Electoral College • Prior to 1804, the electoral college members picked the president and vice president by casting 2 ballots each. • Both were choices for president. • After the ballots were counted, the person who received the highest number of votes was the president. • The person who came in second was the vice president. • This System did not take into account the party system that would arise. • If no one received a majority of the electoral votes, the House of Representatives chooses the president from the top 3 candidates. The Senate chooses the VP. • The votes are cast by state. So CT’s 7 members of the HoR would have to agree on a single candidate. • After the Election of 1800 exposed the flaw in this system, the 12th Amendment was passed in 1804 so that electors had one vote for President and one vote for VP
Election of 1800 • In the election of 1800, all of the DR electors cast their ballots for Jefferson and Burr. • This led them to a tie with 73 electoral votes each • The Federalists casts their ballots for Adams and Pinckney. One electoral Federalists from RI cast his ballots for Adams and Jay. • This gave Adams 65 electoral votes, Pinckney 64 votes and Jay 1 vote • The election went to the HoR. Everyone knew that Jefferson was the DR candidate for president and was the intended winner of the election but… • Now it mattered how many states you could win in the HoR • Burr thought that maybe he could get the HoR to vote for him • Also, the Outgoing members of the HoR were the ones to decide. The new Congress doesn’t get sworn in until March • This became a Constitutional crisis. The House voted many times and couldn’t come up with a winner. Between the election in November and mid February, no one knew who was going to be the next president. What if they couldn’t come up with a winner???? • Federalists and Burr gave in and Jefferson be came president.
Election of 1824 • By 1824, the Federalists were gone. There was only one party (DR), who had dominated the elections since 1812. They had been able to hand pick the president. By 1824, their coalition had splintered. • In 1824, the DR’s nominated 4 regional candidates: John Q. Adams, Jackson, Crawford and Clay. • There was no winner in the electoral college, so the top 3 went to the HoR. Unfortunately, Crawford had a stroke so was not a serious candidate. That left Adams and Jackson. • Adding to the drama, was the fact that Henry Clay was the Speaker of the HoR and was very powerful, so he could sway the election however he chose. Also, he was nearly identical to Adams in his policies. • The people of the USA felt that even though he didn’t get a majority of the electoral votes, Jackson had gotten the most votes (a plurality) and therefore he should be the next president. • Clay and Adams had other plans . In what became known as the Corrupt Bargain, Clay used his power in the HoR to get Adams elected. In return, Adams agreed to make Clay the Secretary of State. • Sets up the election of 1828 as a rematch between Jackson and Adams