Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Election of 1824
Keith Rains
US History
Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:

Understanding the 1824 election


A misunderstood topic that needs clarification

District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:

  • Local Standard 2B adopted from common core standards:
  • Creating active and responsible citizens that identify and analyze public problems; deliberate with other people about how to define and address issues; take constructive, collaborative action; reflect on their actions; create and sustain groups; and influence institutions both large and small.

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:

Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:
  • John Pemberton to Andrew Jackson, February 15, 1825, "I have not language to express to you, the deep sorrow, and mortification I feel in the result of the late Election, by the Representatives of the People (falsely so styled) in their choice of a President of the US."


Full description of activity or assignment.
  • Students will be given the electoral map from the 1824 election.
  • Students will play a game of Kahoot
  • https://play.kahoot.it/ - /intro?quizId=ceb70fe5-8ea1-43ca-abf1-ccf7b3b254ab
  • Students will then be confused and I will send the primary source link to the students.  They will be asked, Who won?
  • A short discussion of the proceedings in the House of Representatives will be had between students and teacher
  • I will then give a lecture the way that I’ve always done that gives the WRONG conclusion.
  • The students will then play the Kahoot game again.  After this they will be in total confusion.
  • I will end the lesson today by handing them the other primary source (the letter to Jackson)
  • On day 2
  • We will play the Kahoot game again and this time students should get all of them correctly.
  • I will hand them the electoral map from 1824 again
  • Now I will have my new lecture (including legit trades in the House of Representatives) notes next to the old ones
  • Once again there should be confusion
  • I will now give them the popular vote totals from the states whose legislatures picked electors
  • Students will be placed in small groups and asked what to believe (yesterday or today)
  • Students will share their answers with the group and their rationale (which has to be written)
  • I will conclude the lesson by saying that the Electoral College worked the way it was suppose to
  • And that the House of Representatives choosing was a feature of checks and balances in the presidential election that has not been used since. 
  • Students will be asked to evaluate the feature of the House of Representatives being the final arbiter in deciding presidential elections


Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:
  • All five of the presidential candidates will appear in a challenging matching part of the test.
  • One essay will be written for the students to answer over this election:
  •      Explain what really happened in the Election of 1824 and why such a strong myth grew from this election. (10 points)