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Author Topic: How I wanted stuff to go (1828-2012)  (Read 623 times)
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« on: January 25, 2015, 08:12:05 pm »
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History is more or less bunk.
- Henry Ford



John Quincy Adams (1825-1833)
« Last Edit: January 31, 2015, 09:34:36 pm by Polls_PuffPass »Logged

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« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2015, 08:40:45 pm »
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Thought you were taking a break?

I'm on the edge of my seat to see the dystopia that you will surely be portraying.
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« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2015, 02:21:10 am »
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...1828...


While he had been one of the most prominent figures in the nation in the years preceding the 1824 debacle, John Quincy Adams' presidency did not meet anyone's expectations. While infrastructure, including roads and canals, were built with all due speed, these improvements were overshadowed by the tariff issue that divided North and South for the first time since the founding of the country.

Adams, along with Henry Clay, supported strong protective tariffs to strengthen Northern industries, but the South, more agricultural, was hurt by higher rates. Due to the unpopularity of the tariff issue, Adam's supporters lost seats in the House and Senate in the 1826 midterms, losing control of both houses. Adams majority states in the House elections are marked in yellow; Democratic majority states are marked in blue.



Adams was completely unpopular in the South, but it was about to get worse. In 1828, one of the most controversial Acts of Congress in the history of the Union, the Tariff of Abominations was signed into law with significant support from the Democrat faction, especially from New York and Pennsylvania.

There was a major problem with the Tariff- the rates were jacked up by the Democrats, who wanted to sink the bill in the House by making it so that New England Congressman, whose states imported raw wool, would join the South in opposing the bill. This failed, and now Tariff rates were at above 60%, the highest they have ever been in American history, up to the present day.


South Carolina, as you can tell from this sketch, wasn't very happy with the tariff.

The Tariff was passed in May, and Adams knew that the elections were coming up later that year. He also knew the bill would galvanize the opposition, but he believed that it could spur economic growth. Unfortunately for him, it seemed as though that growth would happen under another leader.

However, Adams, and the rest of the country, received a major surprise when Andrew Jackson declared he would not be running in 1828 to protect the health of his wife, who many assumed would be the target of Adams' supporters attacks due to her marital history. Vice President John Calhoun, who split with Adams on the tariff issue, declared his candidacy for President as a Democrat, and the stage was set for a contentious race for President. Quincy Adams selected Secretary of the Treasury Richard Rush as his running mate to replace Calhoun.

Calhoun resigned from his office as Vice President and began assembling his campaign staff and setting up his plan for the election. He knew he would win the South, but to win the electoral college he needed to carry at least a couple of Northern states. The most plausible route for his election was to win the South and to carry Pennsylvania as well as at least 20 of New York's electoral votes (that state used a district plan to select electors).

The election, however did not go as planned for Calhoun. He did carry the entire South and Pennsylvania, as well as the West, but Ohio split for Adams, and the New York vote was 20 Adams votes to 16 Calhoun votes. This meant that Adams won the electoral vote 139-122, and he won the popular vote 51%-48% in a tight race. Write-ins took the other percent. The margin in Pennsylvania was much closer than most had expected- this smaller margin confirmed Adams would win the popular vote. Jackson would have easily won both the popular and electoral votes had he ran, according to the popular wisdom of the day.



However, Democrats still controlled the House and Senate, and Adams did not exactly receive a mandate to govern. The next few years could determine the future of the country- could Adams and the Democrats work together, or would gridlock rule in Washington?

-----

Notes
- I was really debating whether Calhoun would have won the popular vote; in the end, I assumed that  Jackson only won the popular vote due to personal popularity, not due to any Democratic advantage, especially if the divisive Calhoun were the nominee.
- The tariff was actually fairly popular in the upper South- it was the Deep South that lived and died based on imports.
- I would point out that many states that voted Democratic in 1828 supported the tariff; there were other issues at hand, including voting rights and the National Bank.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2015, 05:20:55 pm by Polls_PuffPass »Logged

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« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2015, 06:06:31 pm »
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...1830...


Perhaps no re-elected President in American history has been in as bad a position as John Quincy Adams in 1829. With neither House of Congress controlled by his supporters, his enemies more riled up than ever, and his popularity still remarkably low, Adams had little hope that his programs would be enacted any time soon. His main policy statement was that he wanted to create a national public works system that could improve upon the rag-tag system of roads the country relied on. This would be absolutely impossible to do at least until the midterm elections. Until then, he has to hold the fort and maintain the Tariff of 1828.

The Democrat Congress was very much opposed to the tariffs, and as soon as they met for their first session, passed a bill repealing the Tariff. This bill was vetoed as expected. Without the required super-majority voting to overturn the veto, the bill was dead. By 1833, Southern state legislatures were coming close to nullifying the tariff. Quincy Adams, without Congress' backing, stated that any nullification would be viewed as illegal according to the system of government of the Union. It seemed as though neither side was going to give. The Nullification Crisis was underway.

Former Vice President Calhoun, now on the sidelines, realize that the time was ripe to bring the Southern states together, preferably under his rule. He asked the 12 Governors of the slave states to meet in Charleston in June to discuss "the foremost issue of the day: the defeat of the vile Tariff of Abominations. This meeting became known as the Nullification Convention. In the end, the Southern states decided on an ultimatum: if President Adams did not agree to sign a repeal of the Tariff into law by New Year's Day of 1830, the Southern states would declare succession from the Union! However, the Governors of Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee bolted the Convention and published their Unity Proclamation, which proclaimed their absolute support for the Union while asking Adams and Congress to lower tariff rates.

In Washington, the mood was cold and somber. President Adams saw a civil war in the nation's future.  Writing to Vice President Richard Rush just days after the Convention adjourned, "When the people of a future age ask what killed our country, the one true Republican and Democratic state, they will know that many in our country saw it fit to throw away all that was good with the Union over a trifling issue, at best. How could our Representative system have survived under such circumstances?"

Adams called a Joint Session of Congress to discuss the issue. Before the full House and Senate, he delivered a heartfelt 20 minute address that moved some Congressmen, not few of them Democrats, to tears. "My fellow Americans," Adams began. "Our country, founded by men of diverse backgrounds, occupations, and residences, have now fallen apart to this transient issue. I supported this Tariff because I believed that it would best serve the people of this county. Already, signs of economic growth are showing. However, not a few states have expressed their disdain for this Tariff and have threatened to leave the Union over it. For the good of this country, I declare that I will support a reduction of tariff rates down to a maximum of 35 percent, and a repeal of the original bill."

Five days later, the Tariff of 1829, which reduced the maximum tariff down to 35%, was passed. The Governors of the five states that had threatened to leave the Union jointly declared that Adams had acceded to their demands, and that the crisis was over. While the South seemed placated for a time, many Western Congressman were disgusted with what had transpired. That argued that the South had defied the will of the people and was now dictating terms to the rest of the country. While their rhetoric was fiery and focused, the issue feel away for the time being. All sides were tiring of constant conflict.

By the 1830 midterm elections , the Anti-Masonic Party had become very influential in upstate New York. They threatened to control the Congressional Delegations of New York and Vermont, and had power in other states as well. President Adams hoped that they would be able to take control of some Democrat seats in the House so he could start working his program. Henry Clay's American System seemed to finally be within reach- as long as Senate Democrats would accept internal improvements, which in this newly optimistic age seemed possible.

However, the election results seemed to be even better than the Republicans highest hopes. The Democrats lost control of the House, and Anti-Masonic leaders were ready to form a coalition government. The Anti-Masonics even had a plurality in the Pennsylvania delegation! In the Senate, the Democrats maintained control, as neither party lost nor gained any seats.



The House results map showed a sea change in American politics. It seemed as though the storm clouds were parting for Mr. Adams's Presidency.
-----

Notes
- No real notes on this one. Was fun to write.
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« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2015, 09:03:16 pm »
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...1832...


The results of the 1830 House and Senate elections brought forward many new Republican and Anti-Masonic Congressmen. To more effectively bring together their interests, leader of the two parties announced that they were going to form a new political party they called the Whig Party, named after the British political party that opposed a strong Monarchy. Adams' faction was enthusiastic, and had full operation of government. In his first Address to the new Congress in 1831, he asked for a new zeal for reform, including improvements to national roads and canals, the protection of the Nation Bank, and above all, the maintenance of the tariff rates.

While Democrats reluctantly accepted these ideas, they also realized that their party was at the worst level it had ever been in. There needed to be a new candidate who could unite the factions of the party, as well as defeat whoever the Whigs would nominate in 1832. One of the main contenders was Martin Van Buren, a former Governor and Senator from New York. However, most in the South still supported John Calhoun, with a few supporting either Van Buren or Philip Barbour from Virginia.

The Whigs, on the other hand, fully supported Congressman Henry Clay of Kentucky for President. Clay was very popular in the West, which Whigs needed to win, and had decent support throughout the country. As the creator of the American System, Clay already had large influence on the Administration. It seemed as though little could stop Clay's coronation as President.

This election marked the first time both parties held a nominating convention. The Democrats convincing nominated Van Buren as their President, with Philip Barbour for Vice President. To his credit, Calhoun wholeheartedly endorsed the ticket and urged both South and North to rally around the ticket. On the other hand, Henry Clay and John Sergeant were nominated as President and Vice President, respectively, by the Whigs.

The election was hard fought, and was in some ways fundamentally different than previous elections. Van Buren held New York and Pennsylvania, but had little appeal in the South. Clay ran extremely well in the Southern states, and held on to Adams' support in New England. Even though he won many more states than Adams did, Clay did not win many more Electoral votes than he did because New York switched to the General Ticket to decide its electoral vote selection. The Whigs would no longer be able to rely on taking some of New York's vote without winning the state. Despite this, Clay still won 156 electoral votes to Van Buren's 132. He won 55 percent of the popular vote to Van Buren's 44 percent, a huge victory by American standards.



The Whigs held on the House and took control of the Senate. With this new coalition, the American System would rule American politics for the foreseeable future.
-----

Notes
- As you can tell, I like the Whigs.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2015, 01:23:24 pm by Polls_PuffPass »Logged

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« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2015, 09:44:07 pm »
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...1836...


Henry Clay's administration was popular at its conception. It had a focused message, a popular one at that, and it had managed to transform issues that seemed to matter only to the privileged few into debates that all citizens needs to participate in. Although Clay's policies tended to concentrate wealth into the hands of a certain class, at the very least it seemed evident that people had more stability in their day to day economic lives. However, there was one issue which could bring even the most revered politicians down: slavery.

While the issue of slavery had not been discussed much in Congress over the past few sessions, the victory of the Whig Party, which in its ranks included a Northern contingent who supported the abolition of slavery, made the matter more pressing than it had been previously. The nation had already seen division and rhetorical civil war during the Nullification Crisis. Though cooler heads has prevailed, who could tell whether slavery, an issue that seemed both reprehensible to the North and vital to the South, could be resolved in such a peaceful fashion.

While Clay himself was a slave-owner, he was not viewed as rigidly in favor of the institution itself. In the minds of many in the South, if the President was not radically in favor of their interests, they could not support him. Clay's lack of action to defend slavery led to his party losing control of the House. Those Southern seats they had gained in 1832 were mostly back in Democratic hands after the 1834 midterm election.

The Democrats realized that if they didn't win this election, they would be hard pressed to maintain their base of support. Political movements that could never win support when it mattered were doomed to fail. The one thing that the Democrats lacked most was a bench of candidates to choose from. Due to years of Whig dominance over the country, there were not many prominent Democrats at the national level other than Calhoun and Van Buren. However, an unlikely candidate came to symbolize Democrat hopes: Richard Mentor Johnson.

Born on the frontier, not unlike Andrew Jackson, Johnson had served in the Senate for 10 years before scandal broke out after it was revealed he was living with, and had children with Julia Chinn, a slave. Although this was a fairly common occurrence in the South, the fact that he acknowledged her made him unpopular in his home state. Though he lost re-election to the Senate, he won a seat in the House of Representatives and worked to end the practice of debtor prisons and to maintain Sunday delivery of mail.

Johnson won the Democratic nomination for President in 1836 after a resurgent attempt by Martin Van Buren failed to gain traction. Most state delegations were reluctant to support Van Buren due to his loss in 1832. Johnson chose John Tyler, a Virginia Democrat who had spoke out harshly against Clay and the Tariff. The Johnson/Tyler ticket excited some in the South and West, but for the first time, New York and Pennsylvania voted for the Whig candidate. Clay had the approval of the Northern states.



Clay managed to maintain his advantage in his home state against fellow Kentuckian Johnson. The House also returned to Whig hands. Clay was looking victorious.
-----

Notes
- John Tyler, in real life, became a Whig after Jackson signed the Force Bill against South Carolina. In this timeline, it was the Whigs who were in power at the time, and thus Tyler had no reason to leave the Democrats.
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