Domestically, the presidency of Monroe (1817-1825) was termed the “era of good feelings .” The phrase ac- knowledged the political triumph of the Republican Party over the Feder- alist Party, which had collapsed as a national force . All the same, this was a period of vigorous factional and re- gional conflict .

The end of the Federalists led to a brief period of factional politics and brought disarray to the practice of choosing presidential nominees by congressional party caucuses . For a time, state legislatures nominated candidates . In 1824 Tennessee and Pennsylvania chose Andrew Jack- son, with South Carolina Senator John C . Calhoun as his running mate . Kentucky selected Speaker of the House Henry Clay; Massachu- setts, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, son of the second president, John Adams . A congressional cau- cus, widely derided as undemocrat- ic, picked Secretary of the Treasury William Crawford .

Personality and sectional al- legiance played important roles in determining the outcome of the election . Adams won the electoral votes from New England and most of New York; Clay won Kentucky, Ohio, and Missouri; Jackson won the Southeast, Illinois, Indiana, the Carolinas, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey; and Crawford won Virginia, Georgia, and Delaware . No candidate gained a majority in the Electoral College, so, accord- ing to the provisions of the Con- stitution, the election was thrown into the House of Representatives, where Clay was the most influential figure . He supported Adams, who gained the presidency .

During Adams’s administration, new party alignments appeared . Adams’s followers, some of whom were former Federalists, took the name of “National Republicans” as emblematic of their support of a federal government that would take a strong role in developing an expanding nation . Though he governed honestly and efficiently, Adams was not a popular president . He failed in his effort to institute a national system of roads and canals . His coldly intellectual temperament did not win friends . Jackson, by con- trast, had enormous popular appeal and a strong political organization . His followers coalesced to establish the Democratic Party, claimed di- rect lineage from the Democratic- Republican Party of Jefferson, and in general advocated the principles of small, decentralized government .




Mounting a strong anti-Adams cam- paign, they accused the president of a “corrupt bargain” for naming Clay secretary of state . In the election of 1828, Jackson defeated Adams by an overwhelming electoral majority .

Jackson — Tennessee politi- cian, fighter in wars against Native Americans on the Southern fron- tier, and hero of the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812 — drew his support from the “common people .” He came to the presidency on a rising tide of enthusiasm for popular democracy . The election of 1828 was a significant benchmark in the trend toward broader voter participation . By then most states had either enacted universal white male suffrage or minimized prop- erty requirements . In 1824 members of the Electoral College in six states were still selected by the state leg- islatures . By 1828 presidential elec- tors were chosen by popular vote in every state but Delaware and South Carolina . These developments were the products of a widespread sense that the people should rule and that government by traditional elites had come to an end .

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