Thomas Jefferson founded the Democratic-Republican Party, which opposed the views of the Federalist Party (John Adams party.) The Federalist party only lasted until after the election of 1800. Formal party names did not yet exist, but those who supported the Democratic-Republican Party often referred to themselves as “republicans.”
Naturally, there was infighting in the Democratic-Republican Party, which eventually split into the Democratic and National Republican parties. The proponents of the National Republican party eventually became the Whig* party, one of the two predominant parties from 1830 – 1850. The Whigs attracted entrepreneurs, professionals, planters, social reformers, devout Protestants, and the emerging urban middle class.
William Henry Harrison, a Whig, was elected president, but died one month after the inauguration and was succeeded by John Tyler (who was later kicked out of the Whig Party). Zachary Taylor was another successful Whig. He died two years after becoming president, ushering Millard Fillmore into the presidency. Therefore, the Whigs won two elections, but due to the death of the victors, they can claim four presidents. This, it can be argued, was very efficient.
Why should we bring the Whigs back?
The Whig priorities were primarily to oppose the ideas of Andrew Jackson, who, today, is no longer active in politics. Their other policies and beliefs stopped being relevant nearly two centuries ago. Besides, few politician keep their promises or support their party platform once elected.
We don’t want add the Whigs as an additional party. Ross Perot taught us that third parties don’t work. However, since the current Republican Party is in such disarray, perhaps it might help if they reverted to being Whigs.
Stranger things have happened.
* I was curious as to what the word “Whig” means. I found three explanations. Two are verbs, and since Whig is a noun (or an adjective modifying a noun), here is the definition of Whig as a noun: Acidulated whey, sometimes mixed with buttermilk and sweet herbs, used as a cooling beverage.
Don’t confuse this with a Rock and Roll band from Athens, GA, also known as the Whigs.