Analysis of the election of 1804

Essay by NEthinggoesHigh School, 12th gradeA+, October 2002

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The Election of 1804: A Validation of Republican Ideals

While some elections go down into the history books for being statistically close, this election does not happen to be one of them. With the election of 1804, the issues, as well as the history behind the election is what makes 1804 an election year to study. The 1804 election year saw the Democratic-Republican Thomas Jefferson (the author of the Declaration of Independence) running against the Federalist candidate, Charles Pinckney. With the constitutional government still in its infancy, what was at stake was nothing less than the power of precedence. In Jefferson's first term, he had secured the Louisiana Purchase agreement with Napoleonic France. This action that was vehemently opposed by the Federalists, who saw the newly gained lands being carved into more Democratic-Republican states, as the Federalists only had control over commerce-driven New England (Thomas 7). Another issue behind the 1804 election was that of Federal reappointments.

President Madison had recommended what was called "Midnight Appointments" after he had lost the election in order to keep the workers in the Federal government almost completely Federalist. Not only did Jefferson annul the Midnight Appointments made by Madison, he also ousted 105 Federalist officials, and replaced them with Democratic-Republican counterparts, who would be more friendly and loyal to Jefferson (Padover 127-8). This amount is rather significant when taken into contrast with the fact that the Federal payroll only number about 316, which put the Democratic-Republican Party firmly ensconced in control of the Federal government. Another key event in Jefferson's first term was the ratification of the Twelfth Amendment, which put the president and the vice-president on separate ballots, thus avoiding the statistical "dead heat" of 1800. The final piece of significant historical data would be the prosperity of the country before...