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1800 Presidential Election


vcczar

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As mentioned in the private chat, I'm unable to make videos, so I just spent an ungodly amount of time typing out this election for you. Forgive any typos.

The 1800 Election

 
The major events leading up to this election were the XYZ Affair (a reaction to the Jay Treaty), the resulting Quasi-War, the corresponding Alien & Sedition Acts, and the Kentucky & Virginia Resolutions in reaction to the A&S Acts. Additionally, the Fries Rebellion, Napoleon, and the death of George Washington had impacts as well. 
 
The 1798 Midterm greatly benefited the Federalists as the XYZ Affair/Quasi-War initially saw a boost of nationalism, while the Jeffersonians were seen as French allies, possibly pawns by some. Federalists did well across the board. incumbent Gov of NY John Jay was reelected in a landslide over Robert R Livingston, a major JR faction leader in NY. Even the state of VA saw its Federalist Gov, James Wood, reelected unopposed. In the US House, Feds increase their majority as Speaker John Sedgwick of MA sees a 60-46 Fed lead in the House. This will be the US House that decides the 1800 election. There's no change in the US Senate as Feds maintain a 23-9 landslide lead. 
 
One can argue that 1798 was the high point of the Federalist Party, but it all came crashing down.
 
The Alien & Sedition Acts became wildly unpopular, even if they weren't used much by Pres. Adams. Franklin's grandson, the editor of the influential JR paper Aurora, was arrested and died soon after of yellow fever. He was the highest profile arrest, probably. The unpopularity was exploited by the writing of the KY and VA Resolutions, written anonymously by incumbent VP Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, respectively. Madison was rather moderate in his response, but Jefferson's advocated state nullification of Federal law and hinted at secession. This is probably the most active attack by a VP against his own Pres in US history, although both are of differing parties. Calhoun will be almost as bad toward JQ Adams and then Jackson. I should note that Swiss-born Albert Gallatin was the primary JR opposition leader in the House and did a lot to encourage opposition to Adams and the Federalists.
 
I think Washington's death in Dec 1799 doesn't get discussed enough as a reason for the Federalist's fall. Washington, despite being an independent, was clearly the figurehead of the Federalist Party. So long as he lived, the Federalists could use him as a sort of avatar for their party. Washington was, in fact, one of the strongest supporters of the A&S Acts, a much, much stronger supporter than Pres. Adams ever was for these laws. Washington's letters show that he was one of many politicians who believed that the JRs were basically domestic traitors bidding to do the work of France. Adams, to inspire support in the Quasi-War brought Washington out of retirement and installed him as the top general again. When Washington suddenly died, he soon dissolved the emergency force, mainly because Hamilton inherited Washington's senior general office, and Adams didn't want Hamilton to exploit the position. With Washington the Federalist avatar dead, and the immediate threat of invasion seemingly over, the attention turned more specifically on the still active A&S Acts, which now appeared more like ideologically tools for reelection to some.
 
Overall, the election seemed like a toss up with momentum going towards the JRs.
 
In regards to party development. The Federalists were still the party of the Eastern Seaboard, but they were beginning to lose influence in the Southern coast, possibly because new emerging slave states saw a more natural power partnership. These states would make use of the 3/5th Compromise that unfairly inflated their EVs and representation. The JRs focused on the South and West. NY and PA remained the crucial battleground states. 
 
Ideologically, some were hoping for an Adams-Jefferson partnership, most noticeably Elbridge Gerry, an independent-turned-JR. However, the situation with France made this alliance impossible. Extreme partisans such as Hamilton and Madison also didn't help matters. Jefferson, who was often more partisan than even Madison, was initially tolerant of an alliance, thinking that it would break the Federalists in two. 
 
Once the Quasi-War renewed partisanship, Jefferson also fell under the influence of John Taylor of Caroline, a VA politician and arguably the architect of Southern secessionist theory. Taylor believed that opposition to the Federalists had no strength without the threat of secession. Jefferson initially thought Taylor was an extremist until the A&S Acts. Taylor also favored expanded suffrage, rotation in office, and he also wanted all laws to be up for renewal periodically. 
 
Hamilton has some extreme views during this time too. He was pushing for an amendment to break up larger states, mainly to weaken VA. I'm not sure how this would have favored Federalists; I think it would have backfired, especially in the US House and Senate. Hamilton, along with Washington, Robert Goodloe Harper of SC, and others also pushed the rumor that JRs were traitors willing to join French forces should France invade. Washington and Hamilton, when serving as the top two generals, schemed to place troops under Charles Coatesworth Pinckney of SC in the South to use against traitorous JR's should this rumor prove true. The belief was that Pinckney, a Southerner, would create less of a backlash than someone like Hamilton leading this "protective" force. James Monroe was one of many JRs that believed the Federalists would put JR-friendly states under martial law.
 
Anyway, this is the background. Now on to the candidates:
 
John Adams - 
The incumbent president later stated that the feeling that a civil war could occur seemed present throughout the 1800 election. Adams shot himself in the foot by turning many Federalists against him. For one, he made little attempt to be a party leader, so he didn't attract a base of support. His support was mostly from those distancing themselves from Hamilton, but he did not seek this support. He hoped to earn support by saving the US from war. He angered Hamiltonians by making little use of the A&S Acts, deporting only 3 people, for instance. More importantly, Adams opposed war with France, while the more partisan Federalists supported war. Hamilton went so far as to plan for the US to capture FL and LA from Spain in the event of war, since Spain was an ally of France. Adams also made efforts at working with JRs that upset Feds. For instance, he broke with his party to pardon the Fries Rebellion participants, and Adams tried to make Aaron Burr a general, but Hamilton used his influence to block the nomination. The Federalists would occasionally work to block Adams's appointments elsewhere, even if they were other Federalist being appointed. It became such an issue that Adams would threaten to resign (which would make Jefferson president) as a tool to get nominees confirmed. The last straw was when Adams fired Hamilton's cronies in the cabinet, especially the pro-war Timothy Pickering of MA, and then disbanded Hamilton's army. Adams was also caught saying he'd rather serve Jefferson as VP than work for Hamilton as president. Prior to Washington's death, Hamilton had been trying to get Washington run for a non-consecutive 3rd term. After Washington's death, Hamilton went for his 2nd iteration of the Pinckney Plot, which I'll mention later. Hamilton also attacked Adams in print, which came off as a kind of lunacy, and possibly helped ruin Hamilton's political career. 
 
Thomas Jefferson-
As mentioned, VP Jefferson spent much of time leading up to the 1800 election covertly working against Pres Adams in print and behind the scenes. For the most part, he stayed away from any observable actions, and generally got Madison or others to do the work for him. Most Federalist attacks on Jefferson during the campaign mirrored those from 1796--that Jefferson as president would see the US as a French pawn, an atheist nation, and that anarchy would reign, etc. Unlike Adams, Jefferson avoided notable criticism from JR leaders. 
 
Charles Coatesworth Pinckney -
Picnkney of SC was the older brother of Thomas Pinckney from the 1796 election. A former Rev War general, Pinckney would have had more name recognition as the minister that refused to bribe the French during the XYZ Affair. Hamilton hatched another Pinckney Plot with this brother, who he felt would operate as a Hamilton puppet. Hamilton was able to gain vocal support that Federalists would vote for both Adams and Pinckney without distinguishing between who was president and who was VP, which was a slap in the face to Adams. Hamilton spent most of the election promoting Pinckney and believed that Pinckney would win if Southern JRs voted for both Jefferson and Pinckney (instead of Jefferson and Burr) or if the election was tied between Adams and Pinckney and the election went to the House. In the latter scenario, he felt the Federalist dominated house would support the more reliably Federalist Pinckney as president. Most opposition to Pinckney in the press was focused on Pinckney being a pawn for Hamilton. 
 
Aaron Burr - 
Winning NY was essential for JRs to win, so Jefferson and other JR leaders knew they'd select a VP option from the state. Most JR leaders preferred former Gov George Clinton, but he was aiming to run for the governorship again to take it from the Federalists. As such, that left Burr and Livingston, and Livingston was destroyed in the governorship race against John Jay in the last election. Therefore, the JRs went with Burr again. Burr was quite masterful in the 1800 election, and he was probably THE reason Adams was defeated, since he orchestrated the victory in NY. Burr miraculously organized an alliance between Burrites, Clintonians, Livingstonians and strategized which factions politicians would run for which offices in NY. Burr's campaign organization and strategy was leagues ahead everyone elses and JRs were looking at unexpected landslide victories in the state legislature, which would then select electors to pick the president (NY did not have a popular vote). Hamilton, realizing that these victories would likely win NY and the election for Jefferson, rushed to Gov John Jay to stop the vote counting and cancel the election results, ironically arguing that a fanatic shouldn't be allowed to become president. Jay rightly ignored Hamilton, even though he knew it would cost NY. There was a similar scheme in PA by Sen. Ross to game the system so that only Federalists could pick the electors but Rep. John Marshal of VA, despite being a Federalists used his influence to get Federalists to oppose this. Strangely, both Jay and Marshall are famous as Chief Justices, and both were Federalists that prevented an unfair Federalist victory. Unlike with the Federalist caucus, it was made clear Burr was the #2 man behind Jefferson. 
 
Election Day-
By November, most assumed JA and TJ were tied in EVs and SC would decide the election. It's worth noting that this election saw PA lose the popular vote, while MD, VA, RI, and NC had the popular vote. All other states, including SC and NY did not allow citizens to vote statewide. SC was late in voting because they were late in selecting electors. Federalists had hopes that CC Pinckney on the ticket would win this state for them, but he was canceled out by the similarly named cousin, Charles Pinckney, who organized JR efforts in the state successfully.
 
As VP, Jefferson read out the EV returns to find himself tied with Aaron Burr.
 
The Election Goes to the Federalist-dominated US House-
 
Burr was not supposed to tie Jefferson so a miscalculation obviously occurred in JR strategy. Jefferson likely expected Burr to drop out as Burr was the agreed upon VP. However, while Burr apparently did not maneuver for the presidency, he would not drop out, even after Jefferson offered Burr any influential position in the administration that he might want. Many thought Federalists would pick Burr over Jefferson, believing Burr would be beholden to Federalists, while Jefferson was more uncompromising. Robert Goodloe Harper of SC supported this scheme because it would split the JRs. Some, such as Federalist Gouverneur Morris of NY, thought the Feds would prevent a result, which meant the Federalist Senate pres pro tempore would become president.  Ultimately, the push to support Burr seemed less controversial, so that became the preferred choice initially, but it caused Hamilton to panic, and he used all his energy to stop Burr. He argued that Burr was erratic and ambitious (ironic) and that Jefferson was at least principled. He convinced Federalists to see if Jefferson would come to a compromise. In exchange for votes, Jefferson would need to keep the Hamiltonian economic system, stay neutral abroad, build up the navy, and avoid purging Federalists in lower federal offices. JRs also had their own schemes. Fearing a Federalist plot to land a Federalist president (or Burr as president), some called for a new election, but Gallatin used his influence to drop this plot as it might elect a Federalist president. 
 
Both parties realized the most influential man to break the tie was Federalist James Bayard of DE. He single handedly controlled DE's vote and he had influence in other states. Initially, he was for Burr and was working to get US Reps to switch votes from TJ to AB by offering positions for them in a Burr administration. One wonders if Burr had been working with Bayard. 
 
After 33 deadlocked ballots, a frustrated Jefferson went to the White House to see if Pres. Adams would intervene to prevent a Federalist coup. An angry Adams, told Jefferson that the power was all in his hands, if he would accept compromise. Adams listed a compromise similar to Hamilton's compromise idea. Jefferson said he refused to compromise his principles and left the White House. The next day, a paranoid Jefferson wrote to James Monroe, recently elected Gov of VA, to prepare a militia in the event of a Federalist coup. 
 
However, after the 35th ballot, Bayard announced he would break the deadlock and vote for Jefferson as the plan to elect Burr was not working. As it turned out, Burr also would not accept the Federalist compromise plan. Bayard wanted to avoid Civil War. Bayard was told by some JR politicians that Jefferson, at the last moment, accepted Federalist demands, although Jefferson denied this. He possibly actually did because he kept all but one demand (purging Federalists). Bayard organizes the strategy to get Jefferson elected and it works.
 
Following the election New England High Federalists consider secession and Jefferson immediately shuts VP Burr out of his administration as a kind of punishment, despite Burr having arguably won JRs the election by orchestrating the takeover of NY.
 
It's worth noting that Adams would have won reelection had the 3/5th Pro-Slavery compromise not existed, according to most scholars. The JRs take the US House and eventually the Senate after a few special elections. A couple of months later, former Gov George Clinton became governor of NY again by defeating Federalist Stephen Van Renssaeler in a landslide. 
 
The Federalist Party never recovers. 
 
 
 
 
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I originally had this for the other election. But this mentioned PA and NY being a battleground states, compared to modern day; where NY is a stronghold for democrats and PA being a swing state. Why did neither states ever become a stronghold in either party? if federalist had a pretty good time in New England, why didn't NY gravitate to that and become more federalist?

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Are there any known plans on how Hamilton planned to divide larger states? Like maybe North and South Virginia or East and West Virginia. 

You say that John Taylor of Caroline was arguably an architect for Southern secession. Would you think that if the Federalists had managed to survive as (the) main party, a Civil War of the scale we saw in the 1860s could have been prevented? Here I would like to add that I personally see the Federalists as the less divisive party in those years. I think the years of Federalist rule have been calm and more harmonious overall. That's also one of the reasons, why I see myself as a Federlist supporter against the JRs, although I do not really share their values of a centralized government.

Edited by ConservativeElector2
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There's documentation/letters etc from Aaron Burr to supporters asking them not to put his name forward for President. If he really wanted it, he could've had it by directly partnering with the Federalists.

(Or it's a really solid cover up)

That's why I seriously doubt that he was conspiring to take it from Jefferson, who, in all likelihood was never going to back Burr as heir apparent ahead of Madison. 

Burr was too focused on honor and prestige to look for the backhanded path. 

Anyways.

Did the JRs not put forward any alternate candidates to avoid this tie? Did the Federalists? What states if any had direct podiatrist m popular vote of electors at this point?

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