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History Cold Case

Did a Corrupt Bargain Occur?
A Cold Case
Has anyone ever heard of the term Cold Case?
Can anyone explain what a Cold Case is?
A Cold Case refers to a crime or accident that has
not yet been solved to the full and is not the subject
of a recent criminal investigation.
History is filled with these Cold Cases. Today,
you will be investigating one of those cases.
Evidence A
President A Vice-President
President B Secretary of State
President C Secretary of State
President D Secretary of State

Answer: What pattern or trend emerges from this data?

- Office of Secretary of State appears to be the stepping
stone to the Presidency
Evidence B
Candidate A Talented Secretary of State
Candidate B Speaker of the House of Representatives
Candidate C Treasurer
Candidate D Military Hero

1) Which candidate seems most qualified to be President of the
United States? Why?
2) Which candidate seems least qualified to be President of the
United States? Why?
Evidence C
Candidate Popular Results Electoral Results
A 108,740 84
B 47,136 37
C 46,618 41
D 153, 544 99

1) What candidate received the most popular votes?

2) What candidate received the most electoral votes?
3) Which candidate became President of the United States?
1) Candidate A- John Quincy Adams
4) Was the result surprising in light of who you thought was most
and least qualified?
Evidence D
Amendment Twelve, United States
Constitution (1804)
if no person have such a majority [of 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
1) Identify the three important provisions of this Amendment
1) A candidate has to receive a majority of electoral votes to
win the election
2) If a candidate does not receive a majority, the House of
Representatives elects the President
3) Only the candidates receiving the 3 highest number of
popular votes is eligible for consideration in the House
2) Why was this section of the Twelfth Amendment
so relevant in the Election of 1824?
3) How many electoral votes were needed to win
the election of 1824? Count all the votes, divide
by two, and add one.
4) What candidate received the majority of
electoral college votes? Add up the total votes in
Column 3, on Evidence C, then divide the total by
No one. Candidate D received a plurality of the
popular votes but not a majority (50% +).
Total votes cast= 261
Majority= 131
5) Once the general election results were known,
who was given authority under the Constitution to
choose the President in 1824?
House of Representatives
6) Review the backgrounds (Evidence B) of the
four candidates for Presidency in 1824. Did any of
the candidates seem to be at an advantage now
that the House of Representatives would choose
the next president?
B- Henry Clay-Speaker of the House
7) Under the twelfth Amendment, who was
disqualified from running in the House election
and why?
B- Henry Clay- Speaker of the House
8) Despite his Constitutional elimination from
the race in 1824, was there any way in which
Henry Clay could benefit politically from the
situation in which he found himself?
Could use his influence in the House to get one
candidate elected
Prior Offices Held by

President Year He Was First Federal Office

Elected Held Before
George Washington 1788
John Adams 1796 Washingtons VP
Thomas Jefferson 1800 Washington's
Secretary of State
Adamss VP
James Madison 1808 Thomas Jeffersons
Secretary of State
James Monroe 1816 James Madisons
Candidate in Presidential
Election of 1824

Candidate Section Experience

John Q. Adams New President Monroes talented
England Secretary of State
Henry Clay West Speaker of the House of
William Crawford Southeast President Monroes Secretary of
the Treasury
Andrew Jackson Southwest Hero of the Battle of New
Results of Election of

Candidate Popular Votes Electoral Votes

Received Received
John Quincy Adams 108, 740 84
Henry Clay 47,136 37
William Crawford 46,618 41
Andrew Jackson 153,544 99

9) If you had been Henry Clay, how might you have used your
influence to benefit from the situation in which you now found
1) Explain the corrupt bargain that allegedly
took place during the Election of 1824.
2) Is it fair to say that Andrew Jackson was
cheated out of the Presidency in 1824? Why or
why not?
3) What important political effects do you think
the corrupt bargain might have had on
American political history?
Was there a Corrupt
1) What might be useful sources or documents
that might be analyzed to determine whether a
corrupt bargain actually occurred in the election
of 1824?
Primary Sources Secondary Sources
Investigative Files: History
Cold Case
Using Handout 1: Diary of John Quincy Adams,
1) Read the handout (no more than 10 minutes)
2) Write your answers to the following questions:
a) What kind of document is being examined?
b) Who wrote the document?
c) When was the document written?
d) Did this document suggest that Adams and Clay
entered into a corrupt bargain? Explain
e) What was not in this document that you might have
hoped or expected to be there? Why might it not be

** Repeat this process for Handouts 2, 3, and 4 **

Complete the following T-Chart with your partner:

Evidence Suggesting a Evidence Suggesting no

Corrupt Bargain Corrupt Bargain
Summarizing Questions
1) Does the evidence you examined suggest that
John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay entered into a
corrupt bargain to win the Presidential Election
of 1824? Explain
2) What is an eyewitness account?
3) Which, if any of the documents that you
analyzed, are eyewitness accounts?
4) Were the eyewitness accounts truthful?
5) Did the eyewitness accounts settle the dispute
over what really happened in the election of
1824 i.e. with regards to whether there actually
was a corrupt bargain?
Exploring Effects:
Project Handout #7
The period of 1817-1825 was unique in that there
was only one party supported by the people of the
US. This period in American history is known as
the Era of Good Feelings. Although we may not
know whether a corrupt bargain occurred in 1824,
we do know that it contributed to some very
important developments including:
The birth of a new political party called the
Democratic Party organized by supporters of Andrew
Jackson who felt cheated out of the election in 1824.
The restoration of the 2 party political system in the
A very contentious campaign leading up to the
presidential election of 1828