No More Whigs
Before the Republicans, There Were Whigs
The Whig was a U.S. Political party that was in existence from 1834 to 1856. It was formed in opposition to the Democratic party. They favored higher tariffs and a liberal interpretation of the Constitution. The members eventually united with the Republicans and their party, as we know of it in history, was no more. But before the dissolution, at least four of the active and influential members were honored to serve US as our leader.
The Whigs who served as POTUS were:
- William Henry Harrison (1841)
- John Tyler (1841 – 1845)
- Zachary Taylor (1849 – 1850); and
- Millard Fillmore (1850 – 1853).
Did I say opposed to the Democratic party? Perhaps it would be fairer to say they were probably anti-Jackson-ites. With good reason too!
- Andrew Jackson, Democrat, 9th President 1829 – 1837
Followers of Mr. Jackson, dissatisfied about him losing the election, tormented John Quincy Adams (1825 -1829), the winner. They accused him of collusion and corruption; and they discouraged him such that he chose not to run for a second term. Jackson was elected and the first thing he did in his official capacity was give government jobs to about 2,000 of his supporters. He also created what has been called a “kitchen cabinet”, which is a group of informal advisers the president consults, even though he has a formally recognized presidential advisory group.
What? Isn't that illegal? It couldn't have been, because he was elected twice! The thing is he advocated opening up greater opportunities for the small business owner, the farmer and the artisan. (Yeah yeah. He pushed for the little guy. That's why his face is on the twenty dollar bill!)
He was a proponent of strong federal government, but set up state banks instead of rechartering the National Bank. (National banks are members of the Federal Reserve System and are under the supervision of the federal government.) He advocated increased popular participation in government and believed that monopolies and the privileged class were contrary to democracy ideals. (Still … ? The idea of putting in place a “kitchen cabinet” could be construed as the “pot calling the kettle black”.)
Back on point, regards the four Whigs who served as POTUS, below is a synopsis of their accomplishments.
American Whig Party
William Henry Harrison
Harrison, 9th POTUS
- William Henry Harrison (1841)
(1773 - 1841)
We will never of he would have served our country well because he died one month after taking office of pneumonia.
Would he have taken America onward and upward?
Well, the Pope didn't make an official statement for public record, but the brevity of his term could have been interpreted as a "sign".
Tyler, 10th POTUS
- John Tyler (1841 – 1845)
(1790 - 1862)
Tyler was disowned by his political party because he drew the line when it came to banking bills supported by the Whigs and provoked their ire by vetoing them. The Whigs introduced impeachment resolutions in the House. His cabinet resigned, except for the Secretary of State, Daniel Webster. (It was fortunate that Mr. Webster stayed on. That way the president could consult an authoritative reference on the definition of the word “impeach”. Impeach: that means to charge with a crime, especially to accuse a public official of treason or corruption. Impeachment? Hmmm? Sounds like peach. Sweet! We'll work on it later. Meanwhile …) Moving on with the country's affairs, Tyler opened up trade with China, and signed bills admitting Florida and Texas to the Union. (Florida, the state where I was born; and Texas, the state where I now reside. It may be too late, but he would have gotten my vote!)
Taylor, 12th POTUS
- Zachary Taylor (1849 – 1850)
(1874 - 1850)
Respected as a war hero. “Old Rough and Ready” was his nickname. He served a little bit longer than Harrison; about a year and a half. But before he could implement his policies concerning the exclusion of slavery from newly acquired lands, he passed away. He was staunch on his position; albeit when it came to California, this land could be admitted as a slave state or a free state. (I get it! There's slave labor, i.e. the proverbial "six". Then there's gold. Which is the "half a dozen" times … who knows how much! $$$$ California has to be an exception. The business of the nation trumps a moral imperative. Politics is all about compromise. Don't believe me? Read about Fillmore.)
Fillmore, 13th POTUS
- Millard Fillmore (1850 – 1853)
(1800 - 1874)
Fillmore delayed the debate over slavery by agreeing to a compromise. However, he did not compromise when it came to calling a spade, a spade. Thus the historical document Congress passed and he signed is called exactly what it was: a compromise. The Compromise of 1850 gave each newly acquired territory the “liberty” to decide, on their own, whether they would be a slave-state or a free-state. Ultimately the historical record shows that the final decision was not left to the states. It was settled by the American Civil War.
[Image Credits for American Presidents: Wikimedia Commons]
Links of Interest
- Why are Democrats ‘Left’ and Republicans ‘Right’? The Surprising History of Political Affiliations |
The terms right and left refer to political affiliations that originated late in the eighteenth century (1789–1799) in relation to the seating arrangements in the various legislative bodies of France. During the French Revolution of 1789, the members
- U.S. History Timeline: From Washington to Tyler
Ever have a significant event occur in your life and wonder what might be happening in someone else's life at the same time?
- The French Revolution: From Bastille to Bonaparte
The French Revolution lasted a decade: 1789 - 1799. France was on its way to embracing democracy just like the Americans.
- Reading a Self-Help Book For a Perspective of American History | Writedge
Book Review: “Unlimited Power: A Black Choice” by Anthony Robbins and Joseph McClendon III. On mentoring young African-Americans. Written before Obama was elected 1st black POTUS.
- Modern Whig Party
The Modern Whig Party uses as its core a statement by Henry Clay: "Government is a trust, and the officers of the government are trustees. And both the trust and the trustees are created for the benefit of the people."
Meet the Modern Whig Party
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