Whig (British political party)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Whigs are often described as one of the two original political parties (the other being the Tories) in England and later the United Kingdom from the late 17th to the mid-19th centuries. The Whigs' origin lay in constitutional monarchism and opposition to absolute rule. Both parties began as loose groupings or tendencies, but became quite formal by 1784, with the ascension of Charles James Fox as the leader of a reconstituted "Whig" party ranged against the governing party of the new "Tories" under William Pitt the Younger.

The Whig party slowly evolved during the 18th century. The Whig tendency supported the great aristocratic families, the Protestant Hanoverian succession and toleration for nonconformist Protestants (the "dissenters," such as Presbyterians), while the Tories supported the exiled Stuart royal family's claims for the throne (Jacobitism), the established Church of England and the gentry. Later on, the Whigs drew support from the emerging industrial interests and wealthy merchants, while the Tories drew support from the landed interests and the British Crown. The Whigs were originally also known as the "Country Party" (as opposed to the Tories, the "Court Party"). By the first half of the 19th century, however, the Whig political programme came to encompass not only the supremacy of parliament over the monarch and support for free trade, but Catholic emancipation, the abolition of slavery and, significantly, expansion of the franchise (suffrage).



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Whig (British political party)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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