On August 6, 1824, William Lloyd Garrison, not yet twenty years old, penned a letter to the Salem Gazette opposing John Quincy Adams's bid for the presidency and endorsing the candidacy of a dedicated Georgian, United States Senator William Crawford. There is no mention in the document of the slavery issue and no hint that the young Garrison viewed the Constitution as anything less than a triumph of the founding fathers. The “high and exalted character” of the elections proved the Federalist Party “worthy of its great leader, the immortal WASHINGTON” and spread “vigor and strength throughout the political fabric of our constitution and government,” Garrison wrote. “It is peculiarly gratifying, too,” he declared,
to observe the dignified course pursued generally by the few sentinels of freedom, who advocate and uphold those principles, which were promulgated by the Father of his Country, and sanctioned by JAY and HAMILTON, and AMES, with a host of other distinguished patriots.
Garrison went on to stress the civic duty of voting, arguing that although no citizen was legally required to support any of the presidential candidates, reason “dictates that we should” so as not to upset “the peace of the Union.” Federalists should make pragmatic political choices, he wrote, and not squander their votes on ideal but unlikely candidates.