The rivalry between Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay defined American… political history during the Age of the Common Man. But this competition was far from standard, civil political discourse. Clay and Jackson despised each other.
Jackson infamously described Clay in the following vitriol:
“He’s the basest, meanest scoundrel that ever disgraced the image of his God….nothing too mean or low for him to condescend to…(Clay) is the Judas of the West.”
Clay never believed Jackson to be fit for public office:
“He is ignorant, passionate, hypocritical, corrupt, and easily swayed by the basest men who surround him. I cannot believe that the killing of two thousand Englishmen at New Orleans qualifies a person for the various difficult and complicated duties of the presidency”
Clay feared an unpredictable and potentially dangerous man… was using his martial popularity to win the nation’s highest office:
“But the impulses of public gratitude should be controlled by reason and discretion… I was not prepared blindly to surrender myself to the hazardous indulgence of a feeling… I solemnly believe General Jackson’s competency for the office to be highly questionable.”