SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Students of legislative behavior are divided over the extent to which an electoral connection existed in the early United States. In this article, we offer a test of the electoral connection in early American politics by investigating the electoral aftershocks of the disputed presidential election of 1824. Using newly available county-level presidential voting data, along with the unique circumstances associated with the presidential contest, we examine the connection between representative behavior, district public opinion, and electoral outcomes. We find that representatives who voted for John Quincy Adams in the House contest, yet were from districts supporting Andrew Jackson, were targeted for ouster and suffered a substantial vote-loss in the subsequent midterm election. We also find that the entry of a quality challenger had a sizeable impact on the fortunes of incumbent legislators. These results serve to confirm that representatives could be held accountable for their behavior in office during the antebellum era.