During the nation’s early years, only WHITE MALE property
owners were allowed to VOTE. When new WESTERN states
wrote CONSTITUTIONS, they gave the right to VOTE to all
WHITE MEN. States in the EAST soon followed this
example. By the 1830s, the number of qualified voters in
the nation had skyrocketed.
Other groups, however, still had no voice in POLITICS.
They included WOMEN, NATIVE AMERICANS, AND
ENSLAVED AFRICAN AMERICANS.
In the 1830s, the nation did away with the CAUCUS
SYSTEM, in which a small number of party officials
gathered to nominate candidates for office. In place of the
caucus grew NOMINATING CONVENTIONS, which opened
the nominating process to more people.
The Presidential election of 1824 pitted four candidates
against each other. HENRY CLAY and ANDREW JACKSON
represented the WEST. JOHN QUINCY ADAMS was an
EASTERNER, while WILLIAM CRAWFORD was from the
None of the candidates won a majority of the votes. As a
result, the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES had to decide the
election. CLAY received the fewest votes and so was out of
the race. CLAY threw his support behind ADAMS. As
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, CLAY influenced other legislators
and helped ADAMS win the presidency.
After winning the presidency, ADAMS made CLAY his
secretary of state. Enraged supporters of JACKSON
charged the two men with making a “CORRUPT BARGAIN”
to help each other.
Following the controversial election of 1824, the old
DEMOCRATIC-REPUBLICAN party began to split apart.
People who supported ADAMS and CLAY called themselves
NATIONAL REPUBLICANS. Their supporters included
EASTERN business owners and wealthy SOUTHERNERS.
Supporters of JACKSON formed the DEMOCRATIC PARTY.
Its supporters were WESTERNERS and SOUTHERNERS.
JACKSON and ADAMS faced each other again in the
presidential election of 1828. JACKSON won by a landslide.
Much of JACKSON’S support came from groups just
recently granted the right to vote: URBAN WORKERS,
SOUTHERN FARMERS, and people from the new WESTERN