Andrew Jackson's Presidency

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What factors led to Andrew Jackson's 1828 election?

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The factors that led to the election of Andrew Jackson in 1828 include the shady deal that determined the 1824 election and a campaign strategy that effectively cast Jackson as the common person's candidate.

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Andrew Jackson's election in 1828 was preceded by the divided election in 1824. Jackson had originally gained his reputation by leading the American forces to victory in the Battle of New Orleans, and he was able to translate this into a presidential run in 1824. In this first election, Jackson actually won the popular vote, along with a majority in the electoral college. However, with the backing of Henry Clay, John Quincy Adams was able to take the presidency.

In 1828, Jackson was able to translate this momentum into another presidential run, campaigning with tremendous energy to appeal to the electorate, building tremendous popular enthusiasm. For one thing, Jackson presented himself in the image of a common-man type candidate, and someone who, as president, would defend the interests of the common-man, especially when contrasted against the unpopular John Quincy Adams. This image appealed particularly heavily to agrarian communities in the United States, who have long held resentment against the banks and financial interests (in no small part because they have so often been indebted to those financial interests). This particular connection would play a particularly striking role in the election of 1832, which would famously see the National Bank take a central role. These factors resulted in an extraordinary voter turnout for the time period, with a landslide victory for Jackson.

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One key factor that led to the election of Andrew Jackson in 1828 was Jackson’s campaign strategy. Jackson had effectively positioned himself as the candidate of the people. He portrayed himself as the antithesis of the typical politician who lived in the Northeast. Jackson was born in South Carolina and lived in Tennessee. He didn’t come from a moneyed family. His parents were immigrants from Ireland. Jackson harnessed these biographical details to create a story in which he was the candidate best suited to represent the everyday person.

While Jackson’s opponents tried to use his lack of political experience against him, Jackson flipped the critique into a positive. His distance from politics, coupled with his military service, reinforced the trope that he was not another typical politician. Jackson used his unique resume to make it seem like if he was elected, it would not be business as usual in Washington, D.C., since Jackson was not the usual candidate.

Jackson’s opponents, however indirectly, helped bolster his claim that he was the honest person’s candidate due to their conduct during the 1824 presidential election. Four years ago, Jackson won the popular vote and the most amount of electoral votes. Yet since Jackson didn’t win the majority of the electoral votes (he was running against three other people), the House of Representatives took matters into their own hands and chose John Quincy Adams. Such machinations furthered Jackson’s argument that the federal government was corrupt and required an outsider like him to make it honorable again.

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There were several factors that led to the election of Andrew Jackson in 1828. One of these factors was Jackson’s determination to get elected after having lost the election in 1824. Jackson believed that election was stolen from him by a deal he believed was made between John Q. Adams and Henry Clay. This deal, called the Corrupt Bargain, had Clay support Adams in return for Adams making Clay the Secretary of State. Since Jackson had the most electoral votes, but not a majority, Jackson believed he would have been chosen by the House of Representatives to be president if there was no deal. Jackson put all of his energy into getting elected in 1828.

Another factor helping Andrew Jackson was that more people were getting involved in politics between 1800-1828. In some places, the property requirement to vote was dropped. This allowed more working class males to vote. As a result, Jackson had a greater chance of getting more votes because he said he represented the common man.

Jackson was also helped by the unpopularity of John Q. Adams. Adams had a lot of difficulty with Congress. He was not well liked. He took positions that Congress wouldn’t support. For example, he wanted a stronger federal government and more money for scientific explorations. The dislike of Adams worked to the advantage of Andrew Jackson.

There were many factors leading to Andrew Jackson’s victory in the 1828 presidential election.

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There were, of course, many factors that led to Jackson’s victory in 1828.  Let us look at two of the most important; one an immediate, political cause and one a more long-term structural change.

Structurally, Jackson’s victory was made possible by the growth of the franchise.  Jackson was the first president who was decidedly not from an elite family.  His election was due in part to the fact that more and more states were introducing universal white manhood suffrage.  They were removing the property qualifications for voting and making the country more democratic.

More immediately, Jackson won in part because of outrage over how John Q. Adams had won the election 1824.  The “Corrupt Bargain” of that election incensed many people.  They were much more motivated to vote for Jackson because of their perception that Adams had bought his presidency four years before.

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