Originally established as The American Review: A Whig Journal of Politics, Literature, Art and Science, the American Review was intended to serve as the official organ of the national Whig Party. Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, and other prominent Whigs endorsed the venture. Although the first issue of the journal was dated January 1845, it actually appeared in October 1844 to help elect Whigs to national office and to assist Clay in his battle with James K. Polk for the presidency. Whig party leaders believed the journal essential to offset the United States Magazine and Democratic Review, a Democratic Party organ that had published party propaganda since 1837. After Clay's defeat, the need for the party to have a national voice became more apparent. As the title suggests, the journal had a dual purpose: political and literary. George H. Colton, first editor of the journal, hoped to unify the various elements of the party behind common themes, thus improving its chances in elections, and to promote American writers and writing. The journal followed a decidedly middle of the road course in political opinion and literature. It continued to publish without interruption until December 1852, when it ceased publication after the dissolution of the Whig Party in the wake of defeats in the 1852 federal election.
Donald Frank Andrews, "The American Whig Review, 1848-1852: Its History and Literary Contents" (PhD diss., University of Tennessee, 1977), 5, 8, 9, 10, 21.