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1828 United States 1836
United States presidential election, 1832
November 2 - December 5, 1832
Andrew Jackson.jpg Henry Clay.JPG
Nominee Andrew Jackson Henry Clay
Party Democratic National Republican
Home state Tennessee Kentucky
Running mate Martin Van Buren John Sergeant
Electoral vote 219 49
States carried 16 6
Popular vote 701,780 484,205(b)
Percentage 54.2% 37.4%
Johnfloydvirginia.jpg WWirt.jpg
Nominee John Floyd William Wirt
Party Nullifier Anti-Masonic
Home state Virginia Maryland
Running mate Henry Lee Amos Ellmaker
Electoral vote 11 7
States carried 1 1
Popular vote 100,715(b)
Percentage 7.8%
Presidential election results map. Blue denotes states won by Jackson and Van Buren or Wilkins, orange denotes those won by Clay/Sergeant, green denotes those won by Floyd/Lee, and light yellow denotes those won by Wirt/Ellmaker. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.

Incumbent President
Andrew Jackson

Andrew Jackson

The United States presidential election of 1832 saw incumbent President Andrew Jackson, candidate of the Democratic Party, easily win reelection against Henry Clay of Kentucky. Jackson won 219 of the 286 electoral votes cast, defeating Clay, the candidate of the National Republican party, and Anti-Masonic Party candidate William Wirt. 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 Caldwell Calhoun 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.



As the demise of the Congressional nominating caucus in the election of 1824 left the political system with an institutional method on the national level for determining Presidential nominations, the candidates of 1832 came to be 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.[1]


Democratic Party nomination

Democratic candidate:

President Jackson and Vice President John C. Calhoun had a rocky relationship. After the Eaton affair, 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. In the summer of 1831, Calhoun issued his "Fort Hill Letter", in which he outlined the constitutional basis for a state's ability to nullify an act of Congress. When the President nominated Van Buren to serve as Minister to Great Britain, the vote in the Senate ended in a tie; Vice President Calhoun further annoyed the President when he voted 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 (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 DC of its voting rights in the convention. The Rules Committee gave a brief report which established several other customs. Each state was allotted as many votes as it had Presidential Electors; several states were over-represented, and many under-represented. Second, balloting was taken by states and not by individual delegates. Third, 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.

Convention vote
Presidential vote Vice Presidential vote
Andrew Jackson 283 Martin Van Buren 208
Philip P. Barbour 49
Richard M. Johnson 26

National Republican Party nomination

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 abstaining. 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.

Convention vote
Presidential balloting Vice Presidential balloting
Henry Clay 167 John Sergeant 64
Abstaining 1 Abstaining 6

Anti-Masonic Party nomination

The first Anti-Masonic candidates ran in the spring elections of 1828; Solomon Southwick was the candidate for Governor of New York and received 12% of the vote [1]. Nationally, the Anti-Masonic Party was organized in a national convention held from September 11 to September 18, 1831 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Ninety-six delegates attended from 10 states and the Michigan Territory. At this time, conventions were a new means of gathering people to discuss common interests; other conventions of the era included those for agricultural or social causes.

A little over a year later, 111 delegates from 13 states (all from free states except for Maryland and Delaware) assembled in the Athenaeum in Baltimore, Maryland for the first national nominating convention in the history of the United States from September 26, 1831 to September 28, 1831. The following men were contending for the nomination:

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.
Candidates gallery

The official ballot results were:

Convention vote
Presidential balloting Vice Presidential balloting
William Wirt 108 Amos Ellmaker 108
Richard Rush 1 John C. Spencer 1
Abstaining 2 Abstaining 2

The convention was organized on the 26th 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 abstaining. Amos Ellmaker was nominated for Vice President with 108 votes to one for John C. Spencer (chairman of the convention) and two abstaining.

The official proceedings of the convention were printed in Niles's Weekly Register on October 1, 1831 and October 8, 1831.

Barbour Democratic Party nomination

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, Virginia).

General election


Anti-Jackson poster shows Andrew Jackson as a monarch trampling the Constitution, the federal judiciary, and the Bank of the United States

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 attacked Jackson's use of presidential veto power, showing 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.

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Presidential candidate Party Home state Popular vote(a) Electoral
Running mate Running mate's
home state
Running mate's
electoral vote(d)
Count Pct
Andrew Jackson Democratic Tennessee 701,780 54.2% 219 Martin Van Buren New York 189
William Wilkins Pennsylvania 30
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
Other 7,273 0.6% Other
Total 1,293,973 100% 286 286
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.

Electoral College selection

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)

See also


  1. ^ Chase, James S. Emergence of the Presidential Nominating Convention, 1789-1832 (1973).


Primary sources
Web sites


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