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Thursday, February 9, 2012

February 9 Presidential Losers

Andrew Jackson, William Crawford, Henry Clay 1824

Andrew Jackson

William Crawford
 After the Era of Good Feelings, an Era of Bad Feelings naturally ensued.  No one called it that, but that’s what it was, and it was pretty much inevitable.  If you name something the Era of Good Feelings, you’re just asking for trouble.  It’s like saying, “This is the Era of My Girlfriend Not Breaking Up With Me,” or “This is the Era Before Cockroaches Take Over the Earth.”  Anyway.  The Democratic-Republicans hadn’t been out of office since Jefferson, and so after all that unity, the party finally split into four.  The official caucus nominated William Crawford, but a lot of people were put out by this and felt they hadn’t gotten as say-so.  The next thing you know, everybody and his brother was running for president. 1
Henry Clay
The Federalists, if there were any of them left around, must’ve been saying, “I told you so!  This is what happens when you go around admitting states left and right!”  Two of the candidates were from Tennessee and Kentucky, which as far as a lot of people were concerned scarcely counted as real places, let alone states.  Because the vote was split four ways, nobody got a clear majority, so it was left to the House of Representatives to decide the election between the three front-runners.  Jackson had won the most electoral votes, but Henry Clay – who’d come in fourth, and just so happened to be speaker of the House – threw his support to Adams, and so J Q became the second president from Massachusetts, as well as the second Adams.  John Adams, the elder, who was still alive and kicking - or alive at any rate - must've felt so proud to see his son ascend to the White House with a whopping 31% of the electoral vote.  Naturally, there were accusations of fraud, and that Adams had paid Clay off, but this is raw calumny.  Clay hated Jackson anyways, and once said, “I cannot believe that killing 2,500 Englishmen at New Orleans qualifies for the various, difficult, and complicated duties of the Chief Magistracy.”  

The Results

John Quincy Adams: 84
Andrew Jackson: 99
William Crawford: 41
Henry Clay: 37

1. Actually, this is hyperbole.  The brother wasn't running.
2. In fact, Jackson was far less qualified than even Clay suspected.  A mere 365 British were confirmed killed in the Battle of New Orleans.  As a point of reference, George Washington, whom everyone agreed was extremely qualified, killed 1,505 British in Boston alone.

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