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When Sovereign Defaults Create a Depression

1840 Election

armstrongeconomics.com / by Martin Armstrong / Feb 17, 2017

The 1840 Presidential Election took place in the midst of a great depression that was set in motion by State Sovereign Defaults after Andrew Jackson shut down the Bank of the United States, which acted as the central bank. There, the incumbent Democrat, President Martin Van Buren suffered a devastating loss to the new unified Whig candidate William H. Harrison who won 234  electoral votes compared to Van Buren’s 60 votes. They were trying to create the image that the economy was recovering and called it the Harrisonian rally. This poster showed a vignette of the log cabin, the barrel of hard cider, and of William H. Harrison behind the plow.

Clearly, the United States presidential election of 1840 demonstrated how much economics plays into the result of an election. President Martin Van Buren did not create the depression. That was set in motion by Andrew Jackson who create the Panic of 1837. Van Buren fought for re-election against an economic depression and State Sovereign Defaults that wiped out the bond markets. The Whig Party unified for the first time behind war hero William Henry Harrison and came back to throw out the Democratic administration. Their slogan has remained famous “Tippecanoe and Tyler, too.”

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