The Reign of Andrew Jackson eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 153 pages of information about The Reign of Andrew Jackson.
met in joint session to witness the count of the electoral vote.  Spectators packed the galleries and overflowed into every available space.  The first acts were of a purely formal nature.  Then the envelopes were opened; the votes were counted; Calhoun was declared elected to the vice presidency; and it was announced that no candidate for the presidency had received a majority.  Then the senators withdrew, and the representatives addressed themselves to the task which the Constitution devolved upon them.  The members of each delegation took their seats together; the vote of each State was placed in a separate box on a table; and Daniel Webster and John Randolph, acting as tellers, opened the boxes and tabulated the results.  No one expected the first ballot to be decisive; indeed the friends of Crawford, who were present in large numbers, were pinning their hopes to the possibility that after repeated ballotings the House would break the deadlock between Jackson and Adams by turning to their candidate.  A hush fell upon the expectant assemblage as Webster rose to announce the result; and seasoned politicians could hardly trust their ears when they heard:  Adams, thirteen votes; Jackson, seven; Crawford, four.  An eleventh-hour change of mind by a New York representative had thrown the vote of that State into the Adams column and had thereby assured the triumph of the New Englander.

That evening Jackson and Adams came face to face at a presidential levee, Jackson with a lady on his right arm.  Each man hesitated an instant, and spectators wondered what was going to happen.  But those who were looking for a sensation were disappointed.  Reaching out his long arm, the General said in his most cordial manner:  “How do you do, Mr. Adams?  I give you my left hand, for the right, as you see, is devoted to the fair; I hope you are very well, sir.”  The reply came in clear but icy tones:  “Very well, sir; I hope General Jackson is well.”  It is the testimony of an unprejudiced observer that of the two, the defeated Tenneseean bore himself more graciously than the victorious New Englander.

Two days later Adams, following a conference with Monroe, invited upon his head the fires of heaven by announcing that he had decided to appoint Clay Secretary of State, “considering it due to his talents and services to the western section of the United States, whence he comes, and to the confidence in me manifested by their delegations.”

CHAPTER V

THE DEMOCRATIC TRIUMPH

Monroe’s Administration drew to a close in a mellow sunset of popular approval.  But no prophetic genius was required to foresee that clouds of discontent and controversy would hang heavy about the head of his successor.  Adams certainly did not expect it to be otherwise.  “Prospects are flattering for the immediate issue,” he recorded in his diary shortly before the election, “but the fearful condition of them is that success would open to a far severer trial than defeat.”  The darkest forebodings were more than realized.  No one of our chief executives, except possibly Andrew Johnson, was ever the target of more relentless and vindictive attacks.

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The Reign of Andrew Jackson from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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