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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

With Calhoun for Vice President


Calhoun, Sanford, Macon, Jackson, Van Buren and Clay. They all belonged to the Democratic-Republican party. Jackson had received the highest number of electoral votes--99 were for him and 84 for Adams. Calhoun, as candidate for Vice-President, led with 182 votes. In the House of Representatives Clay, as leader, opposed Jackson. Adams was declared President, with Calhoun for Vice-President. The electoral vote of thirteen States was given to Adams, while Jackson received seven. John Quincy Adams was then fifty-eight years of age. Washington had made him Minister to The Hague, and then to Lisbon, and in 1797 his father, then President, sent him as Minister to Berlin. In 1803, he was United States Senator. Six years later he was Minister to Russia. During both of Monroe's terms he was Secretary of State. Upon his inauguration as President, Adams made Clay Secretary of State. Wirt, McLean and Southard were retained in the Cabinet. The adherents of Jackson declared that a bargain had been made between Clay and Adams, who then paid Clay they alleged for his support in the "scrub race" for the Presidency. Randolph characterized the supposed arrangement as a "bargain between the Puritan and the Black Leg," and in consequence was challenged by Clay to fight a duel. Neither was injured. The election was followed by an immediate reorganization of political parties, on the question of supporting Adams's administration. Whether the successor of Adams should be a Northerner or a Southerner was the question at issue. His opponents were slave-holders and their Northern friends; his supporters, the antagonists of the Democratic party, whether known as National Republican, Whig or Republican party, all of which terms were in use. For the first time the new Congress, under the reapportionment, represented the entire population of the country, with New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio in the lead. In the Senate were men of brilliant promise. Clay was still a leader, and so was Webster, in the rising majesty of his renown. The contest between the parties was narrowed down to two great issues--internal improvements under national auspices and tariff for the protection of manufactures. President Adams in his first message gave opportunity for concerted opposition. He took advanced ground in favor of national expenditure on internal improvements, and urged the multiplication of canals, the endowment of a national university, expenditures for scientific research, and the erection of a national observatory. He announced that an invitation had been accepted from the South American states to a conference at Panama, in regard to the formation of a political and commercial league between the two Americas. The Senate requested President Adams to give it information "touching the principles and practice of the Spanish-American states, or any of them--in regard to negro slavery." The subject was debated for almost the entire session. When enough had been said to show that slavery must not be interfered with, the delegates were nominated and an appropriation was made. The delegates never went.

[Sidenote: Erie Canal completed]

[Sidenote: Beneficial results]

On November 4, the first boat travelling along the new Erie Canal reached New York. Through the efforts of De Witt Clinton, the State of New York without Congressional aid had completed the great Erie Canal. Its annual tolls were found to amount to half its cost. The financial and commercial results of the great work were immediate and manifest. The cost of carrying freight between Albany and New York was reduced from the 1820 rate of $88 per ton, to $22.50, and soon to $6.50. Travel was no less facilitated, so that it was possible for emigrants to reach Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin cheaply. These fertile States grew accordingly in population. In 1825 the Capitol at Washington was nearly completed; the outer walls proved to be uninjured by the fire of 1814. The foundation of the central building had been laid in 1818, and this edifice was now completed on its original plan.


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