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1808 United States presidential election

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1808 United States presidential election

← 1804 November 4 – December 7, 1808 1812 →

176 members of the Electoral College
89 electoral votes needed to win
Turnout36.8%[1] Increase 13.0 pp
Nominee James Madison Charles C. Pinckney
Party Democratic-Republican Federalist
Home state Virginia South Carolina
Running mate George Clinton Rufus King
Electoral vote 122 47
States carried 12 5
Popular vote 124,732 62,431
Percentage 64.8% 32.4%

1808 United States presidential election in Massachusetts1808 United States presidential election in New Hampshire1808 United States presidential election in Massachusetts1808 United States presidential election in Rhode Island1808 United States presidential election in Connecticut1808 United States presidential election in New York1808 United States presidential election in Vermont1808 United States presidential election in New Jersey1808 United States presidential election in Pennsylvania1808 United States presidential election in Delaware1808 United States presidential election in Maryland1808 United States presidential election in Virginia1808 United States presidential election in Ohio1808 United States presidential election in Kentucky1808 United States presidential election in Tennessee1808 United States presidential election in North Carolina1808 United States presidential election in South Carolina1808 United States presidential election in Georgia
Presidential election results map. Green denotes states won by Madison, burnt orange denotes states won by Pinckney, and light green denotes states won by Clinton. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes cast by each state.

President before election

Thomas Jefferson

Elected President

James Madison

The 1808 United States presidential election was the sixth quadrennial presidential election, held from Friday, November 4, to Wednesday, December 7, 1808. The Democratic-Republican candidate James Madison defeated Federalist candidate Charles Cotesworth Pinckney decisively.

Madison had served as Secretary of State since President Thomas Jefferson took office in 1801. Jefferson, who had declined to run for a third term, threw his strong support behind Madison, a fellow Virginian. Sitting Vice President George Clinton and former Ambassador James Monroe both challenged Madison for leadership of the party, but Madison won his party's nomination and Clinton was re-nominated as vice president. The Federalists chose to re-nominate Pinckney, a former ambassador who had served as the party's 1804 nominee, again alongside Rufus King.

Despite the unpopularity of the Embargo Act of 1807, Madison won the vast majority of electoral votes outside of the Federalist stronghold of New England. Clinton received six electoral votes for president from his home state of New York. This election was the first of two instances in American history in which a new president was selected but the incumbent vice president won re-election, the other being in 1828.

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Democratic-Republican Party nomination

Democratic-Republican Party
Democratic-Republican Party
1808 Democratic-Republican Party Ticket
James Madison George Clinton
for President for Vice President
U.S. Secretary of State
Vice President of the United States
Thomas Jefferson, the incumbent president in 1808, whose second term expired on March 4, 1809

Presidential candidates

Vice-presidential candidates


Senator Stephen R. Bradley, who had chaired the congressional nominating caucus during the 1804 presidential election, made a call for the 1808 caucus to the 146 Democratic-Republican members of the United States Congress and Federalist allies. The caucus was attended by 89 to 94 members of Congress.[2]

The caucus was held in January 1808. With the support of outgoing President Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State James Madison won the presidential nomination over opposing candidates James Monroe and Vice President George Clinton. The caucus voted to give the vice presidential nomination to Clinton over his main opponent John Langdon, although Clinton's supporters believed Clinton would receive the Federalist Party's presidential nomination. The Federalists instead nominated Charles Cotesworth Pinckney that September. A committee of fifteen members was selected to manage Madison's campaign.[2][3]

Seventeen Democratic-Republicans in Congress opposed Madison's selection and the caucus system whose authority to select presidential and vice-presidential candidates was disputed. Clinton also opposed the caucus system.[2] Monroe was nominated by a group of Virginia Democratic-Republicans, and although he did not actively try to defeat Madison, he also refused to withdraw from the race.[4] Clinton was also supported by a group of New York Democratic-Republicans for president even as he remained the party's official vice presidential candidate.[5]


Presidential Ballot Total Vice Presidential Ballot Total
James Madison 83 George Clinton 79
James Monroe 3 John Langdon 5
George Clinton 3 Henry Dearborn 3
John Quincy Adams 1

Federalist Party nomination

Federalist Party
Federalist Party
1808 Federalist Party Ticket
Charles C. Pinckney Rufus King
for President for Vice President
Former U.S. Minister
to France

Former U.S. Minister
to Great Britain


The Federalist caucus met in September 1808 and re-nominated the party's 1804 ticket, which consisted of General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney of South Carolina and former Senator Rufus King of New York.[6] This was the only time in American history that a defeated major party renominated its losing ticket for a second time.

General election


The election was marked by opposition to Jefferson's Embargo Act of 1807, a halt to trade with Europe that disproportionately hurt New England merchants and was perceived as favoring France over Britain. Nonetheless, Jefferson was still very popular with Americans generally and Pinckney was soundly defeated by Madison, though not as badly as in 1804. Pinckney received few electoral votes outside of New England.


Pinckney retained the electoral votes of the two states that he carried in 1804 (Connecticut and Delaware), and he also picked up New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and three electoral districts in North Carolina besides the two electoral districts in Maryland that he carried earlier. Except for the North Carolina districts, all of the improvement was in New England.

Monroe won a portion of the popular vote in Virginia and North Carolina,[4] while the New York legislature split its electoral votes between Madison and Clinton.[5]

Electoral results
Presidential candidate Party Home state Popular vote(a), (b) Electoral
Running mate
Count Percentage Vice-presidential candidate Home state Electoral vote(c)
James Madison Democratic-Republican Virginia 124,732 64.7% 122 George Clinton (incumbent) New York 113
John Langdon New Hampshire 9
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney Federalist South Carolina 62,431 32.4% 47 Rufus King New York 47
George Clinton Democratic-Republican New York 6 James Madison Virginia 3
James Monroe Virginia 3
James Monroe Democratic-Republican Virginia 4,848 2.5% 0 None N/A 0
Unpledged electors None N/A 680 0.4% 0 N/A N/A 0
Total 192,691 100% 175 175
Needed to win 89 89

Source (Popular Vote): United States Presidential Elections, 1788-1860: The Official Results by County and State[7]
Source (Popular Vote): A New Nation Votes: American Election Returns 1787-1825[8]
Source (Electoral Vote): "Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved July 30, 2005.

(a) Only 10 of the 17 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 Kentucky did not vote.

Popular vote by state

The popular vote totals used are the elector from each party with the highest total of votes. The vote totals of North Carolina and Tennessee appear to be incomplete.

State James Madison


Charles C. Pinckney


James Monroe


Margin Citation
# % # % # %
Kentucky 2,679 98.02% 54 1.98% No ballots 2,625 96.04% [9]
Maryland 15,336 63.31% 8,886 36.69% No ballots 6,450 26.62% [10]
New Hampshire 12,793 47.60% 14,085 52.40% No ballots -1,292 -4.80% [11]
New Jersey 18,670 55.97% 14,687 44.03% No ballots 3,983 11.94% [12]
North Carolina 8,829 51.08% 7,523 43.53% 931 5.39% 1,306 7.55% [13]
Ohio 3,645 60.82% 1,174 19.59% 1,174 19.59% 2,471 41.23% [14]
Pennsylvania 42,518 78.37% 11,735 21.63% No ballots 30,783 56.74% [15]
Rhode Island 2,692 46.70% 3,072 53.30% No ballots -380 -6.60% [16]
Tennessee 1,016 11 No ballots [17]
Virginia 15,683 78.62% 761 3.81% 3,505 17.57% 12,178 61.05% [18]

Close states

States where the margin of victory was under 5%:

  1. New Hampshire, 4.8% (1,292 votes)

States where the margin of victory was under 10%:

  1. Rhode Island, 6.6% (380 votes)
  2. North Carolina, 7.55% (1,306 votes)
Popular vote
Electoral vote—President
Electoral vote—Vice President

Electoral college selection

Results by county explicitly indicating the percentage of the winning candidate in each county. Shades of blue are for Madison (Democratic-Republican), shades of yellow are for Pinckney (Federalist), and shades of green are for Monroe (Democratic-Republican).
Method of choosing electors State(s)
Each Elector appointed by state legislature
Each Elector chosen by voters statewide

State is divided into two electoral districts and half the electors are chosen from each district.

State is divided into electoral districts, with one Elector chosen per district by the voters of that district

See also


  1. ^ "National General Election VEP Turnout Rates, 1789-Present". United States Election Project. CQ Press. Archived from the original on November 14, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c National Party Conventions, 1831-1976. Congressional Quarterly. 1979.
  3. ^ Sabato, Larry; Ernst, Howard (January 1, 2009). Encyclopedia of American Political Parties and Elections. Infobase Publishing. pp. 302–304.
  4. ^ a b Ammon, Harry (1963). "James Monroe and the Election of 1808 in Virginia". The William and Mary Quarterly. 20 (1): 33–56. doi:10.2307/1921354. JSTOR 1921354.
  5. ^ a b Kaminski, John P. (1993). George Clinton: Yeoman Politician of the New Republic. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 281–288. ISBN 9780945612186. Retrieved October 12, 2015.
  6. ^ Deskins, Donald Richard; Walton, Hanes; Puckett, Sherman (2010). Presidential Elections, 1789-2008: County, State, and National Mapping of Election Data. University of Michigan Press. pp. 49–50.
  7. ^ Dubin, Michael J. (2002). United States Presidential Elections, 1788-1860: The Official Results by County and State. Jefferson: McFarland & Company. p. 15. ISBN 9780786410170.
  8. ^ "A New Nation Votes". Archived from the original on May 13, 2018.
  9. ^ "A New Nation Votes". Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  10. ^ "A New Nation Votes". Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  11. ^ "A New Nation Votes". Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  12. ^ "A New Nation Votes". Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  13. ^ "A New Nation Votes". Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  14. ^ "A New Nation Votes". Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  15. ^ "A New Nation Votes". Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  16. ^ "A New Nation Votes". Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  17. ^ "A New Nation Votes". Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  18. ^ "A New Nation Votes". Retrieved October 8, 2020.

Further reading

  • Brant, Irving, "Election of 1808" in Arthur Meier Schlesinger and Fred L. Israel, eds. History of American presidential elections, 1789-1968: Volume 1 (1971) pp 185-249
  • Carson, David A. "Quiddism and the Reluctant Candidacy of James Monroe in the Election of 1808," Mid-America 1988 70(2): 79–89

External links

This page was last edited on 16 September 2023, at 21:45
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