Hello, and welcome back to another edition of Lace ‘Em Up’s Presidential Election series. Today we will be going over the Election of 1820, one of the strangest elections in American History as incumbent James Monroe runs for a second term and his basically gonna run unopposed.
The Era of Good Feelings
Following the War of 1812, the United States has been feeling a large sense of nationalism which has been called ‘The Era of Good Feelings’ due to it being a time when some Americans were living their best lives if you don’t count Indians, slaves, or Africa Americans in general.
After his landslide victory in the previous election, James Monroe has been doing his best to keep the country united by making decisions most would agree with and since the remnants of Federalists Party were too weak to nominate a candidate to go against Monroe in the 1820 election, the decided not too although they did nominate a vice presidential pick in the form of Richard Stockton from New Jersey but without a major candidate heading the ticket…The Federalist didn’t stand a chance.
Many Democratic Republicans knew that Monroe and his vice president, Daniel D. Tompkins would win the election so most of the party didn’t even show up to the nominating caucus and while Monroe’s presidency did see an era of nationalism sweeping the country, there are a few issues leading into this election that do need to be discussed.
The first major issue going on in the country is that the economy is struggling after the U.S. suffered its first financial crisis in 1819 called…“The Panic of 1819”, where numerous accounts of land speculation and a laxed attitude to regulating the Second National Bank of the United States led to the country suffering inflation for the first time and as a result many places were foreclosed, unemployment rose, and many people were getting upset with both the bankers with how things came about and while President Monroe and his Secretary of the Treasury, William H. Crawford would find a way to settle the financial crisis, it wouldn’t be until 1821 when the panic came to an end.
The other major issue surrounds the state of Missouri as plans were set in place to bring Missouri in as an official state and that it’s votes would be counted for the 1820 election, however some had issues with this due to the fact that if Missouri was to be brought in the Union it would be brought in as a slave state which would upset the balance of free states and slave states in the U.S.
Missouri’s inclusion further became a point of controversy after states like Illinois, Alabama and Mississippi were added to the Union as well with the last two states becoming slave states, but ultimately Missouri was added to the Union but not before a few things got cleared up.
For one thing, the area of land that would become Maine was officially a part of the Union as a free state and secondly, a number of agreements called “The Missouri Compromise” was made in order to draw a line between the northern parallel of the Louisiana Territories and the southern boundary of Missouri for which those areas of land would not have slavery in it.
As you can see from the map, James Monroe wins all 24 states with the electoral votes from Missouri being counted but there are some strange caveats regarding his victory; First of all, three electors had died and weren’t replaced in time which is why the state of Mississippi only had two electors instead of three or more like all the other states.
Second, around 16% of the population (all of whom were Federalists) voted for ‘No Candidate’ and DeWitt Clinton, the Governor of New York and former presidential candidate in 1812 got 1.8% of the popular vote even though he wasn’t running.
And finally, as you can see from the electoral map, Monroe got all but one electoral vote with the faithless elector in question being a man by the name of William Plumber who voted for then Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams.
While some speculated that Plumber voting for someone else was a way of keeping George Washington’s record as the only president to win all of the electoral votes intact, however this was proven to be false as Plumber really disliked James Monroe…Maybe Plumber wasn’t a fan of the whole “Virginia Dynasty” thing.
Nevertheless, James Monroe also won with 80.6% of the popular vote which was the third highest percentage of the popular vote for a candidate in an election since the George Washington elections of the 1780’s and 1790’s.
Be sure to come back for the next Presidential Election, as the Era of Good Feelings will begin to coinside with the partisanship that’s been bubbling underneath and it will all be coming out in the election of 1824.
If you are interested in learning more about U.S. political history on this site, be sure to check the links below to read more about that:
The Election of 1816: Monroe vs. King
The Election Of 1816: Monroe Vs. King | Lace ‘Em Up (laceemupmedia.com)
The Election of 1812: Madison vs. Clinton
The Election of 1808: Madison vs. Pinckney
The Election of 1804: Jefferson vs. Pinckney
The Election Of 1804: Jefferson Vs. Pinckney | Lace ‘Em Up (laceemupmedia.com)
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