The American Journey © 2007
The Jackson Era
In 1824 four candidates from the Republican Party competed for the presidency. Although Andrew Jackson received the largest number of popular votes, no one won a majority of electoral votes. In what some called a "corrupt bargain," Speaker of the House Henry Clay threw his support to John Quincy Adams and helped him win the presidency. By 1828 the Republican Party had divided into the Democratic-Republicans (or Democrats), who supported Jackson, and the National Republicans, who supported Adams. In the presidential election of 1828, after a campaign characterized by mudslinging, Jackson won an overwhelming victory. Many issues, however, continued to divide the country.
As Americans moved westward, they came into more conflict with Native Americans. Settlers wanted the federal government to move Native Americans in the Southeast to land west of the Mississippi River. In 1834 Congress created the Indian Territory, an area in present-day Oklahoma. The Cherokee Nation refused to give up its land. In spite of Cherokee pleas, the army forced them to leave. Brutal weather claimed thousands of Cherokee lives during their forced journey west, known as the Trail of Tears.
Jackson was re-elected in 1832. In 1836 his friend Martin Van Buren was elected president. Two months after Van Buren took office, the country entered a severe economic depression. In 1840 William Henry Harrison, a Whig, won the presidency. Four weeks later, Harrison died, and his vice president, John Tyler, became president. The Whigs, however, were unable to hold the presidency. After only four years, they lost to the Democratic candidate, James K. Polk.