United States presidential election, 1792
|Presidential election results map. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.|
The United States presidential election of 1792 was the 2nd quadrennial presidential election. It was held from Friday, November 2 to Wednesday, December 5, 1792. George Washington, this time the incumbent president, was re-elected. As in the first presidential election, Washington is considered to have run unopposed and been elected unanimously. The recipient of 77 electoral votes, incumbent Vice President John Adams finished second in voting and was therefore re-elected. Under the system in place through the election of 1800, each voting elector cast two votes — the recipient of the greatest number of votes was elected president, the second greatest number, vice president.
This election was the first in which each of the original 13 states appointed electors (in addition to newly-added states of Kentucky and Vermont). It was also the only presidential election that was not held exactly four years after the previous election, although part of the previous election was technically held four years prior. The first inauguration was on April 30, 1789 at Balcony of Federal Hall in New York City and the second inauguration was on March 4, 1793 at the Senate Chamber Congress Hall in Philadelphia. All subsequent inaugurations were held on March 4 up until 1933 when the ratification of the Twentieth Amendment to the United States Constitution changed the inaugural date to January 20.
 Presidential candidates
 Vice Presidential candidates
Under the system in place at the time, each elector cast two votes; the candidate with the most votes became president, and the runner-up vice-president. Thus, there were technically no candidates for vice-president in the 1792 election. However, as none of the other candidates had the intention or ability to win the office over Washington, they were effectively vice-presidential candidates.
 Federalist candidates
 Candidates gallery
 Democratic-Republican candidates
 Candidates gallery
By 1792, a party division had emerged between Federalists led by Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton, who desired a stronger federal government with a leading role in the economy, and the Democratic-Republicans led by Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and Representative James Madison of Virginia, who favored states' rights and opposed Hamilton's economic program. Madison was at first a Federalist until he opposed the establishment of Hamilton's First Bank of the United States in 1791. He formed the Democratic-Republican Party along with Anti-Federalist Thomas Jefferson in 1792.
The elections of 1792 were the first ones in the United States to be contested on anything resembling a partisan basis. In most states, the congressional elections were recognized in some sense as a "struggle between the Treasury department and the republican interest," to use the words of Jefferson strategist John Beckley. In New York, the race for governor was fought along these lines. The candidates were Chief Justice John Jay, a Hamiltonian, and incumbent George Clinton, who was allied with Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans.
Although Washington had been considering retiring, both sides encouraged him to remain in office to bridge factional differences. Washington was supported by practically all sides throughout his Presidency and gained more popularity with the passage of the Bill of Rights. However, the Democratic-Republicans and the Federalists contested the vice-presidency, with incumbent John Adams as the Federalist nominee and George Clinton as the Democratic-Republican nominee. With some Democratic-Republican electors voting against their nominee George Clinton – voting instead for Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr – Adams easily secured re-election.
The Electoral College chose Washington unanimously. John Adams was again elected vice-president as the runner-up, this time getting the vote of a majority of electors. George Clinton won the votes of only Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, his native New York, and a single elector in Pennsylvania. Thomas Jefferson won the votes of Kentucky, newly separated from Jefferson's home state of Virginia. A single South Carolina elector voted for Aaron Burr.
Only 13,332 popular votes were cast for presidential electors, a record low turnout for a United States presidential election.
 Popular vote
|Slate||Popular Vote(a), (b), (c)|
(a) Only 6 of the 15 states chose electors by any form of popular vote.
(b) Less than 0.5% of the population voted: the 1790 Census counted a total United States population of 3.9 million with 3.2 million free population and 700 thousand slaves
(c) Those states that did choose electors by popular vote had widely varying restrictions on suffrage via property requirements.
 Electoral vote
|Presidential Candidate||Party||Home State||Popular Vote(a)||Electoral Vote(b)|
|George Clinton||Democratic-Republican||New York||—||—||50|
|Aaron Burr||Democratic-Republican||New York||—||—||1|
|Needed to win||67|
(a) Popular vote figures are suspect because (1) only 6 of the 15 states chose electors by any form of popular vote, (2) pre-Twelfth Amendment electoral vote rules obscure the intentions of the voters, and (3) those states that did choose electors by popular vote often restricted the vote via property requirements.
(b) Two electors from Maryland and one elector from Vermont did not cast votes.
 Electoral college selection
|Method of choosing Electors||State(s)|
|state is divided into electoral districts, with one elector chosen per district by the voters of that district||Kentucky
|each elector chosen by voters statewide||Maryland
|each elector appointed by the state legislature||(all other states)|
 See also
- Berg-Andersson, Richard (2000-09-17). "A Historical Analysis of the Electoral College". The Green Papers. Retrieved March 20, 2005.
- Elkins, Stanley; McKitrick, Eric (1995). The Age of Federalism. Oxford University Press.
- A New Nation Votes: American Election Returns, 1787-1825