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Electoral college votes in 1796 US presidential election

As the first two US presidential elections were unanimous victories for George Washington, the election of 1796 was the first of its kind to be contested. This election was the first to present a north-south divide in US politics, between the Federalist states of New England, and the Democratic-Republican southern states. Although there was no distinction between presidential and vice-presidential candidates, both parties threw their support behind individual candidates, in order to maximize their chances of winning. The race was fought between then-vice president, John Adams, and future president Thomas Jefferson, with the Federalist Party's Adams winning by just three votes (and one more than was needed to win by majority), making him the second President of the United States. Although Thomas Pinckney was Adams' running mate, he received fewer votes than Jefferson, therefore Thomas Jefferson was named vice president, despite coming from the Democratic-Republican Party. This was the first and only time that the president and vice president were from different political parties. Incumbent President George Washington also received two of the electoral votes during this election, possibly as a protest, or in error, the reason is unclear. The 1796 election was also the first time that party politics took precedent, with both sides accusing one another of being either British puppets or French revolutionaries (as foreign policy was the dominant issue), and the infamous rivalry of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr (Jefferson's running mate) also took center stage.

Distribution of electoral college votes in the third US presidential election, in 1796

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Source

Release date

2011

Region

United States

Survey time period

1796

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