Word of the Day Archive
Sunday July 4, 1999
Whig \hwig, wig\ , noun:
1. A friend and supporter of the American Revolution; -- opposed to Tory, and Royalist.
2. One of the political party in the United States from about 1829 to 1856, opposed in politics to the Democratic party.
When the Whigs of America are thus multiplied, let the Princes of the earth tremble in their palaces.
-- Samuel Johnson in James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson
As soon as independence was announced, in 1776, to be the final object of the contest, the names Whig and Tory lost, in America, whatever of British significance they had ever possessed.
-- A. Johnston, History of American Politics
His [that is, James Watson Webb's] newspaper, the Courier and Enquirer, had originally supported Jackson, and had been driven into the opposition by the President's course. In February, 1834, he baptized the new party with the name of ' Whig', with the idea that the name implied resistance to executive usurpation, to that of the Crown in England and in the American Revolution, and to that of the President in the United States of 1834.
-- Johnston, "ibid."
Probably short for Whiggamore, a member of a body of 17th-century Scottish Presbyterian rebels.