The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 78, July 1974 - April, 1975 Page: 98
Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the last twenty years. Writers have debated whether the Whigs were a class
party, a party based on regional prosperity, or merely another collection of
politicians seeking votes and public office. Although historians will probably
never reach total agreement on these questions, their main hope for any
kind of consensus at all is that hard-working scholars, with the major inter-
pretations in mind, examine the Whig party on the local and state level in
great detail. Exhaustive research in state and local sources by historians
who have studied the historiographical debate on the Whigs should at least
enable them to eliminate the more unlikely theories about the Whigs and
thus deepen our understanding on the Whig party.
Adams's book on the Louisiana Whigs takes us a short distance down this
road. The book describes the origin of the state's Whig party and follows it
through the dozens of state and national elections between I834 and I853-
Louisiana Whigs, like their northern counterparts, supported a protective
tariff, a national bank system, and federal aid to internal improvements.
Sugar planters demanded protection from Caribbean competition, bayous
and rivers needed dredging and levees, and New Orleans businessmen re-
quired sound money and banks. For roughly a decade the Whigs controlled
Louisiana government, but in the mid-I840s, for a variety of reasons, their
power began slipping away until the party disintegrated in the early I850s.
Adams's book is fine as far as it goes. And there is the problem-it does
not go far enough. The only interpretive question it fully expands upon is
Charles Sellers's contention that southern Whigs had the same goals as
northern Whigs. One sentence in the introduction claims that Louisiana
Whigs were not a class party, but nowhere does the author demonstrate this
in any detail. Nor is there any full description of rank and file Whig party
membership, only general statements here and there. Moreover, Adams
cites only two sources published since I957, and both appeared in I959.
While this book does not fully answer many of the current questions about
Middle Period politics in general or the Whig party in particular, it is clear-
ly written and serves as a useful guide to Louisiana politics from 183o to
North Texas State University RICHARD G. LOWE
The Journal of George Townley Fullam: Boarding Officer of the Confed-
erate Sea Raider Alabama. Edited by Charles G. Summersell. (Uni-
versity, Alabama: The University of Alabama Press, 1973. Pp. liv+
229. Illustrations, bibliography, index. $8.)
This is a rather strange book to read and a rather strange book to review.
Here’s what’s next.
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Citing and Sharing
Reference the current page of this Periodical.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 78, July 1974 - April, 1975, periodical, 1974/1975; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117149/m1/116/ocr/: accessed July 26, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.