U.S. Presidential Primaries and the Caucus-Convention System: A Sourcebook

By James W. Davis | Go to book overview

2 HISTORY OF PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATIONS (1789-1968)

Although the Founding Fathers recognized the need for a strong chief executive in the fledgling Republic--they considered at least a half dozen proposals at the Constitutional Convention before settling upon the independently elected president--they saw no reason to construct machinery for nominating presidential candidates. The Founding Fathers assumed the choice would be limited to a very small number of obviously well-qualified men, and the best man would be selected, Parties were nonexistent at the time that the Framers met in Philadelphia in 1787.


NOMINATION OF PRESIDENTS WASHINGTON AND ADAMS

The first presidential nomination presented no problem since George Washington was the unanimous choice of his countrymen. In 1796, however, President Washington's announcement that he would not seek a third term signaled the opening of the first presidential nominating contest. But his belated announcement in his Farewell Address left little time for potential contenders to organize their campaigns. Rival factions in Congress-- the Federalists and Democratic-Republicans--convened into the newly formed congressional caucuses to select their choice for president. The Federalists chose Vice President John Adams as their nominee and Thomas Pinckney as his running mate. The Democratic-Republicans (soon to be called Democrats) selected Thomas Jefferson to head the ticket and Aaron Burr as his running mate. In neither case did the parties make formal nominations; they merely decided among themselves and depended upon their

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U.S. Presidential Primaries and the Caucus-Convention System: A Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Preface ix
  • Notes xii
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • 1 - Presidential Nominations-- American Style 1
  • Introduction 8
  • 2 - History of Presidential Nominations (1789-1968) 9
  • Notes 18
  • 3 - Party Reform 20
  • Notes 32
  • 4 - Presidential Primaries in the Postreform Era (1972-1996) 34
  • Notes 44
  • 5 - The Caucus-Convention System 45
  • Notes 57
  • 6 - National Convention Delegate Selection Before and After Mcgovern-Fraser Reforms 59
  • Notes 66
  • 7 - Who Are the Delegates? 67
  • Notes 81
  • 8 - Nominating Strategies 83
  • Summary 98
  • Notes 99
  • 9 - Nominating Finance 101
  • Notes 122
  • 10 - Supreme Court Decisions and Presidential Nominations 125
  • Notes 132
  • 11 - Primaries, Caucuses, and the Mass Media 134
  • Notes 144
  • 12 - Primary Debates 146
  • Notes 155
  • 13 - Polls and Primaries 157
  • Notes 170
  • 14 - Voter Participation in Primaries and Caucuses 172
  • Notes 192
  • 15 - Proposed National Primary 195
  • Notes 205
  • 16 - Regional Primaries 206
  • Notes 213
  • 17 - National Preprimary Convention Plan and Other Recent Reform Proposals 215
  • Notes 221
  • 18 - National Nominating Conventions 223
  • Notes 251
  • 19 - Presidential Nominations: The Perot Model 254
  • Notes 261
  • Appendixes 263
  • Glossary 269
  • Selected Bibliography 275
  • Index 283
  • About the Author 295
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