[Marxism] Sean Wilentz on Whigs and Jacksonian Democrats

Mark Lause MLause at cinci.rr.com
Mon Oct 17 18:55:51 MDT 2005


Most of these kinds of articles muddle things pretty thoroughly.

Sean Wilentz is more hostile to the Whigs than the evidence justifies.
The old FDR-era version of this period was that Jackson was a man of the
people and had the support of the workers and the radicals.  I think
Wilentz's CHANTS DEMOCRATIC isn't critical enough of that
interpretation.

The Whigs were great believers in planning, as opposed to laissez-faire,
to which Jacksonian rhetoric appealed.  I expect this is why a number of
the most radical workers were actually predisposed to be Whigs (or the
"National Republicans" as they were called in the early days)....This is
reaching back into dim recesses of my memory, but I think Samuel
Huestis, the first American trade unionist (New York Typographical
Society) to join an explicitly socialist organization (New York Society
for Promoting Communities) had National Republican/Whig connections.  So
did the presiding officer of that group, Dr. Cornelius Blatchley.  The
leader of the Workingmen's Party of NYC--and its most prominent advocate
of expropriation of the bourgeoisie and the redistribution of property
(this, in 1829)--Thomas Skidmore was a National Republican.  Then, there
was Horace Greeley and a boatload of Fourierists....

The failure to be sufficiently critical of Jackson mirrors a similar
affinity to FDR or to John Kerry.

ML










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