Presidential Election 1824 – The Corrupt Bargain

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The Basics

 

Time Required

2-3 class periods

 

Subject Areas

US History

Expansion and Reform, 1800-1860

 

Common Core Standards Addressed:

Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies 6-12

 

Author

Lisa Waligora (2006)

The Lesson

 

Introduction

Once James Monroe leaves the presidency in 1824, the Founding Fathers era is over and the United States finds itself redefining America and Americans.  The election of 1824 brought a new breed of politicians and voters.  The country begins to force its way to the west under Manifest Destiny as immigrants and citizens alike find themselves moving from rural to urban areas.  Industry begins its takeover of the U.S. economy setting the foundations for trust building and hurling the United States into economic depression.

The song selections incorporated into these lessons illustrate many of the feelings of everyday citizens regarding issues facing Americans in this new era of U.S. History.  They also serve as a new way of thinking about the events dryly explained in textbooks. 

Guiding Questions

  • What influences citizens to choose between candidates?
  • Who should have won the election of 1824?

 

Learning Objectives

After completing this lesson students will:

1. draw comparisons between candidates, their issues, and their campaign strategies.

2. analyze political issues and campaign strategies.

3. evaluate the election results and eventual outcome of the election of 1824.

Preparation Instructions

Songs used in this lesson:

“Little Know Ye Who’s Coming”

“Hunters of Kentucky”

 

Lesson Activities

  • Introduce students to the candidates vying for office in 1824 with no detailed background material and discover what students can infer with basic information.  Attached is a chart with the election results deleted and a selection of guiding questions.
  • Provide students with campaign song lyrics for the top two candidates, Adams and Jackson.  After studying the songs, ask students the following discussion questions:

A. How do the songs differ?

B. What mood does each song evoke?

C. What information does each song provide?

D. Using the lyrics, describe the character and potential of the two candidates.

E. Based on this additional information, how would you vote?

F.  How did the songs influence your vote or change your original opinion?

  • Next provide more information regarding the main candidates using the attached chart, complete with qualifications, criticisms, allegations, etc.  Again ask students to examine all information and vote their choice for President.  How have results changed?  Did students change or keep their vote?  Why?  For an extension activity, students can use the Campaign Issues chart to complete using lecture, web quest, Edsitement lesson plans, etc.
  • Finally, allow students to see the election results and explain the voting process, the House of Representatives vote, and Jackson’s claims of corruption.  This is a perfect opportunity to set up future lessons regarding party systems, election reform, and development of the new Democratic Party, demise of the Democratic - Republican Party, and certainly the Presidency of J.Q. Adams, and the Election of 1828.

Assessment

Assessment is informal observation of class discussion, journal writing and question responses.

 

Resources

 

Lyrics

“Little Know Ye Who’s Coming” available at

http://divisionoflabour.com/archives/000112.php

“Hunters of Kentucky” available at

http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6522/

Other Resources

* American President.org site containing biographies, campaign issues, results, etc.

http://www.americanpresident.org/history/johnquincyadams/biography/CampaignsElections.common.shtml

* Website with candidate information, maps, charts, etc.

http://www.answers.com/topic/united-states-presidential-election-1824


1824 Presidential Candidates

 

John Quincy Adams

Party: DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICAN
Home State:
MA

 

Andrew Jackson

Party: DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICAN
Home State:
TN

 

William Harris Crawford

Party: DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICAN
Home State:
GA

 

Henry Clay
Party:
DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICAN
Home State:
KY

John C. Calhoun was a fifth candidate who dropped out to run and win as Vice-President http://www.presidentelect.org/e1824.html

What information is available to you?

What do you notice about these four candidates?

If you lived in New York, Illinois, or Mississippi what would you know about these candidates?

What policies or plans do you think these candidates are in favor of or against?

Who would you vote for and how did you make this decision?


 

Presidential Candidates

 

John Quincy Adams

Party: DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICAN
Home State:
MA

Secretary of State, former minister to Russia, drafter of the Treaty of Ghent, son of John Adams, President and Statesman, backed by many of the merchants and commercial interests of New England, considered very formal and deliberate in manner, called a bad dresser with an “English” wife

 

Andrew Jackson

Party: DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICAN
Home State:
TN

Military General and hero of the War of 1812, Battle of New Orleans in 1815, former U.S. Representative and Senator, political views not well known, complete opposite of Adams, seen as down to earth and a man of the people, accused of murder, gambling, dueling, adultery, and being a military tyrant

 

William Harris Crawford

Party: DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICAN
Home State:
GA

Secretary of Treasury, former minister to France, former senator from Georgia, former Secretary of War, selected by a caucus of Republican Congressmen rather than in a primary for the general public, considered the favorite, a slaveholder, accused of dishonesty, mismanaging the budget and committing unlawful acts while in office

 

Henry Clay
Party:
DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICAN
Home State:
KY

 

Known as the Great Compromiser, current Speaker of the house, in favor of meeting Western needs such as transportation improvements such as roads and canals, a slaveholder, called a drunkard and a gambler

John C. Calhoun was a fifth candidate who dropped out to run and win as Vice-President

http://www.presidentelect.org/e1824.html (Additional information placed on chart)

Extension Activity:

Campaign of 1824: Candidates and Issues

Candidate

Slavery

Tariff

Internal

Improvements

Banking

Public

Land

Policy

Experience

Personal

Adams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crawford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jackson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John C. Calhoun was a fifth candidate who dropped out to run and win as Vice-President

The Election Is in the House: The Presidential Election of 1824 http://edsitement.neh.gov/view_lesson_plan.asp?id=551

(Chart altered for this assignment; Edsitement has documents needed to complete chart)

Presidential Candidates

 

John Quincy Adams

Party: DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICAN
Home State:
MA
Electoral Votes:
84
Pop. Vote:
113,122 (30.5%)

 

Andrew Jackson

Party: DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICAN
Home State:
TN
Electoral Votes:
99
Pop. Vote:
151,271 (43.1%)

 

William Harris Crawford

Party: DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICAN
Home State:
GA
Electoral Votes:
41
Pop. Vote:
40,856 (13.2%)

Crawford suffers a stroke and though he recuperates before the election, his popularity does not.

 

Henry Clay
Party:
DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICAN
Home State:
KY
Electoral Votes:
37
Pop. Vote:
47,531 (13.1%)

Since Clay does not garner enough popular or electoral votes , neither he nor Crawford are part of the run off, however, Clay does have an important part in the results of the House of Representatives run off vote.

John C. Calhoun was a fifth candidate who dropped out to run and win as Vice-President

http://www.presidentelect.org/e1824.html (Additional information placed on chart)

 

Maps:

 

http://www.presidentelect.org/e1824.html

Teacher Notes Regarding Election and Outcome

(From “The Electoral Process and Political Leadership” in CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS FOUNDATION: Bill of Right in Action: Fall 1992, 8:4)

http://www.crf-usa.org/index2.php?option=com_content&do_pdf=1&id=306

“When the votes of the 24 states were finally tallied, to no one's surprise, there was no majority winner. In popular vote, Jackson came in first with 42 percent, Adams took 32 percent, and Clay and Crawford had 13 percent each. In the crucial electoral vote, Jackson led with 99 electors from 11 states, 32 votes short of a needed majority. Adams had 84 electors from seven states. Crawford had 41, and Clay was last with 37.

Following the procedures of the 12th Amendment, the House of Representatives now had to choose the president from the top three: Jackson, Adams, and Crawford. At the time, Inauguration Day was in March, and the first months of 1825 became a frenzy of lobbying and back-room bargaining. Rumors spread that representatives were trading their votes for ambassador posts and cabinet jobs.

Henry Clay's fourth place finish shut him out of the presidency. He tried to use his post as speaker of the House to play kingmaker. He called in favors and worked behind the scenes to influence the vote. Jackson was a fellow Westerner, but Clay suspected that he would be a rival in future presidential races. Clay disliked Adams, but the two met privately a month before the House election. Both men denied making any bargains. But rumors said that Adams had promised to make Clay secretary of state.

As the vote neared, Clay worked hard for Adams. He won over some Western representatives whose states had voted solidly for Jackson. He even promised the votes of his own Kentucky, which had not cast a single popular vote for the Yankee Adams.

The House met to vote on February 9, 1825. After more than a month of arm twisting and bargaining, John Quincy Adams took exactly the 13 states he needed to win, Jackson won seven, and Crawford four. The public galleries in the house broke into such an uproar of booing and hissing that Speaker Clay ordered them cleared. Three days later, the new president nominated Henry Clay as his secretary of state. Charges of making a "corrupt bargain" would dog Henry Clay for the rest of his life.

The Jackson supporters were furious. After all, he had won by far the largest share of popular votes with 42 percent. Jackson immediately declared that he would run in 1828. And he became the first major American politician to call for eliminating the Electoral College and electing the president directly by popular vote.”

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