The 1800 presidential election, sometimes called the Revolution of 1800, was the fourth presidential election in the United States. The election was an intense competition between the Federalist Party and the Democratic-Republicans, led by incumbent President John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, respectively. The landmark election of 1800 led to major changes in the election system of the United States.
For the first time in the history of the United States, presidential campaigns focused on personal attacks, known as smear campaigns, against the candidates. The Federalists accused the Democratic-Republicans of being political radicals and violent political idealists. For the Democratic-Republicans, there was the shadow of the highly unpopular Alien and Sedition Acts. Thought to favor Britain, the act was generally disliked by the Americans. In fact, Adams made quite a few detractors within his ranks because of his pro-British policies. The public seemed to sway in Jefferson's favor, despite Washington's clear support of the Federalists.
In the electoral process used in 1800, each state was allowed to choose its own Election Day. The voting process in the 1800 election continued from April to October.
When the popular votes were counted, Thomas Jefferson had defeated John Adams by a margin of about 24 percent. However, when it came to electoral votes, both Democratic-Republic contestants, Jefferson and Aaron Burr, had received the same number of votes. This happened because under the election system used in 1800, electors were only able to cast votes for president, rather than having a vote specifically for the vice president. So the election of 1800 resulted in a tie.
To break the tie, the decision was then passed to the House of Representatives, who chose Jefferson as the next President of the United States. Each state was allowed one electoral vote in this tie-breaker. The Federalists failed to gain the support of enough states, and the thirty-sixth ballot confirmed the selection of Jefferson as the next President of the United States.
Aaron Burr became the Vice President of the United States. Surprisingly, it was Alexander Hamilton, Jefferson's greatest adversary when it came to the framing of the Federalist laws, who cast the deciding vote in Jefferson's favor. Though Hamilton was a member of the Federalist Party like John Adams, he disliked his policies and thought him too moderate. Ultimately, the election of 1800 caused the Federalist Party to fall from power, marking the end of the party altogether, and allowing for the rise of the Democratic-Republican Party.
This historic election also resulted in the creation of the Twelfth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This Amendment transformed the electoral process, designating separate electoral votes for the presidential and vice presidential candidate.
The election results from the 1800 election are broken down as follows:
- Presidential Candidate
- Thomas Jefferson
- Aaron Burr
- John Adams
- Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
- John Jay
- Home State
- New York
- South Carolina
- New York
- Electoral Vote