History Podcasts

Election of 1840

Election of 1840

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Martin Van Buren was re-nominated unenthusiastically by the Democrats in 1840; no candidate was nominated for the vice presidency. To many of those countrymen who had suffered through years of depression, he was "Martin Van Ruin."Henry Clay felt his time had finally arrived and anticipated receiving the Whig nomination. Other forces in the party, however, knew that Clay's prominence over the years had earned him many enemies and they backed William Henry Harrison once again. Harrison was an old war hero and had made few pronouncements on public issues—a situation similar to Andrew Jackson in 1824. For regional balance, John Tyler of Virginia was selected as the vice-presidential candidate; Tyler was a former Democrat and would later return to many of his earlier beliefs. The campaign slogan was, "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too!"The campaign of 1840 was heavy on image-making, less so on substance—a harbinger of things to come. The Whigs turned this contemptuous statement to their advantage and launched the "log cabin and hard cider" campaign, playing up Harrison's appeal to the masses and serving large quantities of hard cider at rallies. Aspiring political poets of the day offered such verse as:

Let Van from his coolers of silver drink wine
And lounge on his cushioned settee,
Our man on a buckeye bench can recline,
Content with hard cider is he.

Neither portrayal was accurate. Harrison had many aristocratic qualities and came from a wealthy family, while Van Buren was a self-made man who was a firm believer in democratic values.The election results appeared to be a landslide in the Electoral College, but the popular vote was close.

Election of 1840


Electoral Vote


William Henry Harrison (OH)
John Tyler (VA)




Martin Van Buren (NY)
(no vice presidential nominee)




Election of 1840 - History

President Van Buren was very unpopular by the time the election of 1840 neared. Van Buren was blamed for the depression that followed the Panic of 1837. President Van Buren was reviled for not doing anything to improve the economy. As a result, the Whig Party felt they had a good chance to capture the White House.

Henry Clay, of Kentucky, was the early favorite at the Whig convention in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in December 1839. Clay, however, was a Mason. Strong anti-mason feeling was strong enough to block his nomination. In the final ballot, Harrison was nominated, with 148 votes to Clay's 90, and Scott's 16. John Tyler was nominated as the Vice Presidential candidate. Meanwhile, President Van Buren was unanimously renominated by the Democrats.

The election of 1840 was the first campaign with slogans, songs, and modern campaign paraphernalia. The motto that became best known was: "Tippecanoe and Tyler too." Tippecanoe was the battle Harrison won against the Indians in 1811. Harrison was portrayed as a man of the people. His views on most significant issues were unknown to voters. The economy was the major issue of the campaign. Van Buren shouldered the blame for the poor state of the economy. Harrison promised to get the economy moving again. By this time, Van Buren was so wildly unpopular that he even lost his home state.

The Temperance Issue in the Election of 1840: Massachusetts

The temperance issue had been enmeshed in Massachusetts politics for a number of years prior to 1840. As temperance enthusiasm grew in the 1820s and 1830s, individual towns began to debate whether to restrict the issuance of liquor licenses. The culmination of the effort to promote temperance by legal means came in 1838 when the Boston Temperance Society promoted a law to prohibit the sale of liquors in quantities less than fifteen gallons. The law passed the predominantly Whig legislature and was signed by the Whig governor, Edward Everett.

The fifteen gallon law was plainly discriminatory and undemocratic. It was intended to prevent the sale of hard liquor at retail over the bar in taverns. Poorer men were cut off almost completely from liquor, whereas the wealthier who could buy in large quantities and drink at home were not affected at all. The law did not limit beer and cider sales, but its discriminatory nature displeased many of the moderate temperance advocates, as well, of course, as the anti-temperance forces.

The state election of 1839 hinged on the 15-gallon law. Although Everett's democratic opponent, Marcus Morton, was in fact a temperance advocate, the Whigs were responsible for the law's passage and the issue quickly became a partisan one. In Worcester County, the Whigs were divided on the issue and a group calling themselves the Liberal Whigs split off and supported Morton. The result in 1839 was a slim victory for Morton.

The election campaign of 1840 resulted in an apparent reversal of positions on the temperance issue. Utilizing the obvious popularity of the "log cabin and hard cider" slogans, the Whigs pulled out the cider barrel as a symbol of their affinity with the common man's way of life. The Democrats of Massachusetts pointed out the seeming inconsistency of the temperance Whigs and accused the Whigs of promoting intemperance and even of lacing the cider with harder spirits. The Whigs, however, claimed that the cider barrel was merely a symbol, that cider was used sparingly with true sobriety. They likewise accused the Democrats of inconsistency with their seemingly holier-than-thou attitude. However, though some writers and speakers on both sides went to extremes in their accusations, neither side was really inconsistent in its stances on temperance in 1840 temperance and anti-temperance advocates could be found in both parties.

Although temperance was undoubtedly a secondary issue in the election of 1840 except for a few fanatics on both sides, it did probably affect the campaigning of the moderates on both sides.

Temperance Whigs were probably quieter in 1840 than they had been in 1839, while anti-temperance Democrats were also a little less vociferous in 1840 than they had been the year before. Storekeepers, tavern keepers and distillers were probably most affected by the attempts to legislate temperance. In Oxford, a number of the prominent Democrats were traders or tavern keepers with a license to sell. Asa Knight was a Democrat and if he had been a Massachusetts resident, he might have opposed the fifteen-gallon Act as deleterious to his business. However, with the exception of the proponents of total abstinence and the few members of the upper class who saw the law as a means of controlling the poor, most temperance advocates considered the issue a minor one. Salem Towne, a temperance advocate, does not seem to have been concerned about any inconsistency over the issue, for he was probably making cider himself. Thus, for most, the temperance issue was probably more peripheral or symbolic than anything else.

The Candidates in the Election of 1840

William Henry Harrison was from a wealthy Virginia family and had made his reputation in the military in 1794 when he participated in the decisive victory at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, which brought the Northwest Indian War to a successful close. He next moved into politics, becoming the secretary of the Northwest Territory, a territorial delegate to Congress, and for twelve years governor of Indiana Territory. During the war of 1812 he was appointed as a Brigadier General and led a force that defeated an alliance of British and Indians in the Battle of the Thames in present-day Ontario, Canada. In this battle, the Shawnee Chief Tecumseh was killed, thus ending the Indian Confederation and their close association with the British. As his fame and reputation grew, he served in both houses of Congress before becoming a candidate for the presidency in 1836.

The Democratic candidate, Martin Van Buren, known as the “Little Magician,” was a very savvy politician. He was a thin, wiry man, only five-and-a-half feet tall with wild sandy hair and bushy sideburns, born in Kinderhook, New York, in 1782 to a tavern owner. Van Buren had worked his way up the ladder to become vice president under Andrew Jackson in 1832. The writer Washington Irving wrote of Van Buren, “The more I see of Mr. Van Buren, the more I feel confirmed in a strong personal regard for him. He is one of the gentlest and most amiable men I have ever met with.” As Andrew Jackson’s vice president and appointed successor to Jackson, Van Buren won handily the election of 1836 to become president. Van Buren’s lasting significance in American politics is based more on his accomplishments before and after his presidency. He was a driving force in establishing the first modern national political party, who later became a force against the expansion of slavery and remained so until his death in 1862.

Presidential Election of 1840: A Resource Guide

The digital collections of the Library of Congress contain a wide variety of material associated with the presidential election of 1840, including political cartoons, broadsides, newspaper articles, and sheet music. This guide compiles links to digital materials related to the presidential election of 1840 that are available throughout the Library of Congress Web site. In addition, it provides links to external Web sites focusing on the 1840 election and a selected bibliography.

1840 Presidential Election Results [1]

  • On February 10, 1841, the Electoral College votes for the presidential election of 1840 were counted by a joint session of Congress and reported in the Congressional Globe , as well as in the Senate Journal and the House Journal .
  • The Pennsylvanian Extra. Election returns in Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, and Maine, November 6, 1840. , "The apprehensions expressed in my last have been fully realized. Having pursued a course in which my confidence has daily increased, and which has left me nothing to regret, it is, I hope, unnecessary to say to you, who know me well, that the result causes me no personal regrets. Of this my enemies shall have abundant evidence."

Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, ca. 1820-1860 consists of over 15,000 pieces of sheet music registered for copyright during the years 1820 to 1860. Included in this collection are sheet music related to the 1840 presidential election, including over thirty pieces about William Henry Harrison's campaign.

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers

  • "Voice of the Whig Press," Vermont Watchman and State Journal. (Montpelier, Vermont), December 23, 1839.
  • "Proceedings of the National Convention,"Burlington Free Press. (Burlington, Vermont), December 27, 1839.
  • "Tippecanoe Club," Boon's Lick Times. (Fayette, Missouri), May 2, 1840.
  • "The Union Redeemed," Jeffersonian Republican. (Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania), November 20, 1840.

Prints & Photographs Division

Search PPOC using the following subject headings to find additional prints, political cartoons, and other digital images related to the presidential election of 1840.

December 5

Martin Van Buren, eighth president of the United States and a founder of the Democratic Party, was born on December 5, 1782, in New York. Van Buren's inability to alleviate the depression, along with his opposition to the annexation of Texas on grounds it would divide the nation over the expansion of slavery, led to his drubbing by Whig candidate William Henry Harrison in 1840.

The American Presidency Project: Election of 1840

The American Presidency Project Web site presents election results from the 1840 presidential election. This site also contains the Democratic Party Platform of 1840.

The Abraham Lincoln Historical Digitization Project Web site provides histories of the presidential campaigns from 1840-1860, as well as primary source material, such as campaign biographies and campaign songbooks. Recordings of some of the songs are also available.

The EDSITEment Web site, a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities, contains three lesson plans on the presidential election of 1840.

Election of 1840 - History

The primary issue in the 1840 election was the economy. By 1844 the most important question facing voters was the future of American expansionism. The question of the annexation of Texas had become a political issue. However, both the expected Democratic nominee, former President Van Buren, and the expected Whig nominee Clay, agreed not to make Texas a point in the campaign.

At the Democratic convention, in Baltimore, in May 1844, many Democrats opposed President Van Buren's position on Texas. Van Buren did not receive the required 2/3 vote. As a result, the convention seemed near a deadlock. Finally, on the ninth ballot, the convention swung behind James Polk. This was the first time that a dark horse (an unknown) received the nomination.

The Democratic party endorsed a platform that called for the annexation of Texas and the reoccupation of Oregon. It also stood against federal improvement and the resurrection of the Bank of the United States. The Whigs nominated Henry Clay, unanimously.

In April of 1844, President Tyler had dropped his "Texas bombshell," as it had become known when he submitted a treaty for the annexation of Texas. This framed the election campaign. Questions of Manifest Destiny and Slavery dominated the campaign.

Clay was the early front runner and expected to have a comfortable victory. His opposition to the annexation of Texas lost him support in the South. The fact he was a slave owner lost him support in the North. A third party abolitionist candidate named James Birney siphoned off enough support in the North to deny Clay a win in New York, which would have guaranteed his election victory. This election was very personal, with newspaper attacks calling Polk "a coward" and Clay a "drunkard." James Polk won the election.

The Campaign of 1840: William Henry Harrison and Tyler, Too

After the debacle of the one-party presidential campaign of 1824, a new two-party system began to emerge. Strong public reaction to perceived corruption in the vote in the House of Representatives, as well as the popularity of Andrew Jackson, allowed Martin Van Buren to organize a Democratic Party that resurrected a Jeffersonian philosophy of minimalism in the federal government. This new party opposed the tendencies of National Republicans such as John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay to invest more power in the federal government. Van Buren built a political machine to support Jackson in the 1828 election. Van Buren's skills helped give the Democrats a head start on modern-style campaigning and a clear advantage in organization. The Democrats and Jackson defeated the National Republicans in 1828 and 1832 and maintained their hold on the presidency when they bested the Whigs—a union of former National Republicans, Antimasons, and some states' rights advocates—in 1836. But a major economic depression in 1837 finally gave the Whigs their best chance to occupy the White House. They faced Andrew Jackson's political organizer, vice president, and handpicked successor, President Martin Van Buren, vying for a second term in the midst of hard times.

As they prepared for the election of 1840, both Democrats and Whigs were organized for campaigning on a national scale. In an election that would turn out an astounding 80 percent of a greatly expanded electorate, campaigners sought to appeal to a wide range of voters in a variety of voting blocks. The contest between Martin Van Buren and William Henry Harrison marked the first truly modern presidential campaign, with methods today's students are sure to recognize.

Lessons in this unit allow students to become familiar with the issues and personalities and to review an assortment of primary documents. As students analyze them, they reflect on the presidential campaign of 1840. How was it conducted? What was the role of campaign advertising? How crucial were issues to the election of William Henry Harrison? How crucial was image?

Guiding Questions

What issues were important to the presidential campaign of 1840?

In what ways was the campaign about issues? In what way was it about image?

What in William Henry Harrison's background made him the choice of the Whig Party in 1840?

How did the Whigs promote Harrison's image in 1840?

In what ways did Harrison's background correspond with or contradict his image?

What made Martin Van Buren the choice of the Democratic Party in 1836?

How did the Democrats promote Martin Van Buren's image?

In what ways did Van Buren's background correspond with or contradict that image?

Why is the campaign of 1840 often cited as the first modern campaign?

Learning Objectives

List some issues important during the campaign of 1840.

Compare and contrast the careers of Martin Van Buren and William Henry Harrison before they became president.

Explain why the Whigs wanted to find a candidate in the mold of former president Andrew Jackson.

Discuss the ways in which Harrison did and did not fit the mold.

Identify some basic differences between the Democrats and Whigs.

Discuss the use of visual images in the 1840 campaign.

Take a stand as to whether the campaign of 1840 was based more on substance or image.

A More Perfect Union
History & Social Studies

Curriculum Details

  • Review the lesson plan. Locate and bookmark suggested materials and other useful websites. Download and print out documents you will use and duplicate copies as necessary for student viewing.
  • Download the Master PDF. Print out and make an appropriate number of copies of any handouts you plan to use in class.
  • Links to graphics on the EDSITEment resource American Memory, which are used throughout this lesson, lead to a page with a low-resolution image and links to bibliographic material and higher-resolution images.
  • Andrew Jackson's enormous popularity greatly contributed to the ability of the newly constituted Democratic Party to win three consecutive terms in the White House (1828, 1832, 1836). There are many similarities between Andrew Jackson and William Henry Harrison, a fact that did not escape the notice of those who backed Harrison's candidacy. Both Jackson and Harrison acquired national reputations as war heroes. Both, at one time or another, embraced the contradictory goals of fair treatment of American Indians and the acquisition by the U.S. of land from the American Indians. Both men led troops in important victories in the War of 1812. Though Jackson was the first presidential candidate to use a variety of campaign novelties such as buttons, posters, flasks, matchboxes, and mugs, Harrison's campaign took such promotion to new heights. Harrison won election by a wide margin in a year when about 80 percent of eligible voters went to the polls.

Lesson Plans in Curriculum

Lesson 1: The Campaign of 1840: The Whigs, the Democrats, and the Issues

Many accounts portray the campaign of 1840 as almost exclusively image-based. This lesson offers students the opportunity to reflect on the nature of the campaign. Though intended for the teacher, all or part of the following background information may be useful for some students.

Lesson 2: The Campaign of 1840: The Candidates

Many accounts portray Harrison's image as manufactured and Van Buren's image also open to criticism and ridicule. This lesson offers students the opportunity to reflect on the nature of the candidates in 1840. Though intended for the teacher, all or part of the following background information may be useful for some students.

Lesson 3: The Campaign of 1840: The Campaign

Many accounts portray the campaign of 1840 as almost exclusively about image, and manufactured images at that. This lesson gives students the opportunity to reflect on that point of view as they analyze campaign documents and accounts. Though intended for the teacher, all or part of the following background information may be useful for some students.

American Orchard

Over the last decade, the United States has experienced a cider renaissance, with new craft cider makers coming on the scene in virtually every region of the nation. Today’s craft cider makers are making extraordinary efforts to produce fine single variety and blended ciders, and their efforts are paying off. As an American historian, and someone who delights in both eating and drinking apples, the rebirth of American cider is an exciting time. From the early colonial period, throughout the first half of the the 19th century, Americans consumed great quantities of cider. But if the truth be told, American cider in these early years was not always top quality. European visitors often wrote disparagingly of America’s early cider makers, claiming that they often pressed half rotten and worm-eaten apples, and were haphazard in the way they monitored the fermentation process. Quantity, not quality, appeared to be the over-riding value for many American cider makers, and most of the cider was consumed at home or bartered locally. But cider was cheap and widely available, and had earned a reputation as the common man’s drink. It is perhaps no surprise then, that in an age of rising populism in politics, hard cider would emerge as the symbol of a candidate courting the common man’s vote.

The election campaign of 1840 was a watershed moment in American politics. Voter turnout among eligible voters reached an all-time high, with nearly 80% of those eligible casting their vote. It also represented an opportunity for the relatively new Whig party to finally gain control of the White House. Since his election to the Presidency in 1828, Andrew Jackson and his Democratic Party had dominated American politics by successfully presenting itself as the party of the common man. But in 1840, the nation was still plunged in the depression brought on by the financial Panic of 1837 and voters were discontent. The dangers of a unpredictable national market rekindled a bit of nostalgia for the “simpler times” of the frontier, self-provisioning farms, and local trade among many voters, and in 1840 the Whig Party was ready to exploit this nostalgia. After settling on old war hero William Henry Harrison for their presidential candidate, the Whigs were handed an opportunity when a Democratic newspaper, suggesting that Harrison was too old to run for president sneered, “Give him a barrel of hard cider, and settle a pension of two thousand a year on him, and my word for it, he will sit the remainder of his days in his log cabin by the side of his ‘sea coal’ fire, and study moral philosophy.”

Harrison supporters seized on the log cabin and hard cider elements of the insult to suggest that Democratic President Van Buren and his supporters were elitists who disdained the lifestyle of the simple self-provisioning, cider-making and cider-drinking farmer.

Pull the tab and Van Buren is unhappy to find his fancy champagne replaced with common cider.

One Harrison campaign souvenir was a paper card with an image which changed when a tab was pulled on the bottom. The first image the viewer encountered was of an aristocratic-looking Van Buren, smiling as he sipped fancy “White House Champagne” from a goblet. Once the tab was pulled, the goblet was replaced with “an ugly mug of log cabin hard cider,” Van Buren’s eyes rolled up into his head, as he made the familiar “bitter beer face” expression. The message was clear: this guy thinks he’s too good to drink what you and I drink. Don’t vote for him!

Harrison’s log cabin in 1840 campaign literature. Sea coal burning in the fireplace, barrels of hard cider stacked outside.

Harrison’s supporters declared their man to be the “log cabin and hard cider” candidate, a perverse political twist on many levels. Far from being born in a log cabin, Harrison was born on a James River plantation, a descendant of one of Virginia’s elite, slaveholding families. Even most of his days as a military officer in the West were spent at Grouseland, a magnificent estate, surrounded by grafted fruit trees and gardens, which he had built in Vincennes during his time as governor of the Indiana territory. In a more transparently ironical way, Harrison supporters built old fashioned log cabins on the decks of modern steamboats and powered from town to town to win votes for their hard cider drinking hero.

Berkeley Plantation, Harrison’s actual birthplace. No cider barrels evident.

While the “hard cider” meme went over quite well with ordinary voters, it threatened to alienate one of the Whig Party’s most loyal interests: the temperance movement. Temperance reformers had been working to eradicate cider orchards since the late 1820s, and they threatened to abandon the party for promoting alcohol consumption.

The Temperance movement’s take on the Hard Cider Campaign

“ Intemperance has become the badge of a political party! ” harrumphed the New York Evangelist. “Yes, intelligent men–men who have enjoyed the benefits of Christian teachings–and who live in a land of gospel light–are called upon to exhibit their enthusiasm for political strife, by drinking hard cider, made harder by hard brandy, for the Glory of General Harrison!” The Evangelist predicted that “more than ten thousand men will be made drunkards in one year by this hard cider enthusiasm.” A writer in another New York paper, declaring it “a burning shame that the flag of my country waves over such mockery and abomination, as though her stars and stripes were not insulted by being associated with such iniquity,” issued a warning to the Harrison campaign. Should these grog-dispensing log cabins be opened on “Sunday, either day or night,” the Whigs would lose the votes of so many temperance men that it would negate the effect of this pandering.

But however much the log cabin and hard cider campaign exasperated temperance Whigs, the strategy worked. Americans, troubled by the economic malaise that had fallen upon the country in 1837, embraced a nostalgia for a simpler time when their fates were not tied to mysterious market forces beyond their control. Log cabins and hard cider were a perfect symbol of that lost past. Hard apple cider represented not just a celebration of the disappearing self-provisioning lifestyle, but it was also a protest against do-gooder moral reformers bent on telling ordinary people how to live and what to drink. It did not seem to matter that the Whig Party’s soft money, pro-development economic policy promised to accelerate the market revolution, or that those moral do-gooders were most commonly associated with the Whig party. This was political triangulation at its finest. Voters were won over by the celebration of the seedling apple orchard and its homegrown product. And it worked. Harrison defeated Van Buren handily.

Van Buren being chased by a flying barrel of hard cider.

The campaign may well have proved to be a curse for hard cider, however. As the economy improved after 1843, nostalgia for “the olden days” quickly faded, and the 1840 campaign had pretty thoroughly linked cider with those old, primitive ways. As German immigrants flooded into North America, many established breweries, and beer, not associated with those unrefined frontier days, began to replace cider as the beverage of choice. Today’s craft cideries may finally be undoing the damage done by the Whig Party and their “hard cider campaign.”

This Day in Pottery History

The uses to which we put history determines it’s shelf life.  This adage is blatantly visible in English transfer print export pottery to America (ie show me the money).  Take the first five presidents: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe (of course).  Their shelf life varied.

Everybody loved George Washington (president from 1789-1797).  Shelves full of English export ware commemorated his administration.  Perhaps that’s to be expected of any revolution’s central “founding father.”

There is practically no English export ware commemorating John Adams (1797-1801).  Maybe Adams was just too dour for the English.  But he’d have to be pretty dour to trump the English  love of commerce.

Things got somewhat back to normal with Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809).  Even if many of his likenesses were really just “clip art” portraits with his name pasted under them.  No matter, as long as the name sold.

James Madison (1809-1817) held his own, though he declared a fairly pointless war against England in 1812.  But by then English pottery firms knew the extent of the American market and were prepared to go the distance in catering to popular demand.

Which brings us to James Monroe (1817-1825).  He too had his day.  But presidential portrait pottery had begun it’s decline.  Not so much because of the Monroe Doctrine, but because English firms were catching on to what American potters already knew.  Politics as decoration can be a hard sell.  Practically no American pottery company bothered with political imagery until the election of 1840.  Landscapes, flowers, and famous places were partisan neutral.

The irony is that Monroe’s Democratic-Republican party had wiped out the opposition Federalists.  George Washington’s original ideal of a ‘party-less’ government was within reach. 

The country was still wracked by economic crises, but the opposition party had imploded from it’s own colossal intransigence and a major war was over.  People called the time “The Era Of Good Feelings.”  Yes, people once actually spoke like that about American national politics.   

To those who warn that we risk repeating the past, I say “I wish.”

American Patriotic and Political China.  Marian Klamkin.  Scribner’s and Sons/New York.  1973.

China-Trade Porcelain.  John Goldsmith Phillips.  Harvard University Press/Cambridge, MA.  1956.

The 1828 Campaign of Andrew Jackson and the Growth of Party Politics

Portrait of Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States.

Changes in voting qualifications and participation, the election of Andrew Jackson, and the formation of the Democratic Party—due largely to the organizational skills of Martin Van Buren—all contributed to making the election of 1828 and Jackson's presidency a watershed in the evolution of the American political system. The campaign of 1828 was a crucial event in a period that saw the development of a two-party system akin to our modern system, presidential electioneering bearing a closer resemblance to modern political campaigning, and the strengthening of the power of the executive branch.

In this unit, students analyze changes in voter participation and regional power, and review archival campaign documents reflecting the dawn of politics as we know it during the critical years from 1824 to 1832.

Guiding Questions

How did changes in the electorate affect the election of 1828?

How were party politics reflected in the campaign of 1828?

What was the source of Andrew Jackson's popularity?

How did the election of Andrew Jackson change the function of party politics and elections in the U.S.?

Learning Objectives

Examine how the franchise was extended in the first half of the 19th century and how this affected elections and political parties in the U.S.

Evaluate the impact of changes in voting participation on the election of 1828.

Analyze maps, graphs, and images to determine how regional factors influenced the voting results in the election of 1828.

Evaluate the short and long-term effects of the election of 1828 on voting and elections in the U.S.

A More Perfect Union
History & Social Studies

Curriculum Details

  • Review each lesson plan. Locate and bookmark suggested materials and other useful websites. Download and print out documents you will use and duplicate copies as necessary for student viewing.
  • This unit is one of a series of complementary EDSITEment lessons on the early growth of political parties in the United States. Some student knowledge of the events and issues covered in the following complementary lessons is essential to a complete understanding of the presidential election of 1828.
      covers such issues and events as the negative attitude among the Founders toward political parties, as reflected in Washington's Farewell Address the differences in philosophy and policy between followers of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (who favored a less active federal government and eventually formed the Democratic-Republican Party) and the followers of Alexander Hamilton (who espoused a more powerful and active federal government and eventually formed the Federalist Party). deals with—among other issues and events—foreign affairs during the Federalist presidency of John Adams, and the political differences that contributed to the creation of the Sedition Act, which led, in turn, to the demise of the Federalist Party. touches on events in the presidential campaign of 1824, in which every candidate belonged to the Democratic-Republican Party, throwing the election into the House of Representatives, and thus setting the stage for the election of 1828. The lesson also discusses the Electoral College and the procedure to be used when an election is thrown into the House of Representatives.
  • If time permits, some students would benefit from the background gained through reading the essays as well.

      Throughout this unit, but especially in the culminating activity for Lesson Four, below, students read and analyze a variety of primary documents. The following materials from EDSITEment-reviewed resources may be useful to teachers seeking expert advice on the use of primary documents:
        on American Memory and History in the Raw on National Archives Educator Resources on History Matters

      Lesson Plans in Curriculum

      Lesson 1: 1828 Campaign of Andrew Jackson: Expansion of the Voting Base

      Did changes in state constitutions tend to affect the voting population? In this lesson, students discuss the general trend in the first half of the 19th century to extend the right to vote to more white males.

      Lesson 2: The 1828 Campaign of Andrew Jackson: Changes in Voting Participation

      Did the increased right to vote translate into an increase in the percentage and totals of white males who actually voted? Students will look for connections between the candidacy of Andrew Jackson and trends in voter participation in the presidential election of 1828.

      Lesson 3: The 1828 Campaign of Andrew Jackson: Territorial Expansion and the Shift of Power

      By 1828, the United States had changed greatly, though it was still a young country. Instead of 13 states, there were 24, and enough territory to make quite a few more. What was the source of Andrew Jackson's popularity?

      Lesson 4: The 1828 Campaign of Andrew Jackson: Issues in the Election of 1828 (and Beyond)

      How were party politics reflected in the campaign of 1828? What were the positions of the fledgling Democratic Party and its opposition?

      Watch the video: Election of 1840 Video (August 2022).