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1792 Presidential Election


vcczar

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First: Watch or listen to the video I made for this election that I posted in the private message thread. You need to watch the first video, ask a question, and respond to question to get access to the new video. 

Second: I want you to post one question for the other people in this class about the election. You can post several that they can choose from. This question needs not be bound to 1792. The question could be about the 1792 election in regards to 2023, for instance. I'll likely post follow up questions.

Third: The important documents for the election are the inaugural addresses for both of Washington's term. I forgot to mention the 1st one in connection to the first video.

Fourth: Fun video for this time. The Jay Treaty. This actually occurs during Washington's 2nd term, so after this election: 

 

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For 1792-93 election:

Q: What role (if any) did the media/newspapers at the time play in the election?  I can imagine that those that are eligible to vote are mostly literate.  Were there pro-administration papers/pamphlets and anti-administration papers who were advocating for their selected candidates?  Were there endorsements???  Thanks for this!

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Finally I had time to watch the video. I brought three questions with me:

Q1: Why did Muhlenberg switch to the anti-administration faction? Did he already anticipate Federalists of eventually fading away without any national figure to lead them once Washington was gone from the political stage?

Q2: What was the reasoning of Jeffersonians to agree moving the capital away from New York? Espcially considering that you mentioned NY becoming a stronghold of the anti-administration faction. Was it solely expecting them to be eventually more successful in the south? Did they want to please southeners with this?

Q3: You stressed that Washington has been essentially a Federalist for all of his political life, especially when it comes to his actions rather than his words. So I wondered if Washington received any criticism for dodging the bullet on this issue so clearly? I suppose this criticism could have come either from Federalists mad at him for not officially joining their ranks in an effort to boost their popularity or from anti-Federalists being mad at Washington for his obvious wavering course of having Federalist political beliefs but not disclosing them officially.

Edited by ConservativeElector2
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me too, just got time to watch this video. with it, I got one huge blaring question:

If just like Washington, were there any other independents that were a popular figure at the time? Were there any efforts either by Washington or another politician to keep a nonpartisan front or united front against the dividing system that was being created by First Party System? 

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On 6/15/2023 at 9:26 AM, 10centjimmy said:

Given Clinton's prestige, how impressive is it that Aaron Burr, really an unknown outside of NY, gets an electoral vote. 

What do you believe are the reasons behind the shrunken field of second tier candidates in 1792?

I think since most saw Washington running again those who were against him decided to wait for now. 

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You mention how a lot of these figures, Washington most notably, were basically Federalist in all but name, is that how voters saw themselves as well? Did we see the beginning of any of the self-sorting between factions and parties among the voters that we see now?

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On 6/14/2023 at 12:59 PM, matthewyoung123 said:

For 1792-93 election:

Q: What role (if any) did the media/newspapers at the time play in the election?  I can imagine that those that are eligible to vote are mostly literate.  Were there pro-administration papers/pamphlets and anti-administration papers who were advocating for their selected candidates?  Were there endorsements???  Thanks for this!

The political newspapers were beginning to take off, but they were mostly just in Philadelphia and NYC. I wouldn't say there were endorsements at this point. I think it was more like propaganda supporting policies of Washington/Hamilton and attacking those that disagreed and vice versa. I think you'll start to get something more resembling modern media political attacks after the Jay Treaty in 1795. So the 1796 election really starts to get closer to that. 

At this point, the newspapers were generally like blogs for the editor-in-chief who allows guest writers who were generally politicians writing anonymously to attack what another politician wrote anonymously in another paper. They generally wrote under Roman pseudonyms. I'm not sure when politicians began to write under their own names.

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On 6/14/2023 at 1:16 PM, Bushwa777 said:

Q: If allowed do you think Hamilton would have run for president and could he have won? Why did Hamilton and Adams hate each other? Why did votes happen for Congress but Congress did not meet for a year?

He was allowed. The Constitution made all citizens living in the US at the time of the Constitution "natural born citizens." I'm not sure why people debate that this wasn't the case. For instance, Hamilton was in the US longer than Albert Gallatin (swiss-born) was and he was a candidate for VP at one point.

Hamilton never ran because Washington was running, and then it was Adams's turn. I think had the Federalist Party been viable in 1804, he would have. He had plans of creating a new party at the time of his death. He may have run then. 

I think Hamilton hated Adams because Adams was too independent and Adams thought Hamilton was too ambitious and possibly corrupt. It was both personality clashes and ideological clashes. They were of the same part, but Hamilton was exessively focused on the financial and industrial sectors. Adams was possibly more in tune with Jefferson economically.

In regard to Congress, I'm not quite sure what you are talking about. There is a gap between when Congress meets back then. Congress would come into session about the end of March and work until the end of like June, then they'd return in December for the State of the Union and work for about a month. The gap was partially because of the heat in the Summer and the government being a lot more limited at the time. They'd leave again in January because of the Winter. There were exceptions that they'd stay longer and there were emergency sessions. As the government grew, Congress stayed longer. They took off for the Summer all the way through most,if not all, of FDR's terms. This changes when A/C was introduced in the capital building.

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On 6/15/2023 at 4:26 PM, 10centjimmy said:

Given Clinton's prestige, how impressive is it that Aaron Burr, really an unknown outside of NY, gets an electoral vote. 

What do you believe are the reasons behind the shrunken field of second tier candidates in 1792?

Maybe the elector who voted for Burr had just a personal grudge against Clinton. If I remember correctly V mentioned Burr's daughter marrying a South Carolinian later. I don't know if it's plausible, but he may have had already some ties to that state and was known there among the priviledged class.

For the second question I absolutely agree with @Bushwa777. Potential candidates likely wanted not to damage their reputation by running against the popular Washington.

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On 6/15/2023 at 10:26 AM, 10centjimmy said:

Given Clinton's prestige, how impressive is it that Aaron Burr, really an unknown outside of NY, gets an electoral vote. 

What do you believe are the reasons behind the shrunken field of second tier candidates in 1792?

By 1792, NY was getting tired of George Clinton. He'd been in power since 1777. Burr was a rising star and was consolidating power in NYC, which was rapidly growing. Burr, unlike Clinton, had done a lot for Western settlers, so he had a lot of support out of NY too.

By 1792, it became clear that the parties needed to rally behind one VP option (with a couple toss-away-votes to prevent a tie), lest there be a high chance of a split ticket. 

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On 6/16/2023 at 5:31 PM, ConservativeElector2 said:

Finally I had time to watch the video. I brought three questions with me:

Q1: Why did Muhlenberg switch to the anti-administration faction? Did he already anticipate Federalists of eventually fading away without any national figure to lead them once Washington was gone from the political stage?

Q2: What was the reasoning of Jeffersonians to agree moving the capital away from New York? Espcially considering that you mentioned NY becoming a stronghold of the anti-administration faction. Was it solely expecting them to be eventually more successful in the south? Did they want to please southeners with this?

Q3: You stressed that Washington has been essentially a Federalist for all of his political life, especially when it comes to his actions rather than his words. So I wondered if Washington received any criticism for dodging the bullet on this issue so clearly? I suppose this criticism could have come either from Federalists mad at him for not officially joining their ranks in an effort to boost their popularity or from anti-Federalists being mad at Washington for his obvious wavering course of having Federalist political beliefs but not disclosing them officially.

1. He was probably pro-Constitution and pro-Washington, but switched because of Hamilton's influence. This happened with many people. It's even possibly Muhlenberg wasn't even clearly considering himself a person of any party. It's hard to tell back then. It was more like Hamilton and Jefferson with allies, rather than really organized parties. Muhlenberg was with people that were with Hamilton and then he just start working with people that worked with Jefferson.

2. Jefferson wanted to move the capital out of the North because he felt the North already had too much power. 

3. Papers typically didn't attack or criticize Washington directly. They generally attacked Hamilton and his allies. I can't recall any Federalist being upset that Washington wouldn't come out as a Federalists. I think it's because they already considered him one of them, since the Federalists saw themselves as the party of the government. I'm a little surpised Washington didn't declare himself a Federalist in 1798. In his letters, he basically seems to thing Jeffersonians are potentially anarchists and in league with the French to take over the country.

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16 minutes ago, vcczar said:

In regard to Congress, I'm not quite sure what you are talking about. There is a gap between when Congress meets back then. Congress would come into session about the end of March and work until the end of like June, then they'd return in December for the State of the Union and work for about a month. The gap was partially because of the heat in the Summer and the government being a lot more limited at the time. They'd leave again in January because of the Winter. There were exceptions that they'd stay longer and there were emergency sessions. As the government grew, Congress stayed longer. They took off for the Summer all the way through most,if not all, of FDR's terms. This changes when A/C was introduced in the capital building.

What I was trying to ask is I know that like Lincoln was elected in November of 1846 but his term did not start until December 6, 1847.  Seems like a waste to me.  Why not just make it so November was President Election and then sometime in the summer of odd years, since Congress was not meeting until December that year anyway, do a election for Congress 

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On 6/18/2023 at 11:17 AM, Blockmon said:

me too, just got time to watch this video. with it, I got one huge blaring question:

If just like Washington, were there any other independents that were a popular figure at the time? Were there any efforts either by Washington or another politician to keep a nonpartisan front or united front against the dividing system that was being created by First Party System? 

John Hancock was probably the most prominent other independent, even though he was more in line with Jefferson than Hamilton. Most of the politicians thought of themselves as independent. It’s mainly historians sorting them into columns after the fact based on what they supported and who they supported. I don’t think Thomas Mifflin, for instance, ever made any sort of statement on what party he was, for instance. He’d embrace certain policies and oppose others. Voters either supporter Mifflin or opposed Mifflin. By 1796, you’re getting more party identification. By 1800 it’s even more solidified. 

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1 hour ago, ShortKing said:

You mention how a lot of these figures, Washington most notably, were basically Federalist in all but name, is that how voters saw themselves as well? Did we see the beginning of any of the self-sorting between factions and parties among the voters that we see now?

I think most voters didn’t see themselves as party supporters until 1796 to 1800. Party was more of an insider game at first. 

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9 minutes ago, Bushwa777 said:

What I was trying to ask is I know that like Lincoln was elected in November of 1846 but his term did not start until December 6, 1847.  Seems like a waste to me.  Why not just make it so November was President Election and then sometime in the summer of odd years, since Congress was not meeting until December that year anyway, do a election for Congress 

That must be an Anomaly. The gap was, you’d get elected in Nov or Dec, you’d take your seat in March. Lincoln must have had a special case for that. That was very atypical 

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2 hours ago, vcczar said:

By 1792, it became clear that the parties needed to rally behind one VP option (with a couple toss-away-votes to prevent a tie), lest there be a high chance of a split ticket.

Impressive that the parties were already coordinated enough at this point!

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4 minutes ago, 10centjimmy said:

Impressive that the parties were already coordinated enough at this point!

It was more like, Federalists just voted for the same ticket, while future Jeffersonians met in Philadelphia and decided who they'd support to run as VP. So it was accidental organization on the Federalist part and something more organized with Jeffersonians. Those at the meeting...probably not many...wrote allied delegates to tell them what the plan was.

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14 hours ago, vcczar said:

It was more like, Federalists just voted for the same ticket, while future Jeffersonians met in Philadelphia and decided who they'd support to run as VP. So it was accidental organization on the Federalist part and something more organized with Jeffersonians. Those at the meeting...probably not many...wrote allied delegates to tell them what the plan was.

Was it public knowledge at the time who an electoral would be? For Maryland and PA at least, they knew who they were voting for, right?

I like to think that they were the cream of the crop that were selected. There's a great book called "The People's Choice" by Jeff Greenfield that dives into this.  Of course, it's fiction so if you don't like dictum probably won't be interesting. 

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28 minutes ago, 10centjimmy said:

Was it public knowledge at the time who an electoral would be? For Maryland and PA at least, they knew who they were voting for, right?

This is a really good question. I'm not completely sure of the correct answer. 

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Just now, 0ccultist said:

Do you think there could ever have been organized opposition for Adam’s to win re-election or was the nation and the parties too young for it?

I assume you mean Adams's reelection as VP in 1792 since this is the 1792 thread.

I'm a little confused about the question because you have conflicting language. Do you mean "organized opposition" to prevent "Adam's reelection"? 

I think the parties were not only too disorganized and arguably not yet really existing, but the concept of declaring candidacy or selecting candidates had not yet really formed on a national level. 

I think if Adams was defeated it would be because different states or regions were independently opposing keeping the same VP. One thing in Adams's favor is that most wanted stability as the government was still being formed. It made more sense to keep Adams rather than risk placing a new person in the VP spot. Adams was a pretty integral part of the Senate as VP. You don't have Senate leaders, aside from the Sen Pres Pro Tempore.

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