December 2, 2016
As Mark Twain said, “History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes.” This year’s election cycle is a perfect example of this.
On December 2, 1824, America was no closer to electing their new president than when they had started their election on October 26th. James Monroe, a Democratic-Republican, was the current president. The Federalist Party had dissolved after the War of 1812 leaving essentially just the one party. Monroe ran for his second term basically unopposed though people did vote for John Quincy Adams.
During Monroe’s presidency, he worked for a single party unity. He did not succeed.
At the end of his second term, as was custom, he declined to run for a third. The field was open for candidates. The official Democratic-Republican Party candidate was Secretary of Treasury William H. Crawford. The Democratic-Republican Party was as divided as two separate parties. As a result, many rejected the nominee chosen and pushed by party insiders.
Along with Crawford, four other politicians tossed their hat into the ring. Including Crawford, two others were from Monroe’s cabinet. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams and Secretary of War John C. Calhoun both entered the race. Adams felt quite confident in his chances as the last three presidents were Secretaries of State, starting with the first SoS under George Washington, Thomas Jefferson.
National War Hero and U.S. Army commander, Andrew Jackson, who indirectly connected to Monroe’s administration, was urged by supporters to run. Speaker of the House Henry Clay was the only candidate completely independent from Monroe, much to Monroe’s dismay. Clay was one of Monroe’s most ardent critics.
During the early 19th century, most campaigns were not run by the candidate. Instead, citizen volunteers and advocates rendered support for their candidate.
Calhoun dropped out of the race early, deciding to go for the Vice-Presidency. At the time, the VP was voted on independently of the President. Calhoun gained support from both Jackson and Adams voters, easily winning him the position.
With 261 electoral votes up for grabs, 131 were needed for a clear victory. Each presidential candidate had their strong sections in the country. Massachusetts native Adams dominated in the Northeast. Tennessee son Jackson took most of the South and much of the mid-Atlantic. Clay won Ohio, Kentucky and Missouri, while Crawford took Virginia and Georgia. Jackson had a plurality of electoral votes, but he did not have a majority.
Six states did not actually vote. As a true Representative Republic, the electoral votes in Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, New York, South Carolina, and Vermont were decided by their state legislatures. The other states allowed their citizens to decide who received their electoral voter. This leaves the question as to who actually would have won the popular vote. Had the public cast ballots in those states, it's likely the three Northern states would have gone to Adams while the three Southern would have gone to Jackson. Regardless, New York’s population alone would have most likely given the popular vote victory to Adams, which is why the Electoral College is so important in this national election.
Without a candidate reaching the required 131 votes by December 2nd, the 12th Amendment received its first test. This Amendment was passed in 1804 to rectify issues in the 1800 election that sent it to the House under the Constitution. The 1824 election was the first (under the 12th), and so far only, to go to the House of Representatives.
The race was reduced to the top three electoral recipients. This included Jackson with 99 votes, Adams with 84, and Crawford with 40. Clay was out of the running, but not out of the race. As Speaker of the House, he still had some control over the outcome.
Clay was a harsh critic of Jackson. In addition, his views and policies favored Adams. He had two months until a vote was taken on the House floor. During that time, he threw his support behind Adams. It was reported this happened because Adams offered Clay the position of Secretary of State. Rumors and accusations of a “corrupt bargain” began circulating. Very similar to the questions behind the large donations to the Clinton Foundation.
When the first ballot was cast on February 9, 1825, Adams received 13 states, Jackson 7, and Crawford 4.
Whether the rumor was true or not, Clay was offered Secretary of State. He took the position realizing the damage was already done. Jackson supporters, or Jacksonians, took the rumor and began utilizing it immediately for the 1828 election. They used it to delegitimize Adams’ presidency. Much like Jill Stein, Hillary Clinton and the Democrats are attempting to do to President-Elect Donald Trump.
Stein is calling for a recount in three states. There are several theories as to what people suspect she hopes will happen, but all lead to one result. The Democrats want to invalidate Trump’s presidency.
America is a Representative Republic. Citizens vote for representatives in local and state positions. Also, for federal positions that represent the state. But the presidency is the only national position. It is voted on not by the people, but by what makes up the nation - the 50 states. Citizens vote on who the state will support. The whole argument of the popular vote is irrelevant because we are not one state. We are 50 separate states with those individual entities getting a vote on who the national leader should be.
Jackson won his next showdown with Adams in 1828. With his victory, he began the shift towards a democracy. The “Father of the Democrat Party” started a movement to turn America from a "representative" Republic to a “mob rules” government. A move like this would do nothing but disenfranchise the majority of the country. It would destroy the sanctity of states and make us borderless.
Democrats are protesting, crying and in some cases threatening because Hillary won the popular vote but lost the election. They don’t care that she won less than 500 of the 3,142 counties, boroughs and parishes throughout the country. This equates to only 15% of the country. The Electoral College prevents that 15% from controlling the remaining 85% of the country.
Liberty, not only has our country seen difficult elections before, they’ve also been through all the dirty tricks that come along with it. What gives many hope is that we survived it almost 200 years ago. We can do it again. But come what may, God’s always in control and that is the most comforting and encouraging thing of all.
That’s my 2 cents.
HISTORY RHYMES AGAIN