Richmond, VA: July 29, 1800.
1p. Paper-covered wax seal at lower left. 10 x 7-1/4 inches. Election of 1800. Old folds, minor stain, remnants of prior mounting on the verso Item #346510
The Election of 1800, sometimes referred to as the Revolution of 1800, was a significant moment in American political history, being the first election in which the power of the Federal government transferred from one party (John Adams's Federalists) to the other (Thomas Jefferson's Democratic Republicans). But the election was not without major controversy. In the years prior to the passage of the 12th Amendment, no distinction was made between electoral votes for the president and vice president, with the second place winner serving in the latter position regardless of the party affiliation of the former. For the first time, in the election of 1800 the parties put up slates of candidates, with Adams running with Charles C. Pinkney and Jefferson with Aaron Burr. However, because electors could not distinguish between president and vice president when voting, Jefferson and Burr each received 73 electoral votes. Thus with the electoral vote tied, per the Constitution the presidential election was decided by the House of Representatives. From February 11 to 17, 1801, the House cast a total of 35 ballots to decide the presidency, each ending in a tie, with most Federalists backing Burr. On the 36th ballot, after Alexander Hamilton had actively campaigned against Burr, Delaware representative James Bayard changed his vote to abstain, thereby giving the dramatic victory to Jefferson.
The present document, signed by James Monroe as the Governor of Virginia (whose 21 electoral votes were cast for Jefferson and Burr respectively) is a rare document from that famed election, appointing election commissioners from Augusta County, the county neighboring Monticello's Albermale County.
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