1828 Attack Ad Against Andrew Jackson


– 16 June 2016 –

Barzillai “19th Century” Bozarth:

19th-century-barzillaiIn America’s election of 1824, even though Andrew Jackson had won the greatest share of votes in a four-way race—in both the official electoral and the unofficial popular tally—the lack of a majority of electoral votes allowed the House of Representatives to appoint John Quincy Adams to the Presidency. After winning office, Adams duly appointed the Speaker of the House, Henry Clay, as Secretary of State, a position in those days that all but guaranteed him the presidency. This quickly grew to notoriety as the “Corrupt Bargain.”

Most of the people, however, denied the legitimacy of Adams, whose presidency produced one failure after another, and Jackson loyalists almost immediately sought to elect their beloved general again for the election of 1828. In one of the most bitterly fought presidential elections in history, Adams men attacked every aspect of Jackson’s life, from his violent temper and duel-fighting to the legitimacy of his marriage and the character of Jackson’s wife Rachel. They warned that a Jackson presidency would amount to a military dictatorship marked by personal feuds and irresponsible foreign policy.

The following campaign poem, published in the Truth’s Advocate and Monthly Anti-Jackson Expositor in June of 1828, covers each of these condemnations and dire warnings against Jackson in the form of the General’s farcical lamentations upon hearing in December of his hypothetical loss to Adams.



“Caesar ant nulles was his name,
Caesar non venit—”nullus came!”

Oh! lud I am dished—Oh sons! I’m undone,
clear-spaceI must give myself up to despair—
For Adams, that rascally turncoat has won,
clear-spaceAnd is still in the President’s chair.

In vain did I fight so, behind cotton bags,
clear-spaceWhich gained me such glorious renown—
In vain turned so pious—the curst Adams wags
clear-spaceSaid the world would not swallow it down.

They say I don’t know e’en our G’ography
clear-spaceBut I know enough plenty for me;
I know Washington’s up in the District some-
clear-spaceAnd Kentuck I know a’nt Tennessee.

But a phoo! for your larning—for where is the
clear-spaceIf a man should go off on a tour,
There’s any black nigger, that’s walking the
clear-spaceCan tell him the way, I am sure.

I murder King’s English, they say—so I will—
clear-spaceFor it shows true American pride
I hate all your kings, and your Englishmen, too,
clear-spaceAnd every thing English beside.

Then a nice writing-man I have hired for my
clear-spaceTo hide the bad spelin I skrawl,
And them are as says how my grammar is bad,
clear-spaceDon’t know nothing about it at all.

Though spouting sometimes in the Senate, ’tis
clear-spaceI’ve stammer’d most sadly and blundered;
But if I’ve occasion to make a speech now,
clear-spaceVan Buren will write me a hundred.

“The three R’s—honest ‘Rithmatic, Reading
clear-spaceclear-spaceand ‘Riting,
clear-spaceI think, I can say, I’m no fool in—
Considering my time was so took up in fighting,
clear-spaceThat I only had three quarters schooling.

I hate Clay—I hate bargain—except as a bet
clear-spaceOn a game-cock, or horse at the races;
I like one of Clay’s acts, though—’tis so much
clear-spaceclear-spacelike me,
clear-spaceWhen he fought with slim John at ten paces,

And then about that Mrs. Robards affair—
clear-spaceThat, too, they’ve told Adams and Clay—
Had it never leaked out, I’ll make bold to de-
clear-space‘Twould not be known to this day.

Then poor Mrs. Gin’ral—I blush when it’s
clear-spaceHow they laughed—(I can never forgive her)—
When she said that “she cotch’d a most wiolent
clear-spaceFor the Gin’ral had kicked off the kiver.”

Though every objection I’ve answered enough,
clear-spaceStill the Adams men jabber and squall,
‘Bout militia men—marriages—morals & stuff,
clear-spaceAnd war—and the deuce knows what all.

Make me President once, and the scoundrels
clear-spaceclear-spaceshall feel—
clear-spaceWith my fist ‘gainst the wall would I jam
If they still made their jabber—by thunder and
clear-spaceI’d shoot every rogue of ’em—d—n ’em”

Trash, Truth’s Advocate and Monthly Anti-Jackson Expositor, ed., An Association of Individuals, 235-236. Cincinnati: Lodge, L’hommedieu, and Hammond Printers, 1828.

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