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President Aaron Burr??? Almost!

President Aaron Burr??? Almost!
November 10
04:54 2022

President Aaron Burr?

By John Christian Hopkins

Thomas Jefferson

The presidential election of 2020 will go down as one of the more unique in American history. But isn’t the first time the outcome of the election was left in doubt.

Under Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution electors originally cast two votes for president. The highest vote total became president, and the second highest vote total became vice president. This is why the earliest administrations often had different political parties in the executive branch.

But there was a flaw in the Founding Father’s plans.

In 1800 it played out. This was the fourth presidential election and for the first time the parties ran tickets – a president and vice president team. The Federalists nominated John Adams for re-election and the Democrat-Republicans nominated Thomas Jefferson.
Electors voted in Thomas Jefferson.

Or did they?

The plan for each party was that the presidential candidate get all the votes from the electors and the person running for vice president would receive one vote less as one elector would abstain or vote for a third-party candidate.

Only the Democrat-Republicans goofed up and Jefferson’s running mate. Aaron Burr received the same number of votes as Jefferson (73) and decided that entitled him to claim the presidency himself.

This led to questions and concerns.

Could Burr simply remove his name from consideration as president?

Would that mean Adams became vice president? Would the Federalists, who held a large block of seats in the House of Representatives, put their support behind Burr? Would the Federalists refuse to support any candidate – making Federalist Speaker of the House John Marshall de-facto president?

The matter ended up being decided by Congress – where each of the 16 states got one vote for president. That meant the winner needed to win nine states minimum. But neither candidate could get a majority for 35 ballots.

On the 36th ballot the politically powerful Alexander Hamilton (Federalist) swung the election to Jefferson’s favor by convincing a couple of other Federalists to support Jefferson.

Hamilton and Burr despised each other, and the rivalry would come to an end when Burr – as sitting vice president – killed Hamilton in a duel!

The Burr debacle led to the passage of the 12th Amendment where electors cast one vote for president and a second for vice president to prevent future ties.

President Aaron Burr??? Almost! - overview

Summary: President Aaron Burr??? Almost!


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