The Corrupt Bargain

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The Era of Good Feelings was a time in american history when there were no wars or foreign conflict, however there were still many internal conflicts that hurt the country as a whole. This time only lasted from the years 1815-1825 but had some forever changing impacts to the way our country would be governed. The corrupt bargain was one of those times that forever changed the country. The Corrupt Bargain was known as the first opposed presidential election because the unconstitutional actions by the government to give John Quincy Adams the Presidency over Andrew Jackson even though Jackson had a higher percentage of the vote.

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As the government was still new, people who held office did not always no how to respond to new challenges that they were faced with. One man who was very good with new challenges or road bumps in the government was Henry Clay ‘The Great Compromiser’. Andrew Jackson had a different way of looking at things when it came to the government. Jackson wanted to reform the government into a small but functional unit that could get the job done. John Quincy Adams on the other hand wanted things done the way his father before him had it done. Adams wanted a large central government which would take power from the states. All of these men have played a key role in the functionality of the government and have paved a path for people today.

In the year 1824 there was a presidential election. The candidates for the election were Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, and William Crawford. Andrew Jackson had 99 electoral votes which was the most out of the group( 1). Adams had 84 electoral votes coming into second place( 1). William Crawford had 41 electoral votes coming in third. Henry Clay coming in last only had 37 electoral votes( 1). Since none of theses men got over 50% of the majority they election winner would have to be chosen by congress. More specifically the House of Representatives. Henry Clay was the Speaker of the House during the election so he had a large say in helping decide who would get the Presidency. After the House gathered they decided that John Quincy Adams would be the President of the United States. Soon after Adams was Inaugurated he elected Henry Clay to be the Secretary of State. Jackson Adams rival from this point would be preparing for the next election watching Adams decisions carefully so he would be able to use it against him when the time came.

The actions of the election of 1824 were fair and constitutional according to how the government was to handle this type of issue. The problem was that after Adams was given the presidency he then turned around and gave Henry Clay the job of Secretary of State. Clay being in charge of the House of Representatives had a large say into who won the presidency. The citizens soon became suspicious and the followers of Jackson (Jacksonians) became mad that Clay gave the presidency to Adams when Jackson had the higher vote. The part that made the citizens the most mad was the fact that it seemed as though Clay and Adams had this planned out so they would both benefit from the situation. Soon papers all around the country were printing the Corrupt Bargain as their headlines. Their soon followed an uproar of complaints from the Jacksonians because they wanted justice for the man that deserved Presidency.

The actions of clay and Adams regarding the issue were unconstitutional by far. Jackson had the higher percentage which means he should of had been taken into more consideration when the chose the president. Clay should not of had made a deal with Adams to get higher in the ranks of government. In conclusion the government at this time had done a poor job of regulating power in regards to the Corrupt Bargain.

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The Corrupt Bargain. (2019, Nov 24). Retrieved from