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Throughout the centuries since its origin, the name of "Whig" has been attached to those who oppose tyrannical government. The term "Whig" dates back 1648, when a group of Scottish rebels called the “Whiggamores” marched on Edinburgh to oppose the rule of King Charles I of England.
It was subsequently used by the English party that opposed King James II's hereditary ascension to the throne. English Whigs favored the power of Parliament, as the assembly of the people’s elected representatives, over that of the unelected and unaccountable Monarchy.
During the American Revolution it was a term used for the leaders of the uprising against the British, in other words, for our Founding Fathers.
The American Whig Party was founded in opposition to the centralizing policies of President Andrew Jackson (1829-1837). Jackson, a Democrat, sought to expand Executive power at the expense of Congress and favored the so-called “spoils system”, according to which government officials were appointed based on connections and party loyalty instead of merit.
In addition to opposing autocratic rule and cronyism, American Whigs advocated economic development through domestic manufacturing, federally-subsidized infrastructure projects, a national bank, protective tariffs and public education.