U.S. presidential election, 1800
|Presidential Candidate||Electoral Vote||Party|
|Thomas Jefferson (W)||73||Democratic-Republican|
|Other elections: 1789, 1792, 1796, 1800, 1804, 1808, 1812|
|Source: U.S. Office of the Federal Register|
Prior to ratification of the Twelfth Amendment, votes for President and Vice President were not listed on separate ballots. Although John Adams ran as Jefferson's main opponent in the general election, running-mates Jefferson and Burr received the same number of electoral votes (73 votes). With the votes tied, the election was thrown to the House of Representatives. There, each state voted as a unit to decide the election.
Still dominated by Federalists, the sitting Congress was loathe to vote for Jefferson--their partisan nemesis. For six days, Jefferson and Burr essentially ran against each other in the House. Votes were tallied thirty-five times, yet neither man captured the necessary majority of nine states. Eventually, a small group of Federalists, led by James A. Bayard of Delaware, reasoned that a peaceful transfer of power required the majority choose the President, and a deal was struck in Jefferson's favor. On February 17, 1801, the election was finally decided on the thirty-sixth ballot with 10 state delegations voting for Jefferson, 4 voting for Burr and 2 making no choice.
Jefferson's triumph brought an end to one of the most acrimonious presidential campaigns in U.S. history and resolved a serious Constitutional crisis. Jefferson was inaugurated on March 4, 1801. Three years later, in 1804, the Twelfth Amendment to the United States' Constitution was adopted, which provides that electors "name in their ballots the person voted for as president, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as vice president."
Just three years after his vice-presidential inauguration, Aaron Burr shot and fatally wounded Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Hamilton, a longtime political antagonist of Burr, played a key role in breaking the congressional stalemate in Jefferson's favor
(large excerpts taken from The Library of Congress' "Today in History")