The presidential election of 2016 between democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump was a barbarous and crude feud between not only the nominees but the citizens of the United States. This race was touted as one of the most hostile and cut-throat contests for the presidency, from the back and forth social media insults, the bickering at the presidential debates, and the unsportsmanlike conduct throughout their run. It seemed as a country divided, voters were almost split 50/50 between Trumps campaign to Make America Great Again and his focus on traditional Americana values, opposed to Hillary Clintons progressive agenda. These paradoxical views on how America should abide ensued chaos between not only the two candidates but, the Democratic and Republican parties. Although this election has been hailed as one of the most hostile races in the modern era, it doesn’t hold a candle to the back and forth smack-talk to some past elections pre-civil war.
Acts of political belligerence in the U.S. date as far back as the election of 1800 between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Both sides engaged in personal, mean-spirited insults and false accusations throughout their campaigns, from Jefferson claiming Adams as a hermaphrodite, and an adulterer to Adams stating that Jefferson is an atheist, to then going as far to say that he is dead. Though Trump and Hillary both had accusations such as Hillary being a criminal or Trump committing sexual misconduct, these claims had a little more validity than the farfetched allegations dished out during the election of 1800. Adams and Jefferson, (both founding fathers and lifelong friends) used ridiculous banter to harass each other into submission.
The mudslinging for presidency doesn’t end here, 25 years later and we face the Era of the Common Man. The citizens of the U.S. are tired of the elitist running society and want a man cut from their cloth in office, a national hero and poor man’s president, this man is none other than Andrew Jackson. Jackson ran first ran for presidency in 1924 against John Quincy Adams, though Jackson won the popular vote, he had lost to Adams after Speaker of the House Henry Clay cast a tie-breaking vote. When Adams chose Clay as his Secretary of State, Jackson was furious and accused the two of a “corrupt bargain.” This sparked the chaos of the election of 1828. This electoral race was so abhorrent and despicable that it left Jackson’s wife Rachel dead with a broken heart, literally. John Quincy Adams before this election was accused of merchandising an American woman to the Russian Czar, in retaliation he called Rachel Jackson a convicted adulteress due to her marrying Jackson before finalizing her divorce with her previous husband. Shortly after Andrew Jackson was elected Rachel died, at Jackson’s inauguration he blamed Adams for her death and stated that God may forgive him but that he never can, after his speech at Jackson’s inauguration party (which was public) a mob scene ensued. A lady that attended this party named Margaret Smith wrote Ladies fainted, men were seen with bloody noses, and such a scene took place as is impossible to describe. Though there was drama after trump was elected, there is no relocation of severe mobs ensuing at his inauguration. The United States takes another step toward a nation divided.
Our last contentious and hostile election before the civil war is the election of 1860. This election was less belligerent between the two candidates as it was the entire nation (North vs. South). Unlike Jackson vs. Adams which seem to be more of a conflict between classes, this election was referendum of slavery. Republican Abraham Lincoln defeated Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge, Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, and Constitutional Union candidate John Bell. The electoral split between Northern and Southern Democrats was symbolic of the severe sectional split, and in the months following Lincoln’s election seven Southern states, led by South Carolina seceded, setting the stage for the American Civil War.