“Let, Then, the Whig Party Pass”

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:
“Let, Then, the Whig Party Pass”

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Southern Whigs' “only chance” was now “a diversion—a change of names”, South Carolina's George S. Bryan concluded two months before the North's crucial October and November elections. John P. Kennedy agreed. Kennedy's dream appalled most northern Whigs. These dramatically divergent reactions to Know Nothings' success in 1854 outline the millstones between which the Whig party was ground to powder. Most southern and conservative northern Whigs abandoned the Whig organization and flocked to the Know Nothing order to convert it into a new bisectional Union party that could make Millard Fillmore president. In response, northern Whigs of the Sewardite ilk, who continued to fear that Slave Power aggressions might succeed unless the North was rallied against them, declared “war” against Know Nothingism. Almost inevitably, they gravitated toward the emerging Republican party in order to smash the nativists and to prevent Free Soil extremists from dominating it.

Keywords: George S. Bryan; John P. Kennedy; Whig party; Know Nothing; Millard Fillmore; war; nativists; Free Soil

Chapter.  22565 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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