Wednesday, September 21, 2022

"The Most Important US Election Ever ..."

... was the fourth US presidential election, held in 1800.

Of course, we tend to hear from one "major" party or the other that every election is the "most important one EVAH."

But yeah, it was 1800's.


Well, George Washington was elected in the first two, and if he'd chosen to continue running, he'd have continued winning until he died. It's nice that he cut himself off at two terms as an example of "no presidents for life."

The third was the first actually competitive presidential election, but it was an "open seat" rather than someone trying to hold on to power. Neither John Adams nor Thomas Jefferson was the sitting president.

The fourth was John Adams trying to keep the office he was already in, with Jefferson trying to unseat him. If Adams had won, especially after dirty tricks like the Alien and Sedition Acts, we might well have continued from there with a de facto monarchy in the form of "presidents for life."

Because he lost, it wasn't until the late 19th century that elections began to turn into quadrennial coronations of monarchs from sets of candidates limited to two "major parties," and it wasn't until 1932-44 that we got an individual "president for life" (corrected for shortly thereafter with the 22nd Amendment to limit the monarch to two terms).

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