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American Culture-Whig and Democrat Differences

American Culture-Whig and Democrat Differences

Explain how Whigs and Democrats differed on questions of slavery and race.

The Whig Party was formed in 1833, and it opposed slavery. Contrastingly, the Democrats were the party that allowed the expansion of slavery into new territories (Levine, 2001). The Democratic Party prevailed during Andrew Jackson’s presidency (1828–1836). The Whigs supported the abolitionist movement, while the Democrats did not.

Whigs believed that “all men are created equal” and should be able to enjoy liberty, property, security, and the fruits of their labor without interference from others or being subject to arbitrary deprivation of those rights (Howe, 1979). To them, this meant that blacks should have some rights, too. Henry Clay and Daniel Webster’s leaders were proponents of the American Colonization Society (ACS). Accordingly, the ACS was a group that wanted to send free blacks back to Africa. The ACS believed that if they could get all the free blacks out of America, slavery would eventually die out.

However, the Democrats disagreed with these ideas because they thought only white males deserved these privileges since they were born into a superior position in society relative to black people, who were seen as inferior by nature due to their skin color. Andrew Jackson was an enslaver and believed that slavery was a positive good. Additionally, he thought that Native Americans should be removed from their land so that white people could settle there.

In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act was passed. It allowed the Kansas and Nebraska territories to decide whether they wanted slavery rather than having it fixed by Congress based on a popular vote in each region (Estes, 2020). The Democrats were behind this because it would give them more support since slave states would expand their influence, while free state supporters lost power in Congress if the territories were not allowed to choose for themselves. The Whigs opposed this act because they thought it was unconstitutional, leading to more violence between pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions in the new territories.

Conclusion

The Whig Party favored abolition and equality for African Americans, while the Democratic Party opposed this. The Democrats were popular with Southerners because they supported slavery, while the Whigs had more support from Northerners who did not enslave people.

 References

Estes, T. (2020). Beyond Whigs and Democrats: historians, historiography, and the paths toward a new synthesis for the Jacksonian era. American Nineteenth Century History, 21(3), 255-281.

Howe, D. W. (1979). The political culture of the American Whigs. University of Chicago Press.

Levine, B. (2001). Conservatism, Nativism, and Slavery: Thomas R. Whitney and the Origins of the Know-Nothing Party. The Journal of American History, 88(2), 455-488.

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American Culture-Whig and Democrat Differences

American Culture-Whig and Democrat Differences

Explain how Whigs and Democrats differed on questions of slavery and race.

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