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Presidential Election of 1808 Facts and Outcome

The Presidential Election of 1808 was a face-off between James Madison and Charles Pinckney.

Thomas Jefferson’s second term was much tougher than the first. He landed in hot water due to the Embargo Act that decimated the economy, especially New England, and seemed to be on the brink of war with Great Britain.

Despite the unpopular acts passed by Congress the Democratic-Republicans again won relatively easy.

  • Democratic-Republicans: James Madison and Vice President George Clinton
  • Federalists: Charles Pinckney and Vice President Rufus King

Presidential Election of 1808: Platforms

Democratic-Republicans: They continued to ride the wave of popularity from Jefferson. The Embargo Act had certainly taken away the gains they made in New England, but even-so the rest of the United States did not want to change back to the Federalists.

Federalists: The main point of contention was the Embargo Act that was destroying the economy. However, the party still remained relatively disorganized with being known what they were against rather than what they believed could help America.

Presidential Election of 1808: Results

James Madison won easily by more than doubling the electoral votes of the Federalists. However, the Federalists did make some gains in New England but nothing too significant.

The Federalist Party had begun to fade into the background of American politics, despite their political gains in this election and a small comeback in 1810. Since the death of Alexander Hamilton, they had failed to re-organize and unify under the changing economy and culture of America. 

An underlying current was beginning to develop in the young nation and it would come to fruition in the congressional election of 1810. However, the Federalist party would be unable to take advantage and their gains would be gone by the Election of 1812.

James Madison would come into the office and immediately face a crisis. Madison’s entire first term would be spent dealing with the imminent threat that the British had posed on the United States Navy. 

Presidential Election of 1808 Electoral Map

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