Page images


Commissioners to Washington to urge adoption of the proposed constitutional amendments, but without result; and the only effect made upon the country by the convention's doings was that of resentment. It was felt that whatever merit attached to any of the propositions was at best only representative of local prejudices, temporary sentiment, and factious desires-prejudices, sentiment, and desires which could not be acceded to without reopening very delicate constitutional questions and destroying all national harmony. Considered as a whole, the political program formulated was regarded as utterly narrow, and as affording a demonstration of the incapacity of Federalist leadership for anything but futile contention. Soon after the convention's adjournment news was received of the signing of the treaty of peace, and the Hartford movement thereupon came to an abrupt end.

It is noteworthy that not one of the seven constitutional amendments proposed by the Hartford convention has ever been adopted, or even seriously considered. In advocating restriction of representation to the numbers of free persons the convention did not at all contemplate emancipation for the slaves, but only sought to reduce the political power of the southern States by summary elimination of the "three-fifths" provision of the Constitution.


In 1816 the Republican Congressional caucus, on March 16, nominated James Monroe, of Virginia, for President, by a vote of 65 against 54 cast for William H.

Crawford, of Georgia; Daniel D. Tompkins, of New York, receiving the nomination for Vice-President. No nominations were made by the Federalists, but they united in supporting for the Presidency Rufus King, of New York. The only States that gave their Electoral votes to King were Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Delaware. In the Electoral College the result for President was: Monroe, 183; King, 34. For VicePresident the vote stood: Tompkins, 183; John E. Howard, of Maryland, 22; James Ross, of Pennsylvania, 5; John Marshall, of Virginia, 4; Robert G. Harper, of Maryland, 3.


The reëlection of Monroe and Tompkins in 1820 was wholly undisputed. Even the formality of placing them in nomination was dispensed with, the Congressional caucus called for that purpose being attended by only a few members and deciding that no action was necessary. Monroe received 231 of the 232 Electoral votes. The solitary Elector opposing him, William Plumer, of New Hampshire, voted for John Quincy Adams, of Massachusetts, not on party grounds, as Adams was a Republican, but for personal reasons and in protest against the arbitrary requirement that the Electors were obliged to obey party orders. The VicePresidential votes at this election were: Tompkins, 218; Richard Stockton, of New Jersey, 8; Daniel Rodney, of Delaware, 4; Robert G. Harper, of Maryland, 1; Richard Rush, of Pennsylvania, 1.



With Monroe terminated the line of illustrious and venerated Fathers who, identified successively with the struggle for American independence, the early endeavors of the States to administer their affairs, and the adoption of the Constitution and foundation of the Federal government, had been elevated to the Presidency for their preëminent historical fitness. His two administrations constituted the so-called "era of good feeling," with party lines so entirely obliterated that there existed in fact only one party, the Republican. During these years there were no indications of any plans, or even conceptions, in the direction of new party organization. The remarkable and exciting Presidential campaign of 1824 was shaped and fought without the least reference to party alignment, except in the particular of full and zealous conformity to Republicanism on the part of each of the candidates.

Preparations for the contest were begun in 1822, when Andrew Jackson was placed in nomination by the Legislature of Tennessee, and Henry Clay by that of Kentucky. Other States followed with nominations variously of Jackson, Clay, John Quincy Adams, and William H. Crawford. It was apparent from the outset that no candidate could control a majority of the party nationally, and efforts were concentrated toward securing State commitments and emphasizing the respective claims of the aspirants. The supporters of Crawford, however, undertook to invoke the authority of "regular" action, and a call was issued for a Congres

sional caucus. A meeting was held accordingly, February 14, 1824, in the hall of the House of Representatives at Washington, but only 66 of the 261 members of the two houses attended. Agreeably to prearrangement, Crawford was nominated for President, with Albert Gallatin, of Pennsylvania, for Vice-President, and a resolution was adopted commending the candidates to the favor of the Republicans of the nation. Conscious of the somewhat farcical character of the proceedings in the circumstances, the meeting added to the resolution the following explanation, which proved to be the valedictory of the institution of the caucus as President-maker:

"That in making the foregoing recommendation, the members of this meeting have acted in their individual characters as citizens; that they have been induced to this measure from a deep and settled conviction of the importance of union among the Republicans throughout the United States, and as the best means of collecting and concentrating the feelings and wishes of the people of the Union upon the important subject."

In the campaign no one paid any attention to the "measure." The rule of King Caucus had forever ended. To the Presidential canvass of 1824 has been given the inelegant but perfectly descriptive name of "the scrub race." Jackson received 99 Electoral votes, Adams 84, Crawford 41, Clay 37.1 Several of the States showed considerable indecision and promiscuity in

1Previously to 1824 there was no record of the popular vote for President. In 1824 eighteen of the twenty-four States chose their Electors by direct popular vote of the people, the rest through the Legislatures. Popular vote so far as recorded:—Jackson, 155,872; Adams, 105,321; Clay, 46,587; Crawford, 44,282.


their preferences; for example, New York, which distributed its votes among all the candidates, giving 1 to Jackson, 26 to Adams, 5 to Crawford, and 4 to Clay. No one having a majority in the Electoral College, the House of Representatives again, as in 1801, made the decision, balloting this time under Amendment XII to the Constitution, which limited the choice to the three foremost candidates. Clay was thus eliminated. Pursuant to his advice, the Representatives favorable to him went to Adams, who was consequently elected on the first ballot. Concerning the Vice-Presidency, no action by the Senate was necessary, John C. Calhoun, of South Carolina, having won in the Electoral College, which gave him 182 votes against 30 for Nathan Sanford, of New York; 24 for Nathaniel Macon, of North Carolina; 13 for Andrew Jackson; 9 for Martin Van Buren, of New York, and 2 for Henry Clay.


John Quincy Adams was destined, like his father, to hold the Presidential office for but one term, and to lose it under circumstances of extraordinary political convulsion. Originally a Federalist, he had come over to the Republicans during Jefferson's Presidency. In his changed affiliation neither his conduct nor disposition had ever been considered exceptionable from the party point of view; and there was nothing in the spirit or policies of his administration to be discomposing to even the most orthodox Republicans. He much desired a reëlection, and in that natural ambition had the sincere interest of Clay, his Secretary of State, who, while

« PreviousContinue »