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There are two major reasons why the election of 1800 is significant in American history.
The first is that it marks the first time that there was actually a change in who was in power. After Washington served his two terms, Adams was elected. They were both Federalists. In the 1800 election, Jefferson, who was a Democratic-Republican was elected. This is a big deal because it meant that the US would be able to have one group lose power to another group without it causing a civil war or any other serious disturbance.
The second way in which this could be seen as a turning point is that it marked the start of Democratic-Republican dominance and a turn toward more democracy. Jefferson was much more democratic in his poltical beliefs and personal style than Adams or Washington had been -- for example, he walked places in Washington rather than being driven in a fancy carriage.
Starting with Jefferson, America started to become more democratic. (The Federalists had been more elitist and less interested in democracy.) By the 1820s, more and more white men had been given the right to vote -- almost to the point where all white men were allowed to vote -- this was a huge change.
The election of 1800 is such a major turning point in American history because it was the first time that one group of people gave up power to another group of people and it was done without bloodshed. This was not only a turning point in American history but also the world.
Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans defeated John Adams and the Federalists. The election proved once and for all that the United States constitution and the "American Experiment" of democracy will work. This was a revolution in the true sense, it was a change.
The other nations of the world, that is to say, the people of the world began to see the United States Constitution as the shining example of a form of government that people everywhere should enjoy.
There were several "firsts" involved with the United States presidential election of 1800 when Vice President Thomas Jefferson defeated the incumbent John Adams. It was the first time in American presidential history--albeit after only three previous elections--that an incumbent was defeated. It marked the beginning of the dominating rule by the Democratic-Republican Party and led to the end of the old Federalist Party, of which Adams was a member.
The election has also been referred to as the "Revolution of 1800" since Jefferson and his running mate Aaron Burr actually tied for voting in the Electoral College, and it took a week of political in-fighting before Jefferson was named the winner. (Thus, the intended secondary running mate, Burr, was nearly elected president.) Federalist Party activist Alexander Hamilton lobbied strenuously against Burr, which led to Jefferson's eventual victory and the later duel in which Burr killed Hamilton. Jefferson's popular vote margin of nearly 23% is still the largest victory ever over an incumbent president.
The tie vote in the Electoral College led to a change in the U. S. Constitution in which the Twelfth Amendment mandated that Electoral College voters clearly choose between president and vice president. Previously, electors were allowed two votes each, but their ballots did not stipulate whether they were for president or vice president.
Interestingly, the transfer of the presidency from Federalist Party to the Democratic-Republican Party was believed to be the first time in history that a peaceful change of regimes occurred without the threat of violence or civil war.
It was the first time there was a change in power, between the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans.
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