Theo Lippman Jr.

September 04, 1992|By Theo Lippman Jr.

This is the 52nd presidential election.

The 10th has been in the news this year.

The United States had become a one-party nation, but that Democratic-Republican Party had its factions, and four men were nominated for the presidency -- Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, Secretary of Treasury William Crawford, Speaker the House Henry Clay and Sen. Andrew Jackson -- Crawford by a rump session of the congressional caucus, the others by their home state legislatures.

By 1824, almost all electors were chosen by popular vote. Voting records could be taken as indicative of the public mood. Jackson "won" the election with 41 percent of the popular vote and 99 electoral votes; Adams got 31 percent and 84; Crawford, 11 percent and 41, and Clay, 13 percent and 37.

Amendment XII to the Constitution specified that the House of Representatives (chosen not in the same presidential election but two years before) select the president from the top three candidates. In the House, Clay, who did not like Jackson, supported Adams, and apparently persuaded some House members to follow his lead. Adams won, then named Clay secretary of state.

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