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Formation of the Union By Albert Bushnell Hart Characters: 3244

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


[Sidenote: Era of good feeling.]

[Sidenote: Presidential candidates.]

The ground was now cleared for the choice of a successor to Monroe. The Federalist organization had entirely disappeared, even in the New England States; all the candidates called themselves Republicans or Democrats,- the terms were considered synonymous,-and there was little difference in their political principles. The second administration of Monroe has been called the "Era of Good Feeling," because there was but one party; in fact it was an era of ill feeling, because that party was broken up into personal factions. Three of the cabinet ministers and the Speaker of the House of Representatives were candidates for the succession to Monroe. Calhoun, Secretary of War, who still believed that it was to the interest of the nation and of the South to have a strong national government, came forward early, but quietly accepted an undisputed nomination for the Vice- Presidency. John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State, was nominated by New England legislatures early in the year 1824. William H. Crawford of Georgia, Secretary of the Treasury, succeeded in obtaining the formal nomination of the party caucus on Feb. 14, 1824; less than a third of the Republican members were present, and the character of the nomination rather injured than aided Crawford. Henry Clay was nominated by the legislatures of Kentucky and four other States; he was very popular in Congress and throughout the West. All three of the candidates just mentioned were in ability and experience well qualified to be President.

[Sidenote: Andrew Jackson.]

A four

th candidate, at that time a Senator from Tennessee, was Gen. Andrew Jackson. He was a rough frontiersman, skilled in Indian wars, but so insubordinate in temper that in 1818 he had invaded Florida without instructions; and Calhoun as Secretary of War had suggested in the cabinet that he be court-martialed. Jackson himself at first held back, but in 1822 he received the nomination of the Tennessee legislature, and in 1824 that of the legislature of Pennsylvania. Benton has called him "the candidate of the people, brought forward by the masses;" he was really brought forward by one of his neighbors, Major Lewis, who was convinced that he had the elements of popularity, and who managed his campaign with great skill. But no combination could be made for him with the Albany Regency; Van Buren's organ, the "Argus," said of him: "He is respected as a gallant soldier, but he stands, in the minds of the people of this State, at an immeasurable distance from the Executive Chair."

[Sidenote: Electoral vote.]

The election showed that Jackson had ninety-nine electoral votes, Adams eighty-four, Crawford forty-one, and Henry Clay thirty-seven, The popular vote, so far as it could be ascertained, was 150,000 for Jackson, and about 110,000 for Adams. There was no clear indication of the people's will, and under the Constitution the House of Representatives was to choose the President from the three candidates who had received most electoral votes. Several Clay electors had changed their votes to Crawford; the result was that Crawford, and not Clay, was third on the list, and that Clay was made ineligible.

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