United States presidential election, 1824
|Presidential election results map. Blue denotes states won by Jackson, Orange denotes those won by Adams, Green denotes those won by Crawford, Light Yellow denotes those won by Clay. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.|
The United States presidential election of 1824 was the 10th quadrennial presidential election, held from Tuesday, October 26, to Thursday, December 2, 1824. John Quincy Adams was elected President on February 9, 1825, after the election was decided by the House of Representatives in what was termed the Corrupt Bargain. The previous years had seen a one-party government in the United States, as the Federalist Party dissolved, leaving only the Democratic-Republican Party as a national political entity. In this election, the Democratic-Republican Party splintered as four separate candidates sought the presidency. This process did not yet lead to formal party organization, but later, the faction led by Andrew Jackson would evolve into the modern Democratic Party, while the factions led by John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay would become the National Republican Party (no relation to the current Republican Party) and then the Whig Party.
The presidential election of 1824 is notable for being the only election since the passage of the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution to have been decided by the House of Representatives in accordance with its provision to turn over the choice of the president to the House when no candidate secures a majority of the electoral vote. It was also the only presidential election in which the candidate who received the most electoral votes did not become president (since Andrew Jackson's plurality of electoral votes was insufficient to prevent the election from being thrown into the House of Representatives). The election of 1824 is the first in which the successful presidential candidate did not win the popular vote. Several states did not permit a popular vote, but rather allowed the state legislature to choose their electors. Lastly, this election marked the seventh consecutive presidential victory for the Democratic-Republican Party, which, to this day, is still the longest presidential winning streak in American history.
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The previous competition between the Federalists and the Republicans had collapsed after the War of 1812. James Monroe had been nominated by a caucus of Republican members of Congress in 1816, and had won the election easily. As party politics declined, they were replaced by bitter personal and sectional contests. By 1824, there were five serious contenders for the presidency:
William H. Crawford, Secretary of the Treasury, who had been nominated by a caucus of a minority of the Republican members of Congress. The rest of Congress decided that the caucus was elitist, anti-democratic, and to be avoided.
John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State, who held the second most prominent position in the American government at that time. Both James Madison and James Monroe had gone from State to the presidency.
Henry Clay, Speaker of the House, who was well-known and well respected around the nation. He probably would have received the caucus nomination if he had wanted it, but he argued against the caucus process instead.
Andrew Jackson, a military hero, former governor, and former senator, who was widely viewed as the champion of the common man.
John C. Calhoun, Secretary of War, who had a strong following in South Carolina and Pennsylvania. Pressures within South Carolina state politics were forcing him to shift from his earlier stance as a nationalist to his later position as a rigid defender of states' rights. Calhoun decided there was no way he could win the presidency against such tough competition.
Withdrew before election
Declined to run
|Presidential Ballot||Vice Presidential Ballot|
|William H. Crawford||64||Albert Gallatin||57|
|John Quincy Adams||2||Erastus Root||2|
|Andrew Jackson||1||John Quincy Adams||1|
|William Rufus King||1|
The traditional Congressional caucus nominated Crawford for president and Albert Gallatin for vice-president, but it was sparsely attended and was widely attacked as undemocratic. Gallatin later withdrew from the contest for the vice-presidency. In 1823, Crawford suffered a stroke, crippling his bid for the presidency. Among other candidates, John Quincy Adams had more support than Henry Clay because of his huge popularity among the old Federalist voters in New England; by this time, even the traditionally Federalist Adams family had come to terms with the Democratic-Republican Party.
The election was as much a contest of favorite sons as it was a conflict over policy, although positions on tariffs and internal improvements did create some significant disagreements. In general, the candidates were favored by different sections of the country: Adams was strong in the Northeast; Jackson in the South, West and mid-Atlantic; Clay in parts of the West; and Crawford in parts of the East.
Congressman William Lowndes declined to run, as did fellow South Carolina resident and Secretary of War John C. Calhoun, who was initially a fifth candidate in the early stages of consideration, but opted instead to seek the vice-presidency. Later, he backed Jackson after sensing the popularity of Crawford in the South. Both Adams and Jackson supporters backed Calhoun, giving him an easy majority of electoral votes for vice-president.
The campaigning for this presidential election assumed many forms. Contrafacta, or well known songs and tunes which have been lyrically altered, were used to promote political agendas and presidential candidates. Below can be found a sound clip featuring "Hunters of Kentucky", a tune written by Samuel Woodsworth in 1815 under the title "The Unfortunate Miss Bailey". Contrafacta such as this one, which promoted Andrew Jackson as a national hero, have been a long standing tradition in presidential elections. Another form of campaigning during this election was through newsprint. Political cartoons and partisan writings were best circulated among the voting public through newspapers. Presidential candidate John C. Calhoun was one of the most directly-involved candidates in this election through his participation in the newspaper The Patriot as a member of the editorial staff. This was a sure way to promote his own political agendas and campaign. Yet it was notably unusual in that most candidates involved in early 19th century elections did not run their own political campaigns. Instead it was left to volunteer citizens and partisans to speak on their behalf.
Jackson supporters used this Battle of New Orleans anthem as their campaign song.
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Not surprisingly, the results of the election were inconclusive. The electoral map confirmed the candidates' sectional support, with Adams winning outright in the New England states, Jackson gleaning success in states throughout the nation, Clay attracting votes from the west, and Crawford attracting votes from the east. Andrew Jackson received more electoral and popular votes than any other candidate, but not the majority of 131 electoral votes needed to win the election. As no candidate received the required majority of electoral votes, the presidential election was decided by the House of Representatives (see "Contingent election" below). Meanwhile, John C. Calhoun secured a total of 182 electoral votes in a generally uncompetitive race to win the vice-presidency outright.
|Presidential Candidate||Party||Home State||Popular Vote(a)||Electoral Vote|
|John Quincy Adams(e)||Democratic-Republican||Massachusetts||113,122||30.9||84|
|William Harris Crawford(c)||Democratic-Republican||Georgia||40,856||11.2||41|
|(Massachusetts unpledged electors)||None||N/A||6,616||1.8||0|
|Needed to win||131|
(a) The popular vote figures exclude Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, New York, South Carolina, and Vermont. In all of these states, the Electors were chosen by the state legislatures rather than by popular vote.
(b) Jackson was nominated by the Tennessee state legislature and by the Democratic Party of Pennsylvania.
(c) Crawford was nominated by a caucus of 66 congressmen that called itself the "Democratic members of Congress".
(d) Clay was nominated by the Kentucky state legislature.
(e) Adams was nominated by the Massachusetts state legislature.
|Vice Presidential Candidate||Party||State||Electoral Vote|
|John C. Calhoun||Democratic-Republican||South Carolina||182|
|Nathan Sanford||Democratic-Republican||New York||30|
|Nathaniel Macon||Democratic-Republican||North Carolina||24|
|Martin Van Buren||Democratic-Republican||New York||9|
|Needed to win||131|
Results by state
|John Quincy Adams
|Connecticut||8||no ballots||7,494||70.39||8||no ballots||1,965||18.46||-||10,647||CT|
|Delaware||3||no popular vote||no popular vote||1||no popular vote||no popular vote||2||-||DE|
|Georgia||9||no popular vote||no popular vote||no popular vote||no popular vote||9||-||GA|
|Kentucky||14||6,356||27.23||-||no ballots||16,982||72.77||14||no ballots||23,338||KY|
|Louisiana||5||no popular vote||3||no popular vote||2||no popular vote||no popular vote||-||LA|
|Maine||9||no ballots||10,289||81.50||9||no ballots||2,336||18.50||-||12,625||ME|
|Massachusetts||15||no ballots||30,687||72.97||15||no ballots||no ballots||42,056||MA|
|New Hampshire||8||no ballots||9,389||93.59||8||no ballots||643||6.41||-||10,032||NH|
|New Jersey||8||10,332||52.08||8||8,309||41.89||-||no ballots||1,196||6.03||-||19,837||NJ|
|New York||36||no popular vote||1||no popular vote||26||no popular vote||4||no popular vote||5||-||NY|
|North Carolina||15||20,231||56.03||15||no ballots||no ballots||15,622||43.26||-||36,109||NC|
|Rhode Island||4||no ballots||2,145||91.47||4||no ballots||200||8.53||-||2,345||RI|
|South Carolina||11||no popular vote||11||no popular vote||no popular vote||no popular vote||-||SC|
|Vermont||7||no popular vote||no popular vote||7||no popular vote||no popular vote||35,031||VT|
Breakdown by ticket
|Presidential Candidate||Running Mate||Electoral Vote|
|Andrew Jackson||John C. Calhoun||99|
|John Quincy Adams||John C. Calhoun||74|
|Henry Clay||Nathan Sanford||27|
|William Harris Crawford||Nathaniel Macon||24|
|John Quincy Adams||Andrew Jackson||9|
|William Harris Crawford||Martin Van Buren||9|
|Henry Clay||John C. Calhoun||7|
|Henry Clay||Andrew Jackson||3|
|William Harris Crawford||Nathan Sanford||3|
|William Harris Crawford||Henry Clay||2|
|William Harris Crawford||John C. Calhoun||2|
|William Harris Crawford||Andrew Jackson||1|
|John Quincy Adams||none||1|
1825 Contingent election
The presidential election was thrown to the U.S. House of Representatives. Following the provisions of the Twelfth Amendment, only the top three candidates in the electoral vote were admitted as candidates in the House: Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and William Harris Crawford. Henry Clay, who happened to be Speaker of the House, was left out. Clay detested Jackson and had said of him, "I cannot believe that killing 2,500 Englishmen at New Orleans qualifies for the various, difficult, and complicated duties of the Chief Magistracy." Moreover, Clay's American System was far closer to Adams' position on tariffs and internal improvements than Jackson's or Crawford's, so Clay threw his support to Adams, who had many more votes than Clay. John Quincy Adams was elected President on February 9, 1825, on the first ballot, with 13 states, followed by Jackson with 7, and Crawford with 4.
Adams' victory shocked Jackson, who, as the winner of a plurality of both the popular and electoral votes, expected to be elected president. Interestingly enough, not too long before the results of the House election, an anonymous statement appeared in a Philadelphia paper, called the Columbian Observer. The statement, said to be from a member of Congress, essentially accused Clay of selling Adams his support for the office of Secretary of State. No formal investigation was conducted, so the matter was neither confirmed nor denied. When Clay was indeed offered the position after Adams was victorious, he opted to accept and continue to support the administration he voted for, knowing that declining the position would not have helped to dispel the rumors brought against him. By appointing Clay his Secretary of State, President Adams essentially declared him heir to the Presidency, as Adams and his three predecessors had all served as Secretary of State. Jackson and his followers accused Adams and Clay of striking a "corrupt bargain". The Jacksonians would campaign on this claim for the next four years, ultimately attaining Jackson's victory in the Adams-Jackson rematch in 1828.
Results by state in House of Representatives
|Delegation winner||Adams vote||Jackson vote||Crawford vote|
|Total votes||Adams||87 (41%)||71 (33%)||54 (25%)|
|Votes by state||Adams||13 (54%)||7 (29%)||4 (17%)|
Electoral College selection
|Method of choosing Electors||State(s)|
|Each Elector chosen by voters statewide||Alabama
|Each Elector appointed by state legislature||Delaware
|State is divided into electoral districts, with one Elector chosen per district by the voters of that district||Illinois
- Corrupt Bargain
- Electoral college
- History of the United States (1789-1849)
- Inauguration of John Quincy Adams
- Realigning election
- Second Party System
- Smoke-filled room
- United States House elections, 1824
- Popular vote totals are incomplete. See footnote (a) in section "Results"
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- Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996. Official website of the National Archives. (July 30, 2005).
- Henry Clay to Francis Preston Blair, January 29, 1825.
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|isbn=value (help). Retrieved November 19, 2008.
- McMaster, J. B. (1900). History of the People of the United States..., V. New York: D. Appleton and Company. p. 81. In Bemis, Samuel Flagg (1965). John Quincy Adams and the Union. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 54.
- Akin (1824). "Caucus curs in full yell, or a war whoop, to saddle on the people, a pappoose president / J[ames] Akin, Aquafortis". Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
- "A Historical Analysis of the Electoral College". The Green Papers. Retrieved March 20, 2005.
- Presidential Election of 1824: A Resource Guide from the Library of Congress