This election led to the exposure of one of the flaws in the U.S original constitution. Earlier on, the president was chosen on the basis of who got more votes from the Electoral College while the vice president was the person with the second highest votes. During the 1800 election, there was a tie of votes between Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson. The House of Representatives therefore had to make a choice. After voting for thirty six times, it picked Jefferson as the President and Burr as his vice
The problem with such a system was that even when the Democratic Republican ticket Jefferson as the U.S president the ticket of the federal was John Adams as the president, the Democratic Republican partys vice candidate almost became the president. What made this possible was the opposition party due to the fact that the Federalists who were in the House of Representatives were casting their votes in favor of Burr so as to oppose Jefferson presidency. The twelfth amendment that was made in 1804 however made electors to cast distinct votes for vice president and the president.
Why the election was significant
First, it marked the first time in the US history that there was an actual change in who was in power. After Washington had completed serving his two terms, Adams was elected. Both were Federalists. In the 1800 elections, Jefferson was elected despite the fact that he was a democratic-Republican. This was actually a big deal because it showed that US would be able to have one group losing power to another group without causing any civil war or any serious disturbance.
The second way that makes this be viewed as a turning point is the fact that it marked the starting point of Democratic Republican dominance as well as a turn in the direction of democracy. Jefferson in real sense was more democratic that his counterpart Burr. His beliefs and personal style of leadership were also more democratic that those of both Washington and Adams. A good example is when he used to walk in various places in Washington instead of being driven in fancy carriage.
Starting with Jefferson, America started becoming even more democratic every day. This is due to the fact that the Federalists were having more elitists yet they had very few people who were interested in democracy. By early 1820s there were even more and more people who were now given a right to vote. In fact by the end of 1820 all the white men were now allowed to. This marked a very huge change as far democracy in the United States was concerned.
Events leading to the Election
Jefferson and his running mate tied in votes in the Electoral College. This led to a week of political infighting before he could be named the winner. This shows that his secondary running mate was almost chosen the president. Alexander Hamilton who was the Federalist Party activist then lobbied against Burr thus leading to Jefferson eventually becoming the winner. Burr killed Hamilton. Popular votes of Jefferson had a margin of nearly 23% which marks the largest victory witnesses in the United States presidential election over the incumbent president. The tie in the votes led to a change in the constitution in which the twelfth amendment mandated Electoral College voters to choose both the president and the vice president
Kennedy, David M, Lizabeth Cohen, and Mel Piehl. The Brief American Pageant: A History of the Republic. Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2011. Print.
Kastor, Peter J. The Louisiana Purchase: Emergence of an American Nation. Washington, D.C: CQ Press, 2002. Internet resource.
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