Who is the only U.S. President who never won a nationwide election?

Vice President Spiro Agnew, after being charged with tax evasion after being investigated for receiving illegal campaign contributions and kickbacks, resigned his post on October 10, 1973. Following the guidelines of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, Congressman Gerald Ford from Grand Rapids, Michigan, was nominated by President Richard Nixon to fill Spiro Agnew's empty position. That nomination passed the House and Senate, and Gerald Ford became the first Vice President appointed to the position.

Following the Watergate Scandal, President Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974, and Gerald Ford became President. He then lost the 1976 Presidential election to Jimmy Carter, making Ford the only person ever to become President without winning a nationwide election.

But there is another Presidential election that bears examination: the election of 1824. The Presidential nominees were Henry Clay, William Crawford, Andrew Jackson, John C. Calhoun, and John Quincy Adams, and after Crawford suffered a stroke, there was no clear frontrunner in the race.

In the final election results, Andrew Jackson had the most popular votes and the most electoral votes, giving him a plurality of the votes. However, because he didn't have more than half of either, he didn't have the majority of votes needed to put him in the White House. That threw the election, according to the Constitution, into the House of Representatives.

Henry Clay, who had the fewest number of votes, was dropped from consideration. He gave his support to John Quincy Adams, who then became the sixth President. So, although John Quincy Adams was declared the winner of the election, he didn't actually receive the greatest number of votes in the nationwide election.

After his election, Adams gave the position of Secretary of State, which at the time was considered a stepping stone to the Presidency, to Henry Clay. Many argued that this was a "corrupt bargain" — that Adams had traded the Secretary of State position for Clay's support in the election.

Whether Adams had actually made that corrupt bargain didn't matter in the grand scheme of things. Jackson returned in 1828 to squarely beat Adams in the next Presidential election, receiving 68 percent of the electoral votes and 56 percent of the popular vote.