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Corrupt Bargain

Following his victory in the disputed Election of 1824, John Quincy Adams appointed Henry Clay as Secretary of State, a position regarded as a stepping stone to the presidency; Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and Adams himself had held the position. Critics speculated that Clay’s support for Adams was thus rewarded. John Quincy Adams Jackson supporters charged Adams with corruption and labeled Clay as the "Judas of the West." Most historians doubt that Adams solicited Clay’s support by offering him high office; that action would have been totally contrary to Adams’ nature. Adams in fact wrote in his diary on January 9, 1825, that in his discussion with Clay regarding the election, Clay had not sought personal considerations and supported Adams as a matter of principle. Nevertheless, the charge persisted and energized the Jackson forces for the Election of 1828.