1828 United States presidential election

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1828 United States presidential election

← 1824 October 31 – December 2, 1828 1832 →

261 members of the Electoral College
131 electoral votes needed to win
Turnout57.6%[1] Increase 30.7 pp
  Andrew Jackson.jpg JohnQAdams.jpg
Nominee Andrew Jackson John Quincy Adams
Party Democratic National Republican
Home state Tennessee Massachusetts
Running mate John C. Calhoun Richard Rush
Electoral vote 178 83
States carried 15 9
Popular vote 642,553 500,897
Percentage 56.4% 43.6%

1828 United States presidential election in Maine1828 United States presidential election in New Hampshire1828 United States presidential election in Massachusetts1828 United States presidential election in Rhode Island1828 United States presidential election in Connecticut1828 United States presidential election in New York1828 United States presidential election in Vermont1828 United States presidential election in New Jersey1828 United States presidential election in Pennsylvania1828 United States presidential election in Delaware1828 United States presidential election in Maryland1828 United States presidential election in Virginia1828 United States presidential election in Ohio1828 United States presidential election in Indiana1828 United States presidential election in Illinois1828 United States presidential election in Kentucky1828 United States presidential election in Tennessee1828 United States presidential election in North Carolina1828 United States presidential election in South Carolina1828 United States presidential election in Georgia1828 United States presidential election in Alabama1828 United States presidential election in Mississippi1828 United States presidential election in Louisiana1828 United States presidential election in MissouriElectoralCollege1828.svg
About this image
Presidential election results map. Blue denotes states won by Jackson and Calhoun or Smith, light yellow denotes those won by Adams/Rush. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.

President before election

John Quincy Adams
National Republican

Elected President

Andrew Jackson

The 1828 United States presidential election was the 11th quadrennial presidential election. It was held from Friday, October 31 to Tuesday, December 2, 1828. It featured a re-match of the 1824 election, as President John Quincy Adams of the National Republican Party faced Andrew Jackson of the Democratic Party. Both parties were new organizations, and this was the first presidential election their nominees contested. Jackson's victory over Adams marked the start of Democratic dominance in federal politics.

With the collapse of the Federalist Party, four members of the Democratic-Republican Party, including Jackson and Adams, had sought the presidency in the 1824 election. Jackson had won a plurality of the electoral and popular vote in the 1824 election, but had lost the contingent election that was held in the House of Representatives. In the aftermath of the election, Jackson's supporters accused Adams and Henry Clay of having reached a "corrupt bargain" in which Clay helped Adams win the contingent election in return for the position of Secretary of State. After the 1824 election, Jackson's supporters immediately began plans for a re-match in 1828, and the Democratic-Republican Party fractured into the National Republican Party and the Democratic Party during Adams's presidency.

The 1828 campaign was marked by large amounts of "mudslinging", as both parties attacked the personal qualities of the opposing party's candidate. Jackson dominated in the South and the West, aided in part by the passage of the Tariff of 1828. Adams swept New England but won only three other small states. With the ongoing expansion of the right to vote to most white men, the election marked a dramatic expansion of the electorate, with 9.5% of Americans casting a vote for president, compared with 3.4% in 1824.[2] Several states transitioned to a popular vote for president, leaving South Carolina and Delaware as the only states in which the legislature chose presidential electors.

The election marked the rise of Jacksonian Democracy and the transition from the First Party System to the Second Party System. Historians debate the significance of the election, with many arguing that it marked the beginning of modern American politics by removing key barriers to voter participation and establishing a stable two-party system.[3] Jackson became the first president whose home state was neither Massachusetts nor Virginia, while Adams was the second to lose re-election, following his father, John Adams.


While Andrew Jackson won a plurality of electoral votes and the popular vote in the election of 1824, he lost to John Quincy Adams as the election was deferred to the House of Representatives (by the terms of the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution, a presidential election in which no candidate wins a majority of the electoral vote is decided by a contingent election in the House of Representatives). Henry Clay, unsuccessful candidate and Speaker of the House at the time, despised Jackson, in part due to their fight for Western votes during the election, and he chose to support Adams, which led to Adams being elected president on the first ballot.

A few days after the election, Adams appointed Clay his Secretary of State, a position held by Adams and his three immediate predecessors prior to becoming president. Jackson and his followers promptly accused Clay and Adams of striking a "corrupt bargain," and continued to lambaste the president until the 1828 election.

In the aftermath of the 1824 election, the national Democratic-Republican Party collapsed as national politics became increasingly polarized between supporters of Adams and supporters of Jackson. In a prelude to the presidential election, the Jacksonians bolstered their numbers in Congress in the 1826 Congressional elections, with Jackson ally Andrew Stevenson chosen as the new Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1827 over Adams ally Speaker John W. Taylor.


Jacksonian Party nomination[edit]

1828 Jacksonian Party ticket
Andrew Jackson John C. Calhoun
for President for Vice President
Andrew Jackson.jpg
Former U.S. Senator from Tennessee
(1797–1798 & 1823–1825)
Vice President of the United States

Within months after the inauguration of John Quincy Adams in 1825, the Tennessee legislature re-nominated Jackson for president, thus setting the stage for a re-match between these two very different politicians three years thence. Congressional opponents of Adams, including former William H. Crawford supporter Martin Van Buren, rallied around Jackson's candidacy. Jackson's supporters called themselves Democrats, and would formally organize as the Democratic Party shortly after his election.[4] In hopes of uniting those opposed to Adams, Jackson ran on a ticket with sitting Vice President John C. Calhoun. Calhoun would decline the invitation to join the Democratic Party, however, and instead formed the Nullifier Party after the election; the Nullifiers would remain largely aligned with the Democrats for the next few years, but ultimately broke with Jackson over the issue of states' rights during his first term. No congressional nominating caucus or national convention was held.[5]

Anti-Jacksonian Party nomination[edit]

1828 Anti-Jacksonian Party ticket
John Quincy Adams Richard Rush
for President for Vice President
Richard Rush engraving.png
President of the United States
U.S. Secretary of the Treasury

President Adams and his allies, including Secretary of State Clay and Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, became known as the National Republicans. The National Republicans were significantly less organized than the Democrats, and many party leaders did not embrace the new era of popular campaigning. Adams was re-nominated on the endorsement of state legislatures and partisan rallies. As with the Democrats, no nominating caucus or national convention was held. Adams chose Secretary of the Treasury Richard Rush, a Pennsylvanian known for his protectionist views, as his running mate. Adams, who was personally popular in New England, hoped to assemble a coalition in which Clay attracted Western voters, Rush attracted voters in the middle states, and Webster won over former members of the Federalist Party.[6]

General election[edit]


"Some account of the bloody deeds of General Andrew Jackson", c. 1828

The campaign was marked by large amounts of nasty "mudslinging." Jackson's marriage, for example, came in for vicious attack. When Jackson married his wife Rachel in 1791, the couple believed that she was divorced, however the divorce was not yet finalized, so he had to remarry her once the legal papers were complete. In the Adams campaign's hands, this became a scandal. Charles Hammond, in his Cincinnati Gazette, asked: "Ought a convicted adulteress and her paramour husband be placed in the highest offices of this free and Christian land?"[7] Jackson also came under heavy attack as a slave trader who bought and sold slaves and moved them about in defiance of modern standards of morality (he was not attacked for merely owning slaves used in plantation work).[8] The Coffin Handbills attacked Jackson for his courts-martial, execution of deserters and massacres of Indian villages, and also his habit of dueling.

Jackson avoided articulating issue positions, instead campaigning on his personal qualities and his opposition to Adams. Adams avoided popular campaigning, instead emphasizing his support of specific issues.[5] Adams's praise of internal improvements in Europe, such as "lighthouses of the skies" (observatories), in his first annual message to Congress, and his suggestion that Congress not be "palsied by the will of our constituents" were given attention in and out of the press. John Randolph stated on the floor of the Senate that he "never will be palsied by any power save the constitution, and the will of my constituents." Jackson wrote that a lavish government combined with contempt of the constituents could lead to despotism, if not checked by the "voice of the people." Modern campaigning was also introduced by Jackson. People kissed babies, had picnics, and started many other traditions during the campaign.

Jefferson's opinion[edit]

Thomas Jefferson wrote favorably in response to Jackson in December 1823 and extended an invitation to his estate of Monticello: "I recall with pleasure the remembrance of our joint labors while in the Senate together in times of great trial and of hard battling, battles indeed of words, not of blood, as those you have since fought so much for your own glory & that of your country; with the assurance that my attempts continue undiminished, accept that of my great respect & consideration."[9]

Jefferson wrote in dismay at the outcome of the contingent election of 1825 to Congressional caucus nominee William H. Crawford, saying that he had hoped to congratulate Crawford but "events had not been what we had wished."[10]

In the next election, Jackson's and Adams's supporters saw value in establishing the opinion of Jefferson in regards to their respective candidates and against their opposition.[11] Jefferson died on July 4, 1826.

A goal of the pro-Adams press was to depict Jackson as a "mere military chieftain."[11] Edward Coles recounted that Jefferson told him in a conversation in August 1825 that he feared the popular enthusiasm for Jackson: "It has caused me to doubt more than anything that has occurred since our Revolution." Coles used the opinion of Thomas Gilmer to back himself up; Gilmer said Jefferson told him at Monticello before the election of Adams in 1825, "One might as well make a sailor of a cock, or a soldier of a goose, as a President of Andrew Jackson."[11] Daniel Webster, who was also at Monticello at the time, made the same report. Webster recorded that Jefferson told him in December 1824 that Jackson was a dangerous man unfit for the presidency.[12] Historian Sean Wilentz described Webster's account of the meeting as "not wholly reliable."[13] Biographer Robert V. Remini said that Jefferson "had no great love for Jackson."[14]

Results by county explicitly indicating the percentage of the winning candidate in each county. Shades of blue are for Jackson (Democrat) and shades of yellow are for Adams (National Republican).

Gilmer accused Coles of misrepresentation, for Jefferson's opinion had changed, Gilmer said. Jefferson's son-in-law, former Virginia Governor Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr., said in 1826 that Jefferson had a "strong repugnance" to Henry Clay.[11] Randolph publicly stated that Jefferson became friendly to Jackson's candidacy as early as the summer of 1825, perhaps because of the "corrupt bargain" charge, and thought of Jackson as "an honest, sincere, clear-headed and strong-minded man; of the soundest political principles" and "the only hope left" to reverse the increasing powers assumed by the federal government.[15] Others said the same thing, but Coles could not believe Jefferson's opinion had changed.[11]

In 1827, Virginia Governor William B. Giles released a letter from Jefferson meant to be kept private to Thomas Ritchie's Richmond Enquirer. It was written after Adams's first annual message to Congress and it contained an attack from Jefferson on the incumbent administration. Giles said Jefferson's alarm was with the usurpation of the rights of the states, not with a "military chieftain."[11] Jefferson wrote, "take together the decisions of the federal court, the doctrines of the President, and the misconstructions of the constitutional compact acted on by the legislature of the federal bench, and it is but too evident, that the three ruling branches of that department are in combination to strip their colleagues, the State authorities, of the powers reserved by them, and to exercise themselves all functions foreign and domestic." Of the Federalists, he continued, "But this opens with a vast accession of strength from their younger recruits, who, having nothing in them of the feelings or principles of '76, now look to a single and splendid government of an aristocracy, founded on banking institutions, and moneyed incorporations under the guise and cloak of their favored branches of manufactures, commerce and navigation, riding and ruling over the plundered ploughman and beggared yeomanry."[16] The Jacksonians and states' rights men heralded its publication; the Adams men felt it a symptom of senility.[11] Giles omitted a prior letter of Jefferson's praise of Adams for his role in the embargo of 1808. Thomas Jefferson Randolph soon collected and published Jefferson's correspondence.


The selection of electors began on October 31 with elections in Ohio and Pennsylvania and ended on November 13 with elections in North Carolina. The Electoral College met on December 3. Adams won almost exactly the same states that his father had won in the election of 1800: the New England states, New Jersey, and Delaware. In addition, Adams picked up Maryland, but Jackson won everything else, which resulted in a landslide victory for him in the electoral college.

The Democratic Party in Georgia was hopelessly divided into two factions (Troup vs. Clark). Both factions nominated Jackson for President, and the election was primarily a test of strength of these two factions, with the JQA Electors running a poor third. The winning slate, which received a 3,000 vote majority,[17] was not pledged to any Vice Presidential Candidate. Consequently, seven of the nine Presidential Electors who voted for Jackson for President chose William Smith for Vice President.

With this in mind, Jackson won the popular vote by 12.34%, but the result was far closer than it appeared: a shift of less than 12,000 votes in New York and Ohio would have won Adams the election in the electoral college, despite Jackson winning the popular vote by 10.25% (note this scenario and popular vote margin are almost identical to that of 1824).

This was the last election in which the Democrats won Kentucky until 1856 and the last in which the Democrats won South Carolina until 1840. It is also the only election where Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Vermont voted for the National Republicans and the last time that New Hampshire voted against the Democrats until 1856 and the last time Maine did so until 1840. It was also the only election in which an electoral vote split occurred in Maine until the election of 2016, the first election in which the winning ticket did not have a North-South balance, and the first election in which two northerners ran against two southerners.

Electoral results
Presidential candidate Party Home state Popular vote(a) Electoral
Running mate
Count Percentage Vice-presidential candidate Home state Electoral vote
Andrew Jackson Democratic Tennessee 642,553 55.97% 178 John Caldwell Calhoun (incumbent) South Carolina 171
William Smith South Carolina 7
John Quincy Adams (incumbent) National Republican Massachusetts 500,897 43.63% 83 Richard Rush Pennsylvania 83
Other 4,568 0.40% Other
Total 1,148,018 100% 261 261
Needed to win 131 131

Source (Popular Vote): Leip, David. "1828 Presidential Election Results". Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved July 27, 2005. Source (Electoral Vote): "Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved July 31, 2005.

(a) The popular vote figures exclude Delaware and South Carolina. In both of these states, the Electors were chosen by the state legislatures rather than by popular vote.

Results by state[edit]

1828 Electoral Map.png
States/districts won by Jackson/Calhoun
States/districts won by Adams/Rush
Andrew Jackson
John Quincy Adams
National Republican
Margin State Total
State electoral
# % electoral
# % electoral
# % #
Alabama 5 0001361816,736 89.89 5 000486691,878 10.09 - 14,858 79.80 18,618 AL
Connecticut 8 4,448 22.95 - 13,829 71.36 8 -9,381 -48.41 19,378 CT
Delaware 3 no popular vote no popular vote 3 - - - DE
Georgia 9 19,362 96.79 9 642 3.21 - 18,720 93.58 20,004 GA
Illinois 3 9,560 67.22 3 4,662 32.78 - 4,898 34.44 14,222 IL
Indiana[18] 5 22,201 56.62 5 17,009 43.38 - 5,192 13.24 39,210 IN
Kentucky 14 39,308 55.54 14 31,468 44.46 - 7,840 11.08 70,776 KY
Louisiana 5 4,605 53.01 5 4,082 46.99 - 523 6.02 8,687 LA
Maine 9 13,927 40.03 1 20,773 59.71 8 -6,846 -19.68 34,789 ME
Maryland 11 22,782 49.75 5 23,014 50.25 6 -232 -0.50 45,796 MD
Massachusetts 15 6,012 15.39 - 29,836 76.36 15 -23,824 -60.97 39,074 MA
Mississippi 3 6,763 81.05 3 1,581 18.95 - 5,182 62.10 8,344 MS
Missouri 3 8,232 70.64 3 3,422 29.36 - 4,810 41.28 11,654 MO
New Hampshire 8 20,212 45.90 - 23,823 54.10 8 -3,611 -8.20 44,035 NH
New Jersey 8 21,809 47.86 - 23,753 52.12 8 -1,944 -4.26 45,570 NJ
New York 36 139,412 51.45 20 131,563 48.55 16 7,849 2.90 270,975 NY
North Carolina 15 37,814 73.07 15 13,918 26.90 - 23,896 46.17 51,747 NC
Ohio[18] 16 67,596 51.60 16 63,453 48.40 - 4,143 3.20 131,049 OH
Pennsylvania[18] 28 101,457 66.66 28 50,763 33.34 - 50,694 33.32 152,220 PA
Rhode Island[18] 4 820 22.91 - 2,755 76.96 4 -1,935 -54.05 3,580 RI
South Carolina 11 no popular vote 11 no popular vote - - - SC
Tennessee 11 44,293 95.19 11 2,240 4.81 - 42,053 90.38 46,533 TN
Vermont[18] 7 8,350 25.43 - 24,363 74.20 7 -16,013 -48.77 32,833 VT
Virginia 24 26,854 68.99 24 12,070 31.01 - 14,784 37.98 38,924 VA
TOTALS: 261 642,553 55.97 178 500,897 43.63 83 141,656 12.34 1,148,018 US
TO WIN: 131

John Quincy Adams received a similar number of electoral college votes in 1824 and 1828.

John Quincy Adams Electoral College Votes
State 1824 1828
Massachusetts 15 15
Connecticut 8 8
New Hampshire 8 8
Rhode Island 4 4
Vermont 7 7
Maine 9 8
New York 26 16
New Jersey 0 8
Maryland 3 6
Delaware 1 3
Illinois 1 0
Louisiana 2 0
Total 84 83
Popular vote
Electoral vote—President
Electoral vote—Vice President


Rachel Jackson had been having chest pains throughout the campaign, and she was traumatized by the personal attacks on her marriage. She became ill and died on December 22, 1828. Jackson accused the Adams campaign, and Henry Clay even more so, of causing her death, saying, "I can and do forgive all my enemies. But those vile wretches who have slandered her must look to God for mercy."[7]

Andrew Jackson was sworn in as president on March 4, 1829. After the inauguration, a mob entered the White House to shake the new president's hand, damaging the furniture and lights. Jackson escaped through the back, and large punch bowls were set up to lure the crowd outside. Conservatives were horrified at this event, and held it up as a portent of terrible things to come from the first Democratic president.[19]

Electoral College selection[edit]

Method of choosing electors State(s)
Each Elector appointed by state legislature
State is divided into electoral districts, with one Elector chosen per district by the voters of that district
  • Two Electors chosen by voters statewide
  • One Elector chosen per Congressional district by the voters of that district
  • One Elector chosen per Congressional district by the voters of that district
  • Remaining two Electors chosen by the other Electors
New York
Each Elector chosen by voters statewide (all other states)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections". The American Presidency Project. UC Santa Barbara.
  2. ^ Kish, J.N. "U.S. Population 1776 to Present". Google Fusion Tables. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
  3. ^ David Waldstreicher, "The Birth of Modern Politics: Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and the Election of 1828./Vindicating Andrew Jackson: The 1828 Election and the Rise of the Two Party System," Journal of the Early Republic, Winter 2010, Vol. 30 Issue 4, pp 674-678
  4. ^ Yenne, Bill (2016). The Complete Book of US Presidents. Voyageur Press. ISBN 978-0-7603-5007-2.
  5. ^ a b Deskins, Donald Richard; Walton, Hanes; Puckett, Sherman (2010). Presidential Elections, 1789-2008: County, State, and National Mapping of Election Data. University of Michigan Press. pp. 88–90.
  6. ^ Waldstreicher, David (2013). A Companion to John Adams and John Quincy Adams. John Wiley & Sons. p. 320.
  7. ^ a b McClelland, Mac (October 31, 2008). "Ten Most Awesome Presidential Mudslinging Moves Ever". Mother Jones. Retrieved April 10, 2014.
  8. ^ Mark Cheathem, "Frontiersman or Southern Gentleman? Newspaper Coverage of Andrew Jackson during the 1828 Presidential Campaign," The Readex Report (2014) 9#3 online
  9. ^ Thomas Jefferson to Andrew Jackson, December 18, 1823 Retrieved on November 21, 2006.
  10. ^ Thomas Jefferson to William H. Crawford, February 15, 1825. Retrieved on November 21, 2006.Transcript.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Peterson, Merrill D.. The Jefferson Image in the American Mind, p. 25-27
  12. ^ Webster, Daniel (1857). Webster, Fletcher (ed.). The Private Correspondence of Daniel Webster. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. pp. 371.
  13. ^ Wilentz, Sean. Andrew Jackson (2005), p. 8.
  14. ^ Remini, Jackson 1:109
  15. ^ Peterson, Merrill D.. The Jefferson Image in the American Mind, p. 26. See also: Andrew Stevenson's Eulogy of Andrew Jackson: B. M. Dusenbery, ed. (1846). Monument to the Memory of General Andrew Jackson. Philadelphia: Walker & Gillis. pp. 250, 263–264.
  16. ^ Thomas Jefferson to William Branch Giles, Dec. 26, 1825. Peterson characterized this letter as "one of the most influential that Jefferson ever wrote."
  17. ^ Norwich Courier, December 3, 1828
  18. ^ a b c d e vote tallies from Counting the Votes website by G. Scott Thomas
  19. ^ Maldwyn A. Jones, The Limits of Liberty, American History, 1607-1992, Second Edition, Oxford University Press, p.139.


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]