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Presentation Elections

Opposition to Corruption

Democracy's Lament

In 1828, Andrew Jackson campaigned against what he called the corrupt bargain between John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay. In the 1824 presidential election, Jackson won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote. Adams took office instead when fourth place finisher, Henry Clay, threw his electoral votes to Adams. In gratitude, Adams named Clay Secretary of State. Jackson's opposition-to-corruption platform, his emphasis on the political will of the common man, and his popularity as a war hero won him almost twice as many electoral votes as the incumbent Adams.

Campaign finance has also long been a popular theme in presidential campaigns. Listen to this recording of a William Jennings Bryan campaign song "Every Little Bit Added to What I've Got" from the collection California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties. To what extent has campaign finance reform played a role in recent elections?