Hello, and welcome back to another edition of Lace ‘Em Up’s Presidential Election series. Today we will be going over the Election of 1824, an election that will see four men fight for the highest office in the land culminating in one of the most controversial endings to an election in the history of the United States.
The End of Good Feelings
President James Monroe decides not to seek a third term and steps down after eight years. His presidency saw the United States maintain a level of unity and harmony within the country to the point that the Democratic-Republicans are the only political party left standing by the mid-1820s.
By the time Monroe decides not to run again, the Democratic-Republicans are divided over the issues like sectionalism, tariffs and infrastructure leading to major discussions over who will be the next person to take Monroe’s place. While there were a number of people who attempted to run only four really stood out.
The Presidential Candidates.
The first of these four candidates who stood out was William H. Crawford who was James Monroe’s Secretary of the Treasury from Georgia and someone who almost got the party’s nomination back in 1816. Now Crawford believes he can get the presidency this time around. which he does by way of the party’s congressional caucus.
Next up was John Quincy Adams who is the son of former Vice President and President, John Adams and is also the current Secretary of State from Massachusetts.
Then there was Henry Clay, the Speaker of the House from Kentucky who decided to go for it this time after refusing to run in 1816.
Last but not least we have Andrew Jackson, the former Governor and Senator from Tennessee and the Military General who led the U.S. to victory in the Battle of New Orleans and took part in the First Seminole War.
Aside from a few arguments on domestic and foreign ideas, all four candidates agreed with each other on most issues. The campaigning wasn’t too intense but supporters of all four candidates used everything from newspapers to political cartoons to campaign songs to get the people to turn out and vote. Crawford suffered a stroke during the election, and this is going to hurt his standing in the election somewhat as it’s probably not a good idea to vote for someone with health problems for President.
The Election of 1824: The Results
Now as you can see from the electoral map it’s certainly a very sectional election as John Quincy Adams gets 84 electoral votes in places located in the Northeast like Vermont, Connecticut and New York while also receiving 30.9% of the popular vote.
William Crawford gets 41 electoral votes from places like Georgia and Virginia, but he came in fourth place in the popular vote with 11.2%.
Henry Clay came in fourth place in the electoral vote, receiving 37 votes from places like Missouri, Ohio and his home state of Kentucky, but came in third place with the popular vote getting only 13%.
Andrew Jackson’s support was more diverse as he was able to get states like Pennsylvania, and New Jersey and Southern states like Alabama, North and South Carolina and Mississippi; This resulted in Jackson receiving 99 electoral votes and 41.4% of the popular vote.
Now, you’d think since Jackson has the most electoral and popular votes in this election, he would be the new president but that’s not the case as you needed 131 electoral votes to win the election in 1824, so now it’s up to the House of Representatives to decide who will be the new president thanks to the 12th Amendment in the Constitution.
House of Representatives Results
With Inauguration Day quickly approaching, the House of Representatives needed to decide on who will be the next President of the United States and since only the top three candidates in the electoral vote can take part in this matter this knocked Henry Clay out of the running.
That said, Henry Clay isn’t finished yet as he was in the unique position of Speaker of the House to make the final decision on who will become the new president. Now you’d think he would simply make Andrew Jackson the winner as he had the most electoral and popular votes, but that’s not going to happen as Clay despised Andrew Jackson for his military actions in the War of 1812 among other matters.
This, combined with Crawford suffering from the stroke and Clay agreeing with John Quincy Adams on many ideas led to a decision that will change American politics forever. As the House of Representatives delivered their verdict in 1825, announcing that John Quincy Adams was now the 6th president of the United States.
Andrew Jackson and many of his supporters believe that a deal was made between John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay with the belief that if Clay made Adams the new President, Clay would become the new Secretary of State as Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and now Quincy Adams all held that position before eventually becoming President.
Neither Clay nor Quincy Adams confirmed these rumours, but many found it suspicious that not too long after Adams became the president, Henry Clay was named the new Secretary of State.
This election was certainly unique as it was the first and only election to see the person with the most electoral votes did not become the President and the first of many times the candidate who won the popular vote did not become President.
As you can imagine, Andrew Jackson like many people in the country was pissed over what they believed to be a “Corrupt Bargain” between Clay and Adams, but Jackson certainly isn’t going away after this as the results of this election that will lead to ‘Old Hickory’ coming back in four years as well as the rise of one of the most influential political parties in U.S. history.
Be sure to come back for the next Presidential Election, as will be talking about one of the nastiest elections in United States History: The Election of 1828.
The Election of 1820: The Era of Good Feelings
The Election of 1816: Monroe vs. King
The Election of 1812: Madison vs. Clinton
The Election of 1808: Madison vs. Pinckney
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