In a video link posted by P.G., the author asserted that, basically, Jefferson as V.P. just counted up the Electoral College votes for himself and decided he would be POTUS, not Burr. They claim this as precedent for Pence to do the same for The Donald.
The history reads somewhat differently…
The rules were different then. Each party put up 2 candidates for POTUS. Most votes got POTUS, runner up got V.P. Sometimes they were different parties, sometimes the same. Jefferson and Burr had a tie vote in the Electoral college. They were both from the same party. After a LOT of deadlocked votes in Congress (30+), the Delaware delegation (one vote) abstained. This let Jefferson win.
This came about AFTER a ‘deal’ was struck between the Federalists and Jefferson that Jefferson would not toss them out of nice positions in Government nor try to dump the U.S. Central Bank and government borrowing. (Had he only known… /sarc;)
So looks like “not a precedent” at all.
Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr and the Election of 1800
For seven days, as the two presidential candidates maneuvered and schemed, the fate of the young republic hung in the ballots
Yet there are curious parallels. The Federalists wanted a strong central government authority with weak and subservient States. Jefferson wanted strong States and a very limited Federal government.
Adams, in fact, hoped to avoid war, but found himself riding a whirlwind. The most extreme Federalists, known as Ultras, capitalized on the passions unleashed in this crisis and scored great victories in the off-year elections of 1798, taking charge of both the party and Congress. They created a provisional army and pressured Adams into putting Hamilton in charge. They passed heavy taxes to pay for the army and, with Federalist sympathizers in the press braying that “traitors must be silent,” enacted the Alien and Sedition Acts, which provided jail terms and exorbitant fines for anyone who uttered or published “any false, scandalous, and malicious” statement against the United States government or its officials. While Federalists defended the Sedition Act as a necessity in the midst of a grave national crisis, Jefferson and his followers saw it as a means of silencing Republicans—and a violation of the Bill of Rights. The Sedition Act, Jefferson contended, proved there was no step, “however atrocious,” the Ultras would not take.
All along, Jefferson had felt that Federalist extremists might overreach. By early 1799, Adams himself had arrived at the same conclusion. He, too, came to suspect that Hamilton and the Ultras wanted to precipitate a crisis with France. Their motivation perhaps had been to get Adams to secure an alliance with Great Britain and accept the Ultras’ program in Congress. But avowing that there “is no more prospect of seeing a French Army here, than there is in Heaven,” Adams refused to go along with the scheme and sent peace envoys to Paris. (Indeed, a treaty would be signed at the end of September 1800.)
Gee… raise taxes, have Federal Debt, want overseas adventures, silence the opposition… Sounds rather familiar. The most extreme “Ultras” take power in the off year election…
Unlike today, each party nominated two candidates for the presidency.
Federalist congressmen had caucused that spring and, without indicating a preference, designated Adams and South Carolina’s Charles Cotesworth Pinckney as the party’s choices.
In addition to Jefferson, Republicans chose Aaron Burr as their candidate, but designated Jefferson as the party’s first choice.
Then politicians began playing with the local “rules” to assure their side would win:
But for all its differences, much about the campaign of 1800 was recognizably modern. Politicians carefully weighed which procedures were most likely to advance their party’s interests. Virginia, for instance, had permitted electors to be elected from districts in three previous presidential contests, but after Federalists carried 8 of 19 congressional districts in the elections of 1798, Republicans, who controlled the state assembly, switched to the winner-take-all format, virtually guaranteeing they would get every one of Virginia’s 21 electoral votes in 1800. The ploy was perfectly legal, and Federalists in Massachusetts, fearing an upsurge in Republican strength, scuttled district elections—which the state had used previously—to select electors by the legislature, which they controlled.
Vitriol was strong in the press and no lie was too extreme if it hurt the opposition.
Though the contest was played out largely in the print media, the unsparing personal attacks on the character and temperament of the nominees resembled the studied incivility to which today’s candidates are accustomed on television. Adams was portrayed as a monarchist who had turned his back on republicanism; he was called senile, a poor judge of character, vain, jealous and driven by an “ungovernable temper.” Pinckney was labeled a mediocrity, a man of “limited talents” who was “illy suited to the exalted station” of the presidency. Jefferson was accused of cowardice. Not only, said his critics, had he lived in luxury at Monticello while others sacrificed during the War of Independence, but he had fled like a jack rabbit when British soldiers raided Charlottesville in 1781. And he had failed egregiously as Virginia’s governor, demonstrating that his “nerves are too weak to bear anxiety and difficulties.” Federalists further insisted Jefferson had been transformed into a dangerous radical during his residence in France and was a “howling atheist.” For his part, Burr was depicted as without principles, a man who would do anything to get his hands on power.
Then the election ran on for an unbelievable length.
Also like today, the election of 1800 seemed to last forever. “Electioneering is already begun,” the first lady, Abigail Adams, noted 13 months before the Electoral College was to meet. What made it such a protracted affair was that state legislatures were elected throughout the year; as these assemblies more often than not chose presidential electors, the state contests to determine them became part of the national campaign. In 1800 the greatest surprise among these contests occurred in New York, a large, crucial state that had given all 12 of its electoral votes to Adams in 1796, allowing him to eke out a three-vote victory over Jefferson.
And the vote ended up being tossed to Congress to decide:
The various presidential electors met in their respective state capitals to vote on December 3. By law, their ballots were not to be opened and counted until February 11, but the outcome could hardly be kept secret for ten weeks. Sure enough, just nine days after the vote, Washington, D.C.’s National Intelligencer newspaper broke the news that neither Adams nor Pinckney had received a single South Carolina vote and, in the voting at large, Jefferson and Burr had each received 73 electoral votes. Adams had gotten 65, Pinckney 64. The House of Representatives would have to make the final decision between the two Republicans.
There was even the risk that if things could not be resolved, the Spendy Central Authoritarians would end up in control of things:
Though Jefferson and Burr had tied in the Electoral College, public opinion appeared to side with Jefferson. Not only had he been the choice of his party’s nominating caucus, but he had served longer at the national level than Burr, and in a more exalted capacity. But if neither man was selected by noon on March 4, when Adams’ term ended, the country would be without a chief executive until the newly elected Congress convened in December, nine months later. In the interim, the current, Federalist-dominated Congress would be in control.
Golly that sure has a lot of similarities to the pickle we are experiencing today.
Burr’s was not the only intrigue. Given the high stakes, every conceivable pressure was applied to change votes. Those in the deadlocked delegations were courted daily, but no one was lobbied more aggressively than James Bayard, Delaware’s lone congressman, who held in his hands the sole determination of how his state would vote.
They were more evenly divided in Delaware…
When the roll call was complete, Jefferson had carried eight states, Burr six, and two deadlocked states had cast uncommitted ballots; Jefferson still needed one more vote for a majority. A second vote was held, with a similar tally, then a third. When at 3 a.m. the exhausted congressmen finally called it a day, 19 roll calls had been taken, all with the same inconclusive result.
By Saturday evening, three days later, the House had cast 33 ballots. The deadlock seemed unbreakable.
And you thought our Congress was a cat fight…
A shaken President Adams was certain the two sides had come to the “precipice” of disaster and that “a civil war was expected.” There was talk that Virginia would secede if Jefferson were not elected. Some Republicans declared they would convene another constitutional convention to restructure the federal government so that it reflected the “democratical spirit of America.” It was rumored that a mob had stormed the arsenal in Philadelphia and was preparing to march on Washington to drive the defeated Federalists from power. Jefferson said he could not restrain those of his supporters who threatened “a dissolution” of the Union. He told Adams that many Republicans were prepared to use force to prevent the Federalists’ “legislative usurpation” of the executive branch.
Gee… kinda like a whole lot of people interested in a “2 State Solution” and / or a march on D.C.
In all likelihood, it was these threats that ultimately broke the deadlock. The shift occurred sometime after Saturday’s final ballot; it was Delaware’s Bayard who blinked. That night, he sought out a Republican close to Jefferson, almost certainly John Nicholas, a member of Virginia’s House delegation. Were Delaware to abstain, Bayard pointed out, only 15 states would ballot. With eight states already in his column, Jefferson would have a majority and the elusive victory at last. But in return, Bayard asked, would Jefferson accept the terms that the Federalists had earlier proffered? Nicholas responded, according to Bayard’s later recollections, that these conditions were “very reasonable” and that he could vouch for Jefferson’s acceptance.
So we’ve had contested elections and back room dealing from the start.
The following day, February 17, the House gathered at noon to cast its 36th, and, as it turned out, final, vote. Bayard was true to his word: Delaware abstained, ending seven days of contention and the long electoral battle.
Had Jefferson in fact cut a deal to secure the presidency? Ever afterward, he insisted that such allegations were “absolutely false.” The historical evidence, however, suggests otherwise. Not only did many political insiders assert that Jefferson had indeed agreed to a bargain, but Bayard, in a letter dated February 17, the very day of the climactic House vote—as well as five years later, while testifying under oath in a libel suit—insisted that Jefferson had most certainly agreed to accept the Federalists’ terms.
Even Jefferson’s actions as president lend credence to the allegations. Despite having fought against the Hamiltonian economic system for nearly a decade, he acquiesced to it once in office, leaving the Bank of the United States in place and tolerating continued borrowing by the federal government. Nor did he remove most Federalist officeholders.
The mystery is not why Jefferson would deny making such an accord, but why he changed his mind after vowing never to bend. He must have concluded that he had no choice if he wished to become president by peaceful means.
What happens in the Back Room, stays in the Back Room. It would seem…
In the days that followed the House battle, Jefferson wrote letters to several surviving signers of the Declaration of Independence to explain what he believed his election had meant. It guaranteed the triumph of the American Revolution, he said, ensuring the realization of the new “chapter in the history of man” that had been promised by Thomas Paine in 1776. In the years that followed, his thoughts often returned to the election’s significance. In 1819, at age 76, he would characterize it as the “revolution of 1800,” and he rejoiced to a friend in Virginia, Spencer Roane, that it had been effected peacefully “by the rational and peaceful instruments of reform, the suffrage of the people.”
So now it’s 200 years later. I wonder if it is time for the “Revolution of 2020”? ANOTHER to be: effected peacefully “by the rational and peaceful instruments of reform, the suffrage of the people.” By counting the actual votes cast, not the fraudulent ones.
The fraud in this election is rampant, blatant, and so huge any statistic you turn over shouts it at you. 170,000 more votes counted than voters counted in one State. 200,000 votes with 99.5% for Biden in one lump in another? You get more than that 1/2% for Trump just by error… Whole swathes of “common names” who suddenly didn’t vote in large numbers, replaced by folks with them as the ONLY instance of that surname. No brothers, sisters, uncles, cousins, children, parents… Certainly just generated from a name list, not actual residents. Then the software in the machines, illegally changed just before the election, then changed again, also illegally, in a cover-up just after the election. Ballots run through the different software has the Diddle Ware voting Biden, the hand count for Trump then matching the Cover Up Software.
So my question is just this:
Will Congress act and use the “peaceful instruments of reform”? Or will we have “Diplomacy by other means”? I guess we’ll find out what they give us on January 6. But I find it curiously comforting that the nation has been through all this before and came out OK. Nothing happening now is unprecedented. (Except maybe the manner and scale of the vote stealing…)