AMERICAN WHIGS (IN U. S. HISTORY), the first American political party. Of the two English parties during the years 176-5, the tories upheld the principle of passive obedience to the crown, while the whigs aimed to "fight up against the king and against the people." Neither pretended to uphold "the people" as a political force. When George II., abandoning the direct assertion of royal prerogative, but still aiming to exert it indirectly through a purchased parliament as his instrument, attempted to ignore or subvert the legislative bodies in America, those Americans who had the political wisdom to see that they were contending against the king under the mask of parliament naturally preferred the name of American whigs. Its first appearance seems to have been in New York city in 1768. When the king declared his American subjects out of his allegiance, and they consequently declared their independence of him, the name whig became synonymous with that of patriot, while that of tory was given to the American supporters of the crown. After the peace the whigs, having banished the most prominent tories, and confiscated their estates, remained the only party in America until the question of a closer union divided Americans into federalists and anti-federalists. (See DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, ANTI-FEDERAL PARTY.)
—See 6 Bancroft's United States, 141.