The Corrupt Bargain

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The Corrupt Bargain

The Presidential Election held in the US in 1824 is popularly referred to as the 'corrupt bargain of 1824'. In fact, the Electoral College system was criticized way back in 1803 and it is claimed that this system is the cause of the 'corrupt bargain of 1824'.

The two candidates involved in this incident were Henry Clay and John Quincy Adams. The other contestants in this election were Andrew Jackson and William H. Crawford. All the four contestants were Democratic Republicans. The contingent elections had to be held as Jackson had failed to win an absolute majority in spite of garnering the most popular votes and electoral votes.

In the 1824 elections, Henry Clay was deemed ineligible earlier for the contingent election (conducted according to the 12th Amendment of the US electoral process) as he received only 37 votes (which was the minimum required votes). Andrew Jackson secured 99 votes followed by John Quincy Adams who won 84 votes. This was followed by William H. Crawford who won 41 votes.

In 1825, the contingent election took place on February 9 wherein John Quincy Adams received 13 votes and was elected president. Andrew Jackson lost the election as he had secured only 7 votes. William H. Crawford secured just 4 votes. The supporters of Andrew Jackson then accused Adams stating that he had struck a corrupt bargain with Henry Clay. It was claimed that before the contingent election was held, Clay and Adams had met at the latter's residence to strike this deal as Clay had a lot of clout in the House of Representatives. Once Adam was elected president, Clay was appointed as the Secretary of State.

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