1816 United States presidential election

The 1816 United States presidential election was the eighth quadrennial presidential election. It was held from November 1 to December 4, 1816. In the first election following the end of the War of 1812, Democratic-Republican candidate James Monroe defeated Federalist Rufus King. The election was the last in which the Federalist Party fielded a presidential candidate.

1816 United States presidential election

← 1812 November 1 – December 4, 1816 1820 →

217 members of the Electoral College
109 electoral votes needed to win
Turnout16.9%[1] Decrease 23.5 pp
  James Monroe by John Vanderlyn, 1816 - DSC03228.JPG Gilbert Stuart - Portrait of Rufus King (1819-1820) - Google Art Project.jpg
Nominee James Monroe Rufus King
Party Democratic-Republican Federalist
Home state Virginia New York
Running mate Daniel D. Tompkins John E. Howard
Electoral vote 183 34
States carried 16 3
Popular vote 76,592 34,740
Percentage 68.2% 30.9%

1816 United States presidential election in Massachusetts1816 United States presidential election in New Hampshire1816 United States presidential election in Massachusetts1816 United States presidential election in Rhode Island1816 United States presidential election in Connecticut1816 United States presidential election in New York1816 United States presidential election in Vermont1816 United States presidential election in New Jersey1816 United States presidential election in Pennsylvania1816 United States presidential election in Delaware1816 United States presidential election in Maryland1816 United States presidential election in Virginia1816 United States presidential election in Ohio1816 United States presidential election in Indiana1816 United States presidential election in Kentucky1816 United States presidential election in Tennessee1816 United States presidential election in North Carolina1816 United States presidential election in South Carolina1816 United States presidential election in Georgia1816 United States presidential election in LouisianaElectoralCollege1816.svg
About this image
Presidential election results map. Green denotes states won by Monroe and burnt orange denotes states won by King. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes cast by each state.

President before election

James Madison

Elected President

James Monroe

As President James Madison chose to retire after serving two terms, the Democratic-Republicans held a congressional nominating caucus in March 1816. With the support of Madison and former President Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State Monroe defeated Secretary of War William H. Crawford to win his party's presidential nomination. Governor Daniel D. Tompkins of New York won the Democratic-Republican vice presidential nomination, continuing the party's tradition of balancing a presidential nominee from Virginia with a vice presidential nominee from either New York or New England. The Federalists did not formally nominate a ticket, but Senator King of New York emerged as the de facto Federalist candidate.

The previous four years of American politics were dominated by the effects of the War of 1812. Its drawn outcome and the peace concluded in 1815 were satisfactory to the American people, and the Democratic-Republicans received credit for the results. Federalists were discredited by having opposed the war and by radical rhetoric from New England Federalists at the Hartford Convention. Also, President Madison had adopted certain measures favored by Federalists, including a national bank and protective tariffs. The Federalists had little to campaign on, and Monroe easily won the Electoral College, carrying 16 of the 19 states.


Democratic-Republican Party nominationEdit

1816 Democratic-Republican Party Ticket
James Monroe Daniel D. Tompkins
for President for Vice President
U.S. Secretary of War
Governor of New York

Withdrew before caucusEdit

Declined to runEdit

James Monroe was the favorite candidate of both former President Jefferson and retiring President Madison. However, Monroe faced stiff competition from Secretary of War William H. Crawford of Georgia. Also, there was widespread sentiment, especially in New York, that it was time to end the Virginia dynasty of presidents, resulting in Daniel D. Tompkins and Simon Snyder, the governors of New York and Pennsylvania respectively, briefly considering running for the nomination. But Monroe's long record of service at home and abroad made him a fitting candidate to succeed Madison. Crawford never formally declared himself a candidate, because he believed that he had little chance against Monroe and feared such a contest might deny him a place in the new cabinet. Tompkins and Snyder realized they had even less chance of beating Monroe to the nomination, and instead positioned themselves to run for the vice-presidency. Still, Crawford's supporters posed a significant challenge to Monroe.[2]

In March 1816, Democratic-Republican congressmen in caucus nominated Monroe for President and Tompkins for Vice President. Monroe defeated Crawford for the nomination by a vote of 65 to 54, while Tompkins defeated Snyder by a wider margin of 85 votes to 30.

The Balloting
Presidential Ballot Vice Presidential Ballot
James Monroe 65 Daniel D. Tompkins 85
William H. Crawford 54 Simon Snyder 30

Federalist Party candidatesEdit

1816 Federalist Party Ticket
Rufus King John Eager Howard
for President for Vice President
U. S. Senator
from New York
(1789–1796, 1813–1825)
Former U. S. Senator
from Maryland

In hopes of uniting with disaffected Democratic-Republicans, as they had in the previous election, the Federalists initially planned to hold their own congressional nominating caucus after that of the Democratic-Republicans. With the end of the war and the nomination of Monroe, the Federalists abandoned their hopes of another fusion ticket, and the demoralized party failed to formally nominate a candidate. Senator Rufus King of New York, who had been the party's 1804 and 1808 vice presidential nominee, and who had been nominated for president by a dissident faction of the party in 1812, eventually emerged as the de facto Federalist candidate. Several Federalists would receive electoral votes for vice president, with former Senator John Eager Howard of Maryland receiving the most votes.[3]

General electionEdit

Results by county explicitly indicating the percentage of the winning candidate in each county. Shades of blue are for Monroe (Democratic-Republican), shades of yellow are for King (Federalist), and shades of green are for Independent Republicans (Democratic-Republican).

Dispute about IndianaEdit

On February 12, 1817, the House and Senate met in joint session to count the electoral votes for president and vice president. The count proceeded without incident until the roll came to the last state to be counted, Indiana. At that point, Representative John W. Taylor of New York objected to the counting of Indiana's votes. He argued that Congress had acknowledged the statehood of Indiana in a joint resolution on December 11, 1816, whereas the ballots of the Electoral College had been cast on December 4, 1816. He claimed that at the time of the balloting, there had been merely a Territory of Indiana, not a State of Indiana. Other representatives contradicted Taylor, asserting that the joint resolution merely recognized that Indiana had already joined the Union by forming a state constitution and government on June 29, 1816. These representatives pointed out that both the House and Senate had seated members from Indiana who had been elected prior to the joint resolution, which would have been unconstitutional had Indiana not been a state at the time of their election. Representative Samuel D. Ingham then moved that the question be postponed indefinitely. The House agreed almost unanimously, and the Senate was brought back in to count the electoral votes from Indiana. The issue had no bearing on the final result.


When the votes were counted, Monroe had won all but three of the nineteen states. King thought that a Monroe victory was inevitable, and did not seriously contest the election.[4]

Each of the three states that were won by King voted for a different person for vice president. Massachusetts electors voted for former United States Senator (and future Governor) John Eager Howard of Maryland. Delaware chose a different Marylander, sitting United States Senator Robert Goodloe Harper. Connecticut split its vote between James Ross of Pennsylvania and Chief Justice John Marshall.

Maryland did not choose its electors as a slate; rather, it divided itself into electoral districts, with each district choosing one elector. Three of Maryland's eleven districts were won by Federalist electors. However, these electors did not vote for King or for a Federalist vice president, instead casting blank votes as a protest.


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 Monroe Democratic-Republican Virginia 76,592 68.2% 183 Daniel D. Tompkins New York 183
Rufus King Federalist New York 34,740 30.9% 34 John Eager Howard Maryland 22
James Ross Pennsylvania 5
John Marshall Virginia 4
Robert Goodloe Harper Maryland 3
Unpledged electors None N/A 1,038 0.9% 0 N/A N/A 0
Total 112,370 100% 217 217
Needed to win 109 109

Source (Popular Vote): A New Nation Votes: American Election Returns 1787-1825[5]

(a) Only 10 of the 19 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 Delaware and three Electors from Maryland did not vote.

Popular vote
Electoral vote—President
Unpledged electors
Electoral vote—Vice President
Unpledged electors

Results by stateEdit

Elections in this period were vastly different from modern day Presidential elections. The actual Presidential candidates were rarely mentioned on tickets and voters were voting for particular electors who were pledged to a particular candidate. There was sometimes confusion as to who the particular elector was actually pledged to. Results are reported as the highest result for an elector for any given candidate. For example, if three Monroe electors received 100, 50, and 25 votes, Monroe would be recorded as having 100 votes. Confusion surrounding the way results are reported may lead to discrepancies between the sum of all state results and national results.

The Federalist parties of New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Virginia did not provide a slate of electors, and as such Monroe was virtually unopposed in these states (though trivial Federalist electors received a handful of votes in New Jersey and Virginia).[6][7][8]

Tennessee cast votes but they have been lost to time.[9]

James Monroe


Rufus King


Margin Not cast Citation
State Electoral vote # % Electoral vote # % Electoral vote # % #
Connecticut 9 - - - - - 9 - - - [10]
Delaware 4 - - - - - 3 - - 1 [10]
Georgia 8 - - 8 - - - - - - [10]
Indiana 3 - - 3 - - - - - - [10]
Kentucky 12 1,864 100% 12 0 0.00% - 1,864 100% - [11]
Louisiana 3 - - 3 - - - - - - [10]
Maryland 11 5,994 57.11% 8 4,502 42.89% - 1,492 14.22% 3 [12]
Massachusetts 22 - - - - - 22 - - - [10]
New Hampshire 8 15,225 53.30% 8 13,338 46.70% 1,887 6.60% - [13]
New Jersey 8 5,441 98.02% 8 54 0.98% - 5,387 97.04% - [6]
New York 29 - - 29 - - - - - - [10]
North Carolina 15 9,549 98.37% 15 158 1.63% - 9,391 96.74% - [14]
Ohio 8 3,326 84.87% 8 593 15.13% - 2,733 69.74% - [15]
Pennsylvania 25 25,749 58.91% 25 17,597 40.26% - 8,152 18.65% - [16]
Rhode Island 4 1,236 100% 4 0 0.00% - 1,236 100% - [7]
South Carolina 11 - - 11 - - - - - - [10]
Tennessee 8 ? ? 8 ? ? - - - - [9]
Vermont 8 - - 8 - - - - - - [10]
Virginia 25 6,859 99.94% 25 4 0.06% - 6,855 99.88% - [8]

States where the margin of victory was under 10%Edit

  1. New Hampshire, 6.60% (1,887 votes)

Electoral college selectionEdit

Method of choosing electors State(s)
Each Elector appointed by state legislature
Each Elector chosen by voters statewide
State is divided into electoral districts, with one Elector chosen per district by the voters of that district

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "National General Election VEP Turnout Rates, 1789-Present". United States Election Project. CQ Press.
  2. ^ William DeGregorio, The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents, Gramercy 1997
  3. ^ 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. 65–66.
  4. ^ Sabato, Larry; Ernst, Howard (January 1, 2009). Encyclopedia of American Political Parties and Elections. Infobase Publishing. pp. 304–305.
  5. ^ "A New Nation Votes".
  6. ^ a b "A New Nation Votes". elections.lib.tufts.edu. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  7. ^ a b "A New Nation Votes". elections.lib.tufts.edu. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  8. ^ a b "A New Nation Votes". elections.lib.tufts.edu. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  9. ^ a b "A New Nation Votes". elections.lib.tufts.edu. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Presidential Election of 1816". 270toWin.com. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  11. ^ "A New Nation Votes". elections.lib.tufts.edu. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  12. ^ "A New Nation Votes". elections.lib.tufts.edu. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  13. ^ "A New Nation Votes". elections.lib.tufts.edu. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  14. ^ "A New Nation Votes". elections.lib.tufts.edu. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  15. ^ "A New Nation Votes". elections.lib.tufts.edu. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  16. ^ "A New Nation Votes". elections.lib.tufts.edu. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
U.S. Congressional Documents

Source (Electoral Vote): "Electoral College Box Scores 1789–1996". National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved July 30, 2005.

External linksEdit