Electoral College Overrides Popular Vote

1824

This is the first election in which the winner of the popular vote does not become president. Andrew Jackson wins 41 percent of the popular vote, more than his opponents but less than a majority. He beat the next highest vote-getter, John Quincy Adams, by 38,149 votes. Four candidates receive electoral votes, though none receive enough to constitute a majority. Jackson receives 99 electoral votes; Adams receives 84 electoral votes; William H. Crawford receives 41 electoral votes; Henry Clay receives 37 electoral votes. As no one candidate earns the 131 electoral votes required for victory, the House of Representatives chooses the winner. Since the House is allowed to vote only on the top three contenders from the Electoral College, Henry Clay is removed from consideration. When Clay agrees to support Adams, the House picks Adams as president. Soon after, Clay is appointed secretary of state, and Jackson, who holds a clear majority of electoral votes and leads the popular vote, is denied the presidency.