Tuesday, August 2, 2016
A little slice of American history.....
In those states where citizens voted for president, Jackson had taken 153,544; Adams 108,740; Clay 47,136; Crawford 46,618. But it was the electoral votes that counted, and here the final tally read: Jackson 99, Adams 84, Crawford 41, Clay 37. The four defected New York votes had cost Clay his chance for the presidency. Clay was a supremely political animal, but in a letter to his friend Francis Brooke he admitted that he couldn't make head or tails of the New York vote. Now only Jackson, Adams, and Crawford, a broken man, survived. The vote in the House was scheduled for February 9.
Adams could have taken the position that the nation had spoken, that voters had chosen Andrew Jackson, that his candidacy had remained alive only by virtue of a constitutional technicality. That is, he could have withdrawn. Jackson's friends put it out that this would be the correct thing for Adams to do. There is no sign that this idea crossed his mind. Adams would not have acknowledged that anything in the Constitution could be deemed to be a technicality.
-James Traub, John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit
Some context: this is the presidential election of 1824, that wasn't decided until 1825. Crawford is William Crawford of Georgia, who had two serious strokes in the months leading up to the election.