1796 United States presidential election
The 1796 U.S. presidential election was the third quadrennial presidential election. Incumbent Vice President John Adams of the Federalist Party defeated former Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson of the Democratic-Republican Party. The election marked the formation of the First Party System, and established a rivalry between Federalist New England and Democratic- Republican South.
About 1796 United States presidential election in brief
The 1796 U.S. presidential election was the third quadrennial presidential election. Incumbent Vice President John Adams of the Federalist Party defeated former Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson of the Democratic-Republican Party. It was the first contested American presidential election, the first presidential election in which political parties played a dominant role, and the only presidential election where a president and vice president were elected from opposing tickets. The election marked the formation of the First Party System, and established a rivalry between Federalist New England and Democratic- Republican South. The Federalists’ nominee was John Adams, the incumbent vice president and a leading voice during the Revolutionary period. The Democratic-Republicans supported Thomas Jefferson, but each party ran multiple candidates for president, in hopes of keeping one of their opponents from being the runner-up. The winner was Adams with 71 electoral votes, one more than was needed for a majority. Jefferson received 68 electoral votes and was elected vice president. The remaining 48 electoral votes were dispersed among nine other candidates, including Senator Aaron Burr of New York and former Governor Thomas Pinckney of South Carolina, who had agreed to run after the first choice, Patrick Henry, declined to enter the race.
In order to be elected president, the winning candidate had to win the votes of a majority of electors; if no individual win a majority, the House of Representatives would hold a contingent election. The plan was for one of the electors to cast a vote for the main party nominee and a candidate besides the primary running mate, thus ensuring that the main nominee would have one more vote than his running mate. Before the ratification of the 12th Amendment in 1804, each elector was to vote for two persons, but was not able to indicate which vote was for president and which was for vice president; instead, the recipient of the most electoral votes would become president and theRunner-up vice president would be president and Vice President. In the 1796 election, several electors cast one vote for a Federalist candidate and oneVote for a Democratic- Republicans candidate. The Republican candidate, Alexander Hamilton, did not prefer Adams to Jefferson, and urged Federalist electors from South Carolina to cast their second votes forPinckney, who was the running mate of John Adams. The result was that Adams won by sweeping the electoral votes of New England, and winning votes from several other swing states, especially the states of the Mid-Atlantic region. In 1796, both parties sought the presidency for the first time.