United States presidential election, 1832

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United States presidential election, 1832

← 1828 November 2 – December 5, 1832 1836 →

All 286 electoral votes of the Electoral College
144 electoral votes needed to win
Turnout 55.4%[1]
  Andrew Jackson.jpg Henry Clay.JPG
Nominee Andrew Jackson Henry Clay
Party Democratic National Republican
Home state Tennessee Kentucky
Running mate Martin Van Buren John Sergeant
Electoral vote 219 49
States carried 16 6
Popular vote 701,780 484,205
Percentage 54.2% 37.4%

  Johnfloydvirginia.jpg WilliamWirt.png
Nominee John Floyd William Wirt
Party Nullifier Anti-Masonic
Home state Virginia Maryland
Running mate Henry Lee Amos Ellmaker
Electoral vote 11 7
States carried 1 1
Popular vote - 100,715
Percentage - 7.8%

Presidential election results map. Blue denotes states won by Jackson and Van Buren or Wilkins, light yellow denotes those won by Clay/Sergeant, green denotes those won by Floyd/Lee, and orange denotes those won by Wirt/Ellmaker. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.

President before election

Andrew Jackson

Elected President

Andrew Jackson

The United States presidential election of 1832 was the 12th quadrennial presidential election, held from Friday, November 2, to Wednesday, December 5, 1832. It saw incumbent President Andrew Jackson, candidate of the Democratic Party, easily win re-election against Henry Clay of Kentucky, candidate of the National Republican Party, and Anti-Masonic Party candidate William Wirt. Jackson won 219 of the 286 electoral votes cast. John Floyd, who was not a candidate, received the electoral votes of South Carolina.

This was the first national election for Martin Van Buren of New York, who was put on the ticket to succeed John C. Calhoun as vice-president and four years later would succeed Jackson as president. Van Buren faced opposition for the vice-presidency within his own party, however, and as a result, all 30 Pennsylvania electors cast ballots for native son William Wilkins.


With the demise of the Congressional nominating caucus in the election of 1824, the political system was left without an institutional method on the national level for determining presidential nominations. For this reason, the candidates of 1832 were chosen by national conventions. The first national convention was held by the Anti-Masonic Party in Baltimore, Maryland, in September 1831. The National Republican Party and the Democratic Party soon imitated them, also holding conventions in Baltimore, which would remain a favored venue for national political conventions for decades.[2]

Democratic Party nomination

Democratic candidate:

President Jackson and Vice-President John C. Calhoun had a strained relationship for a number of reasons, including the involvement of Calhoun's wife Floride in the Eaton affair. As a result of this, Secretary of State Martin Van Buren and Secretary of War John H. Eaton resigned from office in April 1831, and Jackson requested the resignation of all other cabinet offices as well. Van Buren instigated the procedure as a means of removing Calhoun supporters from the Cabinet. Calhoun further aggravated the president in the summer of 1831 when he issued his "Fort Hill Letter," in which he outlined the constitutional basis for a state's ability to nullify an act of Congress.

The final blow to the Jackson-Calhoun relationship came when the president nominated Van Buren to serve as Minister to the United Kingdom and the vote in the Senate ended in a tie, which Calhoun broke by voting against confirmation on January 25, 1832. At the time of Calhoun's vote to end Van Buren's political career, it was not clear who the candidates of the Democrats would be in the election later that year. Jackson had already been nominated by several state legislatures, following the pattern of 1824 and 1828, but his worry was that the various state parties would not unite on a vice-presidential nominee. As a result, the Democratic Party followed the pattern of the opposition and called a national convention.

The 1832 Democratic National Convention, the first of the Democratic Party, was held in the Athenaeum in Baltimore (the same venue as the two opposition parties) from May 21, 1832, to May 23, 1832. Several decisions were made at this initial convention of the party. On the first day, a committee was appointed to provide a list of delegates from each state. This committee, which later came to be called the Credentials Committee, reported that all states were represented. Delegates were present from the District of Columbia, and on the first contested roll call vote in convention history, the convention voted 126-153 to deprive the District of Columbia of its voting rights in the convention. The Rules Committee gave a brief report that established several other customs. Each state was allotted as many votes as it had presidential electors; several states were over-represented, and many were under-represented. Secondly, balloting was taken by states and not by individual delegates. Thirdly, two-thirds of the delegates would have to support a candidate for nomination, a measure intended to reduce sectional strife. The fourth rule, which banned nomination speeches, was the only one the party quickly abandoned.

No roll call vote was taken to nominate Jackson for a second term. Instead, the convention passed a resolution stating that "we most cordially concur in the repeated nominations which he has received in various parts of the union." Martin Van Buren was nominated for vice-president on the first ballot, receiving 208 votes to 49 for Philip Pendleton Barbour and 26 for Richard Mentor Johnson. Afterwards, the convention approved an address to the nation and adjourned.

Convention vote
Presidential vote Vice Presidential vote
Andrew Jackson 283 Martin Van Buren 208
Philip P. Barbour 49
Richard M. Johnson 26

Barbour Democratic Party nomination

The Barbour Democratic National Convention was held in June 1832 in Staunton, Virginia. Jackson was nominated for president and Philip P. Barbour was nominated for vice-president. Although Barbour withdrew, the ticket appeared on the ballot in five states: Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Virginia.

National Republican Party nomination

National Republican candidates

Soon after the Anti-Masonic Party held its national convention, supporters of Henry Clay called a national convention of the National Republican Party. The purpose of the convention was to nominate Clay officially and to select someone to run for vice-president on his ticket. The convention was held from December 12, 1831, to December 15, 1831, in the Athenaeum in Baltimore. At the opening session, there were 130 delegates from 17 states and the District of Columbia. Additional delegates arrived before the close of the convention. Six states were not represented, four of which were in the Deep South.

On the fourth day of the convention, the roll call ballot for president took place. The chairman of the convention called the name of each delegate, who gave his vote orally. Clay received 155 votes, with delegate Frederick H. Shuman of North Carolina abstaining because he believed that Clay could not win and should wait until 1836. As additional delegates arrived, they were allowed to cast their votes for Clay, and by the end of the convention he had 167 votes to one abstention. A similar procedure was used for the vice-presidential ballot; John Sergeant of Pennsylvania was nominated with 64 votes to six abstentions. The convention appointed a committee to visit Charles Carroll of Carrolton, the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, then adopted an address to the citizens of the nation.

Convention vote
Presidential balloting Vice Presidential balloting
Henry Clay 167 John Sergeant 64
Abstaining 1 Abstaining 6

Anti-Masonic Party nomination

Candidates gallery Anti-Masonic candidates:

The Anti-Masonic Party held the first national nominating convention in American history. 111 delegates from 13 states (all from free states, except for Maryland and Delaware) assembled in the Athenaeum in Baltimore from September 26, 1831, to September 28, 1831.

Several prominent politicians were considered for the presidential nomination. Richard Rush would have been the nominee, but he pointedly refused. As a result of this action, along with his softness towards Andrew Jackson, former President John Quincy Adams never forgave him. Adams had enough courage to run as the Anti-Masonic candidate, but the party leaders did not want to risk running someone so unpopular.[3]

"King Andrew the First", an Anti-Jacksonian poster shows Andrew Jackson as a monarch trampling the Constitution, the federal judiciary, and the Bank of the United States

The delegates met behind closed doors for several days before the convention officially opened, in which the convention made some initial decisions. Several unofficial presidential ballots and one official ballot were taken, in which William Wirt defeated Rush and John McLean for the nomination. Ironically, Wirt was a Mason and even defended the Order in a speech before the convention that nominated him.[4]

Wirt hoped for an endorsement from the National Republicans. When the National Republican Party nominated Henry Clay, Wirt's position after their convention became an awkward one. He did not withdraw, even though he had no chance of being elected.[3]

The convention was organized on September 26 and heard reports of its committees on the 27th. The 28th was spent on the official roll call for president and vice-president. During the balloting, the name of each delegate was called, after which that delegate placed a written ballot in a special box. Wirt was nominated for president with 108 votes to one for Richard Rush and two abstentions. Amos Ellmaker was nominated for vice-president with 108 votes to one for John C. Spencer (chairman of the convention) and two abstentions.

The official ballot results were as follows:

Convention vote
Presidential balloting Vice Presidential balloting
William Wirt 108 Amos Ellmaker 108
Richard Rush 1 John C. Spencer 1
Abstaining 2 Abstaining 1

Source: Niles' weekly register, Volume 41[5]

General election


The election campaign revolved around the Second Bank of the United States. Jackson, who disliked banks and paper money in general, vetoed the renewal of the Bank's charter and withdrew federal deposits from the bank. Clay hoped to divide Jackson's supporters and curry favor in Pennsylvania, the bank's headquarters, by attacking Jackson. His supporters criticized Jackson's use of presidential veto power, portraying him as "King Andrew." However, the attacks on Jackson generally failed, in spite of heavy funding by the bank, as Jackson convinced the ordinary population that he was defending them against a privileged elite. Jackson campaign events were marked by enormous turnout, and he swept Pennsylvania and the vast majority of the country.


Results by county explicitly indicating the percentage of the winning candidate in each county. Shades of blue are for Jackson/Van Buren (Democratic), shades of yellow are for Clay (National Republican), shades of red are for Wirt (Anti-Masonic), and shades of green are for Jackson/Barbour (Democratic).

Jackson's popularity with the American public and the vitality of the political movement with which he was associated is confirmed by the fact that no president was again able to secure a majority of the popular vote in two consecutive elections until Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. To date, only two other presidents from the Democratic party were ever able to replicate this feat: Franklin D. Roosevelt (for the first time in 1936) and Barack Obama (in 2012). Furthermore, no president succeeded in securing re-election again until Abraham Lincoln in 1864. In spite of his achievement, Jackson was the second of only five presidents to win re-election with a smaller percentage of the popular vote than in the prior election. The other four are James Madison in 1812, Grover Cleveland in 1892, Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940 and 1944, and Barack Obama in 2012.

Presidential candidate Party Home state Popular vote(a) Electoral
Running mate
Count Pct Vice-presidential candidate Home state Elect. vote(d)
Andrew Jackson (Incumbent) Democratic Tennessee 701,780 54.2% 219 Martin Van Buren New York 189
William Wilkins Pennsylvania 30
Henry Clay National Republican Kentucky 484,205(b) 37.4% 49 John Sergeant Pennsylvania 49
John Floyd Nullifier Virginia (c) 11 Henry Lee Massachusetts 11
William Wirt Anti-Masonic Maryland 100,715(b) 7.8% 7 Amos Ellmaker Pennsylvania 7
Other 7,273 0.6% Other
Total 1,293,973 100% 286 286
Needed to win 144 144

Source (Popular Vote): Leip, David. "1832 Presidential Election Results". Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved July 27, 2005.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Source (Electoral Vote): "Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved July 31, 2005.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (a) The popular vote figures exclude South Carolina where the Electors were chosen by the state legislature rather than by popular vote.
(b) 66,706 Pennsylvanians voted for the Union slate, which represented both Clay and Wirt. These voters have been assigned to Wirt and not Clay.
(c) All of John Floyd's electoral votes came from South Carolina where the Electors were chosen by the state legislatures rather than by popular vote.
(d) Two electors from Maryland failed to cast votes.

Popular vote
Electoral vote

Results by state

[citation needed]

Andrew Jackson
Henry Clay
National Republican
William Wirt
John Floyd
Independent Democrat
State Total
State electoral
#  % electoral
#  % electoral
#  % electoral
#  % electoral
Alabama 7 0001361814,286 99.97 7 000486695 0.03 - no ballots no ballots 14,291 AL
Connecticut 8 11,269 34.32 - 18,155 55.29 8 3,409 10.38 - no ballots 32,833 CT
Delaware 3 4,110 49.01 - 4,276 50.99 3 no ballots no ballots 8,386 DE
Georgia 11 20,750 100 11 no ballots no ballots no ballots 20,750 GA
Illinois 5 14,609 68.01 5 6,745 31.40 - 97 0.45 - no ballots 21,481 IL
Indiana 9 31,551 67.10 9 15,472 32.90 - no ballots no ballots 47,023 IN
Kentucky 15 36,292 45.51 - 43,449 54.49 15 no ballots no ballots 79,741 KY
Louisiana 5 3,908 61.67 5 2,429 38.33 - no ballots no ballots 6,337 LA
Maine 10 33,978 54.67 10 27,331 43.97 - 844 1.36 - no ballots 62,153 ME
Maryland 10 19,156 49.99 3 19,160 50.01 5 no ballots no ballots 38,316 MD
Massachusetts 14 13,933 20.61 - 31,963 47.27 14 14,692 21.73 - no ballots 60,588 MA
Mississippi 4 5,750 100 4 no ballots no ballots no ballots 5,750 MS
Missouri 4 5,192 100 4 no ballots no ballots no ballots 5,192 MO
New Hampshire 7 24,855 56.67 7 18,938 43.24 - no ballots no ballots 43,793 NH
New Jersey 8 23,826 49.89 8 23,466 49.13 - 468 0.98 - no ballots 47,760 NJ
New York 42 168,497 52.10 42 154,896 47.90 - no ballots no ballots 323,393 NY
North Carolina 15 25,261 84.77 15 4,538 15.23 - no ballots no ballots 29,799 NC
Ohio 21 81,246 51.33 21 76,539 48.35 - 509 0.32 - no ballots 158,294 OH
Pennsylvania 30 91,949 57.96 30 no ballots 66,689 42.04 - no ballots 158,638 PA
Rhode Island 4 2,126 43.07 - 2,810 56.93 4 no ballots no ballots 4,936 RI
South Carolina 11 no popular vote no popular vote no popular vote no popular vote 11 - SC
Tennessee 15 28,078 95.42 15 1,347 4.58 - no ballots no ballots 29,425 TN
Vermont 7 7,870 24.50 - 11,152 34.71 - 13,106 40.79 7 no ballots 32,128 VT
Virginia 23 34,243 74.96 23 11,436 25.03 - 3 0.01 - no ballots 45,682 VA
TOTALS: 288 702,735 54.74 219 474,107 36.93 49 99,817 7.78 7 - - 11 1,329,402 US
TO WIN: 148

Electoral College selection

Method of choosing Electors State(s)
State is divided into electoral districts, with one Elector chosen per district by the voters of that district Maryland
Each Elector appointed by state legislature South Carolina
Each Elector chosen by voters statewide (all other States)

See also


  1. "Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections". The American Presidency Project. UC Santa Barbara.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Chase, James S. Emergence of the Presidential Nominating Convention, 1789-1832 (1973).
  3. 3.0 3.1 James Schouler (1889). History of the United States of America Under the Constitution: 1831-1847. 1889. W.H. & O.H. Morrison. Retrieved December 24, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Hugh Chisholm (1910). Encyclopaedia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature and General Information. Encyclopaedia Britannica Company. Retrieved December 24, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. http://books.google.com/books?id=GFI8AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA109&dq=william+wirt+%2B+anti+masonic&hl=en&ei=CS0VTdvUI4Kdlgf0l5XMCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=8&ved=0CEkQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=william%20wirt%20%2B%20anti%20masonic&f=false


  • Cole, Donald B. "The Presidential Election of 1832 in New Hampshire." Historical New Hampshire 21#1 (1966) pp: 32-50.
  • Folsom, Burton W. "Party Formation and Development in Jacksonian America: The Old South." Journal of American Studies 7#3 (1973): 217-229.
  • Gammon, Samuel Rhea (1922). The Presidential Campaign of 1832 (PDF). Johns Hopkins Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Holt, Michael F. The rise and fall of the American Whig party: Jacksonian politics and the onset of the Civil War (Oxford University Press, 1999)
  • Remini, Robert V. Henry Clay: Statesman for the Union (1993)
  • Remini, Robert V. Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Freedom 1822-1832 (1981), detailed biography
  • Remini, Robert V. "Election of 1832." in Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. ed. History of American Presidential Elections (1968) vol 1 pp 494-516, Detailed coverage plus primary source

Primary sources

Web sites

External links