The Whig Party was a conservative political party in the Confederate States. From the formation of the country to the presidential election of November 1933, the Whig Party was the dominating party of C.S.A. For most of this period it had only minor opposition from the Radical Liberal Party. The party's base was made up of southern aristocrats. They mostly based the economy on agriculture rather than industry in contrast to the Freedom Party, which favored industrial needs. It was resistant to change and that is one of the main reasons why it lost power to the Freedom Party.
The Whig Party in the United States Edit
Before the brief rise of the Republican Party, the Whigs were the main opposition to the Democrats. They opposed slavery and were popular in the North, making the name an odd choice for a major Confederate party. A possible explanation is that the name was inspired more by the British Whigs than the American ones, with the Liberal-Whig Lord Palmerston, Prime Minster of Britain in 1862, having a major share in the achievement of Confederate independence - which would give him and his party a considerable popularity. Also, the British Whigs had been (at least until the Reform in 1832) a party dominated by big landlords, as was the Confederate Party of the same name. (So were the British Tories, but this name had very negative connotations in America, North and South alike, after 1776, and would not have been suitable.)
The Whig Party in the Confederate StatesEdit
From the party's founding after the Second Mexican War, the Whig Party was the dominant party in the CSA. It produced several well regarded presidents, James Longstreet, and Woodrow Wilson among them. The party had always stood for the country's rich planter aristocracy. Despite the fact that this class was a minority, the party had always won each presidential election against its main rival the Radical Liberals, and had always maintained a large majority in both Houses of Congress.
The preeminence of the planter aristocracy reflected the social conditions of the Confederacy in its earlier years, when it was mostly agricultural country. The Whig Party, dominated by these aristocrats, gained considerable legitimacy and credibility from its gaining the Confederacy's independence in the first place and twenty years later in winning the Second Mexican War. The Whig leaders were seen as enjoying the support of the Confederacy's strategic allies, Britain and France, which increased their standing inside the Confederate society itself.
In the later part of the 19th century, the Confederacy increasingly developed an industrial base of its own, with considerable enterprises such as the Sloss Steel Foundry in Birmingham, Alabama or the Tredegar arms complex. However, unlike in the United States and Europe of the time, this did not lead to the emergence of a mass Socialist Party mobilising industrial workers, and the Confederate Socialist Party remained small and marginal. This could be partly attributed to the US Socialist Party owning its rise to the heritage of Abraham Lincoln, a man greatly detested in the Confederacy. More fundamentally, the Confederate working class was divided between poor whites who were citizens and black who were disenfranchised and greatly oppressed even after manumitted from slavery; the inclusion of both in a single party was obviously impossible.
The only parts of the Confederacy that did not overwhelmingly support the party were the Radical Liberal strongholds of Cuba, Sonora, Chihuahua, and Louisiana. The party remained strong until the Confederacy's defeat by the United States in the The Great War.
Following the war, rapid inflation occurred nationwide. President Gabriel Semmes was unable to effectively cope and deal with the escalating crises that rose out of defeat. Several political parties sprang up overnight, mostly blaming the blacks and the Generals for the Confederacy's defeat. Out of these embryonic organizations sprouted the sinister and cynically-named Freedom Party.
Enter the Freedom Party Edit
One of several of the new parties to begin was the Freedom Party.
What set this party apart from the others was its head speaker Jake Featherston. Featherston was able to appeal to the people of the Confederacy in a way no one else could. Support rose for the Freedom Party, and appealed to the angry and resentful veterans and whites of the CSA to garner support and votes, and then formed assault squads called stalwarts to attack Whig and Radical Liberal meetings. When the presidential election year of 1921 rolled around, Jake Featherston announced that he would be running for president, generating mass enthusiasm and mass trouble for the Whigs and their candidate, Wade Hampton V and his running mate, Burton Mitchel--both descendants of famous Whigs and had thus gained their political power by virtue of their family's fame.
To the Whigs the message was clear: they had a threat to their power.
The Presidential election of 1921 Edit
Whig Wade Hampton V defeated Freedom Party man Jake Featherston and Radical Liberal Ainsworth Layne. The Freedom Party took Florida, Tennessee, Texas, and North Carolina. The Whigs took Virginia, South Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas. The Radical Liberals managed to carry Cuba, Sonora, and Chihuahua. This was the last real presidential campaign for the Radical Liberals, the course of history eroded their relevance, and they soon faded away.
The Hampton Affair Edit
Shortly after taking office, Hampton visited Birmingham, Alabama. The Freedom Party marched on the rally, intent on violently breaking it up as they had so many times before. An extreme Party member, Grady Calkins, hid in near by trees with a rifle and assassinated the president. The Hampton Affair was a huge public relations disaster for the Freedom Party, and the population turned it on it. Vice President Burton Mitchel was sworn in as President.
The New Rise and Fall of the Whigs Edit
For the moment, the Freedom Party was on a rapid decline, and the Whig Party was as dominant as ever. The Confederate population didn't trust the Freedom Party or Jake Featherston anymore, so they reverted to their old habit of voting Whig. President Mitchel was elected to a full term in 1927 in a landslide over Featherston. The Radical Liberals offered little resistance. It seemed as though the Whigs were goung to continue their dominance, at least until the Stock market crash of 1929. The Confederate people blamed Mitchell, and Featherston, after successfully branding the Whigs as "irresponsible", rode to a victory in the 1933 election over Whig Samuel Longstreet (grandson of James Longstreet). In the aftermath of his victory, President Featherston erased the Whigs (and all other parties) from the political scene.
After 1933 Edit
Featherston's inauguration in March 1934 led to the Freedom Party dominating every aspect of Confederate society. Whigs and their former foes in the Radical Liberal Party were forced to go into hiding, or switch their allegiance to the Freedom Party, or else face arrest and incarceration as "political" in the Justice Department's new camps.
While the Whig Party and other political organizations were not openly banned by the national government, the Freedom-controlled state governments strictly enforced political compliance with the Freedom Party by banning Whig meetings and forbidding Whig access to Freedom-controlled media outlets. In the Presidential Election of 1939, no mention of the Whig or Radical Liberal candidates was made, with President Featherston getting all the newspaper and newsreel attention. Whig posters were torn down, and Freedom Party officials made sure only Freedom-voting members of the public got their votes--all going to Featherston, of course--in the booths. By the outbreak of the Second Great War in June 1941, the Whigs were largely non-existent in the CSA. The Freedom Party had molded the CSA into a single-party state.
Under US occupation Edit
The victorious United States Army, in its advance into Confederate territory during the final phase of the war, found and liberated surviving members of the Whig Party who had been held under terrible conditions, and many of whose fellows had died in captivity. However, with the United States resolving upon an open-ended occupation of the entire Confederate territory, occupation authorities had no interest in fostering a revival of the Whig Party which - however strong its opposition to the Freedom Party - was a fiercely Confederate patriotic party.
Prominent Whigs Edit
- Woodrow Wilson
- Gabriel Semmes
- Wade Hampton V
- Burton Mitchel III
- Samuel Longstreet
- Hugo Black
- Jeb Stuart Jr.
- Anne Colleton (until she switched to Freedom)
- Clarence Potter
- Braxton Donovan