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General Jackson’s Reply

September 16, 2014

Henry Clay was Speaker of the House.  He had hoped to be elected President in 1824, but that was no longer possible.  Perhaps the next President would make him Secretary of State, especially if he used his influence when the House voted in February.  Sometime in late December or early January a junior politician approached Jackson and suggested the General should offer Clay the State Department portfolio in exchange for his support.  Jackson expressed his disapproval in no uncertain terms.

“Say to Mr. Clay and his friends that before I would reach the presidential chair by such means… I would see the earth open and swallow both Mr. Clay and his friends and myself with them.  If they had not the confidence… that I would call to… the cabinet men of the first virtue, talent and integrity, [tell them] not to vote for me.”

Jackson would not be elected this time, but he would defeat this year’s victor in 1828.  In 1832 Jackson would be re-elected when Clay challenged him for the office.

The junior politician who had tried to broker a deal would also be elected President someday.  He was James Buchanan.

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