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The Election of 1828: Adams vs. Jackson

Hello, and welcome back to another edition of Lace ‘Em Up’s Presidential Election series. Today we will be going over the Election of 1828; Andrew Jackson is back and is looking to get the Presidency he believed was stolen from him in what many historians call one of the nastiest elections in American history.

The Corrupt Bargain

The Election of 1828

Previously in our discussions of presidential elections, I mentioned how the election of 1824 was thrown into the House of Representatives after neither of the four candidates were able to get enough electoral votes needed to win. This led to John Quincy Adams being declared the new President, despite the fact Andrew Jackson had the most electoral and popular votes compared to his rivals.

Some believed that a “Corrupt Bargain” was reached between Clay and Adams as Clay being the Speaker of the House could make the case as to whom should be the next President to the House Representatives. In return, Adams would make Clay the new Secretary of State as the last several Presidents held that position before being commander and chief.

The results from the House vote angered many including Andrew Jackson, who immediately got the nomination for President again thanks to the endorsement of the Tennessee Legislature. However, Jackson wasn’t the nominee for the Democratic-Republicans as the divisions between the Adams supporters and the Jackson supporters among other things led to the party’s demise and thus a new party needed to be made by Jackson for the 1828 election.

The Birth of the Democratic Party

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Jackson’s legion of supporters as well as several politicians and politically minded strategists like New York’s own Martin Van Buren soon transformed itself into a new political party that we know today as The Democrats. This party under the leadership of Andrew Jackson and co-founder Van Buren was a well-crafted reactionary response to the privileged elites that they believed were corrupting the country by using their power to suppress the middle class.

Supporters of the Democrats at the time tended to be middle-class white men who were enthralled by Jackson’s fight against the rich but also the party’s beliefs in abolishing centralized banking, limiting government, favouring state rights and supporting slavery.

By the 1826 midterm elections, ‘Jacksonian Democracy’ was beginning to sweep into Congress and the Democrats made it their goal to oppose every bit of legislation that the John Quincy Adams administration was trying to pass with the aim of hurting the President’s chances at re-election.

John Quincy Adams’ Presidency

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Speaking of John Quincy Adams, his time as President has seen him sign legislation that protected Native Americans to increasing free trade with other nations to push through various infrastructure projects that would lead to the creation of what would be the Erie Canal, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad System and the Cumberland Road.

Adams also planned to use the “American System” which was an economic plan created by Henry Clay that would allow the US economy to grow through protective tariffs, a centralized national bank and expanding trade. Unfortunately for President Adams, much of those hopes were squashed once the Democrats began to take seats in Congress and things certainly aren’t helped in Adams’ case when he signs into law ‘The Tariff of 1828’ or ‘Tariff of Abomination’ as some opponents referred to it. This decision increased tariff rates in such a way that it would devastate the Southern states which rely on farming and agriculture to make a profit while the tariff would benefit North Eastern states who support free trading overseas.

It was due to this decision by Adams that his Vice President, John C. Calhoun resigns from his position and decides to run as Andrew Jackson’s running mate in the 1828 election, leaving Adams to choose his Secretary of the Treasury, Richard Rush as his new running mate. Adams unanimously got the nomination for President by the newly created National Republican Party.

Dirty Campaigning 

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With Jackson determined to win the White House and President Adams being blocked at every turn by the Jacksonians, things begin to get ugly. Both sides decide to use the power of printed media to spread rumours about each other with almost no stone being unturned.

In Andrew Jackson’s case, he is being criticized for a number of things which include but are not limited to killing people in duels, his decision to execute soldiers who had abandoned their post on the battlefield as well as targeting Jackson’s illiteracy and spreading rumours of cannibalism in a number of pamphlets called ‘The Coffin Handbills’.

Jackson’s relationship with his wife, Rachel was also vilified in the newspapers as Rachel was in a relationship with the former military general despite her divorce from her previous marriage not being finalized yet. This made many refer to Andrew and Rachel as ‘Adulterers’ at a time when something like that was frowned upon in America.

When it came to John Quincy Adams he was slandered by pro-Jackson newspapers with stories about how feeble Adams looked whilst digging out a tree root during a ceremonial event. There were also rumours that he gave a young woman away to the Czar of Russia during his time as Minister to Russia which meant that they were referring to the President of the United States as a pimp. Adams was also getting accused of using taxpayer dollars to buy gambling devices, but that would be proven false as Adams did in fact use his own money to buy what turned out to be a chess set and billiard table to play during his free time.

Overall, it was a war of words and accusations between Jackson, Adams, and their respective supporters throughout the campaign, but which side was able to come out on top? Let’s take a look at the results.

The Election of 1828: The Results & Aftermath

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Similar to the previous election, you need 131 electoral votes to win the presidency but things are different this time around with the voter turnout increasing as poor to middle class white men could be allowed to vote.

When it’s all said and done, Andrew Jackson finally accomplishes what he wasn’t able to in 1824 and that was become the new President of the United States. Jackson received 178 electoral votes and 56% of the popular vote while John Quincy Adams got 83 electoral votes and 44% of the popular vote; Quincy Adams much like his father, John Adams became the only father and son duo to become president only to lose re-election.

John Calhoun remained the Vice President, making Calhoun the second VP since George Clinton to be remain Vice President but under two different adminstrations.

While Andrew Jackson was sworn in as the new President in March of 1829, he would be doing it as a widower as his wife Rachel had died in December the previous year’ She had been experiencing chest pains throughout the election that resulted in her death leading Jackson to accuse both Adams and Henry Clay for indirectly causing her death. 

John Quincy Adams refused to attend Jackson’s inauguration making him the second President (next to his dad) to do this. However, Adams and his cabinet would soon vacant the White House, not just because a new President was elected, but following Jackson’s swearing-in ceremony, a group of energetic people entered the White House and caused so much chaos that John Quincy Adams and his team had to escape out the back door .

This election is credited with ushering in the ‘Second Party System’ as two new political parties would emerge in the years to come.

Be sure to come back for the next Presidential Election, as will be talking about the calamity that was the Election of 1832, but 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 1824: Adams vs. Jackson vs, Crawford vs. Clay

The Election Of 1824: Adams Vs. Jackson Vs. Crawford Vs. Clay | Lace ‘Em Up (

The Election of 1820: The Era of Good Feelings

The Election Of 1820: The Era Of Good Feelings | Lace ‘Em Up (

The Election of 1816: Monroe vs. King

The Election Of 1816: Monroe Vs. King | Lace ‘Em Up (

The Election of 1812: Madison vs. Clinton

The Election Of 1812: Madison Vs. Clinton | Lace ‘Em Up (

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