Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800

By John Ferling | Go to book overview

12
“Give Them the Horrors”
The House Decides the Election

THE ELECTION OF 1800 had ended in a tie between the Republican nominees, a further sign that the Constitutional procedure for electing presidents was archaic. The problem arose because the framers, having failed to foresee the emergence of political parties, vested each presidential elector with two votes. Shortsighted in that respect, the Framers nonetheless had expected that it would be commonplace for no one to win in the electoral college. Thinking that two candidates would sometimes tie with more than a majority of the electoral votes, or more likely that no candidate would secure a majority, the Framers had anticipated that the electoral college would in fact often serve as a nominating panel that selected candidates from among whom the House of Representatives would choose the president. 1 For those occasions when the electoral college failed to produce a clear winner, the Constitution tersely outlined the procedure that would ensure for electing the chief executive:

if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote.

-175-

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Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Adams Vs. Jefferson *
  • Title Page *
  • Contents ix
  • Editors' Note xi
  • Illustrations and Maps xiii
  • Preface xvii
  • Adams Vs. Jefferson *
  • 1 - Election Eve, 1800 1
  • 2 - “an Affection That Can Never Die” 18
  • 3 - Creating the New National System, 1786–1792 36
  • 4 - Partisanship, 1793–1796 57
  • 5 - Jefferson and Adams on the Eve of the Battle in 1796 69
  • 6 - The First Contested Presidential Election, 1796 83
  • 7 - The Partisan Inferno, 1797–1798 99
  • 8 - Summer 1798 to Autumn 1799 113
  • 9 - Winter and Spring, 1800 126
  • 10 - The Campaign of 1800 135
  • 11 - The Election of 1800 162
  • 12 - The House Decides the Election 175
  • 13 - Jefferson's Inauguration 197
  • Epilogue - “the Revolution of 1800” 207
  • Abbreviations 217
  • Notes 221
  • Index 251
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