In the United States presidential election of 1824, John Quincy Adams was elected President on February 9, 1825 after the election was decided by the House of Representatives. The previous few years had seen a one-party government in the United States, as the Federalist Party had dissolved, leaving only the Democratic-Republican Party. In this election, the Democratic-Republican Party splintered as four separate candidates sought the presidency. The faction led by Andrew Jackson would evolve into the Democratic Party, while the factions led by John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay would become the National Republican Party and later the Whig Party.
This election is notable for being the only time since the passage of the Twelfth Amendment in which the presidential election was decided by the House of Representatives, as no candidate received a majority of the electoral vote. This presidential election was also the only one in which the candidate receiving the most electoral votes did not become president (because a majority, not just a plurality, is required to win). It is also often said to be the first election in which the president did not win the popular vote, although the popular vote was not measured nationwide. At that time, several states did not conduct a popular vote, allowing their state legislature to choose their electors.
The election was a contest among:
In 1822, Jackson was nominated for president by the legislature of Tennessee; a convention of Pennsylvanian Democratic-Republicans nominated Jackson in 1824. The traditional Congressional caucus nominated Crawford for president and Albert Gallatin for vice president, but it was sparsely attended and was widely attacked as undemocratic. Gallatin later withdrew from the contest for the vice presidency. In 1823, Crawford suffered a stroke. Even though he recovered in 1824, this crippled his bid for the presidency. Also, John Quincy Adams had more support than Henry Clay because of the huge popularity he had among the old Federalist voters in New England; by now, the Adams family too had united with the Democratic-Republican Party.
The election was partially a contest of favorite sons as it was a conflict over policy (positions on tariffs and internal improvements was where some significant disagreement existed), as the candidates were backed by different sections of the country: Adams was strong in the Northeast, Jackson in the South, West and mid-Atlantic, Clay in parts of the West, and Crawford in parts of the East.
John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, current Secretary of War, was initially a fifth candidate in the early stages of consideration, but he opted instead to seek the vice presidency and backed Jackson after seeing the popularity of Crawford in the South. Both Adams' and Jackson's supporters backed Calhoun, giving him an easy majority of electoral votes.
None of the four presidential candidates received a majority of the electoral vote, so the presidential election was decided by the House of Representatives. (See “Contingent election” below.) Meanwhile, John C. Calhoun secured a total of 182 electoral votes in a generally uncompetitive race to win the vice presidency outright.
Source (Popular Vote): Source (Electoral Vote):
(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.
(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.
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 and had said of him, “I cannot believe that killing 2,500 Englishmen at New Orleans qualifies for the various, difficult, and complicated duties of the Chief Magistracy.” Moreover, Clay's American System was far closer to Adams' position on tariffs and internal improvements than Jackson's or Crawford's, so Clay threw his support to Adams, who had many more votes than Clay. John Quincy Adams was elected President on February 9, 1825, on the first ballot.
Adams' victory shocked Jackson, who, as the winner of a plurality of both the popular and electoral votes, expected to be elected president. When President Adams appointed Clay his Secretary of State, he essentially declared him heir to the Presidency, as 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 attaining Jackson's victory in the Adams-Jackson rematch in 1828.