The use of newspapers was instrumental in establishing the second party system within the United States of America during the presidential election of 1828. By using this new media, Martin Van Buren and other Jeffersonians were able to create a cohesive narrative that was spread throughout the entirety of the nation in order to uplift Andrew Jackson while showcasing John Quincy Adams and his administration as destructive political actors.
Although Van Buren had attempted to establish broad political alignment in 1824, the large number of candidates led to no individual receiving the needed number of Electoral College votes, allowing for Adams to be chosen as the victor by the House of Representatives. The decision made by those in the House would force those who disliked Adams to come together in order to campaign on behalf of Andrew Jackson just four years later. While newspapers of 1824 show the lack of unity among each geographic region, this would not be the case in 1828. By using newspapers to confirm to the public that Adams and his administration were the sole enemies, standing against traditional Jeffersonian values, threatening Democracy, and promoting the wants of the elite, a concise and repetitive narrative could be delivered to the public throughout the entirety of the 1828 election season.
In contrast to Adams, Jackson was portrayed as America’s hero. In the papers, Jackson was showcased as a religious patriot who would look to represent the common man, whether they be in New York, Georgia, or Kentucky. In 1828, there was only one individual showcased as the People’s Candidate, allowing those who felt that the elite did not best represent them to support Jackson rather than one of his opponents in 1824 that represented them better geographically. With General Jackson’s success in 1828, Van Buren had succeeded in establishing a national political party by the use of newspapers.