U.S. presidential election, 1824

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Presidential electoral votes by state.
Presidential electoral votes by state.

The U.S. presidential election of 1824 is often considered a realigning election. The previous few years had seen the rare phenomenon of one-party government in the United States, as the Federalist Party had dissolved, leaving only the Republican Party. In this election, the Republican party splintered as four separate candidates sought the presidency. The faction led by Andrew Jackson would evolve into the United States Democratic Party, while the factions led by John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay would become the National Republican Party and later the Whigs.

This election is notable for being the first (and, as of 2005, only) time since the passage of the Twelfth Amendment that the presidential election was thrown into the House of Representatives. It was also the first (and only) time that the president did not win the electoral vote. (It is also often said to be the first election in which the president did not win the popular vote. This is hard to determine, insofar as a quarter of the states did not conduct a popular vote, instead having the state legislature choose their electors.)


General election


The election was a contest between:

In 1823, Crawford suffered a stroke. Even though he recovered in 1824, this crippled his bid for the presidency.

John C. Calhoun, current Secretary of War, was initially a fifth candidate in the early stages of consideration but opted to instead seek the Vice Presidency and backed Jackson.


None of the four presidential candidates received a majority of the electoral vote, so the presidential election was thrown into the House of Representatives. (See "Contingent election" below.) Meanwhile, John Caldwell Calhoun secured a total of 182 electoral votes in a generally uncompetitive race to win the vice presidency outright.

Presidential Candidate Party Home State Popular Vote(a) Electoral Vote
Count Percentage
Andrew Jackson Republican Tennessee 151,271 41.3% 99
John Quincy Adams Republican Massachusetts 113,122 30.9% 84
William Harris Crawford Republican Georgia 40,856 11.2% 41
Henry Clay Republican Kentucky 47,531 13.0% 37
(Massachusetts unpledged electors) Republican (n/a) 6,616 1.8% 0
Other 6,437 1.8% 0
Total 365,833 100.0% 261
Needed to win 131

Source (Popular Vote): Leip, David. 1824 Presidential Election Results. Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections (July 26, 2005).

Source (Electoral Vote): Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996. Official website of the National Archives. (July 30, 2005).

(a) The popular vote figures exclude Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, New York, South Carolina, and Vermont. In all of these states, the Electors were chosen by the state legislatures rather than by popular vote.

Vice Presidential Candidate Party State Electoral Vote
John Caldwell Calhoun Republican South Carolina 182
Nathan Sanford Republican New York 30
Nathaniel Macon Republican North Carolina 24
Andrew Jackson Republican Tennessee 13
Martin Van Buren Republican New York 9
Henry Clay Republican Kentucky 2
Total 260
Needed to win 131

Source: Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996. Official website of the National Archives. (July 30, 2005).

Breakdown by ticket

Presidential Candidate Running Mate Electoral Vote(a)
Andrew Jackson John Caldwell Calhoun 98 .. 99
John Quincy Adams John Caldwell Calhoun 65 .. 74
William Harris Crawford Nathaniel Macon 24
Henry Clay Nathan Sanford 23 .. 27
John Quincy Adams Andrew Jackson 9 .. 10
William Harris Crawford Martin Van Buren 9
Henry Clay John Caldwell Calhoun 7 .. 11
Henry Clay Andrew Jackson 3
William Harris Crawford Henry Clay 1 .. 2
John Quincy Adams (none) 1
John Quincy Adams Nathan Sanford 0 .. 7
William Harris Crawford John Caldwell Calhoun 0 .. 7
William Harris Crawford Nathan Sanford 0 .. 5
Andrew Jackson Nathan Sanford 0 .. 1
John Quincy Adams Henry Clay 0 .. 1
William Harris Crawford Andrew Jackson 0 .. 1

(a) Wikipedia's research has not yet been sufficient to determine the pairings of 21 electoral votes in Delaware, Maryland, and New York; therefore, the possible tickets are listed with the minimum and maximum possible number of electoral votes each.

Contingent election

The presidential election was thrown to the U.S. House of Representatives. As per the Twelfth Amendment, only the top three candidates in the electoral vote were candidates in the House: Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and William Harris Crawford. Left out was Henry Clay, who happened to be Speaker of the House. Clay detested Jackson — he had said that, "I cannot believe that killing 2,500 Englishmen at New Orleans qualifies for the … duties of the First Magistracy" — and Clay's American System was far closer to Adams' position on tariffs and internal improvements than Jackson's or Crawford's, so he threw his support to Adams, and Adams won on the first ballot.

This shocked Jackson, who expected that, as the winner of a plurality of both the popular and electoral votes, he should have been elected President. When President Adams appointed Clay his Secretary of State, essentially declaring him heir to the Presidency — Adams and his three predecessors had all served as Secretary of State — Jackson and his followers accused Adams and Clay of striking a "corrupt bargain". The Jacksonians would campaign on this claim for the next four years, ultimately leading to Jackson's victory in the Adams-Jackson rematch in 1828.

Adams Jackson Crawford
1st ballot 13 7 4


1st ballot
Alabama Jackson
Connecticut Adams
Delaware Crawford
Georgia Crawford
Illinois Adams
Indiana Jackson
Kentucky Adams
Louisiana Adams
Maine Adams
Maryland Adams
Massachusetts Adams
Mississippi Jackson
Missouri Adams
New Hampshire Adams
New Jersey Jackson
New York Adams
North Carolina Crawford
Ohio Adams
Pennsylvania Jackson
Rhode Island Adams
South Carolina Jackson
Tennessee Jackson
Vermont Adams
Virginia Crawford

Electoral college selection

Method of choosing Electors State(s)
each Elector chosen by voters statewide Alabama
New Hampshire
New Jersey
North Carolina
Rhode Island
each Elector appointed by state legislature Delaware
New York
South Carolina
state is divided into electoral districts, with one Elector chosen per district by the voters of that district Illinois
  • two Electors chosen by voters statewide
  • one Elector chosen per Congressional district by the voters of that district

See also

U.S. presidential elections

1789–1799: 1789 | 1792 | 1796
1800–1849: 1800 | 1804 | 1808 | 1812 | 1816 | 1820 | 1824 | 1828 | 1832 | 1836 | 1840 | 1844 | 1848
1850–1899: 1852 | 1856 | 1860 | 1864 | 1868 | 1872 | 1876 | 1880 | 1884 | 1888 | 1892 | 1896
1900–1949: 1900 | 1904 | 1908 | 1912 | 1916 | 1920 | 1924 | 1928 | 1932 | 1936 | 1940 | 1944 | 1948
1950–1999: 1952 | 1956 | 1960 | 1964 | 1968 | 1972 | 1976 | 1980 | 1984 | 1988 | 1992 | 1996
2000–2049: 2000 | 2004 | 2008


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