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Electoral college votes in 1800 US presidential election

The 1800 US presidential election saw the Democratic-Republican Party's (not to be confused with either the modern Democratic or Republican parties) Thomas Jefferson compete with the Federalist Party's John Adams for the presidency. Both men had faced with one another in the 1796 election campaign, with Adams winning by a one vote majority. In 1800 however, Thomas Jefferson emerged victorious with 73 out of 138 electoral votes, and began a 28 year tenure in the white house for the Democratic-Republican Party.

The plan doesn't go according to plan...

The Democratic-Republican Party had originally planned on giving 73 electoral votes to Thomas Jefferson, but just 72 to Aaron Burr, which would make Jefferson the president, with Burr appointed as his vice-president. Unfortunately, a mistake was made, and both candidates received the same number of votes, leading to a contingent election being held in the House of Representatives to decide whether Jefferson or Burr would become president. After two rounds of voting, Jefferson was named as the third President of the United States, winning by eight votes to six in the first round (nine votes were needed in order to win), and ten votes to four in the second round.


Much of Jefferson's success was due to the role played behind the scenes by Alexander Hamilton. Although Hamilton had originally supported Charles Cotesworth Pinckney in the Federalist campaign, it was his attacks on President Adams that eventually weakened the Federalist's position. Hamilton had previously fought with Adams for the leadership of the Federalist Party following George Washington's retirement, and despite Adams' victory, Hamilton remained one of the most prominent and influential figures in US politics. In addition to Hamilton's rivalry with John Adams, his rivalry with Aaron Burr was even more fierce. When the contingent election was brought to the Federalist-controlled House of Representatives, Hamilton used his influence to persuade his colleagues to support Thomas Jefferson (who was loathed by many of the Federalists), partly because he favored Jefferson's politics, but also because of his personal disdain for Burr. Vice President Burr and Hamilton would eventually face each other in an illegal duel in 1804, with Burr fatally wounding Hamilton (who died the next day) and ending his own political career in the process.

Distribution of electoral college votes in the fourth US presidential election, in 1800

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United States

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