Thursday, February 17, 2011

T.D.I.H. - Feb 17

On this date in history, the House of Representatives finally decided the outcome of the election of 1800. Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied for the most number of votes, even though they both belonged to the Democratic-Republican Party. So the House was forced to break the tie, eventually giving Jefferson the presidency. Could you imagine the chaos if the 2000 election had gone to the House? It easily could have.

While reading up on this incident I was struck by something. Jefferson's cabinet consisted of five (and really four) Departments. There was a Secretary of State, Secretary of Treasury, the Attorney General, the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy. (these last two were later combined into the Secretary of Defense) The only other two were the President and Vice- President. The Obama administration has twenty cabinet officials besides the President and Vice-President! And I'm sure President Jefferson had no Czars...President Obama has thirty-seven.

For those wondering if a similar tie could happen again, the answer is no. The Twelfth Amendment was written to keep it from happening, and was ratified four years later in 1804.

No comments: