PERHAPS the following view of the elections of president and vice president, since the retirement of President Washington, may not be uninteresting.
In 1796, the votes were given under the first system, as heretofore explained. The highest in votes became the president, and the next highest, the vice president.
John Adams, who had been vice president eight years, had 71 votes. Thomas Jefferson 68 Thomas Pinckney 59 Aaron Burr 30 1800. Thomas Jefferson 73 Aaron Burr 73 John Adams 64 Thomas Pinckney 63
The equality of the votes for Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Burr produced an arduous contest in the house, the history of which is worth preservation.
The declaration of the votes took place in the senate chamber, on Wednesday, the 11th of February. After the declaration that a choice had not been made by the electors, and that it devolved on the house of representatives, the house convened in its own chamber, and furnished seats for the senate, as witnesses. The house had previously adopted rules, that it should continue to ballot, without interruption by other business, and should not adjourn, but have a permanent session until the choice be made; and that the doors of the house shall be closed during the balloting, except against the officers of the house.
The following was directed to be the mode of balloting:
Each state had a ballot box in which the members belonging to it, having previously appointed a teller, put the votes of the state, the teller on the part of the United States having then counted the votes, duplicates of the rest were put by him into two general ballot boxes. Tellers being nominated by each state for the purpose of examining the general ballot boxes, they were divided into two parts, of whom one examined one of the general ballot boxes, and the other examined the other. Upon comparing the result, and finding them to agree, the votes were stated to the speaker, who declared them to the house.
The number of states was at that time 16 nine were necessary to a choice. On the first ballot Mr. Jefferson had eight states, Mr. Burr six, and two were divided.
The first ballot took place about 4 o'clock, P.M. Seven other ballots, with similar results succeeded, when a respite took place, during which the members retired to the lobbies and took refreshment. At three o'clock in the morning of the 12th, two other ballots took place, and at 4 o'clock in the morning, the twenty-first trial. At 12 at noon, of the 12th, the twenty-eighth ballot took place, when the house adjourned to the next day, having probably, in secret session, dispensed with the rule for the permanent session. On Friday, the 13th, the house proceeded to the thirtieth ballot without a choice, and again adjourned to the next day. On Saturday, the 14th, the ballotings had the same result. On Tuesday, the 17th, at the thirty-sixth ballot, the speaker declared at one o'clock, that Mr. Jefferson was elected, having the votes of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Maryland, four votes for Jefferson and four blanks, and Vermont one vote for Jefferson and one blank vote. Thus ended the contest, and it merits the attention of the enemies of republican institutions, who are fond of anticipating the occurrence of tumult and violence on such occasions. The decorum with which the whole was conducted, and the ready and peaceable acquiescence of the minority, evince both the sound texture of the Constitution, and the true character of the American people.
The election in 1804, was under the present system
Thomas Jefferson had, for president 162 votes. Charles C. Pinckney 14 George Clinton, for vice president 162 Rufus King 14 1808. James Madison, for president 122 Charles C. Pinckney 47 George Clinton, for vice president 113 Rufus King 47 1812. James Madison, for president 128 De Witt Clinton 89 Elbridge Gerry, for vice president 128 Jared Ingersoll 57 1816. James Monroe, for president 183 Rufus King 34 Daniel D. Tompkins, for vice president 113 1820. James Monroe, for president 231 Only one vote in opposition. Daniel D. Tompkins, for vice president 218 The scattering votes in these statements are not given. 1824. The votes given were as follows for Andrew Jackson, as president 99 votes. John Quincy Adams 84 William H. Crawford 41 Henry Clay 37
Of whom the three first were returned to the house, and no one of them having a majority of the whole number of votes, the selection devolved upon the house of representatives, and it terminated in the choice of Mr. Adams.
We annex a statement, to explain the manner in which this constitutional power is exercised, by which it will be seen, that the votes of a majority of the members of each state constitute the vote of the state.
STATES. Adams. Jackson. Crawford. Maine 7 New Hampshire 6 Vermont 5 Massachusetts 12 1 Connecticut 6 Rhode Island 2 New York 18 2 14 New Jersey 1 5 Pennsylvania 1 25 Delaware 1 Maryland 5 3 1 Virginia 1 1 19 North Carolina 1 2 10 South Carolina 9 Georgia 7 Alabama 3 Missouri 1 Indiana 3 Mississippi 1 Tennessee 9 Kentucky 3 4 Ohio 10 2 2 Illinois 1 Louisiana 2 1 87 71 54
Thus 13 states voted for Adams, 7 for Jackson, and 4 for Crawford.
John C. Calhoun was elected vice president by a great majority of the electoral colleges.
In the election of 1828, the great majority of votes, in favour of Andrew Jackson, rendered a recourse to the house of representatives unnecessary.
Of the 261 electors, 178 voted for General Jackson and 83 for Mr. Adams. John C. Calhoun obtained 171 votes for vice president, 83 were given for Richard Rush, and 7 for William Smith of South Carolina.
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