Inauguration Fact: Rutherford B. Hayes became President through the Compromise of 1877.
When the electoral votes from the 1876 election were counted, Rutherford B. Hayes was 20 votes short of victory, and 20 votes remained in dispute. The Republican-controlled Congress awarded all the disputed votes to Hayes, and the Democrats threatened to block his inauguration.
The two parties ultimately worked out a compromise that accepted Hayes as President and also brought an end to Reconstruction, allowing southern states to control their own affairs.
Image: Patent for Hayes campaign fan, Records of the Patent and Trademark Office, Record Group 241, National Archives.
One update to the details below — there are now 9 Certificates of Votes available: Arizona, California, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Virginia and Ohio (shown here).
The Electoral College held its one-day-only quadrennial session Monday, December 17, to elect the President and Vice President of the United States.
In compliance with the Constitution, the electors all met in their respective state capitals and signed their names to the state’s Certificate of Vote and sent copies to Congress and to the Office of the Federal Register of the National Archives, which administers the Electoral College.
So far there are only three: Ohio (shown here), Arizona, and North Dakota.
If you’d like to look over your state’s votes, go to www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/2012/certificates-of-vote.html. Each state’s votes are posted online as soon as they are received at the Federal Register.
Electoral College and the National Archives
(via The U.S. National Archives on YouTube)
Every four years the Federal Register — part of the National Archives and Records Administration — administers the Electoral College. The Federal Register informs the governments of the fifty states and the District of Columbia what is required to fulfill their duty under the Constitution to elect the president and vice president of the United States. Charley Barth, director, Office of the Federal Register, and Amy Bunk, Director of Legal Affairs and Policy, explain how the Electoral College works and the Federal Register’s role in collecting the documentation Congress needs to count the Electoral College.
To Choose a President
The Electoral College. Established 1787.
It isn’t really a college, and the electors aren’t tenured professors.
The electors are really voters, and their votes count in a very big way.
The electors were created by the Constitution to do only one thing: elect the President and Vice President of the United States. The Electoral College became part of the Constitution at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, when delegates assembled to devise something to replace the Articles of Confederation.
Today, the Electoral College’s activities are overseen by the National Archives. We delegate this duty to our Office of the Federal Register, which every day publishes all the laws, regulations, and rules of the U.S. Government.
When you do go to the polls in November, you actually vote for a slate of electors pledged to vote for particular candidates for President and Vice President.
Your role in all this: Vote!
Read the full post on the Prologue: Pieces of History blog from the National Archives
President Harry S. Truman voting, November 2, 1948:
“It has been my experience in public life that there are few problems which cannot be worked out, if we make a real effort to understand the other fellow’s point of view, and if we try to find a solution on the basis of give-and-take, of fairness to both sides.”
-Harry S. Truman
President Truman at the polls, from the Truman Library.
Halloween Hoax, 10/31/1912
Clifford Berryman Political Cartoon Collection, Records of the U.S. Senate
During the Presidential Election of 1912, the Republican Elephant is spooked by the “hollow” threat of Teddy Roosevelt’s new Progressive “Bull Moose” party, which was poised to split the Republican vote.
This political cartoon by Clifford K. Berryman depicts William Howard Taft being enticed to run for the Presidency. While serving as Secretary of War, Taft had told President Theodore Roosevelt that his highest ambition was to serve as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, but Roosevelt wanted him to run in the 1908 election as his successor. With Roosevelt’s encouragement, Taft began to consider running. In this cartoon Taft blocks the buzz of a potential Supreme Court nomination to better hear the enticing buzz of the Presidential bee. Berryman speculates that Taft may be succumbing to Roosevelt’s wishes and is “not afraid” of running for President.
Not Afraid by Clifford K. Berryman, 8/9/1905, U.S. Senate Collection (ARC 1693338)
By 1912, 13 states had adopted the progressive idea of direct presidential primaries to break the control of party bosses on delegate selection for the national convention. Theodore Roosevelt dominated these state primaries. In this cartoon, which features Roosevelt and President William Howard Taft tugging on the arms of a personified “Ohio,” Clifford K. Berryman depicts the climax of this preconvention battle, which took place in that state in late May. Berryman terms Ohio “The Mother of Presidents” not only because it was Taft’s home state, but also because it sent a large quota of delegates to the national convention. In an intense and bitter contest, Roosevelt won a complete victory, winning the popular vote by a large margin and capturing nearly every district delegate.
Untitled [Ohio, the Mother of Presidents], by Clifford K. Berryman, 5/21/1912, U.S. Senate Collection (ARC 306104)
By the election of 1800, the nation’s first two parties were beginning to take shape. The Presidential race was hotly contested between the Federalist President, John Adams, and the Democratic-Republican candidate, Thomas Jefferson. Because the Constitution did not distinguish between President and Vice-President in the votes cast by each state’s electors in the Electoral College, both Jefferson and his running mate Aaron Burr received 73 votes.
According to the Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, if two candidates each received a majority of the electoral votes but are tied, the House of Representatives would determine which one would be President. Therefore, the decision rested with the lame duck, Federalist-controlled House of Representatives. Thirty-five ballots were cast over five days but neither candidate received a majority. Many Federalists saw Jefferson as their principal foe, whose election was to be avoided at all costs. But Alexander Hamilton, a well-respected Federalist party leader, hated Burr and advised Federalists in Congress that Jefferson was the safer choice. Finally, on February 17, 1801, on the thirty-sixth ballot, the House elected Thomas Jefferson to be President.
The tie vote between Jefferson and Burr in the 1801 Electoral College pointed out problems with the electoral system. The framers of the Constitution had not anticipated such a tie nor had they considered the possibility of the election of a President or Vice President from opposing factions - which had been the case in the 1796 election. In 1804, the passage of the 12th Amendment corrected these problems by providing for separate Electoral College votes for President and Vice President.
For more information about the Electoral College, please visit the Federal Register’s U.S. Electoral College webpage.
Electoral vote tally, 2/1/1801, Records of the U.S. Senate
Passed by Congress December 9, 1803, and ratified June 15, 1804, the 12th Amendment provided for separate Electoral College votes for President and Vice President, correcting weaknesses in the earlier electoral system which were responsible for the controversial Presidential Election of 1800.
Read more at the Center for Legislative Archives
Not the West Wing’s Josiah Bartlett
This file consists of the New Hampshire Electors’ vote for George Washington as President and John Adams as Vice President for the Presidential Election of 1792, and the certification of the Electors’ vote by the President (Governor) of New Hampshire, Josiah Bartlett.
Record of New Hampshire Electoral College Vote, 12/05/1792
November 4, 1960
Draft Letter from Richard M. Nixon to Jackie Robinson
Presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon wrote this letter to baseball legend and civil rights advocate Jackie Robinson four days before the 1960 Presidential election. The annotations in black ink are Nixon’s. At the time, Robinson viewed Nixon’s civil rights record as more promising than John F. Kennedy’s, especially after meeting with both candidates.