The Corner

1828 and All That

Reader Sean Porter writes:

Dear Jonah:

Two things:

1. A nit: I think “really pointy rocks” should have been “really pointy sticks” in order to insert (or better capture) a Monty Pythonesque moment.

2. According to Robert V. Remini in Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars, Viking Penguin, 2001:

“Without doubt the election of 1828 was one of the filthiest in American history, with no holds barred. [Andrew] Jackson’s wife was labeled a bigamist, his mother a prostitute, and he himself a murderer. And [John Quincy] Adams hardly fared better. He was called a pimp for the Czar of Russia and charged with living in kingly splendor in the White House. Other charges of immorality or misbehavior by the two men were invented or distorted.”

Remini goes on to describe that, by the time of the 1828 election, the North-South divide was starting to take shape; one of the major issues for the South was the constant conflicts arising out of the continuing land grab by southern settlers of Native American territories east of the Mississippi, coupled with British and Spanish intrigue in Florida involving the use of Native American and fugitive slave soldiers against Americans (the Northern states had long before wiped out significant Native American power).

Also, the 1824 election of John Quincy Adams has been decided by a vote in the House, which was led by Speaker Henry Clay. No sooner had Adams been inaugurated then Clay was appointed Secretary of State, an office that at the time was a leading position in which to ascend to the presidency (the 1824 House vote was called “the corrupt bargain”).

Just thought another slice of a divided America may be of interest.

Keep up the great work.


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