In presenting to the public the first postings of THE WHIG, it would not be inappropriate to set forth the reasons that have led to its establishment. This is not because custom has made it proper, or that the public have a right to expect from each new actor a preliminary bow; but mainly because the reasons themselves are of weighty and earnest import.
The predominant interests of our country are involved in the issue of great and often-recurring political contests. These contests are always of prevailing concerns, and at times all-absorbing. The leading intellects of our country, so long as our institutions shall happily remain free, must be largely devoted to the discussion of questions pertaining to the management of the national government.
As the country increases in population and wealth, these questions are becoming more varied and complicated. The necessity for new measures, and for the the enlarged application of established principles to meet the exigencies of the times, demands constant actions on the part of those to whom the people have committed their most sacred interest. The formation of parties taking antagonistic positions on these matters is a necessary result, aside from the inducements to division arising from personal ambition, cupidity, and love of place and power, which are found mixed up with all human affairs.
Of such organizations, numerous and constantly springing up, the greater part are indeed of a local nature, or grow out of temporary excitements. Two, however, embrace nearly all the rest, and mainly divide the government. These great organizations are born of different elements, exist by different means and in a different atmosphere. In every thing fo vital concern, their relation, by principal, policy, practice, is that of natural, unavoidable opposition.
The one is in all things essentially conservative, and at the same time is the real party of progress and improvement. It commends itself to the people, and is supported by them, not less for its rigid adherence to the republican creed -- for its unwavering support of constitutional and established rights, and its endeavors to preserve law, liberty, and order inviolate -- than for the inherent fairness and justice of its principles and policy.
Such is that portion of the community who have justly adopted from the men of the Revolution the ever-honored title of WHIGS. In all that tends to give strength to the federal republic, and knit together its various setions by the indissoluble bands of a common interest and affection, the Whig party occupy the advance ground. Protection to the laborer and the producer, to the merchant and manufacturer; integrity and economy in the discharge of official trusts; the vigilant defense, as against the world, of national dignity and honor; the observance of honor and good faith in all our dealings with and treatment of other nations; the maintenance of a sound currency; simplification of the means of revenue; a vigorous administration of the laws; the adoption, by constitution means of such regulations as shall confine the Executive and the Judicial power within due bounds; the general promotion of knowledge and and enlargement of the means of education. These form an outline of the distinctive principles of the Whig party.
When the personal rivalries and partisan asperities of the day shall have been forgotten, the positions and aims of the Whig party will stand out like watch-towers and beacon-lights on the mountain side, and be referred to and quoted as monuments to inspire, as precedents to guide, another race of statesmen and patriots. And whatever it may now do, the world will then acknowledge the moral heroism of those who, doubtless with some defects and some temporary mistakes, yet withstood in their day, the tide of corruption, the insidious arts of demagogues, and the clamors of faction, and taking their stand on the platform of the Constitution, defended the honor and integrity of their country from open and secret assault, and preserved to their countrymen the inestimable blessings of a good government.
The other great political division is as essentially anarchical in its principles and tendecies. In saying this, we would not be understood as denying to the body of its memebers their claims to sincerity. But whatever the pretensions of their leaders may be, they are practically working to destroy the prosperity of the people, to weaken the authority of law, and utterly to change the basic elements of government. We know these are grave charges, we believe they can be substantiated.
A portion of the evidence lies in actual results. It is an unhappy and imperishable part of the national history. Professing an exclusively democratic creed, and a desire to advance the "greatest good of the greatest number" the period of the dominancy of this party in the government has been signaled by widespread distress. A profligate waste of the national treasures; the country without a currency at all equal to its wants; a depreciation of nearly every species of property; cheating honest industry of its rewards; a dishonorable feeling with respect to the national debts; a blind obedience to party dictation, in which the voice of conscience is stifled and patriotism and the eternal rules of justice thrown aside as worthless considerations; a corruption of the elective franchise; countenance and support given to organized revolutionary parties acting in direct hostility to the laws; and the basest perfidy towards an unoffending nation proposed and upheld.
These acts and consequences have attached themselves to and distinguished the party which has strangely arrogated to itself the title of Democratic, as if democracy consisted not in levelling-up and preserving, but in reducing all things to an equality of degradation and ruin.
Yet these, however disastrous, are practical errors of individuals are are of little consequence. They are of the present, and will belong to history, and their effects become weaker with remoteness in the past. It is the principles and tendencies that are of abiding concern. And these appear to us thoroughly wrong and pernicious. They receive doctrines from designing leaders, of which they recognize neither the nature nor the end. They are led on they know not to what.
But discerning citizens of the republic cannot fail to see that they are practically working to relax the whole sprit of the law among us, to disorganize and change the original framework and proportions of our government, and under the deceptive name of advancement, insensibly descending in a rapid progression to disaster. There is scarcely any dangerously radical opinion; any specious, delusive theory, on social, political, or moral points, which does not find its peculiar growth amoung the elements of that party. They have a feeling, that the very fact that an institution has long existed, makes it insufficient for the growth of the age.
In a word, change with them is progress; and whatever the the maddened voice of faction, or the mercenary designs of party leaders demand a triumph over established institutions and rightful authority, they rush blindly but exaltingly forward, and call it "reform". It is thus, that everywhere and at all times, they have been disposed to make the stability of legislation dependent on the dominancy of party, and to consider the idea of law as having no majesty, no authority, no divine force inherent in itself. And in all this they are paving the way to despotism.
For while in the false idea of "progress", they would deny the existence or renounce the exercise of those large and beneficient constiutional protections provided by the sages of the Revolution, they permit their acknowleged proponents to usurp the most extended and unlawful authority.
To resist earnestly and unweariedly these destructive measures and principles, is the one great object of the Whig party. Yet in this we claim that degree of independence which every right-minded citizen in the republic should vindicate -- liberty to judge for ourselves as great interest change and new events arise.
The above is a paraphrase from "The American Review: A Whig Journal of Politics, Literature, Art, And Science" published in January 1845. I edited and updated some of the language and terminology.
It seems however, that in our own time, something has gone wrong in that what should be two opposing parties have, as the result of corruption and collusion, have developed a shared interests to the detriment of the American people, arising out of a desire to deplete the public treasury and to use the power of government for their own selfish purposes. That is, to buy the support of enough of the electorate, with our own wealth, to ensure a majority of the vote on election day.
Thus we have the elimination of the traditional, small-government conservative, and in its place, large-government "compassionate conservatism" with the same ultimate end as the Progressive Left Democrats, resulting in an ever-increasing budget deficit and an ever-increasing intrusion into the citizen's private life with the goal of the "progress" of society and of the righting of every perceived slight. That is, the unlimited exercise of government power at the expense of individual property and liberty.
In opposition of this modern development, we advocate the revival of, if not the Whig party, then at least a modern Whig philosphy dedicated to the limitation of government and to the expansion of individual freedom.
The name Whig always stands for individual Liberty.
Whig meant Liberty in England.
Whig meant Liberty during the Revolution.
Whig meant Liberty in 19th century America.
Whig still stands for Liberty today.