Today, December 3, 1828: Andrew Jackson Wins Second Presidential Election but First Presidency

Andrew Jackson is the only person in United States history who won both the popular and electoral votes but failed to win the presidency until four years later another campaign.

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On March 15, 1767, Andrew Jackson was born in the Waxhaw back country region that lied on the border between North and South Carolina. The exact location of his birth is unknown, but suspected to have been at an uncle’s house in the region.

In 1779, thirteen-year-old Jackson joined a local militia and served as a patriot courier.

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In 1781, Jackson and his brother Robert were captured by the British. During his imprisonment, a British officer slashed Jackson’s hand and face with a sword, leaving permanent scars. The Jackson brothers contracted smallpox while in prison, which proved fatal to Robert. Shortly after Robert’s death, Jackson’s mother died of cholera which she contracted while nursing injured soldiers. At age 14, Andrew Jackson was an orphan which led him to a lifelong hatred of the British.

In 1787, Jackson as admitted to the bar after studying law in Salisbury, North Carolina. Upon being admitted to the bar, Jackson was appointed as a prosecuting attorney for the western district of North Carolina which included much of today’s eastern Tennessee.

In 1788, Jack moved to Nashville which at the time was little more than a frontier town. He soon started a successful private law practice and with the money he made, he acquired a great deal of land.

In 1796, Jackson was a member of the convention that established the Tennessee Constitution. He was also elected to the US House of Representatives from Tennessee.

In 1797, Jackson won his first election to the US Senate from Tennessee.

In 1815, Jackson became a national hero when he won the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812. That national recognition helped his future political career.

In 1821, President James Monroe appointed Jackson to be the Military Governor of Florida.

In 1823, Jackson won his second election to the US Senate from Tennessee.

In 1824, Jackson ran for the US presidency against 3 members from his own political party – the Democratic-Republican Party. This turned out to be one of the most controversial presidential elections in history. His opponents were John Quincy Adams, William H. Crawford and the famous orator Henry Clay.

When the popular votes were counted, Jackson garnered the most with 153,544 votes. Adams received 108,740 votes, Clay got 47,531 votes and Crawford finished fourth with 40,856 votes. At the time, a candidate needed to

When the electoral votes were counted, again Jackson led the pack with 99 electoral votes. Adams finished second with 84 electoral votes. Crawford, who finished fourth in the popular vote, finished third in the electoral votes with 41 and Clay finished fourth with only 37 electoral votes.

However, in 1824, a candidate needed 131 of the 261 electoral votes in order to win the presidency. The US Constitution established the Electoral College (Article II, Section 1.) but those provisions were modified with the 12th Amendment. According to the 12th Amendment, in the case where no presidential candidate secured the necessary majority of electoral votes, the election would be decided by the US House of Representatives.

Believing he had the majority of support, Jackson did not spend much time campaigning among the members of the House, but Adams campaigned very hard among them.

In December 1824, the House took their vote and much to Jackson’s surprise and disappointment, John Quincy Adams received the majority of House votes and became the next president of the United States.

The fiasco of the 1824 election led Andrew Jackson to split the Democratic-Republican Party and form the foundation of what became the Democratic Party.

In 1828, Adams ran for re-election as a member of the new National Republican Party, and Andrew Jackson ran against him as a member of the new Democratic Party. Except for the past couple of modern elections, the 1828 presidential election is considered to be one of the dirtiest elections in history. The Adams campaign made numerous personal attacks against Jackson and even inferred that his wife Rachel was an immoral woman. When Rachel died in just days after Jackson won the election, he blamed the dirty mudslinging of the Adams campaign as being the cause of her sudden death.

On this day, December 3, 1828, it was announced that Andrew Jackson had won his second presidential election but his first presidency. He had again won the popular vote – 647,286 to Adams’ 508,064, and this time, he also won the electoral vote 178 to Adams’ 83. The 1828 election of Andrew Jackson was considered a huge landslide victory over incumbent John Quincy Adams. Jackson became the 7th President of the United States and was re-elected in 1832.


Sources for the above includes: 1828 Presidential Election; Election of 1828; United States Presidential Election of 1828; 1824 Presidential Election; Presidential Election Goes to the House; Election of 1824; Andrew Jackson 1767-1845 A Brief Biography; Constitution of the United States of America; Amendments 11-27 to the U.S. Constitution

Dave Jolly

R.L. David Jolly holds a B.S. in Wildlife Biology and an M.S. in Biology – Population Genetics. He has worked in a number of fields, giving him a broad perspective on life, business, economics and politics. He is a very conservative Christian, husband, father and grandfather who cares deeply for his Savior, family and the future of our troubled nation.

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