Andrew Jackson lost the 1824 presidential election to John Quincy Adams through what some called a “corrupt bargain” in the House of Representatives. The maneuver was masterminded by hot-headed but politically savvy Henry Clay, who with Adams, announced their intent for far-reaching new federal programs. Fierce opposition to these policies united pro-Jackson supporters who formed a new party, the Democrats, to rally around their hero and elect him to president in 1828.
But while Adams was defeated, Henry Clay had no intention of leaving the fight. He helped lead a new party which gathered together anti-Jackson, fiscal conservatives, and pro-states rights factions. The rise of Clay’s new Whig party seemed unstoppable–they captured both houses of Congress and the presidency–until, on April 4, 1841, president William Henry Harrison died in office and gave John Tyler the power of the veto.
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