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The interval between the decay of the old and the formation and establishment of the new constitutes a period of transition which must always necessarily be one of uncertainty, confusion, error, and wild and fierce fanaticism… John C. Calhoun

A power has risen up in the government greater than the people themselves, consisting of many and various and powerful interests, combined into one mass, and held together by the cohesive power of the vast surplus in the banks.

A power has risen up in the government greater than the people themselves, consisting of many and various and powerful interests, combined into one mass, and held together by the cohesive power of the vast surplus in the banks.

There were no nominating conventions held, popular voting took just over a month and less than 1.2 million popular votes were cast. At the end the man who had been elected by the House in 1824, Adams, was defeated by the man who had won only a plurality of the electoral vote in 1824, Jackson. The system still hadn’t worked all of its kinks out yet since the popular vote in Massachusetts went to Jackson but the electors voted for Adams while exactly the opposite happened in Maryland.

In a fitting start to the modern Democratic party when Jackson’s attempted marriage to Rachel – whose divorce had not been finalized – was attacked in the press which asked, Ought a convicted adulteress and her paramour husband be placed in the highest offices of this free and Christian land? While Adams suggestion that Congress not be palsied by the will of our constituents found it’s just riposte in John Randolph’s statement that he, never will be palsied by any power save the constitution, and the will of my constituents. But these were the more gentlemanly exchanges – Coffin Handbills attacked Jackson for his court-martial and execution of deserters and massacres of Indian villages while Adams was charged that, while serving as Minister to Russia, he had surrendered an American servant girl to the Czar for whatever unspecified excesses those strange and barbaric people were capable of. Perhaps even worse than that, as president, Adams had supported building observatories with public funds.

Jefferson had written of the Adams administration, take together the decisions of the federal court, the doctrines of the President, and the misconstructions of the constitutional compact acted on by the legislature of the federal bench, and it is but too evident, that the three ruling branches of that department are in combination to strip their colleagues, the State authorities, of the powers reserved by them, and to exercise themselves all functions foreign and domestic, he continued, But this opens with a vast accession of strength from their younger recruits, who, having nothing in them of the feelings or principles of ’76, now look to a single and splendid government of an aristocracy, founded on banking institutions, and moneyed incorporations under the guise and cloak of their favored branches of manufactures, commerce and navigation, riding and ruling over the plundered ploughman and beggared yeomanry, wrapping a campaign of populism in the miasma of philosophy and founding while himself having had the great decency to die in 1826 so that he could not be called upon for clarification.

Rachel Jackson, more sensitive than modern Democratic wives, aggravated by the attacks on her marriage, became ill and died on 22nd of December 22 1828. Jackson accused both the Adams campaign and Henry Clay of causing her death – which may have permanently destroyed the chances of one of the greatest voices of compromise of ever becoming president. When the results of the election were made public, an unruly mob of vandals stormed the White House, forcing Adams to escaped out the back. Large punch bowls were set up to fuel the frenzy and the New Englanders, horrified at the event, held it up as a portent of the future under the Democrats.

Perhaps the most alien idea to modern sensibilities comes in the role of John Caldwell Calhoun, the man who would serve as vice-president to both Adams and Jackson. Although in 1824 the Electoral College had been unable to elect a president they had overwhelmingly elected Calhoun as vice-president. Calhoun was the true voice of the South as the nullification crisis took shape, as the northern bankers tried to cripple the nation with hard money and low tariffs. Ultimately the fight for the rights of states led him to develop his doctrine of a concurrent majority recognizing the right of a State to interpose, in the last resort, in order to arrest an unconstitutional act of the General Government, within its limits.  Jackson may have forced him from the vice-presidency but he would come back as a senator and cabinet member playing critical roles in the formation of the treasury and the annexation treaty with Texas and would serve until his death in 1850.

Ironically it was Calhoun rather than either Adams or Jackson who was the real bellweather of the election of 1828. The rhetoric, devices and chicanery may still be in use but what was at stake was the difference between two views of American — the puritan tradition of New England, and the agrarian tradition. Calhoun is best understood as the early representative of the  of agrarian republicanism. While the puritan tradition stressed a politically centralized enforcement of moral and religious norms to secure civic virtue, the agrarian tradition relied on a decentralized order based on the idea of localism. Calhoun emphasised the primacy of the idea of popular rule, best expressed in local communities that are nearly autonomous while serving as units of a larger society.

Calhoun was honored by his alma mater, Yale University, which named one of its undergraduate residence halls “Calhoun College” and a sculpture of Calhoun appears on the exterior of Harkness Tower, a prominent campus landmark. Andrew Jackson appears on the front of the twenty-dollar federal reserve note. Who says history doesn’t have a sense of humor?

The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.

The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.

The birth of modern politics : Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and the election of 1828 Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2009  Lynn Hudson Parsons Presidents United States Election 1828 Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. xviii, 252 p., [16] p. of plates: ill.; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. [201]-240) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

The 1828 presidential election, which pitted Major General Andrew Jackson against incumbent John Quincy Adams, has long been hailed as a watershed moment in American political history. It was the contest in which an unlettered, hot-tempered southwestern frontiersman, trumpeted by his supporters as a genuine man of the people, soundly defeated a New England “aristocrat” whose education and political résumé were as impressive as any ever seen in American public life.

It was, many historians have argued, the country’s first truly democratic presidential election. It was also the election that opened a Pandora’s box of campaign tactics, including coordinated media, get-out-the-vote efforts, fund-raising, organized rallies, opinion polling, campaign paraphernalia, ethnic voting blocs, “opposition research,” and smear tactics.

In 1828, the Jacksonians skillfully burnished their candidate’s image, while the followers of Adams emphasized their program for nationwide economic development. In contrasting the divergent paths the two political leaders took to that contest, it offers  insights into major issues in United States political history from the Revolution to the 1830s. In showing that 1828 was a ‘tectonic shift’ in the bedrock that underlay the nation’s social, economic, and political landscape, Parsons also points to the birth of the long tradition of anti-intellectualism in American politics.

In The Birth of Modern Politics, Parsons shows that the Adams-Jackson contest also began a national debate pitting those whose cultural, social, and economic values were rooted in community action for the common good against those who believed the common good was best served by giving individuals as much freedom as possible to promote their own interests.

The book offers fresh and illuminating portraits of both Adams and Jackson and reveals how, despite their vastly different backgrounds, they had started out with many of the same values, admired one another, and had often been allies in common causes. But by 1828, caught up in a shifting political landscape, they were plunged into a competition that separated them decisively from the Founding Fathers‘ era and ushered in a style of politics that is still with us today.

As long as our government is administered for the good of the people, and is regulated by their will; as long as it secures to us the rights of persons and of property, liberty of conscience and of the press, it will be worth defending.

As long as our government is administered for the good of the people, and is regulated by their will; as long as it secures to us the rights of persons and of property, liberty of conscience and of the press, it will be worth defending.

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