Presidential Elections of 1804

Among the most crucial elections ever held in the history of the United States of America, the 1800 elections were the most vital. Washington was considered reliable by the people and the judgment as well as ability of anyone who was behind him was considered as an open query.

As Sharp stated, “While political parties played no role in the 1792 election, they certainly did in the 1800 election. The election was notable because of the extremely partisan nature of the election and the vitriolic attacks on former Revolution War friends and colleagues” (189)

As Dunn observed “It was particularly important as it resulted in the first transfer of power from one party to the other and despite the contentious nature of the election, it occurred peacefully with President Adams quietly leaving Washington before President Jefferson’s inauguration”(241). This event was of very significant value, as it involved a change of command to a political adversary in a peaceful manner.

Among the main reasons that the reign of one line of heirs to power had thrived, was because of the fact that with each change of guard, there was always peace. Therefore, the perceived precedent that was put in place by the republican elite which was considered untrustworthy was a very important step in the right direction towards peaceful transitions. A key reconfiguration within American political parties was in the making.

The long ruling Federalists nationalist party was subdued and eventually out-done by the alignment of the Democratic Party as well as the Republican Party. This was in the Congressional polls. Then ruling President Adam, strategically set up the Federal courts with the Federalists so as to continually wield authority via the courts that were essentially ran by the Federalists. John Marshall was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court at the time.

In 1804, the presidential elections of the United States of America was a race that placed the sitting President Thomas Jefferson against Federalist Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. Rogers stated that “Thomas Jefferson easily defeated Charles Cotesworth Pinckney in the first presidential polls conducted following the ratification of the twelfth amendment to the United States Constitution” (115).

Rogers further states that “Under the rules of the Twelfth Amendment, presidential electors were required to specify in their votes their choice for presidents and vice presidents; previously, electors voted only for President, with the person who came in second becoming the Vice President” (116).

President Thomas Jefferson’s Vice President became George Clinton who proceeded to serve under President Thomas Jefferson as well as his successor. In all of the American presidential elections which have had many key party contenders vying for the top seat that have been held, Thomas Jefferson’s percentage point winning scope has never been surpassed by any of them and maintains the top spot in those regards.

Thomas Jefferson’s early days started in Virginia where he grew up and was brought up with his father’s friend’s children who was deceased. His father was Colonel Peter Jefferson who died while Thomas was still at the tender age of fourteen. His mother was Jane Randolph. His wife passed on ten years into their marriage.

A priest by the name William Douglas tutored the young Jefferson from the age of nine until he was fourteen years old. Among the schools that he attended were the college of William and Mary as well as Reverend James Maury’s School. He learnt from the priest Latin, French as well as Greek. As Rogers observed “Thomas Jefferson got admission to the bar in the year 1767 after completing his studies with famed law professor George Wythe who was the first American law professor” (71).

Between the years 1776 and 1779, Thomas Jefferson was an associate of Continental Congress and later on joined up as an affiliate of the Virginia House of Delegates. This was after performing duties in the House of Burgesses between 1769 and 1774.

Thomas Jefferson was party to the Committee of Correspondence and argued anti-Britain stating that their interests were hostile towards the United States of America. He also wrote the declaration of independence. He was a Governor at one point in time, as the revolutionary war escalated in the years 1779-1781. Later on, when the war was over, he was posted to France as a minister. In his book Chernow observed that

“President George Washington appointed Jefferson to be the first Secretary of State. He clashed with Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury, on how the US should deal with France and Britain. Hamilton also desired a stronger federal government than Jefferson. Jefferson eventually resigned because he saw that Washington was more strongly influenced by Hamilton than him. Jefferson later served as Vice President under John Adams from 1797-1801” (127).

Thomas Jefferson vied in a very hotly contested poll in opposition to John Adams who he had previously been his Vice President. Thomas Jefferson ran as the republican presidential candidate and with Aaron Burr as his running mate.

One of the acts that the Federalists utilized to their own gains was the Alien and Sedition Act which Thomas Jefferson had in the past very enthusiastically conflicted with together Madison, stating that they were against the charter. A tie in the poll count was all that was needed to kick off a major storm regarding the vote count.

Presidential polls will in most cases be very passionate affairs for most of the contestants. It is not something that is fresh to the scene. Ever since a long time ago, people vying for political clout have slandered each other, spread rumors as well as sent messages implying that their rivals have the wrong plans.

However in the year 1800, these allegations were most highly pronounced as the rivalry between Thomas Jefferson and John Adam attained heights of viciousness unknown before. Jefferson was continuously slandered by the Federalists stating that all evils that he performed would be encouraged if he took power. Thomas Jefferson was alleged to have stolen as well as lied to the people.

However, Jefferson endured all this and went on to be the victor in the polls. The second time round that he vied, Thomas Jefferson went through even more disrepute as his foes were very aggressive towards him. He endured unmitigated rumors regarding his religious beliefs and he knew how to handle this disrepute from his prior experiences. Thomas Jefferson went ahead and triumphed in the ballots with a landslide victory.

President Thomas Jefferson explained the immense support that he attained by appraising his regimes achievements during his first term. This was much earlier in his second introductory speech. Thomas Jefferson had foreseen his party swoop and carry away all the states except four of them in the polls.

The results were much more impressive than anticipated. He won his that round with a resounding victory by beating the Federalists in most states. President Thomas Jefferson observed in his statement the fact that he declared the principle upon which he believed it was his duty to lead the matters of state. He said that he had the belief that his conscience he had acted up to the declaration.

President Thomas Jefferson went on to assert that outside associations had become better and at the same time domestic taxes were stopped. He stated that the tax levied on imported goods allowed for a tinier administration in the country as well as widening of the state via additional acquisition of Indian as well as Louisiana land by purchasing it so as to reduce national debt.

The topic of Louisiana was of great importance to President Thomas Jefferson since it was viewed as one of his key achievements by the people. Pasley made the observation that “Based primarily in New England and determined to protect that region’s trade and shipping interests, the Federalists were uneasy with the country’s westward movement and the growing importance of the port of New Orleans”(74-88). Fortunately, according to President Thomas Jefferson many Americans were awed by the conclusion of the voting. Pasley was of the opinion that

“The achievements of Jefferson’s first term had assured that he would be re-nominated by his party. But the Republican caucus, which met in February 1804, had dropped the Vice President Aaron Burr in favor of New York’s governor, George Clinton, as Jefferson’s running mate. Burr had lost the confidence of many Republicans during the drawn-out election of 1800. In that contest, Jefferson, then vice president, defeated the Federalist incumbent, John Adams.

But because the Republicans had failed to make sure at least one electoral vote for vice presidential candidate Burr was withheld, Jefferson and Burr tied for the presidency. The contest went to the House of Representatives, where Federalists seized the opportunity to block Jefferson’s election by giving their votes to Burr. The deadlock was not broken until mid-February 1801, when the House elected Jefferson on its 36th ballot”. (111-124)

Because of the fact that Burr did not extract his name from disputation for the presidency, Thomas Jefferson and other Republicans ended up skeptical of his allegiance and were edgy with his holding a spot of such national status. As Jefferson commenced the sorting out his organization, he disregarded Burr’s benefaction as well as recommendations and did not confer with him on procedure assessment. Chernow stated that

“In 1804, aware that he would not be a part of the national ticket, Burr challenged the Republicans in his home state of New York by running for governor. The Federalists considered supporting Burr to create greater division among the Republicans, but Federalist leader Alexander Hamilton spoke out strongly against Burr, and others asked, is he to be used by the Federalists, or is he a two-edged sword, that must not be drawn?

Burr lost the New York election in the spring of 1804, and cast much of the blame on Hamilton. This was one factor that led to their famous duel in July of that year. Hamilton’s death was considered the death of Burr’s political career as well, yet he returned to Washington to complete his term as vice president. President Jefferson completely divorced himself from Burr, saying, There never had been an intimacy between us, and but little association.”(98-111)

Support from the people went across the party outline but was far from undisputed. The law was not conceded by mutual houses in anticipation of December 1803. The bid sent to the states for consent specified that as members of the electorate meet in their particular states, “they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President.” Pasley observed that

“As any change to the Constitution required ratification by three-fourths of the states, Jefferson and Secretary of state left Washington for the summer recess with the electoral process still undecided. Madison assured Jefferson that all was ready “for giving effect to the proposed amendment.” But it was not until Sept. 25, 1804, that Madison was able to declare that the 12th Amendment to the Constitution had been ratified.

In keeping with the practice of the time, Jefferson and his Federalist rival, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney of South Carolina (who had been Adams’ running mate in 1800), abstained from any overt campaigning. Both relied instead upon their party machinery working at the grassroots level and through the press.” (59-70)

The toughest antagonism to Jefferson was found in New England. Palsey said “Federalist William Plumer of New Hampshire express grief that Jefferson as well as his supporters was even permitted to describe them republican, supposing Democrats and Jacobins far more apt” (83).

Plumer sketched six daily articles via the alias Cato, in which he went by the whole time of Jefferson’s opinionated vocation from secretary state up to the time of his presidency while still referencing Jefferson’s only available script, Notes on the State of Virginia, to chart what he deemed as Jefferson’s unpredictability. Pasley depicted that,

“Despite these efforts, Plumer had to record in his personal journal entry for Feb. 13, 1805, his party’s overwhelming loss. When the electoral ballots were counted that day before a joint session of Congress, Jefferson and Clinton received 162 votes apiece while Pinckney and his running mate, Rufus King of New York, had 14 apiece. It was none other than Aaron Burr, sitting as presiding officer of the Senate, who declared that Thomas Jefferson had been elected president and George Clinton vice president”.(162)

Thomas Jefferson had run for re-election to verify the state’s endorsement. He inscribed in January 1804: “The detestable slanders of my opinionated adversaries have gratified me to label that decree from my motherland in the solitary way it can be found.” In his book, Pasley said “He concluded that a favorable vote would be my sufficient voucher to the rest of the world and to posterity, and leave me free to seek, at a definite time, the repose I sincerely wished to have retired to now” (89).

Pasley went further ahead to say “Certainly the election of 1804 gave validation to Jefferson and direction set by his administration. It would prove to be the apex of his political career, as the accomplishments of his first term would not be matched in his second”.

Wills says “The 1804 US Election was the 5th Presidential election in America. It was the first ever election carried on after the ratification of the 12th Amendment to the Constitution of United States (98-112). The election was fought mainly between the incumbent Democratic-Republican President, Thomas Jefferson and Federalist, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. Jefferson achieved 162 electoral votes and became the President of America for the second successive term. Jefferson’s running mate, George Clinton became the Vice President of America.

Before the ratification of Twelfth Amendment, presidential electors were allowed to vote only for the President. The person who ended up second used to be the Vice President. The 12th Amendment modified Article II of US Constitution. Will’s also added that, “as a result of that change, the United States Electoral College was asked to elect both the President and Vice President in a single election” (82).

After the ratification of 12th Amendment on 15th June, 1804, the electors were asked to cast two distinct votes, one for the President and one for the Vice President. Wills, in his book explains that,

“The presidential election of 1804 would be the first conducted under the 12th Amendment which was ratified in June 1804. Previously, whichever presidential candidate received the second highest electoral vote became vice president. The new amendment mandated separate ballots for the office of president and vice president.

During the previous Presidential tenure of Thomas Jefferson, American trade flourished. At the same time, French Revolutionary War in Europe came to an end. These two matters eventually enhanced the popularity of Thomas Jefferson. There was no other person in the US who shared his popularity or his public stature, making his win all but a matter of time.

In 1804, US Presidential election, Thomas Jefferson got 104,110 popular votes, whereas Charles Cotesworth Pinckney got 38,919 popular votes.

The pattern of political contention of 1804 was rich with current events: a national effort to decrease the public debt; Haitian independence declared in January as residents defeat French forces trying to re-establish slavery on the island; the launch of the Lewis and Clark expedition from St. Louis in May 1804; and trade questions stemming from the war between England and France. (47–89)

There is often intense competition amongst candidates in a presidential race. This phenomenon is not new. Since 1800, candidates have been hitting each other with slander, rumors, and bad messages. In 1800, this was especially true. The race between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams was vicious. The Federalists persistently attacked Jefferson, saying things such as, “Murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will all be openly taught and practiced.” (Connecticut Courant) Jefferson was said to have cheated and robbed people.

Still, Jefferson persisted and managed to win the race. Again in 1804, his competition was fierce. This second race of Jefferson’s races was even worse than the first. Rumors were spread about him and his religious beliefs were attacked. But, Jefferson learned from his previous experience, and was able to hold out and win by a landslide.

As was further observed by Will’s in his book, “The Democratic-Republicans nominate Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. Jefferson seeks his second term as president after a lengthy career in public service in which he served as governor of Virginia, vice president, Secretary of State, and Minister to France” (66).

In his foremost time as head, Jefferson not just merely doubled the capacity of the United States by means of the Louisiana procurement, but he launched the first national exploration of the continent as well in hopes of attaining added United States trade as well as methodical awareness.

McCullough observes that

“Jefferson’s running mate on the Democratic-Republican ticket is George Clinton, governor of New York. As a young man Clinton fought in the French and Indian War, and later became an attorney who defended members of the Sons of Liberty. He served as a member of the Second Continental Congress before being commissioned a brigadier general during the American Revolution.

Opposing President Jefferson is Charles Cotesworth Pinckney of South Carolina, running on the Federalist ticket. Pinckney rose to the rank of general in the Revolutionary War, and served nearly two years as a prisoner of the war after the fall of Charleston in 1780.

A proponent of a strong central government, Pinckney was one of the first leaders in the National Constitutional Convention. He represented the United States briefly in the Netherlands and France, and commanded American forces in the South between 1798 and 1800 when war with France seemed imminent”. (99-116)

America got caught up in warfare with the Barbary nations during his era in charge between 1801 and 1805. The United States of America had been paying accolade to buccaneer from this province to bring to a standstill assaults on American vessels. When the buccaneers solicited for supplementary money, Jefferson declined, leading Tripoli to proclaim confrontation.

This finished in victory for the United States for who it was no longer an obligation to disburse accolade to Tripoli. However, America did go on with payments to the rest of the Barbary countries. McCullough states that “in 1803, President Thomas Jefferson purchased the Louisiana territory from France for $15 million.

This is considered the most important act of his administration. He sent Lewis and Clark on their famous expedition to explore the new territory”. (96) In 1807, as McCullough further stated “Jefferson ended the overseas slave trade that started in January 1, 1808. He also set up the pattern of Executive Privilege as elucidated above” (97).

Works Cited

Bowling, Kenneth and Kennon, Donald. Establishing Congress: The Removal to Washington D.C. and the Election of 1800. Cleveland: Ohio University Press, 2005. Print.

Chernow, Ron. Alexander Hamilton, London: Penguin, 2005. Print.

Dunn, Susan. Jefferson’s second revolution: The Election Crisis of 1800 and the Triumph of Republicanism. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004. Print.

McCullough, David. John Adam. New York: Simon & Schuster. 2001. Print.

Norgren, Jill and Lockwood, Belva. The Woman Who Would be President. New York: New York University Press, 2007. Print.

Pasley, Jeffrey. Beyond the Founders: New Approaches to the Political History of the Early American Republic. Carolina: UNC Press. 2004. Print.

Rogers, Kennedy. Burr, Hamilton and Jefferson: A Study in Character. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2000. Print.

Sharp, James. The Deadlocked Election of 1800: Jefferson, Burr, and the Union in the Balance. Kansas: University Press of Kansas. 2010. Print.

Wills, Garry. Negro President: Jefferson and the Slave Power. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co. 2003. Print.