THE PARTY ISSUES. - The issues which divided the Federalists and the Republicans from 1793 to 1815 arose chiefly from our foreign relations. Neutrality, French decrees, British orders in council, search, impressment, the embargo, non-intercourse, the war, were the matters that concerned the people. Soon after 1815 all this changed; Napoleon was a prisoner at St. Helena, Europe was at peace, and domestic issues began to be more important.

THE ERA OF GOOD FEELING. - The election of 1816, however, was decided chiefly on the issues of the war. James Monroe, [1] the Republican candidate for President, was elected by a very large majority over Rufus King. During Monroe's term domestic issues were growing up, but had not become national. They were rather sectional. Party feeling subsided, and this was so noticeable that his term was called "the Era of Good Feeling." In this condition of affairs the Federalist party died out, and when Monroe was renominated in 1820, no competitor appeared. [1] The Federalists presented no candidate.

POLITICAL EVENTS. - The chief political events of Monroe's first term (1817-21), as we have seen, were the admission of several new states, the Compromise of 1820, and the treaties of 1818 and 1819, with Great Britain and Spain. The chief political events of his second term (1821-25) were: a dispute over the disposition of public lands in the new states; [3] a dispute over the power of Congress to aid the building of roads and canals, called "internal improvements"; the recognition of the independence of South American colonies of Spain; the announcement of the Monroe Doctrine; the passage of a new tariff act; and the breaking up of the Republican party.

THE SOUTH AMERICAN REPUBLICS. - In 1808 Napoleon invaded Spain, drove out the king, and placed his brother Joseph Bonaparte on the throne. Thereupon many of the Spanish colonies in America rebelled and organized themselves as republics. When Napoleon was sent to St. Helena, the Spanish king (who was restored in 1814) brought back most of the colonies to their allegiance. La Plata, however, rebelled, and was quickly followed by the others. In 1822 President Monroe recognized the independence of La Plata (Argentina), Chile, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, and Central America.

THE HOLY ALLIANCE. - The king of Spain, unable to conquer the revolted colonies, applied for aid to the Holy Alliance which was formed by Russia, Prussia, Austria, and France for the purpose of maintaining monarchical government in Europe. For a while these powers did nothing, but in 1823 they called a conference to consider the question of restoring to Spain her South American colonies. But the South American republics had won their independence from Spain, and had been recognized by us as sovereign powers; what right had other nations to combine and force them back again to the condition of colonies? In his annual message (December, 1823), the President therefore took occasion to make certain announcements which have ever since been called the Monroe Doctrine. [4]

THE MONROE DOCTRINE. - Referring to the conduct of the Holy Alliance, he said -

1. That the United States would not meddle in the political affairs of Europe.

2. That European governments must not extend their system to any part of North and South America, nor in any way seek to control the destiny of any of the nations of this hemisphere.

As Russia had been attempting to plant a colony on the coast of California, which was then a part of Mexico, the President announced (as another part of the doctrine) -

3. That the American continents were no longer open for colonization by European powers.

THE TARIFF OF 1824. - Failure of the tariff of 1816 to shut out British manufactures, the hard times of 1819, and the general ruin of business led to a demand for another tariff in 1820. To this the cotton states were bitterly opposed. In the South there were no manufacturing centers, no great manufacturing industries of any sort. The planters sold their cotton to the North and (chiefly) to Great Britain, from which they bought almost all kinds of manufactured goods they used. Naturally, they wanted low duties on their imported articles; just enough tax to support the government and no more.

In the North, especially in towns now almost wholly given up to manufactures, as Lynn and Lowell and Fall River and Providence and Cohoes and Paterson and others; in regions where the farmers were raising sheep for wool; in Pennsylvania, where iron was mined; and in Kentucky, where the hemp fields were, people wanted domestic manufactures protected by a high tariff.

The struggle was a long one. At each session of Congress from 1820 to 1824 the question came up. Finally in 1824 a new tariff for protection was enacted despite the efforts of the South and part of New England.

BREAKING UP OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. - Though the three questions of internal improvements, the tariff, and the use of the public lands led to bitter disputes, they did less to break up the party harmony than the action of the leaders. After the second election of Monroe the question of his successor at once arose. The people of Tennessee nominated Andrew Jackson; South Carolina named the Secretary of War, Calhoun; Kentucky wanted Henry Clay, who had long been speaker of the House of Representatives; the New England states were for John Quincy Adams, the Secretary of State. Finally the usual party caucus of Republican members of Congress nominated Crawford of Georgia, the Secretary of the Treasury.

THE ELECTION OF 1824-25. - The withdrawal of Calhoun from the race for the presidency left in it Adams, Clay, Crawford, and Jackson, representing the four sections of the country - Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest. As no one had a majority of the electoral votes, it became the duty of the House of Representatives to elect one from the three who had received the highest votes. [5] They were Jackson, Adams, and Crawford. The House chose Adams, [6] who was duly inaugurated in 1825. [7] The electoral college had elected Calhoun Vice President. [8]

THE CHARGE OF CORRUPTION. - The friends of Jackson were bitterly disappointed by his defeat. He was "the Man of the People," had received the highest number of electoral votes (though not a majority), and ought, they said, to have been elected by the House. That he had not been elected was due, they claimed, to a bargain: Clay was to urge his friends to vote for Adams; if elected, Adams was to make Clay Secretary of State. No such bargain was ever made. But after Adams became President he appointed Clay Secretary of State, and then the supporters of Jackson were convinced that the charge was true.

RISE OF THE NEW PARTIES. - The legislature of Tennessee, therefore, at once renominated Jackson, and about him gathered all who, for any reason, disliked Adams and Clay, all who were opposed to the tariff and internal improvements, or wanted "a man of the people" for President. They were called Jackson men, or Democratic Republicans.

Adams, it was well known, would also be renominated, as the candidate of the supporters of the tariff and internal improvements. They were the Adams men, or National Republicans. Thus was the once harmonious Republican party broken into fragments, out of which grew two distinctly new parties.

THE TARIFF OF 1828. - The act of 1824 not proving satisfactory to the growers and manufacturers of wool, a new tariff law was enacted in 1828. So many and so high were the duties laid that the opponents of protection named the law the Tariff of Abominations. To the cotton states it was particularly hateful, and in memorials, resolutions, and protests they declared that a tariff for protection was unconstitutional, unjust, and oppressive. They made threats of ceasing to trade with the tariff states, and talked of nullifying, or refusing to obey the law, and even of leaving the Union.

THE ELECTION OF 1828. - Great as was the excitement in the South over this new tariff law, it produced little effect in the struggle for the presidency. The campaign had really been going on for three years past and would have ended in the election of Jackson had the tariff never existed. "Old Hickory," the "Hero of New Orleans," the "Man of the People," was more than ever the favorite of the hour, and though his party was anti- tariff he carried states where the voters were deeply interested in the protection of manufactures. Indeed, he received more than twice the number of electoral votes cast for Adams. [9]


1. After the election of Monroe (1816) the Federalist party died out, the old party issues disappeared, and Monroe's term is known as the Era of Good Feeling.

2. The South American colonies of Spain, having rebelled, formed republics, and were recognized by the United States. To prevent interference with them by European powers, especially by the Holy Alliance, Monroe announced the doctrine now known by his name (1823).

3. The growth of the West and the rise of new states brought up the question of internal improvements at national expense.

4. The growth of manufactures brought up the question of more protection and a new tariff. In 1824 a new tariff law was enacted, in spite of the opposition of the South, which had no manufactures and imported largely from Great Britain.

5. These issues, which were largely sectional, and the action of certain leaders, split the Republican party, and led to the nomination of four presidential candidates in 1824.

6. The electors failed to choose a President, but did elect a Vice President. Adams was then elected President by the House of Representatives.

7. A new tariff was enacted in 1828, though the South opposed it even more strongly than the tariff of 1824.

8. In 1828 Jackson, one of the candidates defeated in 1824, was elected President.


[1] James Monroe was a Virginian, born in 1758; he entered William and Mary College, served in the Continental army, was a member of the Virginia Assembly, of the Continental Congress for three years, and of the Virginia convention that adopted the Federal Constitution in 1788. He strongly opposed the adoption of the Constitution. As United States senator (1790- 94), he opposed Washington's administration; but was sent as minister to France (1794-96). In 1799-1802 Monroe was governor of Virginia, and then was sent to France to aid Livingston in the purchase of Louisiana; was minister to Great Britain 1804-6, and in 1811-17 was Secretary of State, and in 1814-15 acted also as Secretary of War. In 1817-25 he was President. He died in 1831.

[2] Monroe carried every state in the Union and was entitled to every electoral vote. But one elector did not vote for him, in order that Washington might still have the honor of being the only President unanimously elected.

[3] In the new Western states were great tracts which belonged to the United States, and which the Western states now asked should be given to them, or at least be sold to them for a few cents an acre. The East opposed this, and asked for gifts of Western land which they might sell so as to use the money to build roads and canals and establish free schools.

[4] Read McMaster's History of the People of the U. S., Vol. V, pp. 28-54.

[5] Jackson had 99 votes, Adams 84, Crawford 41, and Clay 37. The Constitution (Article XII of the amendments) provides that if no person have a majority of the electoral votes, "then from the persons having the highest numbers, not exceeding three, on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President."

[6] By a vote of 13 states, against 7 for Jackson, and 4 for Crawford.

[7] John Quincy Adams was born at Braintree, Massachusetts, in 1767, went with his father John Adams to France, and spent several years abroad; then graduated from Harvard, studied law, and was appointed by Washington minister to the Netherlands and then to Portugal, and in 1797 to Prussia. He was a senator from Massachusetts in 1803-8. In 1809 Madison sent him as minister to Russia, where he was when the war opened in 1812. Of the five commissioners at Ghent he was the ablest and the most conspicuous. In 1815 Madison appointed him minister to Great Britain, and in 1817 he came home to be Secretary of State under Monroe. In 1831 he became a member of the House of Representatives and continued as such till stricken in the House with paralysis in February, 1848.

[8] John Caldwell Calhoun was born in South Carolina in 1782, entered Yale College in 1802, studied law, and became a lawyer at Abbeville, South Carolina, in 1807. In 1808 he went to the legislature, and in 1811 entered Congress, and was appointed chairman of the committee on foreign relations. As such he wrote the report and resolutions in favor of war with Great Britain. At this period of his career he favored a liberal construction of the Constitution, and supported the tariff of 1816, the charter of the Second Bank of the United States, and internal improvements. He was Secretary of War in Monroe's Cabinet, and was Vice President from 1825 until 1832, when he resigned and entered the Senate, where he remained most of the time till his death in 1850.

[9] This election is noteworthy also as the first in which nearly all the states chose electors by popular vote. Only two of the twenty-four states made the choice by vote of the legislature; in the others the popular vote for Jackson electors numbered 647,276 and that for Adams electors 508,064. A good book on presidential elections is A History of the Presidency, by Edward Stanwood.