History : Nov-Dec 2016
80 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016 The Candidates As of fall 1823, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, Speaker of the House Henry Clay, Sec- retary of the Treasury William Crawford, and Senator Andrew Jackson were the front-runners, each from a different region of the country. As a son of one of the Founding Fathers, a dip- lomat who had brought a successful conclusion to the War of 1812, a secretary of state who had negotiated treaties that had immensely expand- ed American territory, and a supremely seasoned figure with a firm grasp on every issue that faced the nation, John Quincy Adams should have en- joyed a powerful claim on the presidency. Yet his most important jobs were ones to which he had been appointed by a president. As a state and national legislator he had sought electoral positions, but he had not shown much of a gift for attracting voters. He had lost his very first contest, for state assemblyman, and had been recalled as a U.S. senator by a state legislature outraged at his stubborn independence. He did not like appealing to voters, did not believe he should have to, and was not good at it. THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENED Because no candidate received a majority of the electoral college votes in 1824, the election was decided in a vote by the House of Representatives in their chamber. L.RICCIARINI/PRISMA H OLDING OFFICE from 1817 to 1825, James Monroe was the last Founding Father to serve as U.S. president. His résumé was impressive: a soldier in the Revolution, del- egate at the Continental Congress, U.S. senator, governor of Virginia, and minister to France and Great Britain, but his most enduring accomplishment was the Monroe Doctrine, a corner- stone of U.S. foreign policy. In December 1823 Monroe announced the Monroe Doctrine, as it came to be known, in an annual address to Congress, which warned Europe that the United States would treat any external intervention in the politics of any independent nation in the Western Hemisphere as a hostile act. Future presi- dents, such as Theodore Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, relied on this policy when European sabers began to rattle during their presidencies. Although Monroe’s name is on the doctrine, many historians credit Monroe’s secretary of state, John Quincy Adams, with the idea itself. THE MONROE DOCTRINE, I PRESUME BRENDAN HOFFMAN/GETTY IMAGES GRANGER COLLECTION/CORDON PRESS THE BIRTH OF THE MONROE DOCTRINE, REPLICATES THE PAINTING BY CLYDE O. DELAND. THIS DETAIL SHOWS JOHN QUINCY ADAMS (SEATED FAR LEFT) AND JAMES MONROE (STANDING).