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Definition of WHIG
: a member or supporter of a major British political group of the late 17th through early 19th centuries seeking to limit the royal authority and increase parliamentary power — compare tory
: an American favoring independence from Great Britain during the American Revolution
: a member or supporter of an American political party formed about 1834 in opposition to the Jacksonian Democrats, associated chiefly with manufacturing, commercial, and financial interests, and succeeded about 1854 by the Republican party
Member of a political faction in England, particularly in the 18th century. Originally a term for Scottish Presbyterians, the name came to imply nonconformity and rebellion and was applied in 1679 to those who wanted to exclude James, the Catholic duke of York (later James II), from succession to the throne of England. The Whigs were opposed by the Tory faction in that struggle but later represented the aristocratic, landowning families and financial interests of the wealthy middle classes. They maintained power through patronage and connections in Parliament, but there was no distinct party until 1784, when Charles James Fox represented the interests of religious dissenters, industrialists, and others who sought parliamentary reform. After 1815 and following various party realignments, the political group became the Liberal Party.