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United States Presidential Candidates

vote, vice-president and electors

UNITED STATES PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES. Since the establishment of the government of the United States there have been several important changes in the method of electing the candidates for the offices of President and Vice-President. Prior to 1804, for example, each elector voted for two candidates for the Presidency. The one who received the largest number of votes was then declared elected, while the candidate receiving the second largest electoral vote filled the office of Vice-President. Thus as the electoral vote at the first election showed 69 ballots for Washington and 34 for John Adams, General Washington became the first President of the new republic, while the defeated Adams was declared its Vice-President.

During the first quarter of a century of its national existence practically no edirecta vote was cast for the election of the two chief ex ecutives of the United States. Instead of se lecting the electors by a vote— as is the case at the present day — in nearly all States, the electors were by .the legisla

ture, a fact which makes it extremely difficult, if not absolutely impossible, to obtain any ac curate figures which might indicate the strength of popular opinion at any of the national elec tions prior to 1824, by which time the choice of electors by the vote of the people had become general throughout the Union.

It was not until 1804 that electors cast their vote for both a President and a Vice-President instead of for the two candidates for the Pres idency, for it was during Thomas Tefferson's first term that this matter . was so widely agitated that a necessary Constitutional amend ment was adopted providing for the methods of election which now prevail in all parts of the country.

Although, from an official point of view, there is no such thing as a popular vote for the election of President and Vice-President the ballots cast in the various States for the sev eral electors is always regarded as the