United States presidential election, 1824
All 261 electoral votes of the Electoral College
131 electoral votes needed to win
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. The election was decided by the House of Representatives under the provisions of the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution after no candidate secured a majority of the electoral vote. It was the first presidential election in which the candidate who received the most electoral votes (Andrew Jackson) did not become President, a source of great bitterness for Jackson and his supporters, who proclaimed the election of Adams a corrupt bargain.
Prior to the election, the Democratic-Republican Party had been the sole national political organization in the United States, winning the last six consecutive presidential elections, a period of one-party government known as the Era of Good Feelings. In 1824 the Democratic-Republican Party failed to agree on a choice of candidate for president, with the result that the party effectively ceased to exist and split four ways behind four separate candidates. 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.
- 1 General election
- 2 Nomination process
- 3 Results by state
- 4 1825 Contingent election
- 5 Electoral College selection
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
- 10 External links
- 11 Navigation
The previous competition between the Federalist Party and the Democratic-Republican Party collapsed after the War of 1812 due to the disintegration of the Federalists' popular appeal, and U.S. President James Monroe of the Democratic-Republican Party was able to run without opposition in the election of 1820. Like the previous presidents, James Monroe declined to seek re-nomination for a third term.
Monroe's vice president, Daniel D. Tompkins, was considered unelectable due to his overwhelming unpopularity and major health problems (which would ultimately claim his life in June 1825, a little over three months after he left office), thus the presidential nomination was left wide open within the Democratic-Republican Party, the only major national political entity remaining in the United States at the time.
Candidates who withdrew before election
Declined to run for office
|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, after quickly becoming disillusioned by repeated attacks on his credibility made by the other candidates. He was replaced by North Carolina senator Nathaniel Macon. A serious impediment to Crawford's candidacy was created by the effects of a stroke he suffered in 1823. 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.
Secretary of War John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, who was initially a fifth candidate in the early stages of consideration, declined to run for president, but did decide to seek the vice presidency. For president, he backed Jackson, whose political beliefs he considered more compatible with those of most voters in the southern states. Both Adams and Jackson supporters backed Calhoun's candidacy as vice president, thus he easily secured the majority of electoral votes he needed to secure that office. In reality, Calhoun was vehemently opposed to nearly all of Adams's policies, but he did nothing to dissuade Adams supporters from voting for him for vice president.
The campaigning for presidential election of 1824 took many forms. Contrafacta, or well known songs and tunes whose lyrics have been 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 candidates most directly involved through his participation in the publishing of the newspaper The Patriot as a member of the editorial staff. This was a sure way to promote his own political agendas and campaign. In contrast, 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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Considering the large numbers of candidates and strong regional preferences, it is not surprising that the results of the election of 1824 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 eastern South. 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. Since 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 easily defeated his rivals in the race for the vice presidency, as the support of both the Adams and Jackson camps quickly gave him an unassailable lead over the other candidates.
|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||Massachusetts||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
|Electoral Votes for President:||261||99||84||40||38|
|For Vice President, John C. Calhoun||182||99||74||2||7|
|For Vice President, Nathan Sanford||30||2||28|
|For Vice President, Nathaniel Macon||24||24|
|For Vice President, Andrew Jackson||13||9||1||3|
|For Vice President, Martin Van Buren||9||9|
|For Vice President, Henry Clay||2||2|
|(No vote for Vice President)||1||1|
1825 Contingent election
Since no candidate received a majority of the electoral votes, the presidential election was thrown into 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 at the time, 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. Thus 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"
- Donald Ratcliffe, The One-Party Presidential Contest: Adams, Jackson, and 1824's Five-Horse Race (2015)
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- Henry Clay to Francis Preston Blair, January 29, 1825.
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- Presidential Election of 1824: A Resource Guide from the Library of Congress