With the first term of President John Adams coming to an end, the United States found itself divided between the incumbent Federalist president, and the challenging Democratic-Republican, Thomas Jefferson. Political factions in the new country were still strong, and they campaigned hard and strategically for their candidates during the election of 1800. This was the first real election between political parties and the beginning of a process that is now commonplace in American politics.
The Election of 1800 Lesson Plan - Terminology for the Election of 1800
FEDERAL VS. STATE
A "political party" is a coalition of politicians and voters who share the same ideas, ideologies, and visions of government. A party can be very diverse, or specific to certain issues. In America there are usually two political parties opposing each other.
The Electoral College is the group of electors selected by states to cast their vote for both the president and vice president. The number of electors for each state is based of the number of representatives the state has in Congress. Electors usually base their vote on the result of the popular vote.
The term "Federal" refers to the national government, or administrative government over the entirety of the nation. "State" governments refer to each individual state's construct of laws and government, which can vary. Federal vs. State law is a constant debate.
I can now VOTE!
TERMINOLOGY OF THE ELECTION OF 1800
A second term of Adams is what the people NEED!
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
The vote will be decided here!
The popular vote refers to the actual population's votes for candidates. The popular vote, however, does not elect the president. It is simply reflective of the population, yet does (usually) direct the electoral college's vote.
An "incumbent" is a political candidate who was currently in office, and running again for the same position. In the election of 1800, John Adams, the serving president, was the incumbent. Jefferson was his main challenger.
The House of Representatives is the legislative body that serves in Congress, alongside the Senate. The elected leaders of the House hail from their respective states, and their numbers are based off that state's population. Members of the House had to break the tie in the election of 1800 after 36 ballots.