Andrew Jackson 1767-1845 A brief biography

The 1832 Election

On September 26, 1931, the first national convention in American History nominated William Wirt for president under the banner of the Anti-Masonic Party. This strange and short lived party formed partly because of the apparent murder of William Morgan, an ex-mason, who had tried to publish the Masons' secret rituals, and denounced them.

Political Anti-Masonism may have also represented an attempt to harness the growing anti elitism, and as it happened, both major candidates for president were or had been high in the Masonic order. The Masons do seem to have been a kind of social network of great use to the climber in society. It did seem to many that politicians and judges who were Masons were letting alleged conspirators off easily.

The Anti-Mason candidate, Wirt was close in principals to Henry Clay, the National Republican candidate, and regretted having to run against Clay. The Anti-Masons, in fact, drew heavily from the ranks of National Republicans. Some Anti-Masonic and National Republican strategists felt the two parties needed each other to beat Jackson, and tried to get both parties to nominate the same man for president. Clay could have renounced the Masons and run with the Anti-Masonic party, as many did. Clay scorned the Anti-Masons, and would not approach them, though entertained some hopes that Wirt might send support his way.

The two parties remained separate, and the National Republicans nominated Clay for president in December. The Democratic party also held a convention almost half a year later, in May. They made Van Buren the Vice Presidential candidate, and Jackson's candidacy was taken for granted.

The Jackson Democrats continued to weld together a most impressive organization, and the Democratic press worked overtime to sway public opinion against the bank. They also continued the parades, glee clubs, Hickory pole raisins and other morale boosting ploys for the party. The bank reprinted and distributed speeches of Clay and Webster, and even Jackson's Veto Message, which they erroneously though was bad for Jackson. The bank also used more or less outright bribery, such as loans to journalists and politicians. At any rate, newspapers, living on ads paid for by conservative businessmen, were 2/3 - 3/4 in favor of the bank.

In the end, Jackson won 55 percent of the popular vote, and 219 electoral votes to Clay's 49 and Wirt's 7. John Floyd of Virginia got South Carolina's 11 votes.