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By Justin McCarthy
others from a word, “whiggam,” used by the western Scottish drovers.
The Whigs and the Tories represent in the main not only two political
doctrines, but two different feelings in the human mind. The natural
tendency of some men is to regard political liberty as of more
importance than political authority, and of other men to think that the
maintenance of authority is the first object to be secured, and that
only so much of individual liberty is to be conceded as will not
interfere with authority’s strictest exercise. Roughly speaking,
therefore, the Tories were for authority, and the Whigs for liberty.
The Tories naturally held to the principle of the monarchy and of the
State church; the Whigs ‹18› were inclined for the supremacy of
Parliament, and for something like an approach to religious equality.
[Sidenote: 1714–Political change] Up to this time at least the Tory
party still accepted the theory of the Divine origin of the king’s
supremacy. The Whigs were even then the advocates of a constitutional
system, and held that the people at large were the source of
monarchical power. To the one set of men the sovereign was a divinely
appointed ruler; to the other he was the hereditary chief of the realm,
having the source of his authority in popular election. The Tories, as
the Church party, disliked the Dissenters even more than they disliked
the Roman Catholics. The Whigs were then even inclined to regard the
Church as a branch of the Civil Service–to adopt a much more modern
phrase–and they were in favor of extending freedom of worship to
Dissenters, and in a certain sense to Roman Catholics. According to
Bishop Burnet, it was in the reign of Queen Anne that the distinction
between High—Church and Low—Church first marked itself out, and we find
almost as a natural necessity that the High—Churchmen were Tories, and
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