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Whigs and Opposition

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Illustrated and Designed By
Christian Alas
Sound By
Margarita Onofre

Whigs and Opposition

In 1837 the President of the United States was Martin Van Buren. He was a Democrat from the Whig Party. Whig was a word used in England for people who opposed the King. The Whig Party was started in the U. S. in 1835 by Henry Clay, John Calhoun, Daniel Webster, and other people.

Another Whig Party member was William Henry Harrison. He served as President of the United States for only thirty-two days. He died of pneumonia. His Vice-President, John Tyler, continued his Presidency.

John Tyler was the first Vice-President to become a President as a consequence of the death of a President. When the Whig Party supported John Tyler for Vice-President, they didn’t expect him to become President. John Tyler clashed with the cabinet he inherited from President Harrison. Henry Clay, a member of the cabinet, did not know what to do with President Tyler.

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He knew his party had no control over him. Very soon, problems arose. Tyler and his cabinet could not work together. Tyler vetoed all the proposals the cabinet made. The cabinet protested his attitude. As a result of the protests, Congress gave no money to repair the White House while Tyler was President.

Although John Tyler didn’t work very well with his cabinet, as a president he achieved important things for the country. He solved, without conflict, the disputes about the border with Canada. He expanded trade with China. He tried to stop illegal African slave trading, and he signed the annexation of Texas to the Union. He is remembered as a strong-willed and honest man.

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Vocabulary

Find the vocabulary words (in bold), write them below, and find the definition of each in a dictionary.

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Vocabulary

Write 5 sentences using some of the vocabulary words.

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Reading Questions

Write one sentence to describe the history of the Whigs and Opposition in the U.S. for each area below

What?

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When?

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How?

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Where?

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Why?

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Who?

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Discuss:

1. What does Whig refer to?

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2. Is opposition a good or bad thing in the U.S. government?

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