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  Archived Posts From: 2013


The Presidential Election of 1800: A Delawarean Makes the Difference

Written on: June 24th, 2013 in Delaware HistoryEvents at the ArchivesInside the DPAPhotographsResearch Room

In 1800, the nation experienced the most bitter Presidential Election in its brief history when Thomas Jefferson challenged incumbent John Adams  for the highest office in the United States. On Saturday, July 6, 10:30 a.m. Dr. Cynthia Newton of Wesley College will present a program at the Delaware Public Archives that will focus on this early political battle for the Presidency.  Both Adams and Jefferson had very different ways and philosophies concerning how the young Republic should be governed. While Adams’ federalist views favored a strong central government, the Jeffersonians believed the states should have more power to make decisions for their citizens.  In the end, it was James Bayard, Delaware’s lone Representative in the House of Representatives, who made the crucial decision to turn in a blank ballot – thus giving Jefferson enough votes to win the election.

Essentially a rematch of the 1796 contest,  this election was one of the few times a Presidential election has gone to the House of Representatives. While it took 36 ballots for Jefferson to be triumphant, the process exposed the flaws of the Electoral College and prompted the drafting of the 12th amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  In her presentation, Dr. Newton  will focus on the political significance of the contest, the Electoral College process, the influence of political parties and why the 1800 presidential election is still relevant today.

Dr. Cynthia Newton is Associate Professor in Political Science at Wesley College in Dover. Her areas of expertise are American governmental institutions and public policy. Her research includes substantial work on obesity as an emerging public policy area, and more recently the oversight role of Congress concerning issues affecting Major League Baseball. Dr. Newton is a strong advocate of civic and experiential education, student government, and students’ rights.

The program is free to the public.  No reservations are required.  For more information, contact Tom Summers (302) 744-5047 or e-mail

Photo of Dr. Cynthia Newton

Dr. Cynthia Newton


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