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United States presidential election, 1816

United States presidential election, 1816

November 1 – December 4, 1816

All 217 electoral votes of the Electoral College
109 electoral votes needed to win
Nominee James Monroe Rufus King
Party Democratic-Republican Federalist
Home state Virginia New York
Running mate Daniel D. Tompkins John E. Howard
Electoral vote 183 34
States carried 16 3
Popular vote 76,592 34,740
Percentage 68.2% 30.9%

Presidential election results map. Green denotes states won by Monroe, orange denotes states won by King. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.

President before election

James Madison

Elected President

James Monroe

The United States presidential election of 1816 was the 8th quadrennial presidential election. It was held from Friday, November 1 to Wednesday, December 4, 1816. It came at the end of the two-term presidency of Democratic-Republican James Madison. With the Federalist Party in collapse, Madison's Secretary of State, James Monroe, had an advantage in winning the presidency against very weak opposition. Monroe won the electoral college by the wide margin of 183 to 34.

The previous four years of American politics were dominated by the effects of the War of 1812. While the war had not ended in victory, the peace concluded in 1815 was nonetheless satisfactory to the American people, and the Democratic-Republicans received the credit for its conclusion. The Federalists found themselves discredited by their opposition to the war and secessionist rhetoric from New England. Furthermore, President Madison had adopted such Federalist policies as a national bank and protective tariffs, which would give the Federalists few issues to campaign on.


Democratic-Republican Party nomination


Withdrew before caucus

Declined to run

Monroe was the favorite candidate of both former President Virginia dynasty of presidents. But Monroe's long service at home and abroad made him a fitting candidate to succeed Madison. Crawford never formally declared himself a candidate, because he believed that he had little chance against Monroe and feared such a contest might deny him a place in the new cabinet. Still, Crawford's supporters posed a significant challenge.[1]

In March 1816, Democratic-Republican congressmen in caucus nominated Monroe for President and New York Governor Daniel D. Tompkins for Vice President.[2] Monroe defeated Crawford for the nomination by a vote of 65 to 54.

The Balloting
Presidential Ballot Vice Presidential Ballot
James Monroe 65 Daniel D. Tompkins 85
William H. Crawford 54 Simon Snyder 30

Federalist Party nomination

Federalist candidates

The Federalist caucus did not even bother to make a formal nomination, although many Federalists supported New York Senator Rufus King, who had been defeated twice before as the Federalist vice presidential candidate. Former Senator John Eager Howard of Maryland was the principal Federalist candidate for vice president.

General election

Dispute about Indiana

On February 12, 1817, the House and Senate met in joint session to count the electoral votes for President and Vice President. The count proceeded without incident until the roll came to the last state to be counted, Indiana. At that point, Representative John W. Taylor of New York objected to the counting of Indiana's votes. He argued that Congress had acknowledged the statehood of Indiana in a joint resolution on December 11, 1816, whereas the ballots of the Electoral College had been cast on December 4, 1816. He claimed that at the time of the balloting, there had been merely a Territory of Indiana, not a State of Indiana. Other representatives contradicted Taylor, asserting that the joint resolution merely recognized that Indiana had already joined the Union by forming a state constitution and government on June 29, 1816. These representatives pointed out that both the House and Senate had seated members from Indiana who had been elected prior to the joint resolution, which would have been unconstitutional had Indiana not been a state at the time of their election. Representative Samuel D. Ingham then moved that the question be postponed indefinitely. The House agreed almost unanimously, and the Senate was brought back in to count the electoral votes from Indiana.


Results by county explicitly indicating the percentage of the winning candidate in each county. Shades of blue are for Monroe (Democratic-Republican), shades of yellow are for King (Federalist), and shades of green are for Independent Republicans (Democratic-Republican).

When the votes were counted, Monroe had won all but three of the nineteen states.

Each of the three states that were won by King voted for a different person for Vice President. Massachusetts electors voted for former United States Senator (and future Governor) John Eager Howard of Maryland. Delaware chose a different Marylander, sitting United States Senator Robert Goodloe Harper. Connecticut split its vote between James Ross of Pennsylvania and Chief Justice John Marshall.

Maryland did not choose its electors as a slate; rather, it divided itself into electoral districts, with each district choosing one elector. Three of Maryland's eleven districts were won by Federalist electors. However, these electors did not vote for King or for a Federalist vice president, instead casting blank votes as a protest, thus resulting in Monroe winning the votes of all the Maryland state electors.

Presidential candidate Party Home state Popular vote(a), (b) Electoral
Running mate
Count Pct Vice-presidential candidate Home state Elect. vote(c)
James Monroe Democratic-Republican Virginia 76,592 68.2% 183 Daniel D. Tompkins New York 183
Rufus King Federalist New York 34,740 30.9% 34 John Eager Howard Maryland 22
James Ross Pennsylvania 5
John Marshall Virginia 4
Robert Goodloe Harper Maryland 3
(unpledged electors) (none) (n/a) 1,038 0.9% 0 (n/a) (n/a) 0
Total 112,370 100% 217 217
Needed to win 109 109

(a) Only 10 of the 19 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.
(c) One Elector from Delaware and three Electors from Maryland did not vote.

Electoral college selection

Method of choosing Electors State(s)
Each Elector appointed by state legislature Connecticut
New York
South Carolina
Each Elector chosen by voters statewide New Hampshire
New Jersey
North Carolina
Rhode Island
State is divided into electoral districts, with one Elector chosen per district by the voters of that district Kentucky

See also


  1. ^ William DeGregorio, The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents, Gramercy 1997
  2. ^ Monroe defeated William H. Crawford for the nomination by a vote of 65 to 54
U.S. Congressional Documents
  • 30 Annals of Cong. 944–949 (1817)
  • Act of April 19, 1816, ch. 57, 289Stat.3
  • Resolution of December 11, 1816, res. 1, 399Stat.3
  • "Official Name and Status History of the several States and U.S. Territories, an Explanation". The Green Papers. 2001. Retrieved December 18, 2005. 

Source (Popular Vote): U.S. President National Vote. Our Campaigns. (February 9, 2006).
Source (Electoral Vote): Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996. Official website of the National Archives. (July 30, 2005).

  • "A Historical Analysis of the Electoral College". The Green Papers. Retrieved March 20, 2005. 

External links

  • A New Nation Votes: American Election Returns, 1787-1825


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