1800 U.S. presidential election

Discussion in 'History' started by mathman, Mar 7, 2004.

  1. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    I am in the middle of reading "The Negro President" by Garry Wills. In it he has a detailed discussion of the 1800 election. As an aside, he indicated that Adams would have won, except for the fact that the constitution had a 3/5 clause in that slave states got credit for house seat representation for 3/5 of the number of slaves. That is the reason for the title.

    The question I have concerns the details of the resolution by the house in favor of Jefferson over Burr. The history as I learnt it had Hamilton intervening to break the deadlock (8 states for Jefferson, 6 Burr, 2 unable to vote, 9 needed to elect). Wills's account has James Bayard, the sole rep. from Delaware doing the intervening, although as a Federalist, he continued to abstain. Moreover, Hamilton seems to have played no role in this account. Anyone have any ideas?
     
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  3. Ozymandias Unregistered User Registered Senior Member

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    What does the first paragraph have to do with the second?

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  5. Spyke Registered Senior Member

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    A quick note. The two states unable to vote, Maryland and Vermont, actually did vote, it's just that both had an even number of delegates in the House (8 & 2 respectively), and they deadlocked 4-4 and 2-2, meaning neither could cast the one state vote in the House election. You may have already known that, I was just making it clearer for others.

    It's fair to give both Bayard and Hamilton credit. Bayard, like all of the other Federalists in the House, had voted against Jefferson, whom the Federalists despised, during the first 35 ballots. But he began to fear the ramifications of not having a president come inaugaration day and acting on Hamilton's advice, decided to see about making a deal, and to question Jefferson's intentions as president. The chief opposition to Jefferson arose out of fears that he would abolish the Navy, toss all Federalists out of office, and repudiate the debt - which would, of course, bankrupt the holders of government bonds. Bayard asked a friend to see Jefferson and get positive commitments that he would do none of these things. When Jefferson sent word back that he would no none of these things, Bayard decided to switch his vote. Hamilton was sending letters at the same time to other Federalists in the House as well, and must have swayed someone else besides Bayard, as the 36 vote had 10 states voting for Jefferson, up from the earlier 8 votes. Bayard couldn't have abstained though, as you say the author suggested, as he was the sole delegate from Delaware, so if he had abstained Delaware wouldn't have had a vote. Also, Bayard had sent word to Jefferson that he would switch his vote if Jefferson would retain a friend of his as a port collector when it came time for Jefferson to begin appointing his own favorites, something that Jefferson honored. Also, after the duel with Burr, Hamilton would die at Bayard's home.
     
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  7. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    If it weren't for the 3/5 clause, Adams would have been reelected and the house wouldn't have been involved in the decision.
     
  8. LarryC Registered Member

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