Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The 3 Most Intense Presidential Elections in U.S. History with Giveaway

Blogger: Amber Schamel

With the 2016 Presidential Election just around the corner, and with us Americans holding our breath to hear the outcome, I thought this would be a good time to walk the aisles of electoral history. Today we're exploring three of the most intense elections in American history.

1800 - The Mudslinging Election

Aaron Burr

At this early point in American history, political parties were just shaping up. The Electoral vote was a bit different then too. The candidate who claimed second place would end up as Vice President. Can you imagine if that were yet the case today? Well, 1800 was the election that changed that.

This one was a race between three men. Thomas Jefferson, his chosen V.P. Aaron Burr, and incumbent President John Adams. The contest waged between Jefferson and Adams, both of them slinging angry, nasty accusations at each other - and even their wives.

Thomas Jefferson
The surprise was that it wasn't Jefferson and Adams who had the close race, but Jefferson and Burr. The Democratic-Republican candidate was tied at 73 votes with the man he intended to be his V.P. For the first time in U.S. history, (and it's only happened twice) the election went to the House of Representatives. 

After 7 tense days, the House elected Jefferson as President, with Burr as his vice. They also added the 12th Amendment that caused the President and Vice President to be chosen separately. No more runner-up complications.

1860 - The Election that tore the nation apart.

By 1860, the rift between the north and south was palpable. The Republican party was only 10 years old, and Abraham Lincoln had won the nomination. Besides him, there were three other candidates that were well in the running. Stephen Douglas and John C. Breckenridge both ran as Democrats. Douglas was popular in Norther states and Breckenridge in Southern. John Bell also ran, calling his party the Constitutional Union. He was also a Southern States delegate. 

With the vote so divided, Lincoln easily won the Northern states, and the Southern states lost the election to a man whose name had not even appeared on their ballot. The result was soon evident. 

Lincoln's victory was declared on November 6th. By the 10th of November, the legislators of South Carolina were holding a council regarding secession. By December 20th, the secession was official.

1876 - The Controversial End to the Reconstruction

Rutherford Hayes
Talk about tense...this one was a doozy. Almost sparking a second civil war. 

The Republican Candidate Rutherford Hayes ran against Democratic Samuel Tilden. At first, it seemed that Tilden would win out when considering the popular vote. Tilden had 4,300,590, while Hayes fell behind him at 4,036,298. But it was yet too close to call. Tilden's 184 electoral votes was one vote short of the 185 majority it would take to win. Meanwhile, his opponent was at 165, 20 votes away from victory. 

The catch was that there were exactly that many votes yet undecided. 

First was the trouble in Oregon. Hayes had clearly won the state, except one electoral vote that went to Tilden. After much dispute and the replacement of the elector, the last Oregon vote went to Hayes.

Meanwhile, both Democrats and Republicans had declared their candidates to have won South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana. Each party accused the other of fraud. The tension mounted until it threatened to return the nation to civil war.
Samuel Tilden

The decision was taking far too long. Inauguration night was nearing, and still, no one knew which man to swear into office. In an effort to resolve the issue, Congress appointed an Electoral Commission. However, the checkmate between Republican and Democrat was just as strong among the chosen committee. 

Finally, in February and behind closed doors at the Wormley Hotel, the deadlock was broken. The Southern Democrats would accept Hayes victory...with conditions. Among those conditions was a mandate that all Federal troops would leave the South, thus ending the Reconstruction.

What is the most intense election that you have witnessed?
Leave a comment below to be entered in a drawing to win Dawn of Liberty - a collection of short stories about Samuel Adams and the Declaration of Independence

Author of over half a dozen books, Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for travel, history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call "historical fiction at its finest".  She lives in Colorado and spends half her time volunteering in the Ozarks. Visit her online at
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  1. The most intense so far has been the current one. So much hangs in the balance...

    1. Hello Lyddie,
      I have to agree. The news programs are saying that the world has not been this tense since the Cold War.
      Thanks for stopping by. I will put your name in the hat. :)

  2. I think this election will go down in history as the most intense one. We must all pray for our nation!

    1. Amen, Melanie. I'm so glad that no matter who is president, Christ is King.

  3. I think this election will go down in history as the most intense one. We must all pray for our nation!

  4. I think the current election is the most tense one and most people will feel the same way. Thanks for the giveaway and good luck everyone.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Debbie! It does seem to be the prevailing thought.
      Best wishes in the giveaway.

  5. I think this election is the most intense. I will be glad when it is over. I keep reminding myself that God is in control.

  6. I know this has been the most intense. I do not think have prayed about an election as I did this one. I have placed my trust in God because he is faithful to his promises. I can trust him because he never lies and always speak the truth in love.

    1. Amen, Sonnetta. You know what I'm coming to appreciate about this election? It seems to be having the same effect on Christians around the country: driving us to our knees and putting our trust in the Lord.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Thank you for the post. I won't comment w/ the obvious. :) My 11 year old grandson is a history buff and I think he would be interested in see your post so will make sure he does. I am so thankful that we have a sovereign God who is still on the throne! May God Bless America!

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, Anne. Thank you for stopping by!

      I love young history buffs! It's rare that a pre-teen would take an interest in history. They are so much fun to talk to. :)

      Yes, indeed. I am so glad. So glad, that GOD is in CONTROL.

  8. Great post, Amber! Aside from this current election, another gripping election that I remember was in 2000 when Bush won. Seemed like it took forever before we knew who the winner of the election was.

  9. Very interesting post. I think the current election has the most effect on our country. I remember other elections when results took a long time to be published, but I feel that there is so very much freedom riding on this current election.

  10. Yes, I remember finally going to bed in 2000 not knowing who had won the election. Seems like there was a recount for a couple states too.

    I agree, Betti. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Loved this post about intense presidential elections. I believe, 2016 presidential election has been intense plus so many has already voted.

  12. The giveaway winner is ...Anne Rightler! Anne, please leave me your email addy or contact me at visionwriter2 at gmail dot com to claim your prize!