Even though Washington had begun to face some criticism and was no longer deemed untouchable in the eyes of his people, no one dared run against him during his reelection campaign. Actually, Washington himself did not wish to seek another term in office on account of his weakening physical abilities, but his advisors, and even outside political officials, told him he needed to remain in office for the stability of their new republic, which they thought would
soon collapse without him. Their reasoning was that the United States had found itself in the crossfires of two warring conflicts, both abroad and at home. The conflict between France and Great Britain was growing more and more problematic, with both parties trying to promp American intervention. On the other hand, back at home, the Federalists and Anti-Federalists were viciously fighting for control of the American government. This was the world Washington
was placed before, this was the world ahead of the 1792 presidential election and for these reasons, America needed Washington to remain at the helm. Washington was seen as the personification of neutrality and fairness to all who knew him, and it was that very quality that compelled his advisors to plead with him to stay in office for at least one more term.
While no one questioned Washington’s decision to run for a second term, the Anti- Federalists (who soon changed their names to the Democratic-Republicans) mounted a campaign to unseat John Adams, a Federalist, as vice president. At the time of the 1792 election, the president and vice president were elected by separate ballots, with the person winning the second most votes becoming vice president. It was Thomas Jefferson, then secretary of state, and James Madison, then U.S. representative, who led this campaign to remove Adams from office. Their choice to run against Adams was New York Governor George Clinton, who was a staunch supporter of states’ rights and very in line with the thinking of Jefferson and Madison. Washington was, of course, unanimously reelected as president and, much to Jefferson’s dismay, John Adams was reelected as VP. The vice presidential election had been somewhat close with Adam’s receiving 77 electoral votes and Governor Clinton receiving 50, but Adams won the day and continued to serve as Washington’s VP until he officially left office in 1797. The outcome of the 1792 presidential election was no different from that of the first, but it did serve as a prelude to the election of 1796 and eventually the “Revolution of 1800,” by giving the American people a taste of the national partisan divides that would soon be fully displayed to the entire country. But more importantly, 1792 showed the world that America was capable of holding yet another democratic election to determine the leader of their republic, and that the bold experiment they had embarked on was proving itself to be a beacon for fair and just society, with the people at its helm.
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