The Whig Party was one of the political parties in the U.S. that was formed during the Jacksonian period of democracy that was from the early 1830s to the mid 1850s. The name Whig was chosen in honor of a group referred to as American Whigs formed in 1776 to fight for the country’s independence. People who wore Whigs during that time were seen to oppose any tyranny and dictatorship.
The Political ideology of the Whig Party was to support the supremacy of Congress over that of presidency in the United States. The party also focused on political ideologies that were centered on modernization and economic protectionism (Mueller 11)
The Whigs, who were modernizers and supporters of President Jefferson’s democracy, saw President Andrew Jackson as a threat to the modernization of the economic, social and political forces in the country during that time.
This parricular Party drew its political principles from the Jeffersonian democratic system that mostly centered on national unity, concession, a balance in regime control and support of the country’s transport network. The Whig party served to dissuade the Jacksonian Democrats who supported the governance and political ideologies of President Jackson (Mueller 12).
One of the founders of the Party was Henry Clay who came up with the American system, a concept that promotes the rapid industrialization and economic growth of America during the Jacksonian era. The Whig party demanded the government’s support so that it could create a modern economy that was market oriented.
This economy would see the skills and expertise of workers being utilized more than their physical strength. Bank credit and bank services would count more than land ownership or the ownership of assets. The party sought to increase industrialization in the country by proposing a business oriented money supply that was based on the national bank and a program that would see the road network facing major renovations and improvements.
Political Ideology of the Jacksonian Democrats
The Jacksonian democrats were viewed to be a political philosophy of President Jackson and his democrat supporters who followed Jackson’s policies after the era of President Jefferson’s democracy. The term Jacksonian democracy was derived from President Jackson’s equal political policy that emerged from the Jeffersonian democracy that was mostly characterized by a monopoly of the government.
The political ideology that underlined the Jacksonian democrats was to support the presidency and its executive branch rather than support the Congress. The Jacksonian democracy also sought to broaden the public’s participation in the government’s activities by involving American citizens in voting and decision making exercises (Pearson 176).
The Jacksonian democracy was built on certain political principles that included manifested destinies where Americans were destined to settle and expand their control from the Atlantic to the Pacific region of America, expanded suffrage where voting rights were extended to white men, banking where Jacksonian’s opposed the monopoly the government had on the national, federal and central bank, patronage where political supporters were placed in appointed offices, strict constructionism where Jacksonian democrats favored a federal government that had limited powers and an economy that incorporated a hands off approach (Pearson 178).
The policies that were implemented by President Jackson were based on the political principles highlighted above. These policies saw the role of the national bank being terminated in the U.S. and there was a broadening of citizenry in the government.
President Jackson also implemented policies that saw the country expanding its boundaries westward and removing the American Indian communities from the Southeastern parts of the country. These policies saw the president being labeled as a tyrant and dictator by the Republicans who came to form the Whig Party (Pearson 178).
Jacksonian Democracy Era
The Jacksonian era began when President Jackson lost his presidential election in 1824 to Republican John Quincy Adams who was one of the founders of the Whig Party. During this time President Jackson used the Democratic Party to launch his campaign bid for the 1828 elections by focusing on issues such property qualifications for officeholders where most U.S. offices elected state representatives rather than appointed them.
Jackson also focused on voting issues that arose during the election campaigns where opponents were involved in smear campaigns, forgetting the pertinent issues that needed their address. A new party system was developed to deal with the high competition amongst presidential opponents but these new system required a lot of financial resources, people and organizations to run the campaigns and ensure that American citizens voted in the elections.
Jacksonian Democrats believed in the strength of the common man and they did this by trying to protect the American Constitution and ensuring that there was political democracy in the country. The Jacksonians also advocated for the individual liberty of white males on suffrage and also for the economic equality of the average and low income American citizen (Johnson par.6). On entering political office, President Jackson protected the contents of the U.S.
Constitution despite the fact he was protecting his presidency. He mostly advocated for the freedom of the states from any federal laws that infringed on the rights of the state’s citizens. President Jackson ensured the edifice of the constitution when he barred in the Congress a vital internal enhancement bill that would refute federal funding for the building of the Maysville Road found in Kentucky (Johnson par.2).
President Jackson who was a firm believer in the common man used these issues to gain more votes that would see him securing the presidency in 1828. His Jacksonian supporters included both rich and poor American citizens, and people who practiced slavery and those who called for the abolition of slavery.
Jackson promised his supporters economic freedom as well as ensuring that the average American had a say on how the government’s affairs would be performed. Such policies saw an increase of respect and empowerment of the common man in the United States. The Jacksonian democracy mostly centered on the presidency rather than the congress, a concept that saw President Jackson utilizing the Union to negotiate for trade agreements with Britain and France.
The democracy under President Jackson also focused on the nullification of federal laws that were used to govern the states by proposing that each state have its own laws and rights for its citizens without invoking the use of the Civil Union. President Jackson also advocated for the unification of the Northern and Southern parts of America to form one state so that citizens could move from one region to another without any form of hindrance or obstruction.
The Jacksonian democracy also saw the reduction of high tariffs that had been imposed on imported goods by the Jeffersonian democracy to a lower rate. President Jackson lowered the tariff rate for South Carolina who had called for a nullification of the tariff rates. The actions indicated that he stood by the federal authorities that had been outlined in the constitution that stopped federal states from asserting whichever rights had not been approved (Johnson par.2).
A notable achievement of the Jacksonian democracy was the two party system where the needs of the common man could be met and their opinions input into government policies that were developed to serve the interest of the average American citizen.
This system was also preferable as each party had to compete for public support by meeting their needs and opinions. The Jacksonian era was seen to be the birth of the modern day Democratic Party in the United States. The Jacksonian era also protected the individual liberties of the average white male who had an entitlement to a position of power and authority in the government.
Jacksonian democrats were also guardians of economic equality amongst American citizens. When President Jackson eliminated the national and central banks, he did so because he thought these banks benefited the rich classes in the American society (Johnson par.5).
Eliminating the federal and central/national banks in America during that time saw economic equality amongst average American citizens and the lower class citizens as the economic privileges taken away from the wealthy class were allocated to these citizens. This period of economic equality and stability saw a decrease in poverty levels as well as a stable economy in America during the 1820s and 1830s.
Johnson, Cory. Flaws of Jacksonian democracy. 12 August 2008, Web 1 Nov. 2010
Mueller, Henry R. The Whig party in Pennsylvania. New York: Read Books, 2009.
Pearson, Charles, M. A history of American political theories. New Jersey, US: Transaction Publishers, 2008. Print.