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United States presidential election, 1824


United States presidential election, 1824

United States Presidential Election, 1824

October 26 – December 2, 1824

All 261 electoral votes of the Electoral College
Nominee John Q. Adams Andrew Jackson
Party Democratic-Republican Democratic-Republican
Home state Massachusetts Tennessee
Running mate John C. Calhoun John C. Calhoun
Electoral vote 84 99
States carried 7 12
Popular vote 113,122[1] 151,271[1]
Percentage 30.9% 41.4%

Nominee William H. Crawford Henry Clay
Party Democratic-Republican Democratic-Republican
Home state Georgia Kentucky
Running mate Nathaniel Macon
(replacing Albert Gallatin)
Nathan Sanford
Electoral vote 41 37
States carried 2 3
Popular vote 40,856[1] 47,531[1]
Percentage 11.2% 13.0%

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.

President before election

James Monroe

Elected President

John Quincy Adams

The United States presidential election of 1824 was the 10th quadrennial 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.

The presidential election of 1824 is notable for being the only election since the passage of the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution to have been decided by the House of Representatives in accordance with its provision to turn over the choice of the president to the House when no candidate secures a majority of the electoral vote. It was also the only presidential election in which the candidate who received the most electoral votes did not become president (since Andrew Jackson's plurality of electoral votes was insufficient to prevent the election from being thrown into the House of Representatives). The election of 1824 is the first in which the successful presidential candidate did not win the popular vote. Several states did not permit a popular vote, but rather allowed the state legislature to choose their electors. Lastly, this election marked the seventh consecutive presidential victory for the Democratic-Republican Party, which, to this day, is still the longest presidential winning streak in American history.

General Election


The previous competition between the Federalists and the Republicans had collapsed after the War of 1812. James Monroe had been nominated by a caucus of Republican members of Congress in 1816, and had won the election easily. As party politics declined, they were replaced by bitter personal and sectional contests. Like all the previous two-term presidents, Monroe declined to seek re-nomination, and with vice president Daniel D. Tompkins being viewed as 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), the field was left wide open for potential nominees. By 1824, there were five serious contenders for the presidency:

William H. Crawford, Secretary of the Treasury, who had been nominated by a caucus of a minority of the Republican members of Congress. The rest of Congress decided that the caucus was elitist, anti-democratic, and to be avoided.

John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State, who held the second most prominent position in the American government at that time. Both James Madison and James Monroe had gone from State to the presidency.

Henry Clay, Speaker of the House, who was well-known and well respected around the nation. He probably would have received the caucus nomination if he had wanted it, but he argued against the caucus process instead.

Andrew Jackson, a military hero, former governor, and former senator, who was widely viewed as the champion of the common man.

John C. Calhoun, Secretary of War, who had a strong following in South Carolina and Pennsylvania. Pressures within South Carolina state politics were forcing him to shift from his earlier stance as a nationalist to his later position as a rigid defender of states' rights. Calhoun decided there was no way he could win the presidency against such tough competition.


Withdrew before election

Declined to run

The Balloting
Presidential Ballot Vice Presidential Ballot
William H. Crawford 64 Albert Gallatin 57
Henry Clay
John Quincy Adams 2 Erastus Root 2
Andrew Jackson 1 John Quincy Adams 1
William Eustis 1
William Rufus King 1
Walter Lowndes 1
Richard Rush 1
Samuel Smith 1
John Tod 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, and was replaced by North Carolina senator Nathaniel Macon. In 1823, Crawford suffered a stroke, crippling his bid for the presidency. 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.

Congressman William Lowndes declined to run, as did fellow South Carolina resident and Secretary of War John C. Calhoun, who was initially a fifth candidate in the early stages of consideration, but opted instead to seek the vice-presidency. Later, he backed Jackson after sensing the popularity of Crawford in the South. Both Adams and Jackson supporters backed Calhoun, giving him an easy majority of electoral votes for vice-president. In reality, Calhoun was vehemently opposed to nearly all of Adams's policies, but realizing that he was the person mostly to the win the presidency if Jackson failed to do so, did nothing to dissuade the Adams supporters.

Results by county explicitly indicating the percentage of the winning candidate in each county. Shades of blue are for Jackson (Democratic-Republican), shades of red are for Adams (Democratic-Republican), shades of yellow are for Clay (Democratic-Republican), and shades of green are for Crawford (Democratic-Republican).

The campaigning for this presidential election assumed 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 among the voting public through newspapers. Presidential candidate John C. Calhoun was 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 their behalf.[2][3][4][5]

Jackson supporters used this Battle of New Orleans anthem as their campaign song.

Problems playing this file? See .


Not surprisingly, the results of the election 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 east. 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. 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 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
Count Percentage
Andrew Jackson(b) Democratic-Republican Tennessee 151,271 41.4 99
John Quincy Adams(e) Democratic-Republican Massachusetts 113,122 30.9 84
William Harris Crawford(c) Democratic-Republican Georgia 40,856 11.2 41
Henry Clay(d) Democratic-Republican Kentucky 47,531 13.0 37
(Massachusetts unpledged electors) None N/A 6,616 1.8 0
Other 6,437 1.8 0
Total 365,833 100.0% 261
Needed to win 131

(a) The popular vote figures exclude 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.[6]

(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[7]
John C. Calhoun Democratic-Republican South Carolina 182
Nathan Sanford Democratic-Republican New York 30
Nathaniel Macon Democratic-Republican North Carolina 24
Andrew Jackson Democratic-Republican Tennessee 13
Martin Van Buren Democratic-Republican New York 9
Henry Clay Democratic-Republican Kentucky 2
Total 260
Needed to win 131

Results by state

Andrew Jackson
John Quincy Adams
Henry Clay
William Crawford
State Total
State electoral
# % electoral
# % electoral
# % electoral
# % electoral
Alabama 5 000136189,429 69.32 5 000136182,422 17.80 - 0004866996 0.71 - 000486691,656 12.17 - 13,603 AL
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
Illinois 3 1,272 27.23 2 1,516 32.46 1 1,036 22.18 - 847 18.13 - 4,671 IL
Indiana 5 7,343 46.61 5 3,095 19.65 - 5,315 33.74 - no ballots 15,753 IN
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
Maryland 11 14,523 43.73 7 14,632 44.05 3 695 2.09 - 3,364 10.13 1 33,214 MD
Massachusetts 15 no ballots 30,687 72.97 15 no ballots no ballots 42,056 MA
Mississippi 3 3,121 63.77 3 1,654 33.80 - no ballots 119 2.43 - 4,894 MS
Missouri 3 1,166 33.97 - 159 4.63 - 2,042 59.50 3 32 0.93 - 3,432 MO
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
Ohio 16 18,489 36.96 - 12,280 24.55 - 19,255 38.49 16 no ballots 50,024 OH
Pennsylvania 28 35,929 76.04 28 5,436 11.50 - 1,705 3.61 - 4,182 8.85 - 47,252 PA
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
Tennessee 11 20,197 97.45 11 216 1.04 - no ballots 312 1.51 - 20,725 TN
Vermont 7 no popular vote no popular vote 7 no popular vote no popular vote 35,031 VT
Virginia 24 2,975 19.35 - 3,419 22.24 - 419 2.73 - 8,558 55.68 24 15,371 VA
TOTALS: 261 151,363 41.36 99 113,142 30.92 84 47,545 12.99 37 41,032 11.21 41 365,928 US
TO WIN: 131

Breakdown by ticket

Presidential Candidate Running Mate Electoral Vote
Andrew Jackson John C. Calhoun 99
John Quincy Adams John C. Calhoun 74
Henry Clay Nathan Sanford 28
William Harris Crawford Nathaniel Macon 24
John Quincy Adams Andrew Jackson 9
William Harris Crawford Martin Van Buren 9
Henry Clay John C. Calhoun 7
Henry Clay Andrew Jackson 3
William Harris Crawford Nathan Sanford 2
William Harris Crawford Henry Clay 2
William Harris Crawford John C. Calhoun 2
William Harris Crawford Andrew Jackson 1
John Quincy Adams none 1

1825 Contingent election

The voting by state in the House of Representatives. States in pink voted for Adams, states in blue for Crawford, and states in green for Jackson.

The presidential election was thrown to 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, 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."[8] 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,[9][10] 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.[11] 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
Maine Adams 7 0 0
New Hampshire Adams 6 0 0
Vermont Adams 5 0 0
Massachusetts Adams 12 1 0
Rhode Island Adams 2 0 0
Connecticut Adams 6 0 0
New York Adams 18 2 14
New Jersey Jackson 1 5 0
Pennsylvania Jackson 1 25 0
Delaware Crawford 0 0 1
Maryland Adams 5 3 1
Virginia Crawford 1 1 19
North Carolina Crawford 1 2 10
South Carolina Jackson 0 9 0
Georgia Crawford 0 0 7
Alabama Jackson 0 3 0
Mississippi Jackson 0 1 0
Louisiana Adams 2 1 0
Kentucky Adams 8 4 0
Tennessee Jackson 0 9 0
Missouri Adams 1 0 0
Ohio Adams 10 2 2
Indiana Jackson 0 3 0
Illinois Adams 1 0 0
Total votes[12] Adams 87 (41%) 71 (33%) 54 (25%)
Votes by state Adams 13 (54%) 7 (29%) 4 (17%)

Electoral College selection

Caucus curs in full yell, by James Akin, 1824 (critique of "the press's treatment of Andrew Jackson, and on the practice of nominating candidates by caucus").[13]
Method of choosing Electors State(s)
Each Elector chosen by voters statewide Alabama
New Hampshire
New Jersey
North Carolina
Rhode Island
Each Elector appointed by state legislature Delaware
New York
South Carolina
State is divided into electoral districts, with one Elector chosen per district by the voters of that district Illinois
  • Two Electors chosen by voters statewide
  • One Elector chosen per Congressional district by the voters of that district

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Popular vote totals are incomplete. See footnote (a) in section "Results"
  2. ^ Hansen, Liane (Host). (October 5, 2008). Songs Along The Campaign Trail [Radio series episode]. In Election 2008: On The Campaign Trail. National Public Radio.
  3. ^ Hay, Thomas R (October 1934). John C. Calhoun And The Presidential Campaign Of 1824, Some Unpublished Calhoun Letters. The American Historical Review, 40, No. 1, Retrieved October 27, 2008, from
  4. ^ McNamara, R (September 2007). The Election Of 1824 Was Decided In The House Of Representatives. Retrieved October 27, 2008, from About. Com Web site:
  5. ^ Schimler, Stuart (February 12, 2002). Singing To The Oval Office: A Written History Of The Political Campaign Song. Retrieved October 28, 2008, from President Elect Articles Web site:
  6. ^ Leip, David. 1824 Presidential Election Results. Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections (July 26, 2005).
  7. ^ Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996. Official website of the National Archives. (July 30, 2005).
  8. ^ Henry Clay to Francis Preston Blair, January 29, 1825.
  9. ^  
  10. ^ United States Congress (1825). House Journal. 18th Congress, 2nd Session, February 9. pp. 219–222. Retrieved August 2, 2006. 
  11. ^ Schlesinger, Arthur Meier; Israel, Fred L. (1971). History of American presidential elections, 1789–1968, Volume I, 1789–1844. New York: Chelsea House. pp. 379–381.  
  12. ^ McMaster, J. B. (1900). History of the People of the United States..., V. New York: D. Appleton and Company. p. 81. In Bemis, Samuel Flagg (1965). John Quincy Adams and the Union. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 54.
  13. ^ Akin (1824). "Caucus curs in full yell, or a war whoop, to saddle on the people, a pappoose president / J[ames] Akin, Aquafortis". Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Retrieved April 24, 2012. 
  • "A Historical Analysis of the Electoral College". The Green Papers. Retrieved March 20, 2005. 
  • Presidential Election of 1824: A Resource Guide from the Library of Congress
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