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Publisher's Summary

George Washington, the first President of the United States, warned against the formation of political parties, but it did not take long for American politicians to ignore him and draw a line in the sand regarding the power of the federal government and that of the individual states. That said, the line ebbed away among the bloodshed of the War of 1812, and until the election of 1828, American politics experienced the so-called Era of Good Feelings, during which Americans took heed of Washington’s words and set aside party lines for a supposed new era of political cooperation.  

Following the tradition begun by his predecessors, James Monroe refused to run for a third term in office in 1824, leaving the White House wide open in the most regionally divisive election in American history. It began with John Quincy Adams, who was the favored candidate of the New England states. They recognized and respected his lifelong service to his country, as well as his experience and intellect. On the other hand, Southern voters favored Henry Clay, the acclaimed Speaker of the House who helped broker the Missouri Compromise, and they believed “The Great Compromiser” had the skills needed to continue to navigate the increasingly turbulent waters surrounding slavery. 

Meanwhile, William Crawford had the support of former Presidents Jefferson and Madison but was in very poor health. Finally, Andrew Jackson had made quite a name for himself in the famous Battle of New Orleans and was the darling of the rugged people settling the expanding American West. All of the candidates were members of the Democratic-Republican Party, though Adams appealed to the former Federalists in New England thanks to his famous father.  

Not surprisingly, when Election Day rolled around, no candidate gained a majority in the Electoral College.

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

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