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In the United States presidential election of 1824, John Quincy Adams was elected President on February 9, 1825, after the election was decided by the House of Representatives. The previous few years had seen a one-party government in the United Statesmarker, as the Federalist Party had dissolved, leaving only the Democratic-Republican Party. In this election, the Democratic-Republican Party splintered as four separate candidates sought the presidency. Such splintering had not yet led to formal party organization, but later the faction led by Andrew Jackson would evolve into the Democratic Party, while the factions led by John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay would become the National Republican Party and later the Whig Party.

This election is notable for being the only time since the passage of the Twelfth Amendment in which the presidential election was decided by the House of Representatives, as no candidate received a majority of the electoral vote. This presidential election was also the only one in which the candidate receiving the most electoral votes did not become president (because a majority, not just a plurality, is required to win). It is also often said to be the first election in which the president did not win the popular vote, although the popular vote was not measured nationwide. At that time, several states did not conduct a popular vote, allowing their state legislature to choose their electors.

General election

Campaign

The election was a contest among:







In 1822, Jackson was nominated for president by the legislature of Tennessee; a convention of Pennsylvanian Democratic-Republicans nominated Jackson in 1824. 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. Even though he recovered in 1824, this crippled his bid for the presidency. Also, John Quincy Adams had more support than Henry Clay because of the huge popularity he had among the old Federalist voters in New England; by now, the Adams family too had united with the Democratic-Republican Party.

The election was partially a contest of favorite sons as it was a conflict over policy (positions on tariffs and internal improvements was where some significant disagreement existed), as the candidates were backed 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.

John C. Calhoun of South Carolinamarker, current Secretary of War, was initially a fifth candidate in the early stages of consideration, but he opted instead to seek the vice presidency and backed Jackson after seeing the popularity of Crawford in the South. Both Adams' and Jackson's supporters backed Calhoun, giving him an easy majority of electoral votes to be elected vice president.

Campaigning for this presidential election occurred in 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 amongst the voting public through newspapers. Presidential candidate John C. Calhoun may have been 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 behalf of and promote the candidates.

This political cartoon depicts the 1824 election as a foot race. The cartoon was released sometime toward the end of the election by David Johnston. The leader is John Quincy Adams, second place is William H. Crawford, third place is Andrew Jackson, and standing alone towards the back is Henry Clay. Henry Clay is in last because he had the least electoral votes. The cartoon is rich in detail, in comparison to most modern political cartoons. An example is the two men in the background saying, “The foremost fellow shows fine bottom’, while the other exclaims ‘Ay, but the hindmost has the best bone.”

Results

Not surprisingly, the results of the election were divided and inconclusive. The electoral map confirmed the candidates’ sectional support, with Adams winning outright in the New England states, with Jackson having success in states throughout the nation, and with Clay’s votes coming from the west and Crawford’s from the east. Andrew Jackson received more electoral and popular votes than any other candidate, but not the 131 electoral votes to constitute a majority and 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.

(a) The popular vote figures exclude Delawaremarker, Georgiamarker, Louisianamarker, New Yorkmarker, South Carolinamarker, and Vermontmarker. In all of these states, the Electors were chosen by the state legislatures rather than by popular vote.

Breakdown by ticket

(a) Research has not yet been sufficient to determine the pairings of 21 electoral votes in Delaware, Maryland, and New York; therefore, the possible tickets are listed with the minimum and maximum possible number of electoral votes each.

1825 Contingent election

The voting by state in the House of Representatives


The presidential election was thrown to the U.S. House of Representatives. As per the Twelfth Amendment, only the top three candidates in the electoral vote were candidates in the House: Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and William Harris Crawford. Left out was Henry Clay, who happened to be Speaker of the House. 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 performed, 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
Alabamamarker Jackson 0 3 0
Connecticutmarker Adams 6 0 0
Delawaremarker Crawford 0 0 1
Georgiamarker Crawford 0 0 7
Illinoismarker Adams 1 0 0
Indianamarker Jackson 0 3 0
Kentuckymarker Adams 8 4 0
Louisianamarker Adams 2 1 0
Mainemarker Adams 7 0 0
Marylandmarker Adams 5 3 1
Massachusettsmarker Adams 12 1 0
Mississippimarker Jackson 0 1 0
Missourimarker Adams 1 0 0
New Hampshiremarker Adams 6 0 0
New Jerseymarker Jackson 1 5 0
New Yorkmarker Adams 18 2 14
North Carolinamarker Crawford 1 2 10
Ohiomarker Adams 10 2 2
Pennsylvaniamarker Jackson 1 25 0
Rhode Islandmarker Adams 2 0 0
South Carolinamarker Jackson 0 9 0
Tennesseemarker Jackson 0 9 0
Vermontmarker Adams 5 0 0
Virginiamarker Crawford 1 1 19
Total votes Adams 87 (41%) 71 (33%) 54 (25%)
Votes by state Adams 13 (54%) 7 (29%) 4 (17%)


Electoral College selection

See also



Notes

References




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