Parties and Platforms


Why did the Whig Party disappear?

When Vice President John Tyler, a defender of slavery, succeeded to the presidency in 1841 after the death of President William Henry Harrison, he rejected the Whig’s political platform. Tyler’s attempt to annex Texas made the slavery-extension controversy a heated political issue, and soon the Whigs abandoned Tyler and expelled him from the party. When Millard Fillmore succeeded his fellow Whig President Zachary Taylor, following the latter’s death in 1850, the Whigs were already showing deep signs of fracture. Key members had joined alternative parties, such as the Free-Soil Party, which opposed the extension of slavery in the western territories. In the election of 1852, the Whigs supported the antislavery presidential candidate, General Winfield Scott, instead of states’ rights candidate Fillmore. Scott lost the presidential race, winning only forty-two electoral votes, and the antislavery faction, mostly comprised of northern Whigs, joined the newly formed Republican Party in 1854. The election of 1856 was the last time a Whig ran for president.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Presidents Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App