Presidential Election History

A non-chronological history of events in the history of US presidential elections as part of the ongoing project at to offer the most complete election information on the Internet.


Inauguration of John Adams 1797

The third presidential inaugural took place on 3/4/1797. Thomas Jefferson took the VP oath in the morning before the U.S. Senate (meeting in special session), and John Adams took the Presidential oath at noon in the U.S. House chamber.

The "President-Elect" and "Vice President-Elect"

The terms above had not been used in either 1789 or 1792. Newspapers considered George Washington to have been the President from the time the popular votes were cast. The Massachusetts Mercury described Adams as the "President-Elect" on 12/30/1796, even though at that time it was still quite uncertain that he had been elected. The Philadelphia Minerva described Jefferson as the "Vice President Elect" on 3/4/1797 in a story on his arrival in Philadelphia on 3/2/1797 from Monticello. These are the first times the terms appear in the historic newspaper database.

On 2/15/1797, VP Adams took his leave of the Senate to make his preparations to become President. He gave a farewell address to the body at the end of the day's session [Senate minutes].

Vice Presidential Inauguration

President Washington called the U.S. Senate into special session on 3/4/1797 so they could vote on any changes to the Cabinet desired by John Adams. PPT Bingham administered the oath of office to Jefferson, the first time in US history that the VP took the oath before the President [Newburyport MA Impartial Herald, 3/14/1797]. Jefferson gave his own inaugural address to the Senate [Connecticut Gazette, 3/16/1797].

Inauguration of President Adams

At noon on 3/4/1797, the Senate adjourned to the U.S. House chamber. A large number of citizens had gathered around Congress Hall to observe the transfer of power. VP Jefferson arrived, followed by the Senate. The gathering applauded when Jefferson arrived. The next person to arrive was President Washington. A "burst of applause broke forth from every quarter" as Washington walked to his appointed seat. VP Adams entered the room with the Supreme Court Justices, SOS Pickering, some foreign ministers, and local officials. Applause broke out again at the appearance of President-elect Adams. Justices Ellsworth, Cushing, Wilson, and Iredell took the seats below the Speaker's seat. Adams assumed the speaker's chair, with Jefferson, Washington, and the Secretary of the Senate on his right and the Speaker of the House on his left. Adams gave his inaugural address. Chief Justice Ellsworth administered the oath to Adams (who did not add "so help me God" at the end) [Connecticut Gazette, 3/16/1797; New Bedford MA Medley, 3/24/1797].

At the end of his address, Adams withdrew from the room. VP Jefferson wanted former Pres. Washington to leave next, but he insisted that Jefferson as the new VP should leave after the departure of the new President. Therefore, the audience left the room in this order: Jefferson, Washington, the Senate, foreign ministers, heads of departments (Cabinet), and the U.S. Representatives [Connecticut Gazette, 3/16/1797].

As Adams, Jefferson, and Washington left the building and walked to their respective houses, the crowd gathered outside cheered each man [Philadelphia Gazette, 3/6/1797].

In the afternoon, the Senate in special session contacted President Adams to see if he had any business for them. He had decided to retain Washington's Cabinet, so the Senators adjourned until they were scheduled to convene in nine months [Newburyport MA Impartial Herald, 3/14/1797].

Philadelphia leaders organized a supper at O'eller's Hotel at 4:30 p.m. for former President Washington. In addition to live music, a large painting was revealed, showing Washington departing Philadelphia for Mount Vernon [Philadelphia Gazette, 3/6/1797].

Historic Trivia

  • 1797 was the first time that the President and Vice President were inaugurated on the same day.

  • The terms "president elect" and "vice president elect" were first used between the election of 1796 and the inauguration on 3/4/1797.

  • 1797 was the second of just two inaugurals to take place in Philadelphia.

Popular Vote of 1796

Electoral Vote of 1796

2d Presidential Inaugural (1793)

3d Presidential Inaugural (1801)


Anti-Imperialist Party National Convention, 1900

Origins of the Anti-Imperialist League

The Anti-Imperialist League was formed in 1898 to lobby against the annexation of the Philippines from Spain during the Spanish-American War. Former Gov. George S. Boutwell of Massachusetts served as President of the League from its inception until his death in 1905. The League adopted an official communication to President McKinley that was delivered to him on 11/25/1898 [New York Times, 11/26/1898]. Former Secretary of State John Sherman responded to the League in a letter in which he stated that he hoped that the Philippines would become an independent nation, free of all foreign control [New York Times, 12/8/1898]. The same day that the League received the letter, it appointed several prominent men as Vice Presidents in an attempt to expand its sphere of influence. Among its VPs were former Pres. Grover Cleveland, Andrew Carnegie, Charles F. Adams, Carl Schurz, John G. Carlisle, and Gov. Pingree of Michigan [NYT 12/13/1898]. A later convert to the League was Sen. George F. Hoar, who helped organize the opposition in the Senate to the peace treaty signed with Spain [NYT 3/31/1899]. On 5/23/1899, the League added several other VPs, including Donelson Caffery LA, W. Bourke Cochran NY, Leland Stanford Jr., Gov. Andrew E. Lee SD, and several college presidents [NYT 5/24/1899]. Throughout 1899, the League established local affiliates to lobby locally for their programs [NYT 8/3/1899].

The League called a meeting that met in the Plaza Hotel in New York City on 6/25/1900. It was attended by Silver Republicans, Gold Democrats, and several independents. The League hoped to gather a sense of the political situation and to assess its options for helping defeat President McKinley. Many delegates had already endorsed William J. Bryan for President and did not want to have a third major ticket in the field. In the end, however, the gathering decided to call a "Liberty Congress" of anti-imperialists to meet after the Democratic National Convention [NYT 6/26/1900]. An open invitation for delegates to appear was issued on 7/23/00 [NYT 7/24/1900].

Anti-Imperialist Party National Convention, 1900

Temporary Chairman Permanent Chairman Presidential Nominee VP Nominee
Edwin B. Smith ILFormer Gov.
George S. Boutwell MA
Former U.S. Rep.
William J. Bryan NE
Former Vice President
Adlai E. Stevenson CA

The Anti-Imperialist Party National Convention assembled in Tomlinson Hall, Indianapolis IN, 11:00 a.m., 8/15/1900 for a two-day convention. The hall was set up for 600 delegates. Behind the stage were large images of Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, and Oliver P. Morton. At the time the convention met, the delegates were divided over whether to nominate Bryan or introduce a third ticket. The day the convention assembled, the State Department released information that one of the delegates had been in correspondence with the Philippine resistance [NYT 8/14-16/1900].

When the convention assembled, Edwin Burritt Smith of Chicago was appointed the temporary chairman. There were 300 delegates on the floor. A.H. Tolman, a professor at the University of Chicago, read the Declaration of Independence, followed by a prayer by Herbert S. Bigelow of Cincinnati. Smith gave a short address in which he outlined that independent voters had been able to sway each of the previous six presidential elections.

The afternoon session began at 2:30 p.m. Chairman Smith called on delegates to give short speeches. General John Beatty of Columbus OH stated that he had always been a Republican and hoped that God would forgive him for voting for McKinley in 1896. His statement brought a great demonstration on the floor. Some delegates called for the nomination of William J. Bryan. Former Gov. Boutwell was appointed the permanent chairman. Boutwell gave a lengthy address to the delegates. Then a resolutions committee was appointed. During an evening session, the delegates were entertained with speeches. [NYT 8/16/1900].

A group called the Nationalist Independents were meeting at the same time in Indianapolis. They were looking for an opportunity to place a third major ticket in the field and wondered if they could do so with the assistance of the Anti-Imperialists [NYT 8/16/1900].

The proposed platform set forth the League's opposition to imperialism. A heated debate took place over a plank calling for the nomination of Bryan and Stevenson. Thomas M. Osborne, a delegate from Auburn NY who wanted to have a third major ticket, led the opposition. The strength of the minority was not reflected in the voice vote, in which only a dozen delegates supported Osborne. One of the leaders of the proposed platform was a delegate named Franklin Pierce from New York State (relationship to the President not stated). Since the nominations were included in the resolutions, Bryan and Stevenson were declared the nominees, and the third party men left to discuss their situation separately. Following some minor business items, the convention adjourned sine die [NYT 8/17/1900].


The Anti-Imperialist League drafted an address to the voters on 8/21/00 calling on them to bring an end to the military actions in the Philippines. The Bryan campaign tried to distance himself from the League, since its popular support appeared to be waning as the election neared [NYT 8/22/1900]. For some unknown reason, the Anti-Imperialist Party in Connecticut nominated a slate of Presidential Electors pledged to Leonard W. Bacon. After Bryan's defeat, the national committee met in Boston on 11/13/00 and issued an address that it intended to continue lobbying for its causes [NYT 11/14/1900]. The committee remained active as long as Gov. Boutwell lived.

Popular Vote of 1900

Electoral Vote of 1900

Dewey-Stassen Primary Debate, 1948

The Dewey-Stassen debate on 5/17/1948 just before the critical Oregon primary was the first modern presidential debate. It was the only debate planned to discuss a single issue, though some later debates were dominated by single issues. The debate was held just before the last contested presidential primary of 1948.


In 1948, several leading Republicans entered the fray to challenge President Truman. Likely nominees included Stassen, Warren, Taft, Dewey, and Vandenberg. The first major test for the candidates was the Wisconsin primary on 4/6/1948, where Stassen and Dewey faced Gen. MacArthur. A key issue in the Wisconsin campaign was how to deal with the Communist Party in the United States. Stassen wanted it to be outlawed due to its subversive and treasonous nature. Dewey argued that it should be kept "out in the open, where we can beat them" rather than driving them underground. [NYT 4/3/1948].

The first mention of a debate between Dewey and Stassen came just after Stassen lost the Ohio primary to Taft on 5/4/1948. A Minneapolis newspaper stated that Dewey had challenged Stassen to a debate in Oregon (the next and final contested primary). In a series of campaign appearances in Bend OR and Portland OR on 5/8/1948, Dewey denied that he had challenged Stassen to a debate. He charged that Stassen was trying to find a reason to bypass the voluntary restriction of only making two campaign swings through contested primary states [NYT 5/9/1948].

With the idea in the air, Peter H. Odegard, president of Reed College in Portland, invited the two candidates to hold a radio debate. Both candidates immediately accepted. Dewey recommended the topic, "Shall the Communist Party be outlawed?" [NYT 5/11/1948]

At the time of Odegard's offer, Stassen was campaigning in Winston-Salem NC. He cancelled plans to campaign in Alabama and instead took a nonstop flight to Oregon so he could help make the debate arrangements. Upon landing, Stassen gave a fiery speech defending his position on Communism. [NYT 5/13/1948]

The debate almost didn't happen. Stassen quickly found that his campaign had attracted a large number of volunteers who were campaigning on his behalf. By contrast, Dewey had few volunteers and depended heavily on newspaper and radio advertising. Stassen's campaign started to drag its feet on the arrangements. Dewey's campaign complained that Stassen now thought he could win without the debate and had decided against it [NYT 5/14/1948]. The tactic achieved its intended effect, as the following day Stassen acceded to each of Dewey's proposed debate guidelines [NYT 5/15/1948]. Although only 12 delegates were at stake in Oregon, the debate was acknowledged as critical to the chances of either contender.

AP photo of debate, showing (L to R) Stassen's assistant, Stassen, Boskirk (the local Republican leader), and Dewey addressing the audience.

Debate Quick Facts

When: 6:00 to 7:00 Pacific Time, 5/17/1948 (Eastern Standard time was observing daylight savings and was the equivalent of 10 to 11 p.m.)

Where: produced by KEX, the ABC radio affiliate in Portland OR; carried on the MBS and NBC networks but not CBS

Moderator: Donald R. Van Boskirk (chairman of the Multnomah County Republican Central Committee)

Estimated audience: 40,000,000

Topic: Shall the Communist Party be outlawed?

Format: Stassen gave the affirmative response for 20 minutes, follwed by the negative by Dewey for 20 minutes. Stassen gave an 8.5 minute rebuttal, followed by an 8.5 minute rebuttal from Dewey.

Audio of entire debate:

Setting: Two tables were set up in front of a large banner reading "KEX." Gov. Stassen sat behind the left table with an assistant; Gov. Dewey sat behind the right table with Boskirk. When speaking, the candidates stood at a small podium at the end of the table. Four rows of chairs were arranged facing the tables, at which the "non-writing" press sat (publishers and columnists) while the "active" press sat behind a glass wall on seats arranged in five tiers. Altogether, 56 reporters sat behind the glass wall, some bringing their own typewriters with them.

Gov. Stassen brought a satchel full of reports and news articles that he arranged on the table in front of him. Gov. Dewey brought a small handful of papers that he kept stacked in front of him on the table.

Stassen spoke first. He outlined the reasons for supporting a bill introduced by Sen. Mundt (R-SD) calling for outlawing the Communist Party. He pointed out that the recent Communist coup d'etat in Czechoslovakia was directed by Moscow but could have been prevented if the previously neutral nation had outlawed the Communists. "It seems clear to me that the free countries, including America, do not now have adequate laws to safeguard themselves in the face of this menace." Stassen stated that one-fourth of all American communists lived in Gov. Dewey's state of New York. He believed that Dewey underestimated the infiltration of communists into the nation and that the removal of communists was an important step towards averting war with the Soviet Union. He finished with four questions regarding communism in the USA for Dewey to answer.

In his response, Dewey set forth the argument that the step Stassen called for would lead to totalitarianism here in the United States and that it was futile to try to outlaw ideas. Furthermore, Sen. Mundt specifically stated that his bill would not outlaw the Communist Party, as Stassen continued to state. Some of Stassen's evidence was drawn from a US Communist Party leader, "not a very good authority." He quoted Sen. Mundt who had stated "this bill does not outlaw the Communist Party." Dewey stated that the USA was involved in "a war of ideas in the world... a conflict between two wholly different ways of life." Rather than infringing upon the rights of Americans, Dewey argued that a stronger enforcement of the 27 laws against treasonous activities already on the books would suffice. Stassen was calling for an infringement upon the Constitution and Bill of Rights that would "advance the cause of communism rapidly both in this country and all over the world." He called Stassen's proposal immoral and totalitarian, not an "American" solution. "This glib proposal to outlaw the Communist Party would be quickly recognized everywhere as an abject surrender by the great United States to the methods of totalitarianism." Other nations had previously tried to outlaw the Communist Party, including Canada, which repealed the law after just five years because it took too many public employees to enforce the law it. [NYT 5/18/1948]

Stassen repeated many of his leading facts in his rebuttal. Dewey's rebuttal revolved around the fact that Mundt called for the registration of Communists, not the banning of the party. He said that Stassen had "surrendered" to his (Dewey's) position by continuing to advocate the Mundt Bill.

Result of debate

Most observers believed that the candidates both performed well. The voters of Oregon apparently preferred Dewey's position, as he won the primary by a 52-48% margin.

Note: William Z. Foster of the Communist Party asked for equal time to set forth his party's views on the Dewey-Stassen debate. MBS set up a debate between Foster and Norman Thomas, the Socialist Party candidate for President. Foster refused to hold a joint debate with Thomas, so MBS backed out. The other radio stations similarly declined to offer Foster air time [NYT 5/19-20/1948].


Popular Vote of 1828

The presidential election of 1828 was a turning point in American political history. It marked the end of the caucus system that dominated national presidential politics for the first quarter of the century but preceded the introduction of the national nominating convention. It was the last presidential election in American history with no national nomination event; none was needed, since the two top finishers of 1824 immediately began to maneuver for the 1828 election. President John Quincy Adams’s balanced and visionary administration was hampered by the charge of a "corrupt bargain" raised by his 1824 opponent, Andrew Jackson (though Jackson originally crafted the plan for himself). The Jackson campaign initiated bitter attacks upon Adams, precipitating the nastiest presidential election since 1800.

The JQA Administration

In case anyone had not noticed, the "era of good feelings" had ended. By the time JQA was inaugurated as the sixth president (3/4/1825), he was aware of the difficulty his administration faced. VP Calhoun and U.S. Sen. Martin Van Buren (DR-NY) organized the anti-administration forces in the Senate. They and U.S. Rep. George Kremer, who coined the oft-repeated phrase "corrupt bargain," charged continuously that political intrigue had overturned the will of the people and elected JQA. Adams’s hopes to establish a national university, a national observatory, and federal support for the arts and sciences came to naught.

Andrew Jackson immediately started laying the groundwork for the 1828 election. The Tennessee legislature nominated him for president on 10/7/1825 [National Intelligencer, 11/1/1825] by adopting a document named the "Preamble and Resolution." Jackson then resigned from the Senate, assuring the legislature he had not used his office as a means of "intriguing for the Presidential chair." He endorsed a constitutional amendment to allow the election of a president by a plurality of the electoral vote and said that if elected, he would not appoint members of Congress to his Cabinet. (McCormick, p. 120)

During the 19th Congress, the two houses debated how the president should be chosen. Jackson supporters sponsored his proposed amendment allowing a plurality choice, while others advocated the district mode. While the term "popular vote" to describe non-legislative selection of Presidential Electors had been used on occasion in the past [for example, in the New-Hampshire Gazette, 11/17/1801], the term "the popular vote" apparently was first used on the floor of Congress by U.S. Rep. George McDuffie of South Carolina. In a famous speech (reported in the Richmond Enquirer on 3/2/1826), McDuffie referred on occasion to "the" popular vote as a means of designating the selection of Presidential Electors by the people. When the proposed Jackson amendment failed by a vote of 90-102, several states responded by shifting their mode of choosing the Electors to the General Ticket in order to maximize their influence in 1828.

The Midterm Election of 1826-1827

Jackson supporters started the United States Telegraph in 1826 in Washington to provide a nationwide partisan press (no relation to the 1844 invention called the telegraph). Editorials in the paper were carried in local Jackson newspapers around the nation. For the most part, the midterm election was not a referendum on the Adams administration. In many states, the old fault lines remained in place – in CT, three factions nominated a slate of candidates, while in NH the state DRP nominated a slate of U.S. House candidates that ran practically unopposed. Major contests appeared in NJ, NY, and OH; the Administration slate swept NJ, won a majority in Ohio, and slightly failed of a majority in NY. Overall, the Jackson party gained seven U.S. House seats – enough for control.

In early 1827, some Jackson supporters decided to collect the election statistics for 1824. They contacted newspapers in each state in which the Presidential Electors were chosen by the people and produced a table showing that Jackson had been the choice of the people in 1824. This first attempt was fraught with irregularities but was substantially accurate. It showed not only that Jackson had placed first, but that his vote (41%) was about the same as the sum of that for Adams (32%) and Clay (13%). When U.S. Rep. John C. Wright of OH gave a speech in the House in early 1828, he described the "popular vote" as the nationwide sum of the votes for Presidential Electors and thus established the current usage.

The Campaign of 1828

One development of 1828 was the increased number of state conventions called to nominate slates of Presidential Electors. Such conventions had been held on occasion in earlier elections, but now became universal replacements for state caucuses. The Administration’s Pennsylvania state convention (1/4/1828) nominated JQA for a second term and Gov. John A. Schulze for VP; the latter declined to run, so the convention nominated US Treasury Secy. Richard Rush [Pittsfield Sun, 1/24/1828]. Rush was then endorsed by NRP conventions in Virginia on 1/12 [Cooperstown NY newspaper The Watch-Tower, 1/28/1828] and Maine on 1/23 [Essex Gazette, 2/2/1828] and completed the national ticket (bumping sitting VP Calhoun). The Pennsylvania Jackson convention nominated a slate of Jackson-Calhoun Electors on 1/8/1828 as a means of locking the sitting VP into the team [New-Hampshire Sentinel, 1/25/1828]. The Jackson-Calhoun ticket was then endorsed by other state Jackson conventions, though not unanimously; the Virginia convention nominated Calhoun for VP with 164 votes to 20 for Nathaniel Macon and 5 scattering [Baltimore Patriot, 1/18/1828].

Jackson rang in the presidential campaign season of 1828 with a visit to New Orleans on 1/8/1828, the 13th anniversary of the battle. The Louisiana legislature (which reluctantly supported him in 1824) organized a four-day event in his honor. Jackson left home in late 12/1827 and travelled by steamboat; he stopped first at Natchez and arrived in New Orleans on 1/8. He was careful to avoid political speeches and received positive nationwide press bringing his victory there back into the remembrance of the voters.

The Jackson campaign believed that a direct appeal to the people would result in his landslide victory. It therefore organized mass rallies throughout the nation with associated barbecues, parades with large banners, local Jackson Clubs, and the raising of "Hickory poles." Jackson ended his policy of issuing letters outlining his positions. After drafting the first of such letters for 1828, his campaign team unanimously objected – John H. Eaton, Van Buren, and James Knox Polk. Eaton’s advice was "Be still – Be at home." Van Buren wrote "Our people do not like to see publications from candidates." Throughout the campaign, Jackson issued one letter on the tariff in response to a question by the legislature of Indiana and one to deny charges that he had participated in the Aaron Burr conspiracy.

The Jackson press initiated a vitriolic attack on President Adams. In addition to being involved in the "corrupt bargain" of 1825, Adams had purchased a billiard table so he could gamble in the White House. He was also charged with seeking to institute a monarchy. The Jackson campaign, however, had opened a door that could not be closed. Charles Hammond, editor of the Cincinnati Gazette, called Jackson an adulterer because he had married a divorcee (in a time when the biblical injunction was taken seriously). John Binns of Philadelphia issued the famous "coffin handbill," which illustrated Jackson’s decision to execute eight militia men under his military command who wanted out. Jackson objected to the "base calumnies" of the Administration press but didn’t seem to notice the scurrilous charges promulgated by his own campaign.

Casting the Popular Vote

The popular vote was cast in the various states in a three-week window, beginning on 10/31/1828 in Ohio and Pennsylvania and ending with four states voting on 11/19/1828. When the voting began, Jackson had certain states worth 109 electoral votes plus four leaning states and half of MD and NY for an additional 43 electoral votes (109+43=152). Adams had six firm states with 45 electoral votes and was leading in four states plus half of NY and MD (45+67=112). With 131 being a majority, Adams needed to take 19 electoral votes from Jackson to win.

The first two states were Pennsylvania and Ohio. The inexplicable attraction of the former state to Andrew Jackson resulted in a minimal Adams effort there – but Ohio was hotly contested. On election day, voter turnout in these two states tripled from 96,000 in 1824 to 283,000. Pennsylvania voted as expected, though Jackson’s margin of victory fell from 76% (1824) to 67%. It was the first time in US History that a presidential candidate won more than 100,000 votes in a single state (breaking the earlier record of 50,000 given to DeWitt Clinton by Massachusetts in 1812). In Ohio, Jackson pulled off a 51-48% win – taking the state out of the "leaning Adams" column and making it very difficult for Adams to be re-elected. The status: Jackson 122+43=165; Adams 45+51=96.

Nine states voted on 11/3/1828: CT, GA, IL, ME, MA, MO, NH, NY, and VA. Turnout was even more pronounced – it increased fourfold from 97,000 in these states to 493,000. The phenomenal turnout of this one day far surpassed the 364,000 nationwide turnout in 1824 and was at the time the largest number of votes cast on a single day in American history. Nationwide, Jackson led in the day’s popular votes with 248,000 to Adams’s 241,000 (and 5,000 scattering in New England). The big prize of the day was New York, where Jackson won a narrow 8,000 majority out of 270,000 votes cast and set a new record for the most votes cast for a candidate in a single state (139,000). The state’s electoral vote was allocated by district, and Jackson won 20 Electors to 16 for Adams. Jackson won the two contested states of IL and MO, and the other states voted as expected. Altogether, Jackson won 60 electoral votes to 55 for Adams. While the margin was close, it put Jackson over the 131 needed to win. The status: Jackson 149+15=164; Adams 69+24=93. Even if Adams won all close states remaining, he would lose nationwide by 149-108.

The next clump of states voted between 11/4 and 11/14. These seven states – AL, IN, MS, NJ, NC, TN, and VT– offered only two contests. By the time these states were voting, news of the earlier races was trickling down through newspapers. New Jersey voted on the 4th and 5th before the results from the 3d were known; turnout doubled from 1824, but this time Adams won a 52-48% victory to snag it from the "leaning Jackson" column. The other contested state was Indiana. Adams expected to be competitive with Clay’s support, but Jackson won a 56-43% victory. The status: Jackson 154+6=160; Adams 77+24=101.

In the last four states, voting on 11/19, turnout increased from 58,000 to 129,000 even though it was already known that Jackson had won the election. Of the three, only Rhode Island leaned heavily to either candidate. While in 1824 the results of earlier states helped Adams, in 1828 they helped Jackson. Jackson won the battleground states of KY and LA; Adams received more votes in MD (along with 6 of the 11 Electors).

The result of the election was a Jackson victory with 56% of the vote. Over one million people voted, three times the turnout of 1824. They chose 167 Jackson Electors to 80 Adams Electors; South Carolina and Delaware chose Electors by their legislatures. The result was substantially a repeat of the 1800 election, with the Federalist states of 1800 mostly lining up behind JQA in 1828 and the Jefferson states of 1800 primarily supporting Jackson.

Key source: The Presidential Game, pp. 120-152

Electoral Vote of 1828


Liberty (Union) Party National Convention 1860

This is new information that I recently found while searching for something else. This national convention has not appeared in earlier lists.

The Liberty Party in the Buchanan Administration

The Liberty Party was moribund throughout the Buchanan administration. Gerrit Smith spent heavily to influence the 1858 midterm election in New York State and was greatly displeased with the lack of public support for the party.

The 1860 Convention

A convention of 100 delegates was held in Convention Hall, Syracuse NY, on 8/29/1860. Delegates were in attendance from NY, PA, NJ, MI, IL, OH, KY, and MA. Several of the delegates were women.

Chairman: T.E. McCormick OH

Gerrit Smith had sent a letter in which he stated that his health had been so poor that he had not been able to be away from home since 1858, but he remained popular in the party because he was named as an abolitionist who helped inspire some of John Brown's supporters at Harper's Ferry. In the letter, Smith donated $50 to pay for the printing of ballots in the various states.

Gerrit Smith of New York

The New York Times reported "there was quite a spirited contest between the friends of [Gerrit] Smith and William Goodell in regard to the nomination for the presidency." Gerrit Smith was nominated for President and Samuel McFarland PA for Vice President.

The New York delegation nominated Goodell for Governor at the convention; Frederick Douglass and Charles A. Hammond were nominated for Elector at Large.

In Ohio, a slate of Presidential Electors pledged to Smith ran with the name of the Union Party.

Liberty Party National Convention of 1852

Popular vote of 1860

Electoral Vote of 1860


1st Democratic Primary Debate, 2004

The first Democratic primary debate of the 2004 cycle was also at the time the earliest presidential debate. Nine contenders participated: Dean, Edwards, Gephardt, Graham, Kerry, Kucinich, Lieberman, Moseley Braun, and Sharpton. This was the first of 16 debates among the Democratic contenders of the 2003-2004 season. It was also the first campaign event that Sen. Graham had attended, since he had undergone heart surgery.


At the beginning of 2003, Democratic leaders did not foresee a victory in the upcoming presidential election. U.S. troops were moving across Iraq, and they occupied Baghdad on the day of the debate documented here. Democratic leaders wanted to shift the debate to domestic policy, where they felt they had a greater chance of success. The first debate was sponsored by the Children's Defense Fund during its 30th anniversary national conference.

Quick Facts

When: evening of 4/9/2003

Where: Washington DC

Moderator: Judy Woodruff (CNN); panelists: Juan Williams (NPR), Michelle Martin (ABC), Mark Shields (syndicated columnist).

Audience size: unknown

Topics: Foreign and domestic policy

Sponsor: Children's Defense Fund


Format: 1-minute opening statements, two "lightening" rounds with 30 second answers, two rounds of questions, 1-minute closing statements

Setting: the candidates sat on a stage facing the audience. Behind them were large images of children. The candidates sat in the following order, from the audience's left to right: Sharpton, Lieberman, Kucinich, Kerry, Graham, Gephardt, Edwards, Dean, and Moseley Braun.

Photo of the candidates in the first debate

The Debate

Although the debate was supposed to focus on domestic issues, the fall of Baghdad earlier that day influenced the topics. The moderator explained the complex rules that were developed in an attempt to be fair to all contenders in the limited time available, and in the middle of the explanation, "the audience started giggling" [New York Times, 4/10/2003]. The candidates began with their opening statements, which took up the first 30 minutes. Of the nine, only Graham read an opening statement.

On the topic of the invasion of Iraq, all candidates defended their previous positions - though some who supported the war were concerned about the cost of rebuilding the country. Candidates who continued to oppose the war included Dean, who said of the fall of Hussein "I suppose that's a good thing... But there's going to be a long period when the United States is going to be maintaining Iraq, and that's going to cost this country's taxpayers a lot of money that could be spent on schools..." Dean later pointed out that the eventual cost of the war, $200 billion, was enough to "ensure every child under the age of 18."

Moseley Braun, Graham, Kucinich, and Sharpton agreed with Dean. Moseley Braun cited the initial expenditure of $80 billion for the invasion. "It is an outrage that we are going to pass along a deficit to the next generation based on a war of ... choice and not of necessity..." Graham stated his belief that the attack on Iraq would actually increase the likelihood of a future attack on the United States.

The first candidate to speak in defense of the war was John Edwards. He maintained that the war could continue along with increased domestic spending, "particularly if we get rid of the tax cut for the top 1 or 2 percent of Americans." Kerry agreed, though he did not support the way the war was executed. "This administration is laying out enormous plans for building roads, schools, hospitals, and providing books in Iraq. It's time they lay out a plan to do the same thing here in the United States." Lieberman and Gephardt defended their earlier support for the war.

The candidates used the next time block to outline some of their proposed domestic policies. Of the brief statements, the one the crowd approved of the most was Gephardt's plan to institute universal health insurance, which he said was the centerpiece of his campaign. [New York Times, 4/10/2003; Philadelphia Inquirer, 4/10/2003]


As has usually been the case, the audience was disappointed with the format. The large number of contenders meant that each only had a brief time to make a statement or set forth a policy perspective. Furthermore, the situation was complicated by recent events in Iraq, resulting in a shift of the debate's focus away from domestic policy.

Democratic primary debates of 2004: 2d, 3d, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th

Progressive Party National Convention 1952

The Progressive Party in the second Truman Administration

Following its rather dismal performance in the 1948 elections, the Progressive Party limped through the following three years. Henry Wallace spent much of 1949 giving speeches denouncing President Truman's policy towards the Soviet Union and the Cold War. Meanwhile, Rexford Tugwell left the party [NYT 3/28/949], followed by Glen Taylor [NYT 7/30/1949]. A national conference was held in Chicago on 2/24-26/1950 to coordinate the national campaign of 1950 [NYT 1/30/1950], but it was bitterly divided between one faction (including Wallace) that sought to remove Communists from the party and a second faction that wanted to use the organization of the US Communists to promote the Progressive Party [NYT 2/27/1950]. After the beginning of the Korean conflict, the party leadership was divided. Wallace believed that Stalin had the power to stop the conflict but chose not to do so [NYT 7/16/1950]; when the party would not back him, he resigned from the party on 8/8/1950 [NYT 8/9/1950]. Realizing the continued fracturing of the party, its California affiliate, holding a state convention in Sacramento on 8/5/1950, chose to remain silent on the issue of Korea and the military draft [NYT 8/6/1950]. The party's vote in U.S. Senate and U.S. House races fell by 55% between 1948 and 1950.

Party leaders met in Minneapolis on 8/17-18/1951 to discuss the future of the party. They decided to hold a national convention, keeping open the possibility of endorsing the candidacy of a third party candidacy if it ran on the party's key issues [NYT 8/20/1951].

Vincent Hallinan Candidacy

In early 1952, Progressive Party leaders began to coalesce behind Vincent W. Hallinan as the party's standard bearer for 1952. Hallinan was a wealthy California attorney who became famous for his defense of Harry Bridges, a labor leader, in a 1950 case in which Hallinan was sentenced to six months in jail for contempt of court. The party's search committee unanimously recommended him on 3/6 and urged state affiliates to ratify his nomination. In New York City, the American Labor Party announced on 3/23/1952 that it planned to list Hallinan and Charlotta Bass as the national candidates in the general election, though its convention was held later in the year [NYT 3/24/1952]. Hallinan and Bass accepted the nomination at a meeting of the party's national committee on 3/30 [NYT 3/31/1952].

Hallinan made his way into the news throughout the summer of 1952. On 4/1, he reported to McNeil Island Federal Prison in San Francisco to serve his six-month sentence for contempt of court. Hallinan asked President Truman to commute his sentence, since he was a presidential candidate [NYT 4/2/1952].

2d Progressive Party National Convention, 1952

Chairman Keynote Speaker Presidential Nominee Vice Presidential Nominee
Former U.S. Rep.
Vito Marcantonio NY
William E.B. DuBois NY Vincent W. Hallinan CA Charlotta A. Bass NY

The 2d Progressive Party National Convention

The second Progressive Party National Convention was held in Ashland Boulevard Auditorium, Chicago IL, on 7/4-6/1952. As the delegates gathered, the party's national secretary, C.B. Baldwin, reported that the party would be on the ballot in 35-40 states that year [NYT 6/30/1952].

The party approved a platform with three major planks: 1) ending the Korean Conflict; 2) closing of the breach between the USA and the Soviet Union; and 3) unqualified support by party members of any black candidates for office belonging to other parties [NYT 7/7/1952]. After the convention nominated Hallinan for President, his wife Vivian Hallinan gave his acceptance speech, in which he pledged to run as the only "peace" candidate in the field [NYT 7/7/1952]. No radio or television networks broadcast the party's convention, but NBC ran a special on 9/6 in which it aired 90 minutes of footage from the convention [NYT 8/11/1952].

The Campaign

Hallinan was set free from prison on 8/16 and flew to New York City to begin his campaign [NYT 8/17/1952]. The following day, he telegraphed a note to President Truman, asking to be briefed on the situation in Korea. He was "concerned to know if there are any reasons for the continuance of fighting in Korea" and restated his plan to end the war [NYT 8/19/1952]. In his speeches and radio addresses, Hallinan made the case that the Korean conflict was a bipartisan effort by the Democratic and Republican Parties and that only he would end the conflict [NYT 9/30/1952].

The US Communist Party held its national convention on 9/6/1952 and endorsed Hallinan's candidacy, though it appears that the Communists did little to assist his campaign [NYT 10/8/1952].

In the final month of the campaign, Hallinan visited 30 states [NYT 11/1/1952]. While in Schenectady NY, he called NATO a "provocative sword-rattling alliance" that was meant to taunt the Soviet Union [NYT 10/8/1952]. In New York City, he said that the Wage Stabilization Board was going to "crack down" on workers after the election [NYT 10/26/1952]. In San Francisco, Hallinan proclaimed Adlai Stevenson the next president, based upon mistakes of the Eisenhower campaign [NYT 11/2/1952].


The Progressive Party did not fare too well on election day. Hallinan garnered only 140,416 votes, one-tenth of Wallace's total in 1948. He was not able to increase Wallace's total in any state. Furthermore, the ALP in New York State was only able to deliver 64,000 votes, a drop of 85%. The party fared somewhat better in congressional races. In California, Reuben Borough placed second in the race for U.S. Senate with 542,270 votes. Of the other seven candidates for U.S. Senate, only the ALP's Corliss Lamont received a substantial number of votes. The party had 23 candidates for the U.S. House (plus 38 ALP candidates) who won a combined 240,000 votes.

With its dismal performance, the party dissolved. A handful of candidates ran in the elections of 1953 and 1954, the latter being the year the ALP lost its ballot status in New York State.

1st Progressive Party National Convention (1948)

Popular Vote of 1952

Electoral Vote of 1952