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New Hampshire Acts Organizing the Election of 1792 -Washington’s re-Election
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[NEW HAMPSHIRE]. Broadside, “An ACT directing the mode of ballotting for, and appointing the Electors of this state for the election of a President and Vice-President of the United States. ALSO— An ACT directing the mode of choosing Representatives to the Congress of the United States.” Organizing elections in the state, signed in print by Governor Josiah Bartlett, June 1792. 1 p., 15½ x 19½ in.

Inventory #24603       Price: $7,500


Be it enacted...That the inhabitants … qualified to vote in the choice of Senators for the State Legislature, shall assemble in their respective towns, parishes, plantations and places on the last Monday of August next, to vote for six suitable persons, inhabitants of this State, who shall not be Senators or Representatives in Congress, or persons holding offices of profit or trust under the United States, to be Electors of a President and Vice-President of the United States.... And in case it shall happen by reason of an equality of votes … the names of the candidates not elected, who shall have an equal, and the highest number of votes, shall be put into a box, and the Secretary, not being one of the said candidates, shall in the presence of the Supreme Executive Magistrate, draw out the number wanted, and the person or persons whose name or names shall be so drawn out, shall be appointed, and declared an Elector or Electors … And be it further enacted that the several Clerks aforesaid shall respectively transmit certificates of all votes taken, sealed up and directed as aforesaid, to the Sheriffs of the respective counties to which they belong, within five days after said meetings...and the several Sheriffs, shall, within ten days after said meetings transmit to the Secretary’s Office, all votes that shall be in manner aforesaid transmitted or delivered to them.

Be it enacted...That the inhabitants of the several towns, parishes, Plantations, and Places in this State qualified to vote in the choice of Senators for the State Legislature, shall assemble in their respective towns, parishes, plantations or places on the last Monday of August elect by ballot, such number of persons duly qualified, as this state may be entitled to, for the Representatives in the Congress of the United States....

Historical Background

Though George Washington wanted to retire after his first presidential term, it was widely feared that without him at the helm, the newly forged union could break apart in partisan and sectional bitterness. Though they agreed on little else, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and John Adams all considered Washington’s reelection necessary. Both parties nominated Washington for President. For the Vice Presidency, The Federalists nominated incumbent John Adams, while the Democratic-Republicans nominated New York Governor George Clinton.

The United States Constitution left to each state the method of organizing state and federal elections. Of the fifteen states, New Hampshire was one of six that chose presidential electors by popular vote. In the election arranged by the Acts printed here, Josiah Bartlett, John Pickering, Benjamin Bellows, Ebenezer Thompson, Jonathan Freeman, and John T. Gilman were selected.

After the 1790 Census, New Hampshire’s delegation to the House of Representatives grew from three to four. Jeremiah Smith and Nicholas Gilman were reelected. Pro-administration Congressman Samuel Livermore was selected as a U.S. Senator, and anti-administration John Samuel Sherburne was elected to replace him in Congress. The new Congressional seat went to former U.S. Senator Paine Wingate.

After Governor Bartlett certified the results, the electors met at Exeter on December 5, 1792, and cast six votes for George Washington and six votes for John Adams.

On February 13, 1793, Congress officially tabulated the votes of the 1792 election. To the surprise of no one, Washington had been unanimously re-elected. Upon taking his second oath of office, this time in the Senate Chamber of Philadelphia’s Federal Hall, his inaugural address—at only 135 words—was the shortest in history. For Vice President, John Adams received 77 electoral votes, George Clinton 50, Thomas Jefferson 4, and Aaron Burr 1.

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