The United States presidential election of 1804 was the fifth quadrennial presidential election, held from Friday, November 2, to Wednesday, December 5, 1804. Incumbent Democratic-Republican President Thomas Jefferson defeated Federalist Charles Cotesworth Pinckney of South Carolina. It was the first presidential election conducted following the ratification of the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reformed procedures for electing presidents and vice presidents.
Jefferson was re-nominated by his party's congressional nominating caucus without opposition, and the party nominated Governor George Clinton of New York to replace Aaron Burr as Jefferson's running mate. With former President John Adams in retirement, the Federalists turned to Pinckney, a former ambassador and Revolutionary War hero who had been Adams's running mate in the 1800 election.
Though Jefferson had only narrowly defeated Adams in 1800, he was widely popular due to the Louisiana Purchase and a strong economy. He carried almost every state, including most states in the Federalist stronghold of New England. Several states did not hold a popular vote for president, but Jefferson dominated the popular vote in the states that did. Jefferson's 45.6 percentage point victory margin in the popular vote remains the highest victory margin in a presidential election in which there were multiple major party candidates.
|1804 United States presidential election|
All 176 electoral votes of the Electoral College
89 electoral votes needed to win
|Turnout||23.8% 8.5 pp|
Presidential election results map. Green denotes states won by Jefferson, burnt orange denotes states won by Pinckney. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.
Although the presidential election of 1800 was a close one, Jefferson steadily gained popularity during his term. American trade boomed due to the temporary suspension of hostilities during the French Revolutionary Wars in Europe, and the Louisiana Purchase was heralded as a great achievement.
|Thomas Jefferson||George Clinton|
|for President||for Vice President|
President of the United States
Governor of New York
(1777–1795 & 1801–1804)
The February 1804 Democratic-Republican congressional nominating caucus selected the ticket. Unlike the previous election, the nominating caucus did not meet in secret. Jefferson's re-nomination was never in any real doubt, with the real issue being seen as who the party would nominate to replace Vice President Aaron Burr, whose relationship with Jefferson had soured. Governor George Clinton of New York was chosen as Jefferson's running mate, continuing the party's tradition of nominating a ticket consisting of a Virginian and a New Yorker.
|Presidential ballot||Total||Vice-presidential ballot||Total|
|Thomas Jefferson||108||George Clinton||67|
|Charles C. Pinckney||Rufus King|
|for President||for Vice President|
|Former U.S. Minister
|Former U.S. Minister|
to Great Britain
The Federalists did not hold a nominating caucus, but Federalist Congressional leaders informally agreed to nominate a ticket of consisting of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney of South Carolina and former Senator Rufus King of New York. Pinckney's public service during and after the American Revolutionary War had won him national stature, and Federalists hoped that Pinckney would win some Southern votes away from Jefferson, who had dominated the Southern vote in the previous election.
Federalist leader Alexander Hamilton's death in July 1804 following the Burr–Hamilton duel destroyed whatever hope the Federalists had of defeating the popular Jefferson. Leaderless and disorganized, the Federalists failed to attract much support outside of New England. The Federalists attacked the Louisiana Purchase as unconstitutional, criticized Jefferson's gunboat navy, and alleged that Jefferson had fathered children with his slave, Sally Hemings, but the party failed to galvanize opposition to Jefferson. Jefferson's policies of expansionism and reduced government spending were widely popular. Jefferson was aided by an effective Democratic-Republican party organization, which had continued to develop since 1800, especially in the Federalist stronghold of New England.
Jefferson's victory was overwhelming, and he even won four of the five New England states. Pinckney won only two states, Connecticut and Delaware. This was the first election where the Democratic-Republicans won in Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. This was the last time that Massachusetts voted for the Democratic-Republicans until 1820, and the last time that New Hampshire and Rhode Island voted for the Democratic-Republicans until 1816.
|Presidential candidate||Party||Home state||Popular vote(a), (b)||Electoral
|Count||Percentage||Vice-presidential candidate||Home state||Electoral vote|
|Thomas Jefferson (incumbent)||Democratic-Republican||Virginia||104,110||72.8%||162||George Clinton||New York||162|
|Charles C. Pinckney||Federalist||South Carolina||38,919||27.2%||14||Rufus King||New York||14|
|Needed to win||89||89|
Source (popular vote): U.S. President National Vote. Our Campaigns. (February 10, 2006).
Source (Popular Vote): A New Nation Votes: American Election Returns 1787-1825
Source (electoral vote): "Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved July 30, 2005.
(a) Only 11 of the 17 states chose electors by popular vote.
(b) Those states that did choose electors by popular vote had widely varying restrictions on suffrage via property requirements.
|Method of choosing electors||State(s)|
|Each elector appointed by state legislature||Connecticut|
|Each elector chosen by voters statewide||New Hampshire|
|State is divided into electoral districts, with one elector chosen per district by the voters of that district||Kentucky|
The 1804 United States presidential election in Connecticut took place between November 2 and December 5, 1804, as part of the 1804 United States presidential election. The state legislature chose nine representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.
During this election, Connecticut cast nine electoral votes for Federalist Party candidate Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (becoming the only state other than Delaware to do so). However, he would lose to Democratic Republican incumbent Thomas Jefferson by a landslide margin nationally.1804 United States presidential election in New Jersey
The 1804 United States presidential election in New Jersey took place between November 2 and December 5, 1804, as part of the 1804 United States presidential election. The state legislature chose eight representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.
During this election, New Jersey cast eight electoral votes for Democratic Republican incumbent Thomas Jefferson.1804 United States presidential election in New York
The 1804 United States presidential election in New York took place between November 2 and December 5, 1804, as part of the 1804 United States presidential election. The state legislature chose 19 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.
During this election, New York cast 19 electoral votes for Democratic Republican incumbent Thomas Jefferson.1804 United States presidential election in Pennsylvania
The 1804 United States presidential election in Pennsylvania took place as part of the 1804 United States presidential election. Voters chose 20 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.
Pennsylvania voted for the Democratic-Republican candidate, Thomas Jefferson, over the Federalist candidate, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. Jefferson won Pennsylvania by a wide margin of 89.38%.1804 United States presidential election in South Carolina
The 1804 United States presidential election in South Carolina took place between November 2 and December 5, 1804, as part of the 1804 United States presidential election. The state legislature chose 10 representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.
During this election, South Carolina cast 10 electoral votes for Democratic Republican incumbent Thomas Jefferson.1804 United States presidential election in Vermont
The 1804 United States presidential election in Vermont took place between November 2 and December 5, 1804, as part of the 1804 United States presidential election. The state legislature chose six representatives, or electors to the Electoral College, who voted for President and Vice President.
During this election, Vermont cast six electoral votes for Democratic Republican incumbent Thomas Jefferson.1804 and 1805 United States Senate elections
The United States Senate elections of 1804 and 1805 were elections that expanded the Democratic-Republican Party's overwhelming control over the United States Senate. The Federalists went into the elections with such a small share of Senate seats (9 out of 34, or 27%) that even if they had won every election, they would have still remained a minority caucus.
As these elections were prior to the ratification of the seventeenth amendment, senators were chosen by state legislatures.8th United States Congress
The Eighth 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 in Washington, D.C. from March 4, 1803, to March 4, 1805, during the last two years of the first presidency of U.S. President Thomas Jefferson. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Second Census of the United States in 1800. Both chambers had a Democratic-Republican majority.List of elections in 1804
The following elections were held in the year 1804.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).
the United States
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|Elections by state|
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and Popular vote
State results of the 1804 U.S. presidential election