“To Rescue the Government and Public Liberty”

Michael F. Holt

in The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780195161045
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849635 | DOI:
“To Rescue the Government and Public Liberty”

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Although Henry Clay referred to Congress' failure to enact his American System, his words reflected as well National Republicans' gloom. As a tiny minority, they would resist but they could not stop Andrew Jackson. The last Congress had frustrated their program, and the next Congress would apparently be even more heavily Jacksonian. A more effective opposition party proved dauntingly difficult to construct. Over the next eight years, as Jackson's opponents struggled to coalesce and expand the anti-Democratic coalition, the name of the National Republicans would be jettisoned. Prominent party builders like Clay and Daniel Webster would also learn, to their dismay, that they must temporarily sacrifice their presidential ambitions as well as their principles. Out of this prolonged effort between 1833 and 1840, the Whig party would emerge, larger in numbers, more heterogeneous in composition, and more successful in competing for office than National Republicans had ever been.

Keywords: Henry Clay; Congress; American System; National Republicans; Andrew Jackson; opposition; Daniel Webster; Whig party

Chapter.  7479 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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