History from Home – Corrupt Bargain
The Corrupt Bargain
In the 1824 presidential contest, Jackson did not publicly advocate for his own election, in keeping with the tradition of the day. However, Jackson did make it clear he was determined to cleanse government of corruption and return it to its earlier values.
Americans went to the polls in the fall of 1824. Though Jackson won the popular vote, he did not win enough Electoral College votes to be elected. The decision fell to the House of Representatives, who met on February 9, 1825. They elected John Quincy Adams, with House Speaker Henry Clay as Adams’ chief supporter. Jackson graciously accepted his defeat until rumors swirled that Clay and Adams had struck a deal to ensure Adams’s election. When Adams named Henry Clay as his Secretary of State, it confirmed Jackson’s suspicions that the two men had reached a “corrupt bargain” and deprived the American people of their popular choice for president.
“…the opinion of those whose minds were prepared to see me with a Tomahawk in one hand, & a scalping knife in the other has greatly changed…”
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