The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party

The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party : Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War

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The political home of Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Horace Greeley, and the young Abraham Lincoln, the American Whig Party was involved at every level of American politics-local, state, and federal-in the years before the Civil War, and controlled the White House for eight of the twenty-two years that it existed. Now, in The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party, Michael F. Holt gives us the only comprehensive history of the Whigs ever written-a monumental history covering in rich detail the American political landscape from the Age of Jackson to impending disunion. In Michael Holt's hands, the history of the Whig Party becomes a political history of the United States during the tumultuous Antebellum period. He offers a panoramic account of a time when a welter of parties (Whig, Democratic, Anti-Mason, Know Nothing, Free Soil, Republican) and many extraordinary political statesmen (including Andrew Jackson, John C. Calhoun, William Seward, Daniel Webster, Martin Van Buren, and Henry Clay) struggled to control the national agenda as the U.S. inched towards secession. It was an era when Americans were passionately involved in politics, when local concerns drove national policy, and when momentous political events rocked the country, including the Nullification Controversy, the Panic of 1837, the Annexation of Texas, the Compromise of 1850, and the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Holt captures all of this as he shows that, amid this contentious political activity, the Whig Party continuously strove to unite North and South, repeatedly trying to find a compromise position. Indeed, the Whig Party emerges as the nation's last great hope to prevent secession and civil war. The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party is a magisterial work of history, one that has already been hailed by William Gienapp of Harvard as "one of the most important books on nineteenth-century politics ever written."show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 1268 pages
  • 154.94 x 233.68 x 63.5mm | 1,474.17g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0195161041
  • 9780195161045

About Michael F. Holt

Michael F. Holt, a leading authority on nineteenth-century American politics, is Langbourne M. Williams Professor of American History at the University of Virginia. He lives in Charlottesville, more

Review quote

"Holt's history of the Whigs, the fruit of many long hard years of research and writing, is an important work."--American Historical Review, December 2000"The Rise and Fall of the Whig Party is a magesterial work, one that cannot be neglected by nineteenth-century historians even if their particular emphasis is not political history. While it is intended to be the history of a political party, it has something worthwhile to say about almost every major issue in United States history from the nullification controversy of 1832 to the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854."--Civil War History, March 2000"Michael Holt's long-awaited magnum opus combines massive archival research and sophisticated analysis of election returns with judicious interpretations. Defying current academic fashions, this book displays not only the author's perseverance but his intellectual courage." --Daniel Walker Howe, Rhodes Professor of American History, Oxford University"In its short life the Whig party helped shape the political and economic institutions of the antebellum United States. And the party's death in the mid-1850's was both effect and cause of the political breakdown that led to secession and Civil War. Michael Holt tells this story in more detail and with deeper insight than any other historian. The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party will instantly become an indispensable reference work on antebellum political history."--James McPherson, Princeton University"Mike Holt's history of the Whig Party is magisterial.... This massive book will have a thunderous impact on scholarship and on the understanding of the American past." --William J. Cooper, Jr., Louisiana State Universityshow more

Rating details

94 ratings
3.86 out of 5 stars
5 28% (26)
4 36% (34)
3 32% (30)
2 3% (3)
1 1% (1)
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