History : Nov-Dec 2016
76 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016 Nearing the end of his second term, President James Monroe gave no sign as to whom he wished would succeed him in office. His non- decision led to a bitterly fought contest and the birth of modern politics in the United States. 1824 John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and the “Corrupt Bargain” JAMES TRAUB THE ELECTION OF B efore the election of 1824, the United States was at the tail end of the so-called Era of Good Feelings, a time when political partisanship was low and one party, the Democratic-Republicans, dominated U.S. national politics. The election of 1824 ended that era. Clashing interests on protectionism and trade, as well as sharply divided views on the role of govern- ment and America’s place in the larger world, created lasting schisms. By declining to give the nod to a designated successor, President James Monroe allowed a wide-open campaign to develop. Four men—John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, William Crawford, and Andrew Jackson—sought the presi- dency. The ensuing battles would transform politics, leading to a new democratic culture as well as to the Democratic Party.