John Quincy Adams


What was the “corrupt bargain”?

The corrupt bargain referred to a claim asserted by Jacksonians—supporters of Andrew Jackson—that John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay engaged in a corrupt bargain to get votes for Adams. They maintained that Clay encouraged others in the House to vote for Adams because Adams agreed to name Clay as his secretary of state if he won the presidency. While Clay did encourage members of the House to vote for Adams rather than Jackson and later became Adams’s secretary of state, the two contended that there never was any “corrupt bargain.” Clay maintained that he thought Adams would be better equipped to handle the presidency than Jackson.


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