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The pre-election atmosphere in 1800 was colored by the Alien and Sedition Acts controversy, which had created much ill feeling between the contending parties.

The Jeffersonian Republicans triumphed. Since 1796, they had control of New York State thanks largely to Aaron Burr's political skills; he had wrested control of the legislature from Alexander Hamilton.

The bad news, however, was that the two Democratic-Republican candidates, Jefferson and Burr, garnered the same number of electoral votes; according to the Constitution, the matter was to be resolved in the House of Representatives. (See Article II, Section 1, Clause 3.)

The Election of 1800
Candidate

Party

Electoral
Vote

Popular
Vote

Thomas Jefferson (VA)

Democratic-Republican

73

*

Aaron Burr (NY)>

Democratic-Republican

73

John Adams (MA)

Federalist

65

C.C. Pinckney (SC)

Federalist

64

John Jay (NY)

Federalist

1

*Popular vote totals were not recorded until the Election of 1824.

Thirty-six ballots were cast over five days to reach a decision. Once again Hamilton played a pivotal role, throwing his support to Jefferson, whom he disliked, rather than Burr, whom he truly hated.

This election is sometimes referred to as the "Revolution of 1800" because it marked the transition from the Federalists, the only party to have held the presidency to that point, to the Democratic-Republicans of Jefferson. It appeared that major changes were in the offing.

The dilemma posed by two candidates receiving an equal number of electoral votes was later addressed in Amendment XII.


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