Letter from James Gadsden to General Andrew Jackson regarding 1824 Presidential Election, August 1826

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James Gadsden, son of Christopher Gadsden of Charleston, served as a government commissioner in removing the Seminoles to their Florida reservation and later was appointed as minister to Mexico in the negotiation of the Gadsden Purchase (1853), which acquired additional lands in present-day Arizona and New Mexico.  Gadsden served under Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812. 

In this letter to Jackson mailed from Tallahassee to Nashville, Gadsden comments on the 1824 Presidential election. Although Jackson received a majority of the popular vote in the 1824 election, he did not have a majority of votes from the electoral college and when the vote went to the House of Representatives, he lost to John Quincy Adams.  Gadsden specifically refers to Jackson’s popular support against the “political trafficing [sic] in Washington” during that election, and Jackson’s political backing of sectionalism and smaller government in opposition to Henry Clay’s “American System,” which advocated a larger role for federal government through high tariffs and a national bank.


Gadsden, James.  Letter to Gen. Andrew Jackson 18 August 1826.  James Gadsden Papers.  Manuscripts Division, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.

Transcription from James Gadsden Papers.  Manuscripts Division, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.


Was – cissa
18 August 1826

Dear General

            I feel much pleasure in congratulating you on the recent demonstrations on the part of the People; and on the almost universal expression of popular disapprobation of the political trafficing [sic] at Washington during the late Presidential election, as manifested at most of the celebrations of our National Jubilee.  To be the successful candidate, among many, in an struggle for the Presidential chair must be gratifying; but to have a People volunitarily [sic] moving, as they are now, upon ou as the only Individual who can bring back the Republic to the Safe land marks which have been abandoned must carry with it a feeling which he alone who is the subject can perfectly appreciate.


I have written you several letters and am much disappointed at your silence.

            I write principally to know your determination as to your contemplated visit to Carolina this winter.  It would afford me pleasure to accompany you, but some notice will be necessary as I cannot, as formerly, move on an hours call.  Should you conclude on the journey I would recommend that secrecy be observed so that your route may not be anticipated and your motives questioned.

            Our rainey [sic] season has commenced and if it should continue to the next month will do much injury to our cotton.  My corn suffered greatly by the drought it May; & I rely on my cotton crop to carry me through the coming year.  If I loose [sic] that it will be rather serious to a new beginner.


My respects to Mrs. J- & your family generally

Your Friend,


G1 Jackson


Correlating SC Social Studies Academic Standards:

Standard USHC-3: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the westward movement and the resulting regional conflicts that took place in America in the nineteenth century.

Indicator USHC-3.1 Explain the impact and challenges of westward movement, including the major land acquisitions, people’s motivations for moving west, railroad construction, the displacement of Native Americans, and the its impact on the developing American character. (H, G, E)

Indicator USHC-3.3 Compare economic development in different regions of the country during the early nineteenth century, including agriculture in the South, industry and finance in the North, and the development of new resources in the West. (E, H, G)


Additional Flash Versions:

Gadsden Letter to Andrew Jackson, 1826, pg. 1 Gadsden Letter to Andrew Jackson, 1826, pg 2 Gadsden Letter to Andrew Jackson, 1826, pg. 3 Gadsden Letter to Andrew Jackson, 1826



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