The United States presidential election of 1792 was the second quadrennial presidential election. It was held from Friday, November 2 to Wednesday, December 5, 1792. Incumbent President George Washington was elected to a second term by a unanimous vote in the electoral college, while John Adams was re-elected as vice president. Washington was essentially unopposed, but Adams faced a competitive re-election against Governor George Clinton of New York.
Washington was widely popular, and no one made a serious attempt to oppose his re-election. Electoral rules of the time required each presidential elector to cast two votes without distinguishing which was for president and which for vice president. The recipient of the most votes would then become president, and the runner-up vice president. The Democratic-Republican Party, which had organized in opposition to the policies of Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, supported Clinton for the position of vice president. Adams, meanwhile, was backed by the Federalist Party in his bid for another term. Neither party had fully organized, and partisan divisions had not yet solidified.
Washington received 132 electoral votes, one from each elector. Adams won 77 electoral votes, enough to win re-election. Clinton finished in third place with 50 electoral votes, taking his home state of New York as well as three Southern states. Two other candidates won the five remaining electoral votes. This election was the first in which each of the original 13 states appointed electors, as did the newly added states of Kentucky and Vermont. It was also the only presidential election that was not held exactly four years after the previous election, although part of the previous election was held four years prior.
|1792 United States presidential election|
132 electoral votes of the Electoral College
68 electoral votes needed to win
|Turnout||6.3% 5.3 pp|
Presidential election results map. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.
In 1792, presidential elections were still conducted according to the original method established under the U.S. Constitution. Under this system, each elector cast two votes: the candidate who received the greatest number of votes (so long as they won a majority) became president, while the runner-up became vice president. The Twelfth Amendment would eventually replace this system, requiring electors to cast one vote for president and one vote for vice president, but this change did not take effect until 1804. Because of this, it is difficult to use modern-day terminology to describe the relationship among the candidates in this election.
Washington is generally held by historians to have run unopposed. Indeed, the incumbent president enjoyed bipartisan support and received one vote from every elector. The choice for vice president was more divisive. The Federalist Party threw its support behind the incumbent vice president, John Adams of Massachusetts, while the Democratic-Republican Party backed the candidacy of New York Governor George Clinton. Because few doubted that Washington would receive the greatest number of votes, Adams and Clinton were effectively competing for the vice presidency; under the letter of the law, however, they were technically candidates for president competing against Washington.
Born out of the Anti-Federalist faction that had opposed the Constitution in 1788, the Democratic-Republican Party was the main opposition to the agenda of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton. They had no chance of unseating Washington, but hoped to win the vice presidency by defeating the incumbent, Adams. Many Democratic-Republicans would have preferred to nominate Thomas Jefferson, their ideological leader and Washington's Secretary of State. However, this would have cost them the state of Virginia, as electors were not permitted to vote for two candidates from their home state and Washington was also a Virginian. Clinton, the Governor of New York and a former anti-Federalist leader, became the party's nominee after he won the backing of Jefferson and James Madison. Clinton was from an electorally-important swing state, and he convinced party leaders that he would be a stronger candidate than another New Yorker, Senator Aaron Burr. A group of Democratic-Republican leaders met in Philadelphia in October 1792 and selected Clinton as the party's vice presidential candidate.
By 1792, a party division had emerged between Federalists led by Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, who desired a stronger federal government with a leading role in the economy, and the Democratic-Republicans led by Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and Representative James Madison of Virginia, who favored states' rights and opposed Hamilton's economic program. Madison was at first a Federalist until he opposed the establishment of Hamilton's First Bank of the United States in 1791. He formed the Democratic-Republican Party along with Anti-Federalist Thomas Jefferson in 1792.
The elections of 1792 were the first ones in the United States to be contested on anything resembling a partisan basis. In most states, the congressional elections were recognized in some sense as a "struggle between the Treasury department and the republican interest," to use the words of Jefferson strategist John Beckley. In New York, the race for governor was fought along these lines. The candidates were Chief Justice John Jay, a Hamiltonian, and incumbent George Clinton, the party's vice presidential nominee.
Although Washington had been considering retiring, both sides encouraged him to remain in office to bridge factional differences. Washington was supported by practically all sides throughout his presidency and gained more popularity with the passage of the Bill of Rights. However, the Democratic-Republicans and the Federalists contested the vice-presidency, with incumbent John Adams as the Federalist nominee and George Clinton as the Democratic-Republican nominee. Federalists attacked Clinton for his past association with the anti-Federalists. With some Democratic-Republican electors voting against their nominee George Clinton – voting instead for Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr – Adams easily secured re-election.
At the time, there were 15 states in the United States: the 13 original states and the two recently admitted states of Vermont (March 1791) and Kentucky (June 1792). The Electoral College consisted of 132 electors, with each elector having two votes.
The Electoral College chose Washington unanimously. John Adams was again elected vice-president as the runner-up, this time getting the vote of a majority of electors. George Clinton won the votes of only Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, his native New York, and a single elector in Pennsylvania. Thomas Jefferson won the votes of Kentucky, newly separated from Jefferson's home state of Virginia. A single South Carolina elector voted for Aaron Burr. All five of these candidates would eventually win election to the offices of president or vice president.
|Slate||Popular Vote(a), (b), (c)|
(a) Only 6 of the 15 states chose electors by any form of popular vote.
(b) Pre-Twelfth Amendment electoral vote rules obscure the intentions of the voters
(c) Those states that did choose electors by popular vote had widely varying restrictions on suffrage via property requirements.
|Presidential candidate||Party||Home state||Popular vote(a)||Electoral vote(b)|
|George Washington (incumbent)||Nonpartisan||Virginia||28,579||100.0%||132|
|George Clinton||Democratic-Republican||New York||—||—||50|
|Aaron Burr||Democratic-Republican||New York||—||—||1|
|Needed to win||68|
(a) (1) only 6 of the 15 states chose electors by any form of popular vote, (2) pre-Twelfth Amendment electoral vote rules obscure the intentions of the voters, and (3) those states that did choose electors by popular vote restricted the vote via property requirements.
(b) Two electors from Maryland and one elector from Vermont did not cast votes.
|Method of choosing electors||State(s)|
|state is divided into electoral districts, with one elector chosen per district by the voters of that district||Kentucky|
|each elector chosen by voters statewide||Maryland|
|each elector appointed by the state legislature||(all other states)|
The 1792 United States elections elected the members of the 3rd United States Congress. Congress was broadly divided between a Pro-Administration faction supporting the policies of George Washington's administration and an Anti-Administration faction opposed to those policies. Due to this, the Federalist Party (generally overlapping with the Pro-Administration faction) and the Democratic-Republican Party (generally overlapping with the Antu-Administration faction) were starting to emerge as the distinct political parties of the First Party System. In this election, the Pro-Administration faction maintained control of the Senate, but lost its majority in the House.
In the presidential election, incumbent President George Washington was re-elected without any major opposition. Washington had considered retirement, but was convinced to seek re-election for the purpose of national unity. Though Washington went unchallenged, Governor George Clinton of New York sought to unseat John Adams as vice president. However, Adams received the second most electoral votes, and so was re-elected to office. Washington remained unaffiliated with any political faction or party throughout his presidency.In the House, 37 seats were added following the 1790 census. The Anti-Administration faction picked up several seats, narrowly taking the majority from the Pro-Administration faction. However, Frederick Muhlenberg, who leaned closer to the Pro-Administration faction, was elected Speaker of the House.In the Senate, the Anti-Administration faction picked up one seat, but the Pro-Administration faction maintained a small majority.1792 United States presidential election in Connecticut
The 1792 United States presidential election in Connecticut took place between November 2 and December 5, 1792 as part of the 1792 United States presidential election. The state legislature chose nine representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.
Connecticut, unanimously cast its nine electoral votes for incumbent George Washington during its first presidential election.1792 United States presidential election in Delaware
The 1792 United States presidential election in Delaware took place between December 15, 1788 and January 10, 1792, as part of the 1792 United States presidential election to elect the first President. Voters chose three representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.
Delaware unanimously voted for nonpartisan candidate and commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, George Washington. The total vote is from Federalist electors, all of whom were supportive of Washington.1792 United States presidential election in New Jersey
The 1792 United States presidential election in New Jersey took place between November 2 and December 5, 1792 as part of the 1792 United States presidential election. The state legislature chose seven representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.
New Jersey, unanimously cast its seven electoral votes for incumbent George Washington.1792 United States presidential election in New York
The 1792 United States presidential election in New York took place between November 2 and December 5, 1792 as part of the 1792 United States presidential election. The state legislature chose 12 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.
New York, unanimously cast its 12 electoral votes for incumbent George Washington during its first presidential election. Although the state had ratified the Constitution to become the eleventh state on July 26, 1788, it did not participate in the first presidential election in 1789 due to the state legislature being deadlocked.1792 United States presidential election in Pennsylvania
The 1792 United States presidential election in Pennsylvania took place as part of the 1792 United States presidential election. Voters chose 15 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.
Pennsylvania unanimously voted for nonpartisan candidate and incumbent President George Washington. The total vote is composed of 3,479 for Federalist electors and 1,097 for Anti-Federalist electors, all of whom were supportive of Washington.1792 United States presidential election in South Carolina
The 1792 United States presidential election in South Carolina took place between November 2 and December 5, 1792 as part of the 1792 United States presidential election. The state legislature chose eight representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.
South Carolina, unanimously cast its eight electoral votes for incumbent George Washington during its first presidential election.1792 United States presidential election in Vermont
The 1792 United States presidential election in Vermont took place between November 2 and December 5, 1792 as part of the 1792 United States presidential election. The state legislature chose four representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President. However, one would not vote.
Vermont, which had become the 14th state on March 4, 1791, unanimously cast its three electoral votes for incumbent George Washington during its first presidential election.1792 and 1793 United States House of Representatives elections
Elections to the United States House of Representatives for the 3rd Congress were held in 1792 and 1793, coinciding with the re-election of George Washington as President. While Washington ran for president as an independent, his followers (more specifically, the supporters of Alexander Hamilton) formed the nation's first organized political party, the Federalist Party, whose members and sympathizers are identified as pro-Administration on this page. In response, followers of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison created the opposition Democratic-Republican Party, who are identified as anti-Administration on this page. The Federalists promoted urbanization, industrialization, mercantilism, centralized government, and a broad interpretation of the United States Constitution. In contrast, Democratic-Republicans supported the ideal of an agrarian republic made up of self-sufficient farmers and small, localized governments with limited power.
Despite nearly unanimous support for Washington as a presidential candidate, Jeffersonian ideas edged out Hamiltonian principles at the ballot box for congressional candidates, with the Democratic-Republicans taking 24 seats more than they had prior to the organization of their political movement. Most of the increase was due to the addition of new seats in Western regions as a result of the United States census of 1790. Dominated by agrarian culture, these Western territories offered strong support to Democratic-Republican congressional candidates. As a result, they secured a thin majority in the legislature.1792 and 1793 United States Senate elections
The United States Senate elections of 1792 and 1793 were elections of United States Senators that coincided with President George Washington's unanimous re-election. In these elections, terms were up for the ten senators in class 2.
Formal organized political parties had yet to form in the United States, but two political factions were present: The coalition of Senators who supported George Washington's administration were known as the Pro-Administration Party, and the Senators against him as the Anti-Administration Party. As these elections were prior to ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment, Senators were chosen by State legislatures.1792 election
1792 election may refer to:
French National Convention election, 1792
1792 United States presidential election2nd United States Congress
The Second United States Congress, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives, met at Congress Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from March 4, 1791, to March 4, 1793, during the third and fourth years of George Washington's presidency. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the provisions of Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution. Additional House seats were assigned to the two new states of Vermont and Kentucky. Both chambers had a Pro-Administration majority.3rd United States Congress
The Third United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met at Congress Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from March 4, 1793, to March 4, 1795, during the fifth and sixth years of George Washington's presidency.
The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was governed by the Apportionment Act of 1792 and based on the 1790 Census. The Senate had a Pro-Administration majority, and the House had an Anti-Administration majority.Electoral history of George Washington
George Washington stood for public office five times, serving two terms in the Virginia House of Burgesses and two terms as President of the United States. He is the only independent to serve as U.S. president and the only person unanimously elected to that office.James Madison
James Madison Jr. (March 16, 1751 – June 28, 1836) was an American statesman, lawyer, diplomat, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the fourth president of the United States from 1809 to 1817. He is hailed as the "Father of the Constitution" for his pivotal role in drafting and promoting the United States Constitution and the United States Bill of Rights. He also co-wrote The Federalist Papers, co-founded the Democratic-Republican Party, and served as the fifth United States secretary of State from 1801 to 1809.
Born into a prominent Virginia planter family, Madison served as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates and the Continental Congress during and after the American Revolutionary War. He became dissatisfied with the weak national government established by the Articles of Confederation and helped organize the Constitutional Convention, which produced a new constitution to supplant the Articles of Confederation. Madison's Virginia Plan served as the basis for the Constitutional Convention's deliberations, and he was one of the most influential individuals at the convention. Madison became one of the leaders in the movement to ratify the Constitution, and he joined with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay in writing The Federalist Papers, a series of pro-ratification essays that is widely considered to be one of the most influential works of political science in American history.
After the ratification of the Constitution, Madison emerged as an important leader in the United States House of Representatives and served as a close adviser to President George Washington. He was the main force behind the ratification of the United States Bill of Rights, which enshrines guarantees of personal freedoms and rights within the Constitution. During the early 1790s, Madison came to oppose the economic program and accompanying centralization of power favored by Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. Along with Thomas Jefferson, Madison organized the Democratic-Republican Party, which was, alongside Hamilton's Federalist Party, one of the nation's first major political parties. After Jefferson won the 1800 presidential election, Madison served as secretary of State from 1801 to 1809. In that position, he supervised the Louisiana Purchase, which doubled the size of the United States.
Madison succeeded Jefferson with a victory in the 1808 presidential election. After diplomatic protests and a trade embargo failed to end British attacks against American shipping, he led the United States into the War of 1812. The war was an administrative morass and ended inconclusively, but many Americans saw it as a successful "second war of independence" against Britain. The war convinced Madison of the necessity of a stronger federal government, and he presided over the creation of the Second Bank of the United States and the enactment of the protective Tariff of 1816. He retired from public office in 1817 and died in 1836. Madison is considered to be one of the most important Founding Fathers of the United States, and historians have generally ranked him as an above-average president.List of 1792 United States presidential electors
This is an incomplete List of presidential electors in the United States presidential election of 1792.List of George Washington articles
List of articles about (and largely involving) George WashingtonList of elections in 1792
The following elections occurred in the year 1792.United States presidential election
The election of president and vice president of the United States is an indirect election in which citizens of the United States who are registered to vote in one of the 50 U.S. states or in Washington, D.C. cast ballots not directly for those offices, but instead for members of the U.S. Electoral College, known as electors. These electors then in turn cast direct votes, known as electoral votes, for president, and for vice president. The candidate who receives an absolute majority of electoral votes (at least 270 out of a total of 538, since the Twenty-Third Amendment granted voting rights to citizens of Washington, D.C.) is then elected to that office. If no candidate receives an absolute majority of the votes for President, the House of Representatives chooses the winner; if no one receives an absolute majority of the votes for Vice President, then the Senate chooses the winner.
The Electoral College and its procedure are established in the U.S. Constitution by Article II, Section 1, Clauses 2 and 4; and the Twelfth Amendment (which replaced Clause 3 after its ratification in 1804). Under Clause 2, each of the states casts as many electoral votes as the total number of its Senators and Representatives in Congress, while, per the Twenty-third Amendment ratified in 1961, Washington, D.C. casts the same number of electoral votes as the least-represented state, which is three. Also under Clause 2, the manner for choosing electors is determined by each state legislature, not directly by the federal government. Many state legislatures previously selected their electors directly, but over time all of them switched to using the popular vote to help determine electors, which persists today. Once chosen, electors generally cast their electoral votes for the candidate who won the plurality in their state, but at least 21 states do not have provisions that specifically address this behavior; those who vote in opposition to the plurality are known as "faithless" or "unpledged electors". In modern times, faithless and unpledged electors have not affected the ultimate outcome of an election, so the results can generally be determined based on the state-by-state popular vote.
Presidential elections occur quadrennially with registered voters casting their ballots on Election Day, which since 1845 has been the first Tuesday after November 1. This date coincides with the general elections of various other federal, state, and local races; since local governments are responsible for managing elections, these races typically all appear on one ballot. The Electoral College electors then formally cast their electoral votes on the first Monday after December 12 at their respective state capitals. Congress then certifies the results in early January, and the presidential term begins on Inauguration Day, which since the passage of the Twentieth Amendment has been set at January 20.
The nomination process, consisting of the primary elections and caucuses and the nominating conventions, was not specified in the Constitution, but was developed over time by the states and political parties. These primary elections are generally held between January and June before the general election in November, while the nominating conventions are held in the summer. Though not codified by law, political parties also follow an indirect election process, where voters in the 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and U.S. territories, cast ballots for a slate of delegates to a political party's nominating convention, who then in turn elect their party's presidential nominee. Each party may then choose a vice presidential running mate to join the ticket, which is either determined by choice of the nominee or by a second round of voting. Because of changes to national campaign finance laws since the 1970s regarding the disclosure of contributions for federal campaigns, presidential candidates from the major political parties usually declare their intentions to run as early as the spring of the previous calendar year before the election (almost 18 months before Inauguration Day).
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State results of the 1792 U.S. presidential election