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If you lived during the 1828 election, would you have voted for Andrew Jackson or John Quincy Adams, and why?


If I lived during the 1828 election, I would have voted for Andrew Jackson due to his stance on expansion and his opposition to the protectionist tariffs supported by John Quincy Adams. Jackson's military background and his appeal to newly enfranchised Western-state voters also influenced my decision. While Adams had extensive diplomatic experience, his presidency was criticized for being lackluster and marred by the "Corrupt Bargain."

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If you could vote in the presidential election between Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams, who would you choose and why?

Coming into the 1828 U. S. presidential election, President John Quincy Adams was not on firm ground, as his election in 1824 had been uniquely decided by the House of Representatives because no candidate earned majority of votes. Andrew Jackson, who had earned more popular and electoral votes in 1824, was considered to many to have been the rightful winner. The fourth candidate, Henry Clay, then Speaker of the House, wielded the most influence when he threw his support to Adams. This solution became known as the “Corrupt Bargain” because it was believed that Clay opposed Jackson in order to gain a cabinet post and improve his own strategic advance in 1828.

Many voters' reasons for choosing either candidate were related to the previous election, as well as to Adams' performance while in office, the parties' platform points, and information brought out in the campaign.

In addition to being the incumbent president, Adams had served as Secretary of State under James Monroe, in which capacity he was considered the architect of the Monroe Doctrine. His previous service included Senator from Massachusetts, Ambassador to Russia, and chief negotiator of the Treaty of Ghent. Andrew Jackson, the former Senator from Tennessee, had gained national fame as a victorious general in the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812. Jackson had previously served in the U. S. House of Representatives and as Governor of Florida (while it was a territory). The fundamental difference between the two was Adams’ considerable experience and skill as a diplomat, contrasted with Jackson’s military orientation.

In 1824, both men had been members of the Democratic-Republican Party, which crumbled in the wake of the hotly contested election. Jackson led the effort to create a new party, the Democratic Party, supported by John C. Calhoun, who ran with him for Vice President. The other faction became known as the National Republicans, and backed President Adams. The new trend was also to run only one candidate per party, and to have only two main candidates.

In reality, the two candidates’ platforms were not very far apart. Both focused primarily on domestic issues, advocating increased taxation to pay for infrastructure—especially railroad expansion—and agricultural improvements. However, the protectionist tariffs that both had supported in 1824 became a point of division. Adams had succeeded with the passage of a tariff bill in 1828, which Jackson now strongly opposed. With his roots in Massachusetts, Adams won New England but Jackson dominated all other regions of the nation. His westward-looking, frontier expansionist focus helped him win among newly enfranchised Western-state voters.

The differences were primarily in experience, style, and region. Adams’ strong belief in loyal service was played out in his approach to the campaign, which refused involvement in dirty politics. With a reputation for decency but also passivity, even before becoming president, his political experience had far outstripped that of Jackson. Adams was criticized primarily for his lackluster performance while president, as well as for the contested election itself. Jackson, the war hero, was known as a firebrand who promoted aggressive action in politics as well as the battlefield. He was challenged for being a slave owner, his anti-Native American policies in Florida’s “Indian Removal,” and for being an enemy of the Constitution.

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Imagine you were a voter in 1828. Which presidential candidate, Andrew Jackson or John Quincy Adams, would you have voted for based on their policy positions, and why?

You should start by considering the ways and policy questions where the two candidates were different. Slavery and states' rights were already growing issues in the national debate.

Foreign policy was also being argued; you can look at Adams's position, as president, in the movement for independence for Panama.

Economic policy and banking presented other areas of disagreement. Government corruption was a related issue. What did Jackson have to say about the Second Bank of the United States? You should be able to explain the issue and why you would have taken one side over the other.

Which of these issues are the most important to you as a voter, and why?

The two candidates also stood on opposite sides of a classic question in a representative democracy. Should an elected public official strictly serve the will of the constituents who put the official in office, or should the official follow their own best judgment in spite of public opinion? I'm not familiar with your textbook, but Adams made a public statement of his views on the subject that was not well received, and that might be one of the quotes you have. There is no right or wrong answer between the two views, and this debate, which dates back at least to Edmund Burke in eighteenth-century England, continues today. You should look at the policy issues first, but if you can also answer this part thoughtfully, I'd expect a very good grade!

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If you were an American voter in the 1828 election, would you vote for Andrew Jackson or John Quincy Adams, and why?

When you are asked to imagine yourself as a voter in the United States in 1828, there are several restrictions you must acknowledge and several decisions you must make about your identity. First, at that time, only white men were allowed to vote: at the federal level, African American men’s right to vote was recognized only in 1868, and the voting rights of all women, regardless of race, only in 1920. Other restrictions and requirements were also in place, depending on the state, such as property ownership. In addition, consider your experience in relationship to your opinion of the candidates: Are you satisfied with President Adams’s performance in office, or do you think the country is ready for a change?

Another important factor is the state and part of the country in which you reside, as sub-national loyalties significantly affect voters’ perception of the issues and the relative merits of the candidates. If you live in the north, perhaps you will view J. Q. Adams as the better option: having served in the Senate from Massachusetts, he understands the northern people’s needs. Adams’s ticket further supports the north, as his vice presidential candidate, Richard Rush, is from Pennsylvania. If you live in the south, you might identify with Andrew Jackson, a former Senator from Tennessee and former Governor of Florida. And you will note that his ticket is more regionally balanced, as his running mate, Martin Van Buren, hails from New York.

President Adams had been raised in national politics, as his father had not only served as president but was also one of the Founding Fathers. J. Q. Adams was a federalist as much as the senior Adams, but he recognized the need to change with the times. You would likely consider whether the reforms of the National Republican party still uphold the values of traditional federalism or have adapted far enough to the kind of Republican vision a larger, and ever-growing, nation requires today.

Indeed, the domestic concerns of the nation, especially in light of the rapid westward expansion, need to address issues such as transportation but balance the costs with reasonable taxes. Both candidates favor additional taxation, but the allocation of the resources and the states’ ability to administer their own budgets (in contrast to federal oversight) are places where their platforms differ. Jackson and Van Buren have crafted a platform that favors states’ rights, including the controversial issue of slavery. As western states are added to the Union, should slavery be allowed there? Is this a federal government decision, or should each state decide for itself?

In evaluating President Adams’s contributions so far, you can evaluate what he delivered based on his earlier promises, and what he did not achieve. Although protection of American industry through tariffs was a point of agreement in 1824, the tariffs that were subsequently enacted may have done more harm than good. Do you favor expanding this system to guarantee further protection? Or do you think that the financial burden outweighs any competitive advantage?

You may also notice that in this electoral campaign, much more than in 1824, the Jackson side in particular is actively seeking your vote with many novelty items. If you decide to support him, you might attend one of his rallies wearing an “Old Hickory” campaign button.

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Who would you support in the 1828 election, Andrew Jackson or John Quincy Adams?

There are several key points that you should mention in your essay whether you support Jackson or Adams.

Include background regarding the state of American politics in 1828. Since more and more states were granting landless white males the vote, it allowed Jackson to gain significant national support and become a major contender. Also make sure to include where both men got most of their support from, Jackson from southerners, western settlers and poorer whites while Adams garnered the hearts of northerns, bankers and merchants. 

Mention how vile the campaign was itself. Both sides engadged in mudslinging and used negative campaigne tactics. Adam's side was especially vicious when they attacked Jackson's wife in the press causing so much stress that the woman actually died!

If supporting Adams, mention the events at Jackson's Inaugural when the crowd rushed in and destroyed the place, which most conservatives saw as ominous.

If supporting Jackson, mention his victory as a victory for the common man over moneied interests and corrupt Republican politics.

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If you lived during the 1828 election, would you have voted for Andrew Jackson or John Quincy Adams?

I probably wouldn't have voted for Jackson. My main reason would be an instinctive aversion to any kind of populism, which, despite its democratic rhetoric, is always an elite construct of one kind or another, in my opinion. That said, I would have been somewhat sympathetic to Jackson over his unfair treatment in the aftermath of the previous Presidential election. There's no doubt that the shady, backstairs deal cooked up between Adams and Clay was indeed a "corrupt bargain" that put the interests of a handful of individuals ahead of the country as a whole. So there was more than a sense of justice about Jackson's victory in 1828.

The election of 1828 was characterized by its (more than) fair share of mudslinging. Jackson was accused by his opponents, among other things, of being responsible for the wholesale massacre of scores of Native American civilians. Although just about every white person in the United States at that time believed Native Americans to be racially "inferior," there was still a general sense that Jackson's conduct toward them had crossed the line, as indeed it had. There was something disreputable about Jackson, an air of roguishness about him of which his disgraceful treatment of Native Americans was the most notorious example.

Largely on grounds of personality, then, I would not have voted for Jackson. His enthusiastic support for slavery would also have been a sticking point. He was accused of actually being involved in the slave trade at one point, a charge he fiercely denied. Yet there can be no doubt that virtually all of Jackson's wealth was derived from slavery. That being the case, there was no chance whatsoever that a Jackson Administration would ever have made any moves to ameliorate the horrors of slavery, let alone make any attempt to abolish it.

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If you lived during the 1828 election, would you have voted for Andrew Jackson or John Quincy Adams?

    I probably would have voted for Andrew Jackson in the presidential election of 1828, but I may well have regretted doing so later. Jackson was probably the most famous living American at that time, earning his well-deserved military reputation after leading the American army in their victory over Great Britain in the War of 1812 and in the First Seminole War. He was typical of the new American frontiersman--brave, reckless and "Old Hickory" tough.
    The incumbent, John Quincy Adams, had been handed the presidency in 1824 after finishing second in both the popular and electoral voting, hardly an overwhelming choice of the people. Being a Southerner myself, Adams' Northern background would have also discouraged me from voting for him. Needless to say, Jackson's later treatment of Native Americans would have saddened me (at least from a 21st century perspective), and it's easy to view Jackson as a racist, back-stabbing liar now, in 2009; but his Southern roots and war record would probably have earned my vote in 1828.

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If you lived during the 1828 election, would you have voted for Andrew Jackson or John Quincy Adams?

This question needs to be on the discussion board for a wide variety of answers.

I am from Tennessee and actually live on land that once belonged to Andrew Jackson. My white relatives had not yet arrived in the United States from Ireland in 1828, but my other relatives were very much settled here. I am one-eighth Cherokee, and because of that heritage, there is no way on earth I could ever vote for a man like him. He was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of my ancestors on the so-called Trail of Tears, the forced removal of Cherokees, Creeks, and other Native Americans from the Southeast to the Oklahoma Territory. Somehow, several of my direct ancestors were able to escape and hide in Wayne County, Tennessee; otherwise, I'd be an Oklahoma native.

Jackson was intolerant of any opinion but his own. He is not the kind of man that I could support for president.

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If you lived during the 1828 election, would you have voted for Andrew Jackson or John Quincy Adams?

Well, I personally wouldn't have been allowed to vote for him because I probably wouldn't have been considered white back then (I'm half white half Asian, they wouldn't have known what to do with me...)

I don't really like Jackson that much because I think he was at least borderline racist with his attitudes about slavery and Indians, but they were pretty much all like that back then.

So I'll pretend I'm a white man of the time, about the same kind of social/economic class that I am now.

Give the choice, I would likely have voted for Jackson over Adams.  First of all, Jackson was from much more of common stock (Scots-Irish, backcountry, not very educated) than Adams, who was a Boston aristocratic type.

Second, I probably would have still been annoyed because of the "Corrupt Bargain" that (I would have felt) had gotten Adams elected four years ago.

Finally, I might have felt some admiration for Jackson because of his conduct in the War of 1812, specifically at the Battle of New Orleans.

I hope that helps...

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