What Was the Significance of the Election of 1828?

Although it is a source of debate among historians, some say the election of 1828, which pitted President John Quincy Adams against Andrew Jackson, marked the beginning of the modern political arena in the United States. It permanently established a two-party electoral system and decisively established democracy. It also marked an expansion of the electorate, with almost 10 percent of Americans casting their votes in the election, which was more than double the number who voted in 1824.

The two men had run against one another in 1824, and the election of 1828 was seen as a rematch between them. Jackson had been the runner-up in the previous election.

A major source of debate between the candidates was the Tariff of 1828, which raised the tariff more than 60 percent on imported goods. It was opposed by Jackson, the Democrats and the Southern states. The unpopularity of the tariff helped to split the vote and ultimately led to Jackson's victory. Jackson supporters made use of his nickname of "Old Hickory" during his campaign, handing out hickory canes and toothpicks to his supporters and placing hickory poles across the country. Jackson won by a landslide and had a wide margin of victory with 95 electoral votes.