What were the ideological differences between the Whig and Democratic Parties?

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The Whigs mainly represented the interests of the East coast commercial and banking elite as well as the growing urban middle classes. In that sense, they inherited the mantle of the Federalist Party, the party of John Adams and Alexander Hamilton. The Whigs were unashamed modernizers who believed that the future of the United States was as a leading industrial economy. To that end, they supported measures to stimulate manufacturing such as protective tariffs and the ready availability of cheap credit through a federal banking system.

The Democratic Party, on the other hand, tended to represent the interests of small farmers and the urban poor. Democrats were intensely suspicious of the very idea of a federal banking system as they believed it would involve the concentration of too much power—both political and economic—at the center. To the likes of President Jackson, a federal banking system...

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