The 1840 United States elections elected the members of the 27th United States Congress, taking place during the Second Party System. In the aftermath of the Panic of 1837, the Whigs become the fourth party in history to win control of the Presidency and both houses of Congress; the Whigs would never again accomplish this feat. The election also marked the first time since the 1834 elections that the Democratic Party did not control the Presidency and both chambers of Congress.
|Presidential election year|
|Incumbent president||Martin Van Buren (Democratic)|
|Partisan control||Whig gain|
|Popular vote margin||Whig +6.1%|
|William Henry Harrison (W)||234|
|Martin Van Buren (D)||60|
|1840 presidential election results. Blue denotes states won by Van Buren, buff denotes states won by Harrison. Numbers indicate the electoral votes won by each candidate.|
|Overall control||Whig gain|
|Seats contested||18 of 52 seats|
|Net seat change||Whig +6|
|Overall control||Whig gain|
|Seats contested||All 242 voting members|
|Net seat change||Whig +33|
In the Presidential election, Whig General William Henry Harrison defeated Democratic President Martin Van Buren. Harrison won by a margin of 5% in the popular vote, but dominated the electoral college. Harrison was nominated at the 1839 Whig National Convention, the first convention in Whig history. Harrison's victory made him the first President unaffiliated with the Democratic-Republican Party or the Democratic Party to win election since John Quincy Adams in 1824. Martin Van Buren's defeat made him the third President to fail to win re-election, following John Adams and John Quincy Adams.
The 1840 Presidential Election was one of major controversy. Because the election took place during the rise of the Second Party System, rising levels of voting interest and party loyalty proved that this election was going to be controversial. The incumbent Democratic candidate, President Martin Van Buren, was dubbed "Martin Van Ruin" because of his less-than-ideal previous term where he failed to address a financial crisis, ran for re-election over Whig candidate William Henry Harrison. The Whigs chose William Henry Harrison because of his similarities to former president Andrew Jackson in the sense that he was a war hero and a man of the people. This approach proved successful because William Henry Harrison won the election by dominating the electoral college, despite winning by only 5% of the popular vote. This election marked the first time since 1796 that a party other than the Democratic-Republican party or the Democratic party had won the election.
- Not counting special elections.
- Congressional seat gain figures only reflect the results of the regularly-scheduled elections, and do not take special elections into account.
- "1840 Presidential Election". The American Presidency Project. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
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- "Image 8 of William Henry Harrison Papers: Series 4, Printed Matter, 1815-1922; Subseries C, Newspaper Clippings and Other Printed Matter, 1818-1922; Printed matter; Miscellany, 1832 , 1840 , 1888, undated". Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Retrieved 2019-12-03.
- "United States presidential election of 1840 | United States government". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2019-12-03.
- "Party Divisions of the House of Representatives". United States House of Representatives. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
- "Party Division in the Senate, 1789-Present". United States Senate. Retrieved 25 June 2014.