American Political Parties and How Slavery Affected Them.
During the time period 1840 to 1860, four main political groups came into power. The Democrats, the Whigs, the American Party, and the Republicans all rose into positions of high power and attracted many followers to each parties individual goals and beliefs. But over time, especially during these twenty years, all four parties saw radical change come over them, much of these changes caused by slavery.
The Whigs had been formed during the earlier half of the nineteenth century in opposition to the Jacksonians and the Democrats. .
They supported an nationalistic economic policy such as a national bank of the United States, internal improvements for the nation as a whole, and tariff protection for the merchants, farmers, and artisans of America.
They came into their peak of power when their presidential candidate, Harrison was elected into office in 1848, but this reign was cut short when he died a month later. He was replaced by his vice president, Tyler.
Tylerâ€™s taking of the presidential seat was not good for the Whigs. He was a former democrat and with his new presidential powers, vetoed various Whig policies.
The Whig party declined even further when two of itâ€™s greatest leaders and speakers, Clay and Webster died in 1852.
As for the upcoming election during 1852, people began to stray from the Whig policies. Whig policies in general had always been broad, as to attract more voters from various parts of the country. In this election, however, that kind of campaign would not work. The United States was too divided by the issues of slavery and the upcoming Civil War. .
One of the main issues of slavery which the Whig policy of a wide ethic campaign would not work on was the Kansas-Nebraska Act. They had to go either in favor or not in favor of slavery on this issue. .
Eventually the some of the Whig followers in the South known as Cotton Whigs for their support of slavery began to defect to the Democratic Party, which most Southernerâ€™s felt was looking out for their interests more as the country came towards entering the Civil War.