Top of page

Newspaper Constitutional Whig (Richmond, Va.) 1824-1832 Richmond Whig

View All Front Pages

About Constitutional Whig (Richmond, Va.) 1824-1832

John Hampden Pleasants, born in Goochland, Virginia in 1797 and educated at William and Mary, practiced law before becoming a newspaper publisher in Richmond when he started the Whig in February of 1824. Initially published as a semiweekly under the title the Constitutional Whig, Pleasants’ newspaper competed with the Democratic Richmond Enquirer, published by his political nemesis, Thomas Ritchie. The discord between the two editors was so intense that it culminated in a duel on Feb. 27, 1846, an encounter that led to Pleasants’ death at age 49. Though its founder was gone, the Whig carried on for many years.

A daily edition of the Daily Richmond Whig began in 1828 with several title fluctuations throughout its lifespan, until it was absorbed by Richmond’s The Daily Times in 1888. Except for a suspension during the Civil War, a weekly edition of the paper was also published from 1841-1888. With the motto, “Democracy, the Constitution, and State Rights,” the Whig initially supported states’ rights and opposed national banks, but by the 1830s, had shifted its support to the Second National Bank. By the mid-nineteenth century, Richmond was a Whig stronghold, in spite of the rest of the state being solidly Democratic, which kept the paper a popular choice for local readers.

On the subject of slavery,the Whig endorsed gradual emancipation, until its unpopular position forced it to tone down its anti-slavery editorials. As sectional tensions grew and Civil War loomed, the Whig encouraged remaining in the Union, but when Lincoln called for a standing militia in the aftermath of Fort Sumter in April 1861, the Whig joined the call for succession. Though it was supportive of the Confederacy throughout the war,the Whig‘s columns often voiced harsh criticisms of Jefferson Davis and his administration.

In May 1862, the Daily Richmond Whig stopped printing a title on its front page and went from four pages to a half sheet format in an effort to conserve paper. “The Whig presents itself this morning with diminished proportions,” it explained on May 15, 1862, “In thus accommodating ourselves to the exigencies of the times, the disagreeableness of the necessity is relieved by the fact that the amount of reading matter will be immaterially, if at all, diminished.” As the war carried on and the South’s prospects of victory diminished, the Whig tried to boost morale by ignoring Union successes on the battlefield.

After Federal troops occupied Richmond, the Whig was the first newspaper in the city to be operational again and was transferred to William Ira Smith, who changed its motto to, “The Union, the Constitution, and the Enforcement of the Law.” With the May 1, 1865 issue, Smith asked readers, “Will the men and women of Virginia fold their arms and maintain a sullen silence, or will they, with generous and cordial effort, do what they can to restore happiness and peace to our country?” In the aftermath of war, the Whig became Richmond’s voice for the Union.

Provided By: Library of Virginia; Richmond, VA

About this Newspaper


  • Constitutional Whig (Richmond, Va.) 1824-1832

Other Title

  • Richmond Whig

Dates of Publication

  • 1824-1832

Created / Published

  • Richmond, Va. : Pleasants & Butler, 1824-1832.


  • -  Richmond (Va.)--Newspapers
  • -  Virginia--Richmond
  • -  United States--Virginia--Richmond


  • Newspapers


  • -  Semiweekly
  • -  Vol. 1, no. 1 (Jan. 27, 1824)-v. 9, no. 105 (Dec. 28, 1832).
  • -  Publisher varies: Pleasants & Du-Val, 1824-1825; J.H. Pleasants, 1825; Pleasants & Jones, 1825-1826; J.H. Pleasants, 1826; Pleasants & Smith, 1826-1829; Pleasants & Co., 1829; Pleasants, Abbott & Co., 1829-1830; Pleasants & Abbott, 1830-<1832>.
  • -  Triweekly during the State Convention, <1829>.
  • -  Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
  • -  Richmond Whig & public advertiser (DLC)sn 84024658 (OCoLC)2252792


  • volumes

Call Number/Physical Location

  • Newspaper
  • AN

Library of Congress Control Number

  • sn83045110

OCLC Number

  • 9308787

ISSN Number

  • 2767-4460

Succeeding Titles

Additional Metadata Formats


Rights & Access

The Library of Congress believes that the newspapers in Chronicling America are in the public domain or have no known copyright restrictions. Newspapers published in the United States more than 95 years ago are in the public domain in their entirety. Any newspapers in Chronicling America that were published less than 95 years ago are also believed to be in the public domain, but may contain some copyrighted third party materials. Researchers using newspapers published less than 95 years ago should be alert for modern content (for example, registered and renewed for copyright and published with notice) that may be copyrighted. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item.

The NEH awardee responsible for producing each digital object is presented in the Chronicling America page display, below the page image – e.g. Image produced by the Library of Congress. For more information on current NDNP awardees, see

For more information on Library of Congress policies and disclaimers regarding rights and reproductions, see

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Constitutional Whig Richmond, Va. -1832. (Richmond, VA), Jan. 1 1824.

APA citation style:

(1824, January 1) Constitutional Whig Richmond, Va. -1832. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Constitutional Whig Richmond, Va. -1832. (Richmond, VA) 1 Jan. 1824. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,