Lesson Plan

Lesson 2: The Election Is in the House: 1824: The Candidates and the Issues

William H. Crawford was one of four candidates for President in 1824.
Photo caption

William H. Crawford was one of four candidates for President in 1824.

The presidential election of 1824 represents a watershed in American politics. The collapse of the Federalist Party and the illness of the "official candidate" of the Democratic-Republicans led to a slate of candidates who were all Democratic-Republicans. This led to the end of the Congressional Caucus system for nominating candidates, and eventually, the development of a new two-party system in the United States. In the election, Andrew Jackson won a plurality of both the popular and electoral vote. But John Quincy Adams became president. Four crucial elements of our election system were highlighted in the election of 1824: the nomination of candidates, the popular election of electors, the Electoral College, and the election of the president in the House when no candidate receives a majority in the Electoral College.

Guiding Questions

All of the major candidates for president in the 1824 election claimed allegiance to the same party, the Democratic-Republicans. What distinguished the candidates from each other?

What were the important issues in the campaign of 1824?

Learning Objectives

List some changes in presidential election laws and/or procedures since 1796.

Cite examples from presidential campaign materials from 1824.