstrate the congruence between a Whig ideology based on national issues and state affairs. In this task, they also enjoyed only mixed results. Building a victorious Whig party at the local, state, and national levels proved far more difficult than Henry Clay imagined in the bright summer of 1834.

Keywords:   Andrew Jackson, Whig party, presidential election, despotism, Henry Clay

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