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Andrew Jackson V Henry Clay

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The leading candidates for President in 1824 were William H. Crawford of Georgia, John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts, Henry Clay of Kentucky and Andrew Jackson of Tennessee. Crawford, Adams, and Clay were major players in the national politics that did most of their campaigning in Washington. Only Andrew Jackson depended on his military reputation and his appeal to ordinary voters far from the sets of power."1 All of these Presidential candidates were self-declared Republicans.

Though Andrew Jackson had support from the likes of Edward Patchell and others Henry Clay supported John Quincy Adams as he suggested in his letter to Francis T. Brooke dated January 28, 1825., that by selecting Jackson he would be aiding in the selection "of a military chieftain, to give the strongest guaranty that this republic will march in the fatal road which has conducted every other republic to ruin."2

In his defense Andrew Jackson states his leadership capabilities by writing a letter to Samuel Swartwout dated February 22, 1825., and stating that "when lately our country was involved in war, having the commission of Major Genl. Of Militia in Tennessee, I made an appeal to the patriotism of the western citizen, when 3000 of them went with me to the field, to support her Eagles. If this can constitute me a "military Chieftain" I am one. Aided by the patriotism of the western people, and an indulgent providence, it was my good fortune to protect our frontier border from the savages, and successfully to defend an important and vulnerable point of our Union...Does this constitute a Military Chieftain?"3 He further suggests that if that be the case does that mean that the "brave men in war, who go forth to defend their rights, and the rights of their country to be termed Military Chieftains, and therefore denounced?"4 To his defense Andrew Jackson further states that Henry clay had never risked himself for his country or made an effort to repel an invading enemy but had the conscious to call other men who fight for their country Military Chieftains.

The Jackson supports were infuriated with the comments that Henry Clay had made about Jackson by calling him a Military Chieftain, as they thoughts that this not only provided an incorrect label for Jackson but also insulted those who voted for him. In response the Washington Gazette not only printed the response from Andrew Jackson but also defended him from the allegations levied by Henry Clay.

Jackson's plan to appeal to the common man worked in his favor. He got 42 percent of the popular votes in comparison to Henry Clay and Crawford's 12 percent. No single candidate held the required majority to be named President. The decision went to the House of Representatives, who selected a winner from the top three electoral vote earners. Though Henry Clay was not chosen as the President he endorsed his support to John Quincy Adams who became

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