United States presidential election, 1832
|Presidential election results map. Blue denotes states won by Jackson and Van Buren or Wilkins, light yellow denotes those won by Clay/Sergeant, green denotes those won by Floyd/Lee, and orange denotes those won by Wirt/Ellmaker. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.|
The United States presidential election of 1832 was the 12th quadrennial presidential election, held from Friday, November 2, to Wednesday, December 5, 1832. It saw incumbent President Andrew Jackson, candidate of the Democratic Party, easily win re-election against Henry Clay of Kentucky, candidate of the National Republican Party, and Anti-Masonic Party candidate William Wirt. Jackson won 219 of the 286 electoral votes cast. John Floyd, who was not a candidate, received the electoral votes of South Carolina.
This was the first national election for Martin Van Buren of New York, who was put on the ticket to succeed John C. Calhoun as vice-president and four years later would succeed Jackson as president. Van Buren faced opposition for the vice-presidency within his own party, however, and as a result, all 30 Pennsylvania electors cast ballots for native son William Wilkins.
With the demise of the Congressional nominating caucus in the election of 1824, the political system was left without an institutional method on the national level for determining presidential nominations. For this reason, the candidates of 1832 were chosen by national conventions. The first national convention was held by the Anti-Masonic Party in Baltimore, Maryland, in September 1831. The National Republican Party and the Democratic Party soon imitated them, also holding conventions in Baltimore, which would remain a favored venue for national political conventions for decades.2
President Jackson and Vice-President John C. Calhoun had a strained relationship for a number of reasons, including the involvement of Calhoun's wife Floride in the Eaton affair. As a result of the this, Secretary of State Martin Van Buren and Secretary of War John H. Eaton resigned from office in April 1831, and Jackson requested the resignation of all other cabinet offices as well. Van Buren instigated the procedure as a means of removing Calhoun supporters from the Cabinet. Calhoun further aggravated the president in the summer of 1831 when he issued his "Fort Hill Letter," in which he outlined the constitutional basis for a state's ability to nullify an act of Congress.
The final blow to the Jackson-Calhoun relationship came when the president nominated Van Buren to serve as Minister to the United Kingdom and the vote in the Senate ended in a tie, which Calhoun broke by voting against confirmation on January 25, 1832. At the time of Calhoun's vote to end Van Buren's political career, it was not clear who the candidates of the Democrats would be in the election later that year. Jackson had already been nominated by several state legislatures, following the pattern of 1824 and 1828, but his worry was that the various state parties would not unite on a vice-presidential nominee. As a result, the Democratic Party followed the pattern of the opposition and called a national convention.
The 1832 Democratic National Convention, the first of the Democratic Party, was held in the Athenaeum in Baltimore (the same venue as the two opposition parties) from May 21, 1832, to May 23, 1832. Several decisions were made at this initial convention of the party. On the first day, a committee was appointed to provide a list of delegates from each state. This committee, which later came to be called the Credentials Committee, reported that all states were represented. Delegates were present from the District of Columbia, and on the first contested roll call vote in convention history, the convention voted 126-153 to deprive the District of Columbia of its voting rights in the convention. The Rules Committee gave a brief report that established several other customs. Each state was allotted as many votes as it had presidential electors; several states were over-represented, and many were under-represented. Secondly, balloting was taken by states and not by individual delegates. Thirdly, two-thirds of the delegates would have to support a candidate for nomination, a measure intended to reduce sectional strife. The fourth rule, which banned nomination speeches, was the only one the party quickly abandoned.
No roll call vote was taken to nominate Jackson for a second term. Instead, the convention passed a resolution stating that "we most cordially concur in the repeated nominations which he has received in various parts of the union." Martin Van Buren was nominated for vice-president on the first ballot, receiving 208 votes to 49 for Philip Pendleton Barbour and 26 for Richard Mentor Johnson. Afterwards, the convention approved an address to the nation and adjourned.
|Presidential vote||Vice Presidential vote|
|Andrew Jackson||283||Martin Van Buren||208|
|Philip P. Barbour||49|
|Richard M. Johnson||26|
The Barbour Democratic National Convention was held in June 1832 in Staunton, Virginia. Jackson was nominated for president and Philip P. Barbour was nominated for vice-president. Although Barbour withdrew, the ticket appeared on the ballot in five states: Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Virginia.
National Republican candidates
Soon after the Anti-Masonic Party held its national convention, supporters of Henry Clay called a national convention of the National Republican Party. The purpose of the convention was to nominate Clay officially and to select someone to run for vice-president on his ticket. The convention was held from December 12, 1831, to December 15, 1831, in the Athenaeum in Baltimore. At the opening session, there were 130 delegates from 17 states and the District of Columbia. Additional delegates arrived before the close of the convention. Six states were not represented, four of which were in the Deep South.
On the fourth day of the convention, the roll call ballot for president took place. The chairman of the convention called the name of each delegate, who gave his vote orally. Clay received 155 votes, with delegate Frederick H. Shuman of North Carolina abstaining because he believed that Clay could not win and should wait until 1836. As additional delegates arrived, they were allowed to cast their votes for Clay, and by the end of the convention he had 167 votes to one abstention. A similar procedure was used for the vice-presidential ballot; John Sergeant of Pennsylvania was nominated with 64 votes to six abstentions. The convention appointed a committee to visit Charles Carroll of Carrolton, the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, then adopted an address to the citizens of the nation.
|Presidential balloting||Vice Presidential balloting|
|Henry Clay||167||John Sergeant||64|
Candidates gallery Anti-Masonic candidates:
The Anti-Masonic Party held the first national nominating convention in American history. 111 delegates from 13 states (all from free states, except for Maryland and Delaware) assembled in the Athenaeum in Baltimore from September 26, 1831, to September 28, 1831.
Several prominent politicians were considered for the presidential nomination. Richard Rush would have been the nominee, but he pointedly refused. As a result of this action, along with his softness towards Andrew Jackson, former President John Quincy Adams never forgave him. Adams had enough courage to run as the Anti-Masonic candidate, but the party leaders did not want to risk running someone so unpopular.3
The delegates met behind closed doors for several days before the convention officially opened, in which the convention made some initial decisions. Several unofficial presidential ballots and one official ballot were taken, in which William Wirt defeated Rush and John McLean for the nomination. Ironically, Wirt was a Mason and even defended the Order in a speech before the convention that nominated him.4
Wirt hoped for an endorsement from the National Republicans. When the National Republican Party nominated Henry Clay, Wirt's position after their convention became an awkward one. He did not withdraw, even though he had no chance of being elected.3
The convention was organized on September 26 and heard reports of its committees on the 27th. The 28th was spent on the official roll call for president and vice-president. During the balloting, the name of each delegate was called, after which that delegate placed a written ballot in a special box. Wirt was nominated for president with 108 votes to one for Richard Rush and two abstentions. Amos Ellmaker was nominated for vice-president with 108 votes to one for John C. Spencer (chairman of the convention) and two abstentions.
The official ballot results were as follows:
|Presidential balloting||Vice Presidential balloting|
|William Wirt||108||Amos Ellmaker||108|
|Richard Rush||1||John C. Spencer||1|
Source: Niles' weekly register, Volume 41 
The election campaign revolved around the Second Bank of the United States. Jackson, who disliked banks and paper money in general, vetoed the renewal of the Bank's charter and withdrew federal deposits from the bank. Clay hoped to divide Jackson's supporters and curry favor in Pennsylvania, the bank's headquarters, by attacking Jackson. His supporters criticized Jackson's use of presidential veto power, portraying him as "King Andrew." However, the attacks on Jackson generally failed, in spite of heavy funding by the bank, as Jackson convinced the ordinary population that he was defending them against a privileged elite. Jackson campaign events were marked by enormous turnout, and he swept Pennsylvania and the vast majority of the country.
Jackson supporters used this Battle of New Orleans anthem as their campaign song.
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Jackson's popularity with the American public and the vitality of the political movement with which he was associated is confirmed by the fact that no president was again able to secure a majority of the popular vote in two consecutive elections until Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. To date, only two other presidents from the Democratic party were ever able to replicate this feat: Franklin D. Roosevelt (for the first time in 1936) and Barack Obama (in 2012). Furthermore, no president succeeded in securing re-election again until Abraham Lincoln in 1864. In spite of his achievement, Jackson was the second of only five presidents to win re-election with a smaller percentage of the popular vote than in the prior election. The other four are James Madison in 1812, Grover Cleveland in 1892, Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940 and 1944, and Barack Obama in 2012.
|Presidential candidate||Party||Home state||Popular vote(a)||Electoral
|Count||Pct||Vice-presidential candidate||Home state||Elect. vote(d)|
|Andrew Jackson||Democratic||Tennessee||701,780||54.2%||219||Martin Van Buren||New York||189|
|Henry Clay||National Republican||Kentucky||484,205(b)||37.4%||49||John Sergeant||Pennsylvania||49|
|John Floyd||Nullifier||Virginia||—(c)||—||11||Henry Lee||Massachusetts||11|
|William Wirt||Anti-Masonic||Maryland||100,715(b)||7.8%||7||Amos Ellmaker||Pennsylvania||7|
|Needed to win||144||144|
Source (Popular Vote): Leip, David. 1832 Presidential Election Results. Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections (July 27, 2005). Source (Electoral Vote): Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996. Official website of the National Archives. (July 31, 2005). (a) The popular vote figures exclude South Carolina where the Electors were chosen by the state legislature rather than by popular vote.
(b) 66,706 Pennsylvanians voted for the Union slate, which represented both Clay and Wirt. These voters have been assigned to Wirt and not Clay.
(c) All of John Floyd's electoral votes came from South Carolina where the Electors were chosen by the state legislatures rather than by popular vote.
(d) Two electors from Maryland failed to cast votes.
|Alabama||7||14,286||99.97||7||5||0.03||-||no ballots||no ballots||14,291||AL|
|Delaware||3||4,110||49.01||-||4,276||50.99||3||no ballots||no ballots||8,386||DE|
|Georgia||11||20,750||100||11||no ballots||no ballots||no ballots||20,750||GA|
|Indiana||9||31,551||67.10||9||15,472||32.90||-||no ballots||no ballots||47,023||IN|
|Kentucky||15||36,292||45.51||-||43,449||54.49||15||no ballots||no ballots||79,741||KY|
|Louisiana||5||3,908||61.67||5||2,429||38.33||-||no ballots||no ballots||6,337||LA|
|Maryland||10||19,156||49.99||3||19,160||50.01||5||no ballots||no ballots||38,316||MD|
|Mississippi||4||5,750||100||4||no ballots||no ballots||no ballots||5,750||MS|
|Missouri||4||5,192||100||4||no ballots||no ballots||no ballots||5,192||MO|
|New Hampshire||7||24,855||56.67||7||18,938||43.24||-||no ballots||no ballots||43,793||NH|
|New Jersey||8||23,826||49.89||8||23,466||49.13||-||468||0.98||-||no ballots||47,760||NJ|
|New York||42||168,497||52.10||42||154,896||47.90||-||no ballots||no ballots||323,393||NY|
|North Carolina||15||25,261||84.77||15||4,538||15.23||-||no ballots||no ballots||29,799||NC|
|Pennsylvania||30||91,949||57.96||30||no ballots||66,689||42.04||-||no ballots||158,638||PA|
|Rhode Island||4||2,126||43.07||-||2,810||56.93||4||no ballots||no ballots||4,936||RI|
|South Carolina||11||no popular vote||no popular vote||no popular vote||no popular vote||11||-||SC|
|Tennessee||15||28,078||95.42||15||1,347||4.58||-||no ballots||no ballots||29,425||TN|
|Method of choosing Electors||State(s)|
|State is divided into electoral districts, with one Elector chosen per district by the voters of that district||Maryland|
|Each Elector appointed by state legislature||South Carolina|
|Each Elector chosen by voters statewide||(all other States)|
- History of the United States (1789-1849)
- United States House elections, 1832
- Second inauguration of Andrew Jackson
- Chase, James S. Emergence of the Presidential Nominating Convention, 1789-1832 (1973).
- James Schouler (1889). History of the United States of America Under the Constitution: 1831-1847. 1889. W.H. & O.H. Morrison. Retrieved December 24, 2010.
- Hugh Chisholm (1910). Encyclopaedia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General Information. Encyclopaedia britannica Company. Retrieved December 24, 2010.
- Gammon, Samuel Rhea (1922). The Presidential Campaign of 1832 (PDF). Johns Hopkins Press.
- Remini, Robert V. Henry Clay: Statesman for the Union (1993)
- Remini, Robert V. Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Freedom 1822-1832 (1981)
- Primary sources
- Presidential Election of 1832: A Resource Guide from the Library of Congress
- National Republican Party (U.S.). Massachusetts (1831). Journal Of The National Republican Convention, Which Assembled In The City Of Baltimore, Dec. 12, 1831, For The Nominations Of Candidates To Fill The Offices Of President And Vice President. Washington: National Journal.
- Democratic National Convention (1832). Summary Of The Proceedings Of A Convention Of Republican Delegates, From The Several States In The Union, For The Purpose of Nominating A Candidate For The Office Of Vice-President Of The United States; Held At Baltimore, In The State Of Maryland, May, 1832. Albany: Packard and Van Benthuysen. Note: the account of the convention in Niles' Weekly Register has more information than the printed proceedings.
- The proceedings of the United States Anti-Masonic Convention: held at Philadelphia, September 11, 1830.
- Web sites
- "Andrew Jackson (1829–1837)". AmericanPresident.org. Retrieved March 18, 2005.
- "Elections". answers.com. Retrieved March 19, 2005.
- "A Historical Analysis of the Electoral College". The Green Papers. Retrieved March 20, 2005.
- source for "Electoral college selection"
- "Pennsylvania Presidential Election Returns 1832". The Wilkes University Election Statistics Project: Pennsylvania Election Statistics: 1682–2006. Retrieved March 19, 2005.
- "Overview of Anti-Masonic National Convention of 1831". Our Campaigns.com. Retrieved 2006.
- "Overview of National Republican Convention of 1831". Our Campaigns.com. Retrieved 2006.
- "Overview of Democratic National Convention of 1832". Our Campaigns.com. Retrieved 2006.