The founding fathers were great entrepreneurs. They shipped something akin to a software product: the first version of the "ideological operating system" of the United States. The operating system (OS) was composed of powerful institutions, visibly represented by values, beliefs, words, personas, and symbols.
The emerging dynamic between John Boehner and Mitch McConnell is one to watch, because it is heading for a showdown in the next few weeks. Sooner or later, one of them is going to have to cave in to the hard, cold reality that Republicans just do not have the votes to impose their will on a Democratic president.
The War of 1812 didn't gain America much, as a country. It didn't address the complaints that led the Americans to declare war in the first place. We didn't conquer Canada. But we did gain a certain amount of what can be called our "national identity" after the war. Right at the heart of this was a new patriotic (and popular) song.
Most people today just use "go the way of the Whig Party" as an amusing way to say "disappear as a national political party." But a truer parallel to history would be to ask the question: "Will today's Republicans revert back to being the Whig Party?" Or, perhaps: "Will the Tea Party eventually go the way of the Whig Party?"