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Formation of the Union By Albert Bushnell Hart Characters: 1999

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


[Sidenote: Clay favors Adams.]

Crawford's influence had now much declined, so that Clay and his friends held the balance of power between Jackson and Adams. On Jan. 8, 1825, Clay advised his friends to vote for Adams, who was in every way the more suitable candidate; he represented principles acceptable to the large majority of voters; he favored a tariff; he was an enthusiastic advocate of internal improvements; he desired to make the influence of the United States felt in South and Central America.

[Sidenote: Election in the House.]

The vote in the House showed thirteen States for Adams, seven for Jackson, and four for Crawford. Jackson accepted the result calmly,-indeed Adams had always shown a friendly spirit toward him, and had defended him in 1818. Within a few days a rumor went abroad that Clay had sold his support of Adams for the appointment as Secretary of State.

[Sidenote: "Corrupt bargain."]

He denied it, Adams denied it, and there has never been any proof to

show that there had been an understanding between them or their friends. Jackson's supporters, however, were quick to see the damaging effect of such a charge, and began to publish abroad the assertion that there had been a corrupt bargain, or, as John Randolph put it, "a coalition of Blifil and Black George,-a combination, unheard of until now, of the Puritan and the blackleg." Once persuaded that the charge was true, it was impossible to disabuse Jackson's mind, and during the next four years his friends continued to assert that he had been deprived of the Presidency by a trick.

[Sidenote: "Demos Krateo".]

Another equally baseless and equally injurious charge was that the House had violated the spirit of the Constitution by selecting a candidate who had a less number of electoral votes than Jackson. "The election of Mr. Adams," said Benton, "was also a violation of the principle, Demos Krateo." In consequence, many members of Congress who had voted for Adams lost their seats.

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