Elijah Gill Dick was born 14 November 1824 in Union County, South Carolina. 1824 was one of the most interesting presidential election years in the history of the United States, and Elijah’s birth fell right in the middle of the election period, which – in that day – extended from October 26 until December 2. John Quincy Adams was elected as the sixth President of the United States, but not without considerable controversy.
Since the election of George Washington in 1788, national politicians belonged to one of two parties, the Federalists (led by Washington, Federalists favored a strong central government) and the Democrat-Republicans (led by Thomas Jefferson, Democrat-Republicans favored more state rights). However, the Federalist Party dissolved in 1823, leaving a one-party system when the 1824 election rolled around. Four Democrat-Republican nominees split the vote, with Andrew Jackson, the hero of the War of 1812, securing the most electoral votes and winning the popular vote. John Quincy Adams, who was Secretary of State, finished second in electoral and popular votes.
Although Jackson won the electoral vote, his 99 votes did not constitute a majority of the total 261 electoral votes available. Therefore, under the Twelfth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the House of Representatives was tasked with deciding between the three candidates who garnered the most electoral votes. Speaker of the House, Henry Clay, was an ardent opponent of Andrew Jackson and led an effort to ensure that John Quincy Adams won the Presidency.
The controversy that immediately followed led to the split of the Democrat-Republican party. Jackson became de facto leader of the new Democrat party and Henry Clay assumed leadership of the new Whig party. Andrew Jackson won the next Presidential election outright and held the office for eight years, from the time young Elijah Gill Dick was four-years-old until he turned twelve.