Robert Kennedy's United States History Class
Learning Objective IV
Discuss the election of 1824 and show how it lead to the development of today's Democratic party.
The election o 1824 reflects that political y the end of the "Era of Good Feeling" had past. By this time the country was split over the three economic issues of what was called by Henry Clay the American System.
Clay insisted that the only way the nation could be strengthened was on a sound economic program that would enable the United States to become independent of the rest of the world.
The system had three parts:
1. The first was a national bank to provide a sound uniform financial system. In 1811, the first _Bank of the United Stats passed out of existence as its charter expired. Madison, a Republican, was against the bank and would not renew its charter. Between 1811 and 1816, the number of state banks tripled. These banks had no governments checks upon them.
Under the circumstances, many of the state banks went wild in issuing bank notes--$28 million in 1811 and $68 million in 181 Thus, the instability in the economy made Republicans and businessmen alike aware of the need for a national bank to stabilize American currency. A bill signed into law by President Madison in 1816 created the Second Bank of the United States.
The function and structure of the Second Bank were essentially the same as those of the first Bank.
2. The second leg of the American System was a protective tariff. When the Republicans adopted the protective tariff of 1816, they adopted another one of Hamilton's and the Federalist Party's ideas.
During the early 1800's with Jefferson's embargo plus the War of 1812, the United States found it difficult to get goods from Europe. This problem stimulated the industrial revolution in the United States.
After the war, the British merchants wanted to recapture their one-time American trade, so in 1815 they dumped a lot of low cost goods on the American market in hopes of running their American competition out of business.
American businessmen were not about to be driven out of business, so in 1816 they put pressure on Congress to pass a protective tariff to protect their interests.
The Tariff Act had the support of both John C. Calhoun (South) and Henry Clay (West) and put import duties of 15 to 30% on cotton, textiles, leather, paper, pig iron, wool and other goods that mostly benefited the North.
The final phase of the American System was a plan for internal improvements for transportation.
The Embargo Act of 1807 and the War of 1812 disrupted coastal shipping and demonstrated the inadequacy of the country's internal transportation system for both interstate commerce and national defense .
In the West high transportation costs still deprived many farmers of outside markets and tied them to an economy of pioneer self-sufficiency. The greatest demand for federal help came from this area.
In 1817, John C. Calhoun proposed the Bonus Bill, which provided that $1.5 million be distributed among the states for local internal improvements. Madison considered the Bill unconstitutional and vetoed it in March just before he left office. This killed the internal improvement phase of the American System and left such improvements up to the state governments and private enterprise.
As a result of these three issues there were four candidates in 1824 for the presidency and all were claiming to be Republicans .
Three of the candidates were representatives from the three different sections of the country.
- Andrew Jackson from the West.
- John Q. Adams from the North.
- William H. Crawford from the South.
- The fourth, Henry Clay, thought of himself as a national candidate representing the interests of all three sections of the country with his American System.
There was a possibility of 261 electoral votes of which 131 were necessary to capture the presidency. However, none of the candidates received that number , (Clay 37, Crawford 41, Adams 84 and Jackson 99) so according to the Twelfth Amendment to the constitution the election had to be decided between the top three candidates in the House of Representatives .
Henry Clay was Speaker of the House of Representatives and thus was in a position to pick the next President of the United States.
Since Clay was not eligible because he came in fourth, he gave his support to John Q. Adams who thus won the presidency.
Adams responded by making Clay Secretary of State.(What about the previous Secretaries of State?)
After Adams appointed Clay Secretary of State, Jackson's followers claimed that a "corrupt bargain" had been made, although James Buchanan of Pennsylvania had already
The charge represents a half-truth as both Clay and Adams acted in what they felt was politically best for the party and the country as their political views were very close.
However, Clay did see the post of Secretary of State as a steppingstone to the presidency
Clay opposed the election to the presidency of a military leader like Jackson, because he doubted that losing only 71 casualties and "killing 2,500 Englishmen at New Orleans' qualified a man for the presidency." To complement this, the Secretary of State-ship went to Clay, according to Adams: "An appointment due to Mr. Clay's talents and services." "It was the politicians who elected J.Q. Adams, not the people."
Jackson felt he had been cheated out of the Presidency and as a result of this belief, he resigned from Congress in 1825 and began a three-year campaign to win the Presidency in 1828
During this three-year period, Jackson formulated what was to be called the "grass roots" method of campaigning as he set up campaign offices all over the country when he formed a new political party called the Democratic-Republican party. Later the term was shortened to just Democratic.