Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"Is this nastiest, dirtiest campaign ever?" (redux)

See also Jackson v. Quincy Adams", 1828.
The campaign was marked by an impressive amount of mudslinging. Jackson's marriage came in for attack: when he had married his wife Rachel, the couple had believed that she was divorced; however, the divorce was not yet finalized, so he had to remarry her once the legal papers were complete. In the Adams campaign's hands, this became a scandal. Charles Hammond in his Cincinnati Gazette asked: “Ought a convicted adulteress and her paramour husband be placed in the highest offices of this free and Christian land?”

The notorious Coffin Handbills attacked Jackson for his court martial and execution of deserters, massacres of Indian villages, and his habit of dueling.

Adams did not escape attack. It was charged that Adams, while serving as Minister to Russia, had surrendered an American servant girl to the appetites of the Czar. Adams was also accused of using public funds to buy gambling devices for the presidential residence; it turned out that these were a chess set and a pool table.
Again: American Constitutional democracy has never been pretty... it just seems to work... sort of.

[... and sexual indiscretions have ALWAYS been front and foremost!]

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