Historical Highlights

The House of Representatives Elected John Quincy Adams as President

February 09, 1825
The House of Representatives Elected John Quincy Adams as President Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
About this object
John Quincy Adams, the only former President to be elected to the House of Representatives, earned the nickname “Old Man Eloquent.”
The House of Representatives elected Secretary of State John Quincy Adams as President on this date. Following an inconclusive Electoral College result, the House performed the constitutionally prescribed role of deciding the 1825 presidential election. Andrew Jackson of Tennessee had won the popular vote and commanded 99 electoral votes. He was followed in the electoral tally by Adams (84), Treasury Secretary William Crawford (41), and Speaker of the House Henry Clay (37). Speaker Clay was excluded from the House vote because he did not finish in the top three. The wily Kentuckian, however, still played a decisive role by supporting Adams, whom he knew to share his nationalist agenda. On the appointed day, each state delegation got one vote. On the first ballot 13 state delegations—a majority—chose Adams as President. Jackson received seven votes; Crawford got four. Later, President Adams nominated Clay as his Secretary of State, reigniting rumors that a deal had been struck before the vote. Convinced that the election had been stolen from him, Jackson stormed, “the Judas of the West has closed the contract and will receive the thirty pieces of silver . . . Was there ever witnessed such a bare faced corruption in any country before?”

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