AND HAS STAYED THAT WAY ...
BY PROCEDURE established in the new Constitution,
the first President was to be chosen by “electors” named by the state legislatures.
Each elector was to cast one ballot with the names of two choices for President.
The person with the most votes in the final tally was to become President, the runner-up, Vice President.
In the event of a tie, the decision would go to the House of Representatives, a prospect so disturbing to Alexander Hamilton
that he “deemed [it] an essential point of caution” to see that John Adams
did not wind up with such a strong showing in the electoral count as to embarrass Washington.
He was not against Adams, Hamilton explained privately.
“Mr. A, to a sound understanding, has always appeared to me to add an ardent love for the public good.”
But Hamilton was taking no chances.
Working quietly through the winter, he did what he could to convince leading politicians
in several states to withhold votes from Adams.
The scheme succeeded.
When the electors met in February 1789, Washington was chosen President unanimously with 69 votes,
while Adams, though well ahead of ten others, had 34 votes, or less than half.
Adams was humiliated by the news, his pride deeply hurt, but of Hamilton’s part, he knew nothing.
On October 19, 1796, a mysterious editorial from a writer named Phocion appeared in the Gazette of the United States,
a popular Federalist newspaper in Philadelphia.
At the time, Vice President John Adams was pitted against another Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson,
in a race to succeed George Washington as president.
Phocion’s letter was what we would today call an “attack ad.”
The letter in the Gazette written by Phocion said, in terms understood by most readers,
that presidential candidate Jefferson was having an affair with one of his female slaves.
The identity of Phocion? Alexander Hamilton.
While Adams knew nothing of Hamilton's machinations,
(Who was hoping to become America's Napoleon)
Jefferson vowed he would be the third president ...
even if it meant treason.
Jefferson in his four years as Vice President
had so effectively separated himself from Adams and the administration
that he could not be held accountable for anything that had disappointed, displeased, or infuriated anyone,
While America was at war with France,
Jefferson sent secret federal documents to the French Foreign Minister, Charles Gravier, Count of Vergennes
to undermine Adams' attempts at peace in order to promote himself as the Champion of Peace with France
and so win the Presidency ... which he did.
And Presidential Campaigns have only gotten dirtier.
I am afraid that no matter which candidate
wins this year,
America will lose.