Saturday, June 15, 2019

True American Whiggery: John Tyler and Abel P. Upshur

This piece is taken from Brion McClanahan and Clyde Wilson Forgotten Conservatives in American History

Two dates changed the course of American political history. On 13 September 1841, the Whigs expelled President John Tyler from their Party, outraged over his “betrayal” of what they considered true Whig political and economic principles. Shorty over two years later, on 28 February 1844, Abel P. Upshur, Tyler’s trusted Secretary of State and perhaps the best Constitutional scholar in the United States at the time, was killed in an accident on the U.S.S. Princeton. Both men personified American Whiggery and both are forgotten or maligned by the modern American historical profession.

Historians generally consider Tyler’s presidency to be an abject failure while Upshur receives mention only in regard to his tragic death and his defense of slavery. Philosophically, however, their brand of States’ Rights Whiggery helped form the backbone of the American political tradition.

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