HomeHistoryUS History: The Election of 1828 – Andrew Jackson Gets Revenge

US History: The Election of 1828 – Andrew Jackson Gets Revenge

The election of 1828 and it’s one of the nastiest elections in U.S. history as Andrew Jackson is looking to get some revenge against the incumbent president, John Quincy Adams… Let’s get into it.

Controversial Finish

As mentioned in the previous article, the election of 1824 was thrown into the House of Representatives after neither of the four candidates: Andrew Jackson, William Crawford, Henry Clay and John Quincy Adams were able to get enough of the electoral votes needed to win. Upon the decision by the House of Representatives in 1825, it was announced that John Quincy Adams would become the new president of the United States of America, despite the fact Andrew Jackson had the most electoral and popular vote than any of the three candidates.

It was later believed by many that a “Corrupt Bargain” was reached between Clay and Adams as the former could make the case as to whom should be the next president to those in House; Soon after John Quincy Adams becomes the new president Clay became the new Secretary of State which was a job he wanted because the last several presidents held that position before being commander and chief and Clay wanted to be the next one to continue that legacy.

The results angered many including Andrew Jackson, who got the nomination to run for the presidency again thanks to the endorsement of the Tennessee legislature thereby setting the stage for what would be a rematch of the previous election.

However, Jackson didn’t get the nomination for the Democratic-Republican Party as the divisions between the John Quincy Adams supporters and the Jackson supporters among other things led to the party’s demise.

The Birth of the Democratic Party

Andrew Jackson decided to build a group of supporters that would help him get elected in 1828 and that group would include the support of not only politicians but many poor and middle-class white voters. This coalition of supporters would soon manifest itself into a political party that we know today as The Democratic Party with the party symbol being a Donkey after people who criticized Jackson referred to him as a ‘Jackass’, which ‘Old Hickory’ actually liked.

The Democrats in its early existence supported the ideas of getting rid of a centralized bank, limiting government, being in favor of state rights and supporting slavery among other things. The party was created by both Jackson and New York political, Martin Van Buren as a response to the privileged elites that they believed were corrupting the country by using their power to keep the lower classes down.

Supporters of what be ‘Jacksonian Democracy’ went on to sweep the midterm elections and the Democrats tried to do everything in their power to criticize and oppose much of John Quincy Adams’ legislation to hurt his chances at re-election.

John Quincy Adams’ Presidency

Speaking of John Quincy Adams, his time as president has seen him pushing through various infrastructure projects that would lead to the creation of what would be the Erie Canal, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad System and the Cumberland Road. Adams also planned to use the “American System” which was an economic policy plan created by Henry Clay that would allow the US economy to grow through protective tariffs, a centralized national bank and expanding trade.

However, once the Jacksonians aka Jackson supporters began to take positions of power, much of those hopes of achieving political success were squashed especially after Adams signed into law ‘The Tariff of 1828‘ which had disastrous effects on the South’s economy.

Because of this, John C. Calhoun resigned from his position as Adams’ Vice President and instead decided to run as Andrew Jackson’s running mate in the 1828 election. In response, John Quincy Adams who also got the nomination without any nominating caucus decided to run for re-election under the newly created National Republican Party (no relation to the current Republican Party). Adams chose Richard Rush, who was the Secretary of the Treasury within his administration as his running mate for this election. So, knowing that the stage has been set in regard to the events leading into the election, it’s time to talk about the election itself and especially the campaigning on both sides.

Dirty Campaigning

Both supporters of Jackson and Adams used the media of their day to spread vicious rumours about the other side with almost no stone being unturned. Andrew Jackson was criticized for his habit of killing people in duels including a time when he killed a man who made an unflattering remark at Jackson’s wife, Rachel.

Speaking of Rachel Jackson, she and Andrew Jackson’s relationship was vilified in the newspapers as Rachel was in a relationship with Jackson despite her divorce from her previous marriage not being finalized yet; This made many refer to Andrew and Rachel as ‘Adulterers’ at a time when something like that was frowned upon.

Other lines of criticism thrown at Jackson was his decision to execute soldiers who had abandoned the battlefield, rumours of cannibalism, his involvement in the Slave Trade, Jackson’s illiteracy and killing Indians among other nasty claims in several pamphlets called ‘The Coffin Handbills’.

John Quincy Adams was slandered as well with rumours that he gave a woman away to the Russian czar during Adams’ time as U.S. Minister to Russia and was referred to as a pimp while using taxpayer dollars to buy gambling devices, but that last account was proven false as Adams did use his own money to buy what turned out to be a chess set and billiard table to play during his free time. So, the mudslinging is running wild within this election with neither side pulling any punches, but now it’s time to see who out of Andrew Jackson or John Quincy Adams came out on top.

The Results

Much like the election of 1824, you need 131 electoral votes to win the presidency and in the end, Andrew Jackson soundly defeats Adams to become the seventh president in U.S. history.

Jackson received 178 electoral votes and 56% of the popular vote while John Quincy Adams got 83 electoral votes and 44% of the popular vote; Quincy Adams much like his father John Adams became a one-term president and the only father and son duo to become president only to lose re-election.

John Calhoun remained the vice president but this time under Andrew Jackson, making Calhoun the second VP since George Clinton to be remain vice president but under two different candidates. Now, you’d think this is where the story comes to a close as Jackson has become the new commander and chief after a very nasty election, but some other things need to be mentioned before I wrap up this article.

The Scars of Battle

While Andrew Jackson was sworn in as the new president in March of 1829, he would be doing it as a widower as his wife Rachel had died in December the previous year due to having chest pains throughout the election that resulted in her death. Jackson accused both Adams and Henry Clay of spreading the negative propaganda that led to Rachel’s death. Meanwhile, John Quincy Adams refused to attend Jackson’s inauguration making him the second president (next to his dad) to do this.

Following Jackson’s swearing-in ceremony, a group of energetic people entered the White House and caused so much chaos that John Quincy Adams and many of his cabinet had to escape out the back door before large punch bowls were used to lure the crowd out.
This election is credited with ushering in the ‘Second Party System’ as two new political parties would emerge in the Democrats and another party that’ll be talking a little bit more of in the next several articles. And with that we come to an end with the election of 1828, one of the most significant and chaotic elections since 1800 and the next one will be just insane.

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