Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Election of 1800

The United States Presidential election of 1800 was the 4th quadrennial presidential election. It was held from Friday, October 31 to Wednesday, December 3, 1800. In what is sometimes referred to as the "Revolution of 1800," Thomas Jefferson defeated John Adams. The election was a realigning election that ushered in a generation of Democratic-Republican Party rule and the eventual demise of the Federalist Party in the First Party System. It was a long, bitter re-match of the 1796 election between the pro-French and pro-decentralization Democratic-Republicans under Jefferson and Aaron Burr, against incumbent Adams and Charles Pinckney's pro-British and pro-centralization Federalists. The chief political issues included opposition to the tax imposed by Congress to pay for the mobilization of the new army and the navy in the Quasi-War against France in 1798, and the Alien and Sedition Acts, by which Federalists were trying to stifle dissent, especially by Democratic-Republican newspaper editors. While the Democratic-Republicans were well organized at the state and local levels, the Federalists were disorganized, and suffered a bitter split between their two major leaders, President Adams and Alexander Hamilton. The jockeying for electoral votes, regional divisions, and the propaganda smear campaigns created by both parties made the election recognizably modern.
The election exposed one of the flaws in the original Constitution. Members of the Electoral College were authorized by the original Constitution to vote for two names for President. (The two-vote ballot was created in order to try to maximize the possibility that one candidate received a majority of votes nationwide; the drafters of the Constitution had not anticipated the rise of organized political parties, which made attaining a nationwide majority much easier.) The Democratic-Republicans had planned for one of the electors to abstain from casting his second vote for Aaron Burr, which would have led to Jefferson receiving one electoral vote more than Burr. The plan, however, was bungled, with each elector who voted for Jefferson also voting for Burr, resulting in a tied electoral vote. The election was then put into the hands of the outgoing House of Representatives, which, after 35 votes in which neither Jefferson nor Burr obtained a majority, elected Jefferson on the 36th ballot.
To rectify the flaw in the original presidential election mechanism, the Twelfth Amendment, ratified in 1804, was added to the United States Constitution, stipulating that electors make a discrete choice between their selections for president and vice-president.
The result of this election was affected by the three-fifths clause (had slaves not been counted as persons for purposes of Congressional apportionment, Adams would have won).

“Mr. Holmes helped me and we put in a couple small loads of straw to feed the horses this afternoon.  Very pleasant but windy day.”



Leesah

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