President Infinity 1796 Election

US 1796 Election


*This election was greatly updated by the Historical Scenario Commission on July 13, 2017 and on December 15, 2017. Download version 3.0 here: United States – 1796 Final


With George Washington eager to retirement, numerous potential successors have been proposed to follow the “Father of our Country” as the next president. While John Adams is the presumed heir, many critics of the Washington administration have proposed Thomas Jefferson, a major of Hamilton’s economic policies and John Jay’s treaty with Great Britain.

Dominating this election are the events in Europe, predominately the French Revolution, which hampers trade and commerce abroad, and potential stability domestically, as the elites fear an uprising by the masses in America. A new Revolution at home was a realistic enough supposition that even former anti-Federalist Patrick Henry converted to the Federalist Party, as he feared a populist revolt.

The John Jay Treaty is arguably the major issue of the election. This treaty probably prevented a new war with Britain, solidified our Western frontier, and somewhat strengthened relations with our former cousins, but to many it did not go far enough–lacking compensation for sunken American ships and impressed sailors by the British. The Jeffersonian Republicans also saw the treaty as a direct violation of our alliance with France; although, Federalists declared the alliance over after the French executed their king and declared a new government.

Additionally, a new figure–Napoleon Bonaparte–dominates the headlines, who could determine if America leans pro-British or pro-French.

What really happened?

John Adams was expected to follow Washington into office, but it was understood that he would face real opposition, unlike with Washington. Adams had believed that Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, George Clinton, John Jay, and Patrick Henry were his likely competitors, but of these only Jefferson, and to a lesser extent, Burr, posed any real threat. Federalists had decided to lead their support for Adams, except for a failed attempt by Hamilton to get Thomas Pinckney elected over John Adams.

For the the Republicans, Madison and others had convinced Jefferson, who pretended to be reluctant to return to public life, to run for president against his close friend, John Adams. Just as the Federalists needed a Southerner to balance their ticket, the Republicans needed a Northerner, and naturally New York carried the most weight. Rather than going with the usual George Clinton–who had just lost reelection for governor of New York to John Jay–Republicans opted to favor young Aaron Burr.

This election followed the old rules which required Electors to cast two votes, one presumably for president and one for vice president. However, electors didn’t strictly vote along party lines, and many Federalists voted for candidates that weren’t Adams or Pinckney. As such, while John Adams won the election, Thomas Jefferson became his vice president, rather than Thomas Pinckney.

Need a Suggestion as to who to play as? Try an win as these candidates:

  • Can defeat John Adams and begin the Jefferson presidency four years earlier?
  • Play as Thomas Pinckney and ensure that you become Adams’s VP.
  • Play as Aaron Burr and outmaneuver Jefferson as the Republican option
  • Play as John Jay and replaced Adams as the Federalist option
  • Seek revenge for George Clinton and beat out Aaron Burr as the major Republican of New York
  • Play as one of many “minor candidates” such as Samuel Adams, Oliver Ellsworth, John Henry, James Iredell, Samuel Johnston, and future two-time Federalist nominee Charles Coatesworth Pinckney.
  • Play as one of several What-if candidates (see below)

What if these candidates had launched a campaign? 

  • What if George Washington ran for a 3rd term?
  • What if Alexander Hamilton had opted to follow Washington into office?
  • What if James Madison had asserted himself into presidential politics earlier?
  • What if James Monroe, leader of the more conservative faction of Republicans, had decided to run earlier?
  • What if recently converted Federalist Patrick Henry had decided to run?
  • What if the recent debt-ridden “Financier of the Revolution” Robert Morris had run to repair his reputation?

Feedback is desired.

17 thoughts on “President Infinity 1796 Election”

  1. Hi!
    Thanks for the new Scenario. Seems great. 🙂
    One question, is it indended that in some states the 3rd placed candidate (popular vote) gets the EVs instead of the 2nd?

  2. The third place candidate getting some Electoral Votes happened in my 1800 election as well. If its unintentional, I’m sure it can be fixed in an update. Either way, these scenarios look great! They make the game feel so much more complete!

  3. Same here in 1800, but that’s not a great problem.
    I can fully agree on your last sentence, Keith. 🙂

  4. States are separated into two parts. So, that person may be third in the state, but they won one of those parts.

  5. Yeah just to clarify. The electors in these old elections received to votes to select two different men. JViking made the map to make this possible. Ballot 1 is the choice for president (although, they’re all running for pres and a 2nd ballot politician can be president if he gets more votes than a 1st ballot president). The first ballot will include only the contestants that were likely to become president, as in, receive at least one vote. This way Adams or Jefferson will get at least one of the votes, while the other vote is more of a tossup. In the next elections, Washington will be the only ballot 1 candidate that is turned “on”. He will get all 69 of his possible votes, even if he is 4th in the polls for a state.

  6. @jvikings @vcczar That makes perfect sense about the electoral vote process. These scenarios have been pretty great with the system the game has, and I have no complaints.

    @vcczar Do you plan on completing the last two early elections fairly soon so you could make the big update for all these great scenarios?

  7. Depends when JViking has the time to make the maps. I emailed the 1796 election to him. I’m sure it’s a time-consuming process to make the map.

  8. So, I saw where Washington got 2 electoral votes in this election. It might be a good idea to add a second Washington that is on the VP ballot in the region where he got those(I assume they were in Virginia)

  9. Yeah, that’s true. To make this election completely accurate, the map would have to be made (in 1788 through 1800 election) to allow each elector to vote independently rather than by the state. However, that would be too complicated to make, unless there was a way to split the Pres or VP votes, similar to the way that Maine and Nebraska (?) can split their EVs.

    But I could add a second Washington in the update.

  10. @vcczar
    That sounds good. Yeah, thats right it would be pretty cool if the EVs of Nebraska and Maine are distributed like in the real election. I hope this Feature will come up.
    I’ve suggested it to Anthony. 🙂

  11. Another question of mine is if many what if candidates will be included if Washington is turned off, setting a one term rule over a two term one? Even if they would get no support running against Washington, I imagine that many other leaders would enter the race for President if it was open. Otherwise, if Washington is turned off there’d be no one on the ballot in the half of the state for Washington. Maybe even each of the VPs and other candidates could be on the ballot in both halves but set to zero in the other when Washington is included?

  12. There will be enough candidates to accurately play a what-if election without Washington. I’ll have some candidates turned OFF on the first ballot and I may have to make two John Adamses. If Washington didn’t run for reelection, you’d probably have Adams, Jay, Hamilton as nationally known pro-Administration candidates. And Jefferson, Madison, Patrick Henry, RH Lee and George Clinton as nationally known anti-administration candidates. If these candidates got VP votes in 1792, I’ll have to make two versions of those candidates. If not they’ll be on the first, Washington, ballot for a what-if

  13. Hey Vcczar, I am curious to know how often the scenarios are updated? are the ads still cheap in the 1920’s to the 1950’s campaigns? or have those scenarios been updated since then?

    Please let me know, thanks.

  14. @Joe

    I haven’t posted any updates yet. Although, most of the scenarios have been updated in areas since I’ve posted them. Some, if not all, of these elections will become official scenarios. When Anthony asks for them, they’ll be much more fully updated, including the pricing of ads. In truth, I’m not terribly good at he economics/prices in the game for ads, etc. For this I need help from people like you. That is, players to play the scenarios and let me know if the game is too difficult at the normal setting to purchase ads, etc. I rarely get to play my own scenarios, and when I do, I generally watch the computer duke it out so I can see if it is running properly. Currently, I’m slowly working on the 1960 election.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *