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Handout D: Guided Controversy: Did the Electoral College System Fail?

Guided Controversy: Did the Electoral College System Fail?

Directions: Use the following information and your knowledge to help you debate the question: Did the Electoral College system fail in 1824?

(Electoral Maps in PDF)


  • No state had all four of the top candidates on the ballot. Jackson did not appear on the ballot in most New England states; Adams was not on the ballot in Kentucky or North Carolina.
  • One fourth of the states had no popular vote—the state legislature appointed the state’s electors in New York, Georgia, Vermont, Louisiana, and Delaware.
  • The largest state at the time, New York, had no popular vote.
  • Clay and Adams favored similar commercial policies.
  • Clay and Adams met privately about a month before the House voted.
  • Andrew Jackson’s political views were largely unknown in 1824.
  • Both Adams and Clay denied making a “corrupt bargain,” and no evidence of an agreement between the two men was ever presented.