Representing the Democratic Spirit
In 1796, Tennessee was admitted as the sixteenth state in the Union. Andrew Jackson was a delegate to the convention that framed Tennessee's constitution and was then elected as that state's first U.S. representative. He was quickly elected to the U.S. Senate in 1797 but resigned after only five months, feeling that the Senate did not move fast enough to pass required legislation.
Despite his limited experience practicing law, Jackson was appointed as a justice on the Tennessee Supreme Court from 1798 until 1804. He was known for his fair and swift judgments.
Triumph of the Common Man in 1828
After becoming a war hero and having served as the military governor of Florida, Andrew Jackson again became a U.S. senator. It was during this time that he ran for president against John Quincy Adams in 1824.
Jackson won the popular vote but lacked an electoral majority. Therefore, when the election was decided by the House of Representatives, as required by the Constitution, it went to John Quincy Adams. Proponents for Jackson claimed a corrupt bargain had been made for it was believed that Adams was given the presidency in exchange for Henry Clay's appointment as secretary of state. The backlash from this helped Jackson gain popular support for nomination to run again in 1828 and caused the Democratic Republican party to split into two camps.
Jackson became the Democratic nominee for president in 1825 and began his opposition while Adams was in his first year in office. John C. Calhoun of South Carolina was his running mate. The presidential campaign centered around the candidates themselves. Jackson was seen as representing the common man and his interests. In the end, Jackson won 54 percent of the popular vote and 68 percent of the electoral vote.
King Andrew I Wins in 1832
Prior to the election of 1832, parties typically decided their candidates through small groups of insiders called caucuses. In 1832, this changed when the two major parties first used national party conventions, which allowed for much greater participation by the electorate. Jackson ran as the incumbent against Henry Clay. Jackson's opponents had given him the nickname King Andrew I during his first term in office due to his extensive use of the presidential veto, his belief in rewarding loyal followers with offices through the spoils system, and his opposition to the Bank of the United States. In spite of this, Jackson was able to easily win with 76 percent of the electoral vote.