Tag Archives: john adams

Election of 1796 (01/19)

I knew that Thomas Jefferson was the second Vice President, but I had always assumed that Adams chose him as a running mate. (Oh, assuming and the trouble it will get you into.)

The truth is….

Presidents didn’t always run with an official running mate – The Constitution in 1796 required presidential electors to place the names of two individuals on their ballots; the candidate with the highest vote count, if a majority, became the president and the runner up the vice president.

This proved to be a bit of a predicament in 1796, when Federalist John Adams won the majority vote and Democratic -Republican Thomas Jefferson was the runner up. (This is the only instance that the President & VP were not from the same party.) Naturally , the two clashed over issues such as states’ rights and foreign policy.

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Adams (Federalist) & Jefferson (Republican_Democrat)

I learned about this Constitution loop hole from Ken Burns’ documentary on Thomas Jefferson. I would recommend viewing this documentary to learn more or click here


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