The 1824 Election: Random Interesting Facts

by Jonathan Hobratsch

My notes on Donald Ratcliffe’s The One-Party Presidential Contest: Adams, Jackson, and 1824’s Five-Horse Race can be found below. This book is part of 24-book series, with more books forthcoming. I aim to post my notes from all of them.

Here’s the map of the 1824 elections results:

Source: Wikipedia

1824 Election: Inconclusive between Jackson, Adams, Crawford, and Clay & 1825: Adams defeats Jackson and Crawford.


  • The author points out that US Rep. Stephen Van Rensselaer was the crucial vote that handed the election to John Quincy Adams over Andrew Jackson. I have also read that at some point Van Rensselaer was also the wealthiest man in America. The only other election that saw a single US Rep carry so much power in an election was in the 1800 election when James Bayard made the crucial move to hand the election to Jefferson over Burr.
  • The author states that the popularity of Andrew Jackson in 1824 was a myth. This rests on the fact that six states did not have a popular vote, including the heavily populated state of New York. Based off state elections, the author argued that Adams’s lead in NY would have been so high as to give him a higher popular vote than Jackson had the state had a popular vote. While we might never know for certain, I will agree with the author’s statement that Jackson was not the clear favorite as Jackson and some historians make him out to be.
  • Jackson, as a candidate, was more politically mainstream in 1824 than he was in 1828. It wasn’t certain he was a reformist.
  • William H. Crawford of Georgia, the incumbent Sec of the Treasury, the favorite of the party establishment, and the likely frontrunner suffered a serious stroke in September 1823 that left him mostly blind, paralyzed, and inarticulate. He stayed in the race, still hoping to win the election.
  • One of the bigger disagreements with James Monroe was “internal improvements,” that is federal funding for roads, bridges, canals, etc. to facilitate trade. Monroe wanted a Constitutional Amendment before he would sign on to any. However, Henry Clay and others argued that they were legal through the “necessary and proper” clause. Rufus King, one of the last remaining Federalists, and the last Federalist nominee for president in 1816, stated that no candidate opposed to internal improvements will win the election. This was clear. Adams, Jackson, Clay, Calhoun, and Crawford all supported them at one level or another. Henry Clay went so far as to these improvements with a protective tariff, which he deemed “The American System.” This makes it clear that Calhoun was much more of a nationalist at this time and not the State Rights icon he would later become.
  • Albert Gallatin, a notable Jeffersonian economist and influential politician, considered Crawford as the best and most appropriate man to lead Jefferson’s party. Crawford had handled the US economy and finances, including a full-scale reorganization, following the War of 1812. He also helped create the 2nd US Bank. Earlier, Crawford had been an influential US Senator from Georgia despite his youth at the time.
  • Early on it was clear Crawford had the most support, partially because Crawford, as Sec of Treasury, could offer so many patronage job, which was further strengthened by the 1820 Tenure of Office Act. Thus, many people owed Crawford. The author states, however, that Crawford wasn’t the manipulative or partisan sort that would have strategized to use offices for future gain. If true, Crawford’s influence came from his office and not as much from his person.
  • Crawford appears to have leaned closer to the radical faction of the Jeffersonians than Adams, Jackson, Clay, or Calhoun. Crawford led efforts to cut back on government spending and government schemes. This often caused issues with Pres. James Monroe who, although having been a radical formerly, had become much more moderate as president. Monroe considered firing Crawford because of policy differences.
  • Pres. James Monroe refused to support anyone in the 1824 election. Adams, Calhoun, and Crawford were both members of his cabinet. He couldn’t choose to endorse one over the others without potentially losing two of them to resignation. In my opinion, Monroe’s refusal to endorse anyone or support the caucus nomination of Crawford, left the Jeffersonian Republican Party leadership, allowing the factions to fight it out. Monroe’s own moderations made the party comfortable enough that many Federalists switched parties. This left a hodge-podge of factions in a party that no longer had unity. Crawford was the most Jeffersonian, and arguably the most like Monroe, despite some differences. The rest sort of had their own orbits. There was not much Jeffersonian about the direction Adams and Clay were going with their political ideas. Monroe’s presidency is generally considered “good,” but he lacked the ability or desire to lead. I’d imagine to nostalgic Jeffersonians, Monroe probably seemed like a failure for much of the rest of the 1820s.
  • According to the author, the South, which had often been reluctantly supporting the idea of union and a federal government became content with the government after three consecutive two-term Virginian presidents. The South often went so far as to support some nationalistic policies. This can be shown by John C Calhoun (SC), Andrew Jackson (TN), William H Crawford (GA), Henry Clay (KY), and others all more or less accepting a standing military, internal improvements, and a banking system. This implies this would not have been the case had Northerners held on to the presidency during this period. One should also remember that the first secession convention, the Hartford Convention, took place in the North during southerner James Madison’s presidency.
  • One faction of the Jeffersonian Republicans, sometimes called Radicals, Tertium Quids, neo-Antifederaists, or Old Republicans, were critical of union and a federal government regardless of the region that controlled it. This is the faction that developed from George Mason, William Maclay, John Taylor of Caroline, James Monroe (before he was president) and was now led by John Randolph of Roanoke and Nathaniel Macon. They opposed any government movement that would favor special interests or move beyond their strict interpretation of the Constitution. The author puts Philip Barbour, John Floyd, and future president John Tyler with this group. Of the five names mentioned as belonging to this group in 1824, all are Virginian except for Macon, who was from North Carolina. It may seem odd that South Carolina is absent, but the state government didn’t believe in a popular vote, which was a very Jeffersonian requirement. Macon feared that if the government is allowed to create roads and bridges, then it could claim the same power to abolish slavery. The faction also opposed protective tariffs, declaring them unconstitutional. This faction saw a rise in popularity under Monroe, it seems. Barbour became Speaker of the House and the faction became so strong that it seemed likely that Monroe (now disliked by the radicals) would not have won Virginia–his home state–in a 3rd term bid.
  • The Radical Jeffersonians hadn’t a strong candidate of their own, so most of them supported William H. Crawford as a lesser of several evils. This sounds a lot like their 1808 strategy when this faction supported James Monroe. I’ve read of Monroe’s more radical politics in the 1790s and early 1800s. The War of 1812 converted Monroe into a more moderate position.
  • Thomas Jefferson considered Crawford “a Republican of the old school,” provided praise which likely shows Jefferson’s own preference for the 1824 election. It’s hard to imagine Jefferson supporting Adams or Clay.
  • Early in the election, it was assume the race would be between frontrunner Crawford and Adams. Clay was considered as the outlier choice. John C. Calhoun’s entry into the race was something of a surprised, although favored by De Witt Clinton of NY, the fusion nominee (Federalists and anti-Madison Republicans) of the 1812 election. Clinton’s support of Calhoun shows again that Calhoun was not yet the States Rights activist at this time. Apparently, Calhoun and other influential politicians did not like Crawford. While Crawford preferred Adams to Crawford, he did not think Adams could win outside of New England. The book seems to suggest that Calhoun launched his campaign primarily to block Crawford and the Radical Jeffersonians from gaining the presidency.
  • Calhoun initially ran into a crucial roadblock in his candidacy in late 1821 when South Carolina nominated William Lowndes instead of Calhoun for president, but Lowndes, aged 40, died of illness the next year. This left Calhoun, aged also 40 in 1822, free to run without burning bridges in his state. South Carolina’s legislature then moved its nomination votes from Lowndes to Calhoun.
  • Calhoun was more in the style of the conservative Federalists at this time. This is shown by the author’s statement that Calhoun’s main New England ally was conservative Federalist Daniel Webster. If Calhoun had any shot outside the South, which was unlikely, it would have to come through Webster’s aid.
  • The AB Plot, which prompted an investigation into Crawford’s handling of the Treasury Department was probably partially motivated by Calhoun’s efforts to stop Crawford as president. Apparently, John Quincy Adams thought this prompted Monroe to unofficially support Calhoun for the presidency as Calhoun was now the scandal-free Southerner attached to his administration.
  • In 1822, Monroe appointed several Federalists to office, upsetting the more partisan Jeffersonians, including Martin Van Buren of NY. It seems to me this instance was an early step in Van Buren becoming the architect of the Democratic Party, which would first start unofficially in his state and then become national under Jackson. Van Buren even calls refers to Jefferson’s party–or the ideal of what Jefferson’s party is supposed to be–as the “old democratic party.” He may have used this phrase in reference to Federalist officeholders because their party was far from democratic.
  • Van Buren and Radical Jeffersonians and the allies of either group feared a Federalist takeover of the party or perhaps the return of the Federalists as a regional party. Currently, the Federalists had strength only Massachusetts, Delaware, and some isolated areas in the North. For instance, James Buchanan of PA, a future president, was a Federalist politician at this time.
  • Calhoun was considered a nationalist in his own state, and the US Senators–William Smith and John Gaillard–were more closely aligned with the Radical Jeffersonians. To them, Calhoun was probably more like an old South Carolinian Federalists–like a Pinckney or Rutledge. After their candidate, Lowndes died, Calhoun was able to engineer Smith’s defeat in the US Senate. Calhoun, however, was not able to inspire nationalism in the South outside of South Carolina. He would, sometime after 1824, join the States Rights banner and take over its leadership.
  • Despite James Monroe’s unanimous victory in 1820 (minus 1 faithless elector), there was opposition to Monroe. John Quincy Adams and DeWitt Clinton had been favorites in 1820 as options more palatable to former Federalists. Clinton was the son of former NY GOV and VP George Clinton. While Clinton was never a Federalist, he had led the fusion ticket in 1812, which was a sort of hybrid Republican-Federalist ticket. John Quincy Adams had been a Federalist but switched over during the Jefferson administration. According to the book, DeWitt Clinton had strong support in NY, PA, NJ, and OH had he run.
  • The Missouri Compromise, which admitted Missouri as a slave state and created Maine out of Massachusetts as a new free state, was a major issue of the 1824 campaign. Most Northerners hoping to run for president, including JQ Adams and Clinton, would have known that opposition to the compromise would mean they wouldn’t get a vote in the South in the 1824 Election.
  • Opponents to slavery at this time were often very racist by today’s standards. They wanted slavery abolished often for political reasons, such as breaking up the unity of the “Slave States” and removing the three-fifths compromise which inflated the slave state electoral votes based on slavery. Many of those that opposed slavery on moral grounds were also racist. They wanted slaves freed, but they didn’t necessarily want freed slaves in their communities or as voting citizens. The author points out that at the time of the Louisiana Purchase some abolitionist wanted the territory acquired but free of both slavery and freed slaves. That is, land for white people. Northerners, even if the disliked slavery, disliked vocal abolitionists. This is probably because of the fear of disrupting unity, inspiring slave rebellions, and Civil War.
  • The Missouri Compromise temporarily increased sectional tension. The author states that PA, CT, and NY were among free states that helped overthrow Speaker of the House John W. Taylor of NY in late 1821 for his antislavery views. Speaking out against slavery at this time was not politically proper. Despite Massachusetts connection with the Anti-Slavery movement in later years, Federalists in Massachusetts, such as Harrison Gray Otis, were more sympathetic to the rights of the southern states than they were to slaves. The Federalist rationale, I assume, was based more on keeping the Union attached.
  • John Quincy Adams privately condemned slavery, including to South Carolinian John C. Calhoun, but Adams mostly removed himself from the Missouri battle. I am assuming this is because he had White House ambitions.
  • The author states that while the South was unified in favor of slavery, the North hadn’t a unified stance on the issue.
  • By 1821, it was assumed Adams would win all of New England, despite some misgivings about Adams in New England. Adams, like his father, had an independent streak, lacked personal charisma, and could be equally as irascible. Since Adams was Sec of State, and the previous three presidents had been Sec of State as well, Adams saw himself as the natural successor to Monroe, even if Crawford was the frontrunner. However, Adams was Monroe’s 3rd choice for Sec of State after Crawford and Clay. However, Crawford opposed Clay for the spot and vice-versa. Monroe, according to the author, selected Adams because he thought Adams was unelectable. Monroe was, therefore, initially deciding whether his heir should be Crawford or Clay.
  • James Buchanan, the future president and then Federalist, considered Adams too “austere” to be President of the United States.
  • Adams, while no longer a Federalist, believed firmly in the Federalist-idea that the people should vote for the man that earned their vote through service to the country. Adams unrealistically believed that the people would be aware that he was the obvious choice. Adams became paranoid through the campaign that any attempts to stop Adams from becoming president must be because of malicious efforts. In short, Adams believed the only valid scenario involved him running basically unopposed, much like Monroe in 1820.
  • The North looked for alternatives to Adams but also realized they were stronger if they rallied behind a single Northerner as they expected the South to rally behind only one candidate. The Northerners looked for a NY options since that state was critical. Of the options, Rufus King, the 1816 Federalist nominee was old and too Federalist for 1824. Monroe’s VP, Daniel Tompkins, was dying of alcoholism, had personal financial troubles, and was becoming unpopular in his home state of NY for being too agnostic on the slavery question. Sec of Navy Smith Thompson made himself available for a over half a year but accepted appointment to the Supreme Court. DeWitt Clinton seemed like the likely alternative, but he had lost in 1812 and was too friendly to Federalists.
  • Many Massachusetts Federalists refused to forgive Adams for switching parties during the Jefferson presidency. As such, notable Federalists Harrison Gray Otis and Timothy Pickering favored Crawford over Adams. Strangely, future anti-slavery leader William Lloyd Garrison is mentioned as preferring Crawford and Jackson to Adams, despite Adams being the only one of the three that didn’t own slaves.
  • John C. Calhoun who, as mentioned earlier, was seen as a national figure and was not yet a States Rights advocate, had a lot of support in the North. He was seen as more national than Crawford, Clay, or Adams by some. As such, JQ Adams supporters built a ticket of Adams for Pres and Calhoun for VP. This ticket would potentially lock up the North and win some Southern states as well.
  • DeWitt Clinton did not run for president for a few reasons: 1) He had already failed as a nominee in 1812. 2) Van Buren’s anti-Clinton forces had defeated Clinton in New York when candidates were being put forth. 3) Clinton opted to run for governor again in 1824 to gain control of his state once again. 4) Clinton was often portrayed by opponents as trying to revive the Federalist Party, even though he was never a member of it. 5) Clinton was seen as being too much of a party of himself.
  • Much of the anti-Clinton propaganda came from Van Buren’s political machine. Van Buren did have the ammo. Clinton is shown to have fired Jeffersonian Republicans (now referred to as Democrats by Van Buren), appointed Federalists, supported a Federalist Speaker of the NY legislature, and to have occasionally criticized Pres. James Monroe. Van Buren, a leader among partisan politicians, launched a war against independent thinkers and movers within his party–especially within NY.
  • Clinton, though greatly weakened by Van Buren, still had presidential ambitions, especially after his preferred candidate–Calhoun–seemed to “Federalist” to be a safe choice for president. I think this is an odd election, partially because the label of Federalists is being thrown around. Adams, a former Federalists, is rebuked by Federalist who support the Radical Jeffersonian-preferred candidate Calhoun. Clinton, who was friendly to Federalists and accused of trying to resurrect them, reneges his support of Calhoun, the future States Rights advocate, for being too Federalists. James Buchanan, then a Federalists, will become a Jackson supporter.
  • Martin Van Buren, despite being a Northerner, threw his support quietly to Crawford. Crawford seemed likely to lock up the South and if Van Buren handed him NY then, I assume, Van Buren would be credited with landing Crawford the win. The reward might be Sec of State for his efforts. New York was one of the remaining states that didn’t allow a popular vote for president. As such, Van Buren had only to convince the state legislature to support a Southerner.
  • While many prominent Federalists refused to back Adams, Rufus King–the last Federalist nominee–supported Adams as he was the only Northern option.
  • Clinton favored Jackson for president once he realized Van Buren muscled Clintonites out of the NY legislature. He probably saw Jackson as more of an independent like himself.
  • The author cites a Jabez Hammond, who argued that Henry Clay had a unique control over the human mind. Hammond, acknowledging Clay as a great orator, credits Clay’s social qualities.
  • Sen. Thomas Hart Benton of MO, a Clay supporter was convinced Clay had an equal chance with Crawford for the presidency. He also thought Adams would be a distant 3rd place.
  • Clay, though a Southerner, was strongly opposed by the Radical Jeffersonians (the author routinely uses the term neo-Antifederalists, despite having called the label confusing).
  • Clay was a lock to win his home state of KY. He had expected to to secure all of the west, but he was ill for almost a year and couldn’t work his magic in his home region. Later we learn that Andrew Jackson of TN emerges, undercutting Clay’s support there. I read in one book that Jackson’s candidacy was initially a ploy by Adams’s supporters to weaken Clay’s support in the west. However, Jackson the pawn became Jackson the popular, and his handlers couldn’t control Jackson any more. This book, unless I missed it, doesn’t mention this.
  • Rufus King was adamant that NY, PA, and NJ prioritized a president willing to use federal funds and energy to build canals. Had DeWitt Clinton, who led the building of the Erie Canal, been a candidate, we could see these states falling in line. Without Clinton in the race, the most vocal supporter of canals was Henry Clay via his proposed “American System,” which would fund internal improvements through a tariff hike. Canals were so desired by NY that Van Buren had a difficult time keeping NY legislatures in line behind Crawford as momentum for Clay was building in the state.
  • In 1823, Clay was the 2nd choice behind Calhoun. Adams was probably in 3rd place and had support of Philadelphia Federalists. Crawford, who was considered the frontrunner, was unpopular in PA but many influential politicians owed their patronage positions to Crawford.
  • Anti-slavery sentiment was strong enough in the northern Midwest that Clay would have to fight to for states like OH and IN. While Clay wasn’t the only slaveholder, he was arguably the leading compromiser on slavery’s expansion in the west. For these voters, Adams was the obvious choice as the only non-slaveholder, but westerners stereotyped easterners as disinterested in the west. I’ve read that many in New England saw their influence over the country decrease as more states entered the union and grew in population. Adams may have been one of these, although I’m not sure.
  • The author claims Henry Clay hurt his chances in OH and other parts of the west by helping the National Bank pursue debtors in the west.
  • While Jackson wasn’t discussed as a likely candidate in the way that Crawford and Adams were, it was understood that he’d draw a lot of support for his War of 1812 record. He was considered a strong candidate for 1820 had he wished to run for office then. As late as 1821, Jackson declared that he was unfit for the presidency. Pres. Monroe agreed based on his quasi-reputation as a military warlord. In 1822, he retired to his farm, but the state legislature nominated him for president anyway, possibly to take votes from Clay in favor of Adams. However, I’m not sure why Adams would have this sort of support in TN over Crawford, for instance.
  • Monroe tried to take Jackson out of the race by making him the Ambassador to Mexico, but Jackson refused an appointment that was more like an exile.
  • Jackson and his allies noticed they had a realistic shot at being competitive when rumors of a grassroots movement emerged in Pennsylvania, which was then considered a Calhoun state.
  • Federalists were divided in Pennsylvania between “ultras” that lived in Philadelphia and “liberals,” who lived outside Philadelphia. The “ultras” seem to be the old school Federalists, while these “liberals” seem at least resigned to the changing times and would support an independently-minded Jeffersonian Republican. This “liberals” are the type that would have support DeWitt Clinton in 1812 and would likely have supported him again in 1824. They probably saw Jackson as the best independently-minded candidate. Future president James Buchanan would be the most notable Jackson Federalist.
  • George Mifflin Dallas, future VP for James K Polk, was one of the Philadelphia leaders of the faction of Jeffersonians that favored Calhoun over Jackson. By early 1824, Dallas had transferred factions support from Calhoun to Jackson and mentioned Calhoun as the preferred VP choice.
  • Calhoun dropped out of the race once he lost support of Pennsylvania to Jackson. He had at least secured the VP spot in the event that Jackson or Adams won. With his exit, Jackson made gains in the South.
  • While Jackson supported a limited federal government and opposed paper money, he supported nationalistic economic policies such as a protective tariff and internal improvements in the 1824 election.
  • Jackson appeared unstoppable in states that allowed a popular vote because of grassroots efforts. However, states that controlled their votes via legislature would be difficult for Jackson to win. For instance, New York looked like it could be written off for Jackson. Another issue was that Radical Jeffersonians in Virginia disliked Jackson because he was too independent.
  • Daniel Webster thought Jackson’s manners were more presidential than the other candidates. Jackson’s personal charm contradicts the image of Jackson as an uncouth savage. Webster also writes that his wife favored Jackson as president.
  • JQ Adams was the author of the Monroe Doctrine. Some contemporaries argued that the doctrine was designed to further Adams’s presidential ambitions.
  • By April 1824, Crawford had recovered enough from his stroke to attend cabinet meetings, even though he was still severely handicapped. The nominating caucus of the Jeffersonian Republicans was still expected to select Crawford as the “official” candidate of the party, despite many other healthy options, such as Adams, Clay, Jackson, and Calhoun. Jackson argued that the nominating caucus–derided as “King Caucus”–was undemocratic. This is strikingly true. The US was virtually a one-party state with Federalists increasingly disappearing. This meant that whomever the Caucus selected would be president.
  • Adams briefly considered allowing himself to become the VP for Crawford, partially because Crawford was considered to be the 2nd choice in his home state and because Crawford also opposed Clay and Webster’s advocacy of involvement in the Greek Wars of Independence. Adams wanted strict neutrality in that war. Once Adams helped defeat Webster’s resolution for involvement, Adams decided he would accept nothing but the presidency, and opposed the party having a nominating caucus, which would nominate Crawford.
  • Many contemporaries expected a Crawford-Clay ticket. Clay seemed to be reluctantly accepting of a nominating caucus, while Adams and Jackson were now strongly opposed to it. Clay also thought he was generally most people’s 2nd choice for president anyway.
  • It seems clear the nominating caucus was dying. Martin Van Buren, arguably the leading advocate for Crawford, worked hart to secure Crawford’s nomination–including a failed attempt to have the caucus select Crawford early, so that others hadn’t the time to build their candidacies. He also had difficulties getting Nathaniel Macon to attend, who would be crucial to getting Radical Jeffersonians support for Crawford. However, Macon had refused to attend the Caucus since 1800 as it required his faction to accept the majority decision. The number of caucus delegates that arrived was underwhelming. Most of the states weren’t represented. Additionally, Radical Jeffersonians Macon and John Randolph decided to absent themselves on principle. Nevertheless, Crawford won 60 of 64 votes. Albert Gallatin, although Swiss-born, was the VP candidate, mostly because he had tied to Jefferson’s administration.
  • Henry Clay’s advocacy for his “American System” makes him the first presidential candidate to tie his candidacy with specific policy. Clay’s tariff plans, however, cost him support in the South and Jackson’s national appeal as a War Hero stifled his support elsewhere outside of the West.
  • Crawford suffered another relapse in May 1824, knocking him out of commission until November. His health was so bleak in June that allies considered replacing him with Clay on their ticket. Crawford’s candidacy was being attacked on three fronts: the candidate’s health, rumors of malfeasance (AB Plot mentioned above), and Crawford’s lack of commitment either for or against internal improvements.
  • By September, it seemed clear that Gallatin as VP wasn’t going to secure Pennsylvania for Crawford as was hoped. Gallatin was convinced to withdraw his name, so that another VP could be selected.
  • While Calhoun was expected to be the VP choice for both Adams and Jackson, Adams made at least one attempt to make Jackson his VP. I read in one book that Adam’s framed his offer to Jackson as a “fine retirement,” suggesting that Jackson was old. Both men were born in 1767. Jackson, I assume was insulted. Once rejected, Adams went back to accepting Calhoun as the VP choice.
  • The book states that had Jackson not run, then Clay’s candidacy might have caught fire. However, Jackson was in the race and was gobbling up the support Clay might have won.
  • Unless I overlooked it in this book, I remember reading in another book that the stroke-ridden Crawford used his own enfeebled health as a bargaining chip to get a top ranked candidate to drop out, endorse him, and become his VP. No one took him up on his offer.
  • Jackson won the electoral college and the popular vote but fell short of the necessary electoral votes. The elections for a tie excluded Clay from being considered when the US House voted, but as Speaker, Clay was the most influential kingmaker. Crawford was a distant third and probably hoped to be a compromise choice in the House vote.
  • Daniel Webster thought the US House was loathe to vote for Jackson, who was thought of as a purely military man, despite having served as a US Senator and US Rep in the past.
  • The author points out that Jackson led in the electoral college only because of the three-fifths compromise, which artificially inflated the electoral votes of the slave states. Adams would have been in the lead by 6 EVs. The book also repeats that Jackson’s popular vote lead probably had more to do with his popularity in the areas where a popular vote was allowed. Adams won the EVs of the most popular regions in the country, and that might have possibly translated to more popular votes, had all of those states allowed a popular vote. My counter-argument is that we don’t know if Adams would have won all of those states if the legislatures of those states hadn’t selected him.
  • Future president James Buchanan stated that Jackson’s representatives approached Clay to get the speaker’s help in landing him the presidency. Jackson may have thought that another Western man might support him. Some claim Clay went around looking for the best offer. However, Adams was more likely than Jackson or Clay to support an “American System.” Jackson claimed a “corrupt bargain” between Clay and Adams, especially as Adams made Clay Sec of State–often considered the heir apparent of any president at the time.
  • Despite the so called Corrupt Bargain, Clay apparently knew he wanted Adams early in the process. Crawford was not physically fit, and Jackson was more of a military chieftain and potentially dangerous to the Republic. Also, as Jackson was already a western man, it was unlikely that he would follow Jackson as president since two presidents form the same region in back-to-back presidency was unlikely. I find this rationale odd considering the country just had three two-term presidents–all from Virginia, but maybe the west was a different story.
  • Willie P Mangum, a future Whig candidate, thought Henry Clay controlled 5 states in the US House vote.
  • DeWitt Clinton pressured New York US Reps to vote for Jackson, but most supported Adams. Stephen Van Rensselaer was the most independent member of the NY delegation and the deciding factor. Later in life, Van Buren stated that Van Rensselaer had supported Crawford until the US House vote.
  • Despite his later “Corrupt Bargain” rallying cry, Jackson approached Adams and shook his hand sometime after the vote. The Senate legitimized the election confirmed Adams’s appointments. Van Buren confirmed Clay as Sec of State, for instance.
  • Van Buren, with great prescience, believed that Clay signed the death warrant to future presidential ambitions by accepting Sec of State. Out going Pres. Monroe was hoping Clinton would be Sec of State, but Calhoun thought Clinton would be a distraction because he was so self-focused. Jackson labeled Clay, “the Judas of the west.”
  • Adams offered Crawford the opportunity to keep serving as Sec of Treasury, but Crawford, who still hadn’t recovered from his stroke, declined.

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