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Jackson Receives a Mandate

October 17, 2018

Henry Clay ran for President in 1824 but placed last in a four-way race.  Although Andrew Jackson had received the most Electoral votes, he did not have a majority.  The decision fell to the House of Representatives, and Clay threw his support to John Quincy Adams.  When President Adams made Clay his Secretary of State, Jackson was furious.  He was certain there had been a corrupt bargain.

As the principal Cabinet Secretary in the Adams Administration, Clay was the presumptive heir to the throne.  Adams had been Monroe’s Secretary of State, Monroe had been Madison’s, and Madison had been Jefferson’s.  It seemed only logical that Adams had chosen Clay to be his eventual replacement.

Jackson ran again in 1828, handing Adams a miserable defeat.  By 1831 Clay was back in the U.S. Senate crafting legislation that would get under Jackson’s skin.  When Jackson vetoed Clay’s bill that rechartered the 2nd Bank of the United States (B.U.S.), Clay used that veto as a campaign issue in 1832.

But Jackson was more popular than Clay had reckoned, and the B.U.S. less popular.  Jackson won reelection with more than 54% of the popular vote and more than 76% of the Electoral vote in a race where the tally again was divided four ways.  Clay received a paltry 37.4% of the popular vote and only 17.1% of the Electors.

Now that Jackson had a mandate from the people, he took further steps to disestablish the B.U.S., steps that would provoke a harsh reaction from the Senate.

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