February 9th 1825: The ‘Corrupt Bargain’

On this day in 1825, the disputed presidential election of 1824 was resolved when the House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams as the sixth President of the United States. No presidential candidate in that election won a majority of Electoral College votes and so, as specified in the Constitution, the decision came to Congress. Despite Andrew Jackson winning a plurality of the popular and electoral vote, the third candidate Henry Clay agreed to transfer his electoral votes to John Quincy Adams, which handed Adams the presidency. Clay was then made Secretary of State, which Jackson and his legions of loyal supporters criticised as a ‘Corrupt Bargain’. Adams, son of the second president John Adams, served only one term as president, as he was handily defeated in his re-election bid by Jackson in 1828. Jackson capitalised on the vote of the ordinary man, fuelling anger over the 1825 agreement; this period is thus characterised as one of ‘Jacksonian Democracy’. Jackson pursued several aggressive policies as President, including a violent ‘Indian Removal’ programme, threatening military action against South Carolina during the Nullification Crisis, and attacking the national banking system.

American propaganda poster.

In fact, Admiral Yamamoto did not say that; what he said, was:

Should hostilities once break out between Japan and the United States, it is not enough that we take Guam and the Philippines, nor even Hawaii and San Francisco. To make victory certain, we would have to march into Washington and dictate the terms of peace in the White House. I wonder if our politicians, among whom armchair arguments about war are being glibly bandied about in the name of state politics, have confidence as to the final outcome and are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices. 



One of the first coins to be struck in Britain and the only proof of the existence of a little known Celtic king

This is a very rare Celtic silver King Andoco unit and is one of the first coins to be struck in Britain, dating circa 10 BC - 10 AD. Andoco is only known from his coinage, such as the present example and is thought to have been either a sub-king to Tasciovanus or a rival to his throne. Tasciovanus was a king of the Catuvellauni tribe before the Roman conquest of Britain and, like Andoco, is also only known via his coinage.

Obverse: Celticized male head left; ‘A’ behind; all within interlaced linear and pelleted border. Reverse: Pegasus flying left. The legend around reading: A[ND]OCO

The battle between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson over the national bank sets the book’s central tension: To a creditor or debtor be? While Hamilton wanted a national bank and a government backed credit system, Jefferson argued that the plan wouldn’t work and the feds lacked the authority in the first place. It was never really a contest, and Olegario sides with Hamilton’s farsightedness. But this is one of the few places where the book descends to the human level, and the author is laughably generous with Jefferson. Whether his opposition to debt was more personal or ideological is up for debate, but to say the slave-breeder’s “unyielding dedication to human liberty placed him among the most radical thinkers of the age” is false. To earnestly repeat the child salesman Jefferson’s anti-debt line to James Madison about no generation having the right to bind future ones, obscene.