1816

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN & ELECTIONS

OVERVIEWS & CHRONOLOGIES: 1816

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

OVERVIEW

Election Year: 1816

Election Day Date: February 12, 1817, House and Senate counted the electoral votes

Winning Ticket:

  • James Monroe (58, Episcopalian) VA, Daniel Tompkins (42, Presbyterian) NY Dem.-Rep. 183 82.8% 183 82.8%

Losing Ticket(s):

  • Rufus King (61,Episcopalian) NY, John Eager Howard (64, Episcopalian) MD Federalist 34 15.4% 22 10.0%
  • James Ross (54,   ) PA, Federalist, 5 2.3% John Marshall (61, Episcopalian) VA Federalist 4 1.8% Robert Harper (51, Presbyterian) MD Federalist 3 1.4%
  • Non-voting Electors – – 4 1.8% 4 1.8%

Incumbent President and Vice President on Election Day:

James Madison, Elbridge Gerry, Democratic-Republican 1809-1817

Population: 1816: 8,540,000

Nominal GDP (billions of dollars): $0.81 Real GDP (billions of 2005 dollars): $12.82
GDP Deflator (index 2005=100%) 6.33 Nominal GDP per capita (current dollars): $95 Real GDP per capita (year 2005 dollars): $1,501

Number of Daily Newspapers: 42

Method of Choosing Electors:

  • Appointed by state legislature:  Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Vermont
  • Popular statewide vote (General Ticket system, usually winner take all): New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia
  • Popular vote, one elector per district: Kentucky, Maryland, Tennessee

Method of Choosing Nominees: Congressional Caucus

Central Issues (Nomination/Primaries):

  • Victory in the War of 1812 by the Democratic-Republican President against the British, (No American land lost, Victory on Lake Champlain, and in New Orleans by General Andrew Jackson – but at a price, including the burning of Washington)
  • Hartford Convention of December 1814, with New England Federalists threatening  secession, ultimately dooms the Federalist Party with the mark of “Hartford Conventionism.”
  • Republicans become more like the Federalists as the party of nationalism and centralization – advocating a national bank, a protective tariff, internal improvements — blurring the party’s identity.
  • John Randolph: Congress’s record under Madison’s leadership is nothing but “old Federalism, vamped up into something bearing the superficial appearance of Republicanism.”
  • Republicans succeed in New England by attacking the state churches in a push for religious liberty

Leading Candidates (Nomination/Primaries):

Democratic-Republican Party nomination

Democratic-Republican candidates

  • James Monroe, U.S. Secretary of State (Virginia)
  • William H. Crawford, U.S. Secretary of War (Virginia)
  • Daniel D. Tompkins, Governor of New York

Federalist Party nomination

Federalist candidates

  • Rufus King, U.S. Senator from New York

Main Controversies (Nomination/Primaries):

  • Fights over the timing and value of the caucus
  • Country tiring of Virginia presidents — John Adams complains that his son John Quincy may have to wait in Europe for his turn to lead “’till all Virginians shall be extinct.”

Turning Points (Nomination/Primaries):

  • At the start of 1816, Democratic-Republican Presidential nomination contest primarily between William H. Crawford and James Monroe, with Crawford maintaining a majority of support and Monroe a minority.

Conventions (Dates & Locations):

  • February 8, 1816: Democratic Republican Party Caucus, First Session (unofficial), party division on a candidate.
  • March 12, 1816: Democratic Republican Party Caucus, Second Session suspected to have been organized by Monroe opponents. Chairman: U.S. Sen. Jeremiah Morrow OH. Only Fifty-seven Congressional members present was postponed to March 16, 1816.
  • March 16, 1816: Democratic Republican Caucus Third Session in U.S. House chamber, with 118 members attending. Chairman: U.S. Sen. Samuel Smith, Maryland; Secretary, U.S. Rep. Richard M. Johnson Kentucky.

Convention/Caucus Turning Points:

  • Democratic Republican Caucus Third Session in U.S. House chamber, with 118 members attending. Members fight over the timing and value of the caucus; Henry Clay suggests the resolution not to nominate a candidate at the caucus, members vote this down. They nominate James Monroe for President and Daniel D. Tompkins for Vice President. There is opposition from the anti-Monroe faction.

Number of Ballots to Choose Nominees:

Democratic-Republican

Presidential Ballot

  • James Monroe 65
  • William H. Crawford 54

Vice Presidential Ballot

  • Daniel D. Tompkins 85
  • Simon Snyder 30

Federalist

  • The Federalist caucus did not make a formal nomination
  • Federalists supported New York Senator Rufus King; John E. Howard of Maryland was the candidate for vice president

General Election Controversies/Issues: Nominating caucus

Campaign Innovations (General Election): 

  • Avoid “self-serving electioneering”; Party workers were in charge of the campaigning worked with partisan presses; (work on the campaign through letter writing from behind the scenes)

Major Personalities (General Election): William Crawford;

Turning Points (General Election):

  • Pennsylvania Federalists tried to form an anti-Monroe coalition with anti-Caucus Republicans, and nominate William Crawford and a Federalist Vice Presidential nominee. However, anti-Caucus Republicans chose not to oppose Monroe
  • Republicans succeed in New England by attacking the state churches in a push for religious liberty
  • Federalists wanted Rufus King for a nominee, considered him a presumptive nominee. King was wrongfully accused by Secretary of the Treasury of owing money to the government, the money had been given to King when he was Minister to England in 1796-1803 to get Lafayette released from a French prison. The government had marked that money as a loan. Party newspapers wrote and published editorials, including King’s own letter to Monroe which cleared.

Popular Campaign Slogans:

Democratic-Republican: “Munroe” (many campaign mugs mistakenly misspelled Monroe’s name)

Campaign Song: Democratic Republicans: (James Monroe) Monroe is the Man

Influential Campaign Appeals or Ads:

Federalist warns against: “Virginia Dynasty” (Jefferson, Madison, Monroe)

Defining Quotation (Winning Candidate):

“Existence of parties is not necessary to free government” James Monroe

Defining Quotation (Losing Candidate):

  • “Federalists of our age must be content with the past.” Rufus King
  • Monroe “had the zealous support of nobody, and he was exempt from the hostility of everybody.” Rufus King

Campaign Quotations

  • “Our two great parties have crossed over the valley and taken possession of each other’s mountain.” John Adams

Further Reading: Noble E. Cunningham Jr., The Presidency of James Monroe (1996); Election Issues:

  • Representative John W. Taylor of New York wanted to disallow Indiana’s votes, claiming Indiana was a territory not a state during the actual voting.  Indiana’s constitutional convention passed the state constitution on June 29, 1816. Congress admitted Indiana as the 19th state of the Union on December 11, 1816, a week after the Electoral College voted on December 4, 1816. The House nevertheless included Indiana’s votes.

Lasting Legacy of Campaign:

  • Election of 1816 ushered in the “era of good feelings,” many believe it marked the end of party politics
  • Federalist Party collapses, the Virginia dynasty begins its finale.

 

CHRONOLOGY

  • 1812-1813: Resurgence of the Federalist Party: Young Federalists organized local chapters and recruited members.
  • January 18-23, 1813: Americans throughout the northwest are outraged by Winchester’s battle and surrender at Frenchtown, and the Wyandotte murder of sixty Kentucky prisoners of war. The northwest ceases to play a role in war strategy.
  • October 5, 1813: “The United States under General Harrison emerges victorious at the Battle of the Thames — the most important American victory to date — as it ends British and Indian control in Northwest and Upper Canada. Tecumseh dies in the battle.”
  • December 9, 1813: “Madison calls for a total embargo on exports and a ban on all imports of British origin, believing that Britain depends on trade with the United States. Congress passes the embargo just days later.”
  • February, 1814: “Madison appoints Henry Clay, Albert Gallatin, James Bayard, Jonathan Russell, and John Quincy Adams as commissioners to negotiate directly with Britain in Gothenburg, Sweden. These negotiations are later transferred to Ghent, Belgium.”
  • March 27, 1814: “Under the command of Andrew Jackson, 2,000 troops defeat the Creek Confederation at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in the Tallapoosa River, eliminating the Confederation as an obstacle to American expansion toward the Gulf Coast. It provides the United States with two-thirds of Creek land in the Treaty of Fort Jackson.”
  • March 31, 1814: “Napoleon’s European empire collapses. Learning of Napoleon’s defeat, Madison calls for an immediate repeal of the trade embargo with neutral nations, signaling a major reassessment of American war aims and strategy. He signs the bill into law on April 14. The British, meanwhile, can now turn their complete attention to war with the United States.”
  • May 11, 1814: “William Henry Harrison resigns as Major General and is replaced by Andrew Jackson, against Madison’s orders.”
  • August 24, 1814: The British burn Federal buildings in Washington, DC as a  response for the torching of Canadian Parliament buildings.
  • November 1814: Federalists lose only two seats in the U.S. House during the Mid Term election.
  • December 4, 1815: 14th Congress assembles, start of pre-caucus Presidential campaign
  • December 1815: William H. Crawford supporters launch a newspaper entitled the New-York Patriot.
  • December 15, 1814: Hartford Convention of December 1814, with New England Federalists threatening secession issues report. “Following news of Jackson’s victory at New Orleans, the U.S. public condemns the Hartford Convention as anti-American.” It ultimately dooms the Federalist Party with the mark of “Hartford Conventionism.”
  • December 24, 1814: The Treaty of Ghent ends the War of 1812 with a victory by the Democratic-Republican President against the British. (No American territory lost, Victory on Lake Champlain, and in New Orleans by General Andrew Jackson, however, Washington is burned)
  • January 8, 1815: Battle of New Orleans.
  • December 28, 1815: The New-York Courier reports that to increase his odds for the nomination Monroe is promising either Simon Snyder of PA and Daniel Tompkins the Vice Presidential slot
  • January 1, 1816: Democratic-Republican Presidential nomination contest is now primarily between William H. Crawford and James Monroe
  • January 13, 1816: The New-York Courier publishes a letter from a Monroe supporter writes claiming that Crawford withdrew from the race; letter is a forgery.
  • January 30, 1816: Crawford has majority support from the party. Monroe has the support of a minority.
  • February 8, 1816: Democratic Republican Party Caucus, First Session (unofficial), party division on a candidate.
  • February 14, 1816: New York legislature state caucus officially nominates Governor Tompkins for President.
  • February 13-14, 1815: “News arrives of the December 1814 Treaty of Ghent that ends the War of 1812.”
  • February 15, 1815: “Congress appropriates $500,000 for the reconstruction of federal buildings.”
  • February 16, 1815: The Senate ratifies the Treaty of Ghent.
  • December, 1815: “Madison presents his seventh annual message to Congress, advocating military streamlining, a new national bank, protective tariffs to promote industry, and internal improvements.”
  • February 21, 1816: Rhode Island Democratic Republican Party legislative caucus nominates Monroe and Tompkins.
  • March 2, 1816?: Pennsylvania Democratic Republican Party legislative caucus nominates Monroe and Snyder
  • March 10, 1816: Invitations are distributed for second Democratic Republican Party national caucus, however, they are unsigned.
  • March 12, 1816: Democratic Republican Party Caucus, Second Session suspected to have been organized by Monroe opponents. U.S. Sen. Jeremiah Morrow Ohio serves as chairman. Only Fifty-seven Congressional members present, the caucus is postponed to March 16, 1816.
  • March 16, 1816: Democratic Republican Caucus Third Session convenes in the U.S. House chamber with 118 members attending. U.S. Senator Samuel Smith  (Maryland) serves as chairman. U.S. Representative Richard M. Johnson (Kentucky) serves as secretary. Members fight over the timing and value of the caucus. Henry Clay suggests the resolution not to nominate a candidate at the caucus, which members vote down. They nominate James Monroe for President and Daniel D. Tompkins for Vice President. There is opposition from the anti-Monroe faction
  • 1816: Pennsylvania Federalists try to form an anti-Monroe coalition with anti-Caucus Republicans, and nominate William Crawford and a Federalist Vice Presidential nominee.
  • 1816: Anti-Caucus Republicans chose not to oppose Monroe.
  • 1816: Republicans become more like the Federalists as the party of nationalism and centralization – advocating a national bank, a protective tariff, internal improvements — blurring the party’s identity. John Randolph: Congress’s record under Madison’s leadership is nothing but “old Federalism, vamped up into something bearing the superficial appearance of Republicanism.”
  • Republicans succeed in New England by attacking the state churches in a push for religious liberty.
  • 1816: Country tiring of Virginia presidents — John Adams complains that his son John Quincy may have to wait in Europe for his turn to lead “‘till all Virginians shall be extinct.’”
  • October 2, 1816: The Albany Advertiser publishes an editorial about Monroe and the Caucus.
  • November 1, 1816: Rhode Island Federalists meet to appoint Presidential electors, to vote against Monroe.
  • November 5, 1816: Pennsylvania Federalists call a conference to name a candidate to head their fusion ticket, but leading Federalists in the state decline to attend.
  • December 3, 1816: Boston Daily Advertiser: “We do not know, nor is it very material, for whom the Federal electors will vote.”
  • December 4, 1816: Federalists want Rufus King for a nominee, they consider him the presumptive nominee. King is wrongfully accused by Secretary of the Treasury of owing money to the government, the money had been given to King when he was Minister to England in 1796-1803 to get Lafayette released from a French prison. The government had marked that money as a loan. Party newspapers write and publish editorials, including King’s own letter to Monroe, which clears him.
  • December 4, 1816: Presidential Electors meet and cast the electoral votes in their state capitals.
  • February 12, 1817: Joint session of Congress meets counts the Electoral vote. Democratic-Republican James Monroe is elected President, and Daniel Tompkins is elected Vice President.
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