Currently the party's platform reflects an interest in protectionism, constitutional government, and a moderate foreign policy.
History of the Whig PartyEdit
On January 1, 1805, Chancellor Andrew Jackson was crowned as Andrew I, King of the Union of Royal American States. His popularity had reached its height, and he continued to lead the country through the Second Seven Years' War. His coronation signified the end of the remnants of the Jeffersonian Party, which had been dwindling in numbers since its founder's death in 1799 in the 4th of November. Around the same time, Andrew dissolved the Jacksonian Party, which had been a political party (a successor to the Paineists) that formed solely around Jackson. In its place formed the Crown Party; the official party of the monarchy, which would set forth its interests as designated by the King. The Crowns immediately became the dominant party, like the Jacksonians before them, and they became the only nationally organzied party for many years to come.
But out of the Jeffersonian Party's ashes rose a new party based on several groups. The merchants who wanted government protection of their industry from foreign competition. Bankers who wanted a nationally controlled bank to support their interests. Constitutionalists who feared the possibility of absolutism rising in the URAS. Peace advocates who saw the new monarchy as a machine for war. Former Jeffersonian Party members who wanted to continue their own careers. And moderate libertarians who wanted protection of their liberties to prevent another Reign of Horror. In March, 1806, many of the leaders of these groups met together in Boston, Massachusetts. It was here they drafted the platform of a new party; one that sought protectionism, constitutionalism, and the protection of individual liberties. They also agreed on a new name: the Whig Party. The name originated from the British Whig Party, which had originally been created to promote constitutionalism in Britain.
The Whig Party would be promoted as the party of modernism. A party of change and reform, that pursued "good government," and one that focused on protecting individuals and property. The party of business and industrialization, that sought to use the government as a means to an end; growing the economy artificially through internal improvements and protectionism. And the party that would focus on domestic issues, and attempt to avoid unnecessary and costly foreign excursions. This would be how the Whig Party promoted itself for the next 60 years.
Within the next two years, chapters of the Whig Party sprang up across the country. Many of the current or former members of the Jeffersonian Party joined, and people who had been independents also joined the new party. The Whig Party's base was primarily in New England, which outposts in New York and Pennsylvania. In 1808, when the first official appointment of a Prime Minister took place, the Whigs did not run a candidate. Organization was still poor by this point, and it was worried that no single candidate could please all factions of the party's alliance of interests. But the party did run many congressional candidates across the country, and made its first big impact. New England and New York elected many Whig congressman, with some New England states even voting majority Whig. While they were completely dwarfed by the Crown Party who had swept the nation with what some say was 70% of the vote, they were still larger than all other parties that had formed in the last few years.
The Second Seven Years' War ended in 1809 with a complete American victory. The country annexed lands across the continent, and the troops returned home. It was here in peacetime that the Whigs would have their best chance of selling their platform. They achieved a stunning victory in 1810, when Whig candidate DeWitt Clinton was appointed as the Governor of New York, the first governor in the country to be a Whig. It was said that 12-15% of Americans identified themselves as Whigs. While still insignificant compared the Crowns, the Whigs remained stronger than the other parties who had originated under similar circumstances. In 1812, the Whig Party held the first nominating convention in the history of the URAS. Elected delegates would travel to Boston, Massachusetts and vote for the candidates that the Whigs would nominate for Prime Minister and Viceroy. A two-thirds majority of delegates was required for the Prime Minister nomination, with only a simple majority needed for the Viceroy nomination.
The 1812 Whig nominating convention selected Massachusetts Congressman Elbridge Gerry (who had been at the founding of the party just six years earlier) for Prime Minister and Maryland General and war hero John Eager Howard for Viceroy. Gerry was the perfect compromise candidate between the sections of the party; he firmly opposed government centralization, while at the same time promoting economic centralization (including a national bank). He also opposed "foreign adventurism" and a large standing army. To moderate this nationally unpopular opinion, Howard, a former General, was considered the best Viceroy candidate. Unfortunately, Gerry couldn't unite the entire party. Angry over not recieving the nomination, Governor DeWitt Clinton of New York walked out of the convention, along with the rest of the New York delegation. Clinton would run as an independent that year, on a campaign of self-promotion, government centralization around New York, and major government spending on internal improvements. While Clinton would act as a thorn in the sides of the Whigs, their focus remained on the Crown Party and their nominee, current Prime Minister William Henry Harrison. Harrison and the Crowns campaigned on continued American dominance of the continent and everything that entailed. Harrison and Andrew had worked together to impose a harsh peace at the end of the Second Seven Years' War, ensuring that North America was dominated by the URAS and that it was surrounded by allies. Harrison was a military man, and didn't take a direct opinion on either internal improvements or the tariff. It was said in private circles that he was sympathetic to the creation of a National Bank, if only to fund military excursions. But the monarchy under Andrew opposed internal improvements, protectionism, and central banking. This placed the Crowns firmly on the side of laissez faire economics, while at the same time supporting government growth.
With its support concentrated mainly in New England and with little outside party structure, the Whigs faired poorly. It didn't help that Clinton's independent run stole any support they had in New York. Harrison, the man who had helped win the war and who had hammered out the pro-American peace, won in a landslide. The results were expected, and this appointment officially made the Whig Party the main opposition party. Immediately after the appointment, Clinton returned the Whig Party. While technically a major member, he was recieved coldly by the other party elite who saw him as a traitor and an opportunist. While Clinton's star fell dramatically after 1812, another star was rising: that of Hunter DeRensis, Duke of Winterfell, and recently appointed Governor of Pennsylvania. DeRensis was one of the most important generals of the Second Seven Years' War, and nationally popular. Now that he had officially entered politics as Whig, he immediately made a big splash on the party.
Candidates of the Whig PartyEdit
The Whig Party has put up tickets for national offices since 1812 when they held the first modern nominating convention in the history of the URAS.
|Year||For Prime Minister||For Viceroy||Percentage||Result|
|1812||Elbridge Gerry||John Eager Howard||NA||Defeated|
|1816||Hunter DeRensis||Rufus King||NA||Defeated|
|1820||Dewitt Clinton||Harrison Gray Otis||NA||Defeated|
|1824||Hunter DeRensis||Harrison Gray Otis||NA||Victorious|
|1828||Hunter DeRensis||Harrison Gray Otis||NA||Victorious|
|1832||Joseph Story||Willie P. Mangum||44%||Defeated|
|1836||Endorsement of Unionist Party Nominees|
|1840||Endorsement of Unionist Party Nominees|
|1844||James Buchanan||Abel P. Upshur||49%||Victorious|
|1848||James Buchanan||Abel P. Upshur||48%||Victorious|
|1852||Millard Fillmore||Franklin Pierce||36%||Defeated|
|1856||Edward Everett||Trusten Polk||28%||Defeated|
|1860||Thomas H. Seymour||Robert M.T. Hunter||21%||Defeated|
|1864||Hannibal Glas||Hamilton Fish||39%||Victorious|
|1868||Hannibal Glas||Hamilton Fish||55%||Victorious|