Hakeem Fullerton,  Lace 'Em Up Series,  Off Beat,  Our Writers,  Politics

The Election of 1832: Jackson vs. Clay vs. Wirt vs. Floyd

Hello, and welcome back to another edition of Lace ‘Em Up’s Presidential Election series. Today we will be going over the Election of 1832, Andrew Jackson is looking to get re-elected but he first has to deal with a number of scandals in his administration, a few third parties rising to the surface and an old rival looking for revenge.

Jackson’s Presidency

image 21

Since his resounding victory in 1828, Andrew Jackson like many Southern politicians pushed for the removal of various Indian tribes to other territories as the U.S. was looking to acquire the gold and other resources found in those areas. Thus ‘The Indian Removal Act’ was passed in 1830 to make certain this happened despite a Supreme Court ruling in the case called ‘Worcester v. Georgia’ claiming that Georgia and other states attempting to push Indians off their land was unconstitutional. However Jackson ignored the ruling and for a time was quoted as saying “John Marshall Has Made His Decision, Now Let Him Enforce It”.

In the end, 45,000 Indians were forced to move from the states that they once called home in what has infamously been referred to as “The Trail of Tears” which actually occurred under the Presidency of his successor.

While this move by Jackson may have endeared him even more to Southerners, his actions when it came to the Central Bank certainly didn’t with those in Congress. They saw Jackson’s decision regarding the National Bank as well as his penchant for vetoing a lot of legislation that came to his desk, leaving some to claim that Jackson was nothing more than a tyrant which led to political cartoons portraying the president as a monarch who’s stepping all over the U.S. Constitution.

The Bank War & The Petticoat Affair

image 22

One of Jackson’s bigger issues of the day involved the National Bank as the charter for the bank needed to be renewed by 1836. Much to the disdain of many in Congress, Jackson vetoed the charter while at the same time withdrawing federal deposits from the bank and placing them in local banks spread throughout the nation.

Opponents of Jackson claimed that his refusal to renew the charter for the Second National Bank would lead to horrendous consequences for the country on an economic level later down the road. Jackson on the other hand responded that by not renewing the bank, he was keeping the wealth out of the hands of elites who most certainly would’ve kept it all for themselves…and it’s this idea that Jackson uses for his re-election bid going into 1832.

However, problems continue to persist within Jackson’s administration thanks to the Eaton Affair also known as ‘The Petticoat Affair’ which saw John Eaton, Jackson’s Secretary of War getting into a relationship with a woman named Peggy O’Neal who was with a man by the name of John Timberlake. Once he died, John Eaton who knew about the relationship between Peggy and Timberlake decides to marry the now widowed O’Neal.

While Jackson supported the union of Eaton and Peggy, many people aren’t too happy with this including Floride Calhoun, the wife of Vice President John Calhoun who tells all of the cabinet wives to not interact or socialize with the new Mrs Eaton due to Peggy’s reputation of showing up at bars and interacting with various social groups.

This scandalous affair and the blowback that ensues leads to John Eaton and Martin Van Buren stepping down from their positions within the administration before Andrew Jackson fired everyone else from his cabinet who refused to work with the Eatons. Jackson ended up bringing in a new group of people made entirely out of his closest friends and advisors which included John Eaton and Martin Van Buren. Van Buren became Jackson’s new running mate after Calhoun resigned from his role as Vice President for the second time.

The Nullification Crisis

image 12

Before the Petticoat Affair and the appointment of Martin Van Buren as the new running mate completely soured the relationship between John C. Calhoun and Andrew Jackson, there was the ‘Nullification Crisis’.

The Nullification Crisis stems from the passing of the Tariff of 1828, which increased the rates on imported goods by 60% and with many Southern states being the most affected by what they would call “The Tariff of Abomination”.

Arguably, the state that got affected the worse by this tariff was Calhoun’s home state of South Carolina, which threatened to nullify the tariff. They hesitated until a new tariff came about in 1832 which lead to the South Carolina legislature nullifying the tariff.

This would lead to Andrew Jackson enacting ‘The Force Bill’ which allowed the President to use the military against any state in order to collect money for taxes that needed to be paid. Calhoun, as you can imagine wasn’t too pleased and soon resigned from his position as Vice President making him the first of two VPs to resign from office and the only one to resign from two different administrations.

Calhoun soon went on to create a minor political party called the ‘Nullifier Party’ which only ran in the state of South Carolina, some hoped to use this as a protest vote against Jackson’s bid for re-election in 1832. At first, some believed Calhoun would be the head of this party to challenge Jackson, but he refused to run and instead, the party supported Virginia Governor, John Floyd to head their ticket as Floyd had disagreements with Jackson over a number of issues including tariffs.

The National Republicans

Henry Clay

While Andrew Jackson has to deal with the problems going on within his administration, his opponents from the National Republican Party decide to use this and the major issue surrounding the National Bank as justification to make ‘Old Hickory’ a one-term President.

The biggest rival Jackson had to deal with around this time was the former Speaker of the House and Secretary of State, Henry Clay. Clay was believed to be responsible for why Jackson didn’t win the presidency in 1824 and was blamed by Jackson for causing the death of his wife, Rachel. 

Clay got the nomination for the National Republicans with John Sergeant, a former U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania as his running mate. Pennsylvania is where the Second National Bank was located and Sergeant had some connections with the Bank, so having him on the ticket would help Clay in theory win the state.

The Anti-Masonic Party

Election of 1832

Now we come to the last player in this story and what most historians call the very first third party to run in a presidential election in American history: The Anti-Masonic Party.

The party came into existence following the disappearance of William Morgan, who was a ‘Freemason’ or someone who was part of a mysterious group of people using their influence behind the scenes to control the United States. After a falling out between the two sides, William Morgan threatens to expose the secret society by writing a book on them, which ultimately results in his disappearance and presumed death.

In response, a group calling themselves ‘The Anti-Masonic Party’ joined together to stop the continuing influence of the Masons aka the elites and those they saw as corrupt which in this case includes President Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay. Names like Richard Rush and John Quincy Adams were seen as possible names to run for the party’s nomination, but it never worked out. 

The Anti-Masonic Party nominated the legendary U.S. Attorney General and lawyer from Maryland, William Wirt even though he was a Mason and he hoped to get an endorsement by Herny Clay and the National Republicans but that doesn’t happen.

Reluctantly, Wirt ran for President under the Anti-Masonic Party with a fellow attorney general and politician from Pennsylvania, Amos Ellmaker.

Election of 1832: The Results

image 26

Despite the scandals within his cabinet and the problems he faced with the Second Bank of the United States, Andrew Jackson won re-election with 219 electoral votes and received 54.2% of the popular vote.

Henry Clay in another devastating defeat to ‘Old Hickory’ received 49 electoral votes and 37.4% of the popular vote.

William Wirt and the Anti-Masonic Party only received 7 electoral votes, which was just the state of Vermont and 7.8% of the popular vote, overall a pretty decent showing for a third party running for the very first time.

John Floyd won all of South Carolina’s 11 electoral votes, but the state didn’t have a popular vote going into this election; By the way, the Nullification Crisis that created the whole Nullifier Party would be settled with the passing of the Compromise Tariff of 1833, which made South Carolina happy and thereby ended the lifespan of the Nullifier Party.

And that was the Election of 1832, Andrew Jackson weathered the political storms to win a second term and in the process, he beat the man who screwed him out of the presidency all the way back in 1824.

Be sure to come back for the next Presidential Election, as will be talking about the Election of 1836, 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 1828: Adams vs. Jackson
The Election Of 1828: Adams Vs. Jackson | Lace ‘Em Up (laceemupmedia.com)

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 (laceemupmedia.com)

The Election of 1820: The Era of Good Feelings

The Election Of 1820: The Era Of Good Feelings | Lace ‘Em Up (laceemupmedia.com)

The Election of 1816: Monroe vs. King

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

If you like this kind of content, be sure to leave your thoughts down below in the comment section and be sure to follow Lace ‘Em Up on Twitter @laceemupoffice you can follow me also on Twitter @hakeemfullerton and I’ll see you in the next article.

Freelancer with experience in writing articles on topics like Wrestling, Film, TV, Video Games, Politics etc.

%d bloggers like this: