SECTION 2 INTRODUCTION The presidential campaign of 1828 was one of the dirtiest in U.S. history. The two candidates were John Quincy Adams, running for reelection, and Andrew Jackson, the popular hero of the War of 1812’s Battle of New Orleans.
During the campaign, both sides hurled accusations at each other, a practice called mudslinging. Adams, for example, was called a “Sabbath-breaker” for traveling on Sunday. He was accused of using public money to purchase “gambling furniture” for the White House. In reality, he had used his own money to buy a billiard table.
The president’s supporters lashed back. They called Jackson a crude and ignorant [ignorant: lacking knowledge] man who was unfit to be president. They also brought up old scandals about his wife. Jackson was called “Old Hickory” by his troops because he was as tough as “the hardest wood in all creation.” But when he read such lies, he broke down and cried.
When the votes were counted, Jackson was the clear winner. But his supporters came from among the general population, not the rich and upper class. In this chapter, you will discover how his presidency was viewed by different groups of people. You will also learn how Jackson’s government affected the growth of democracy in the nation.