*The Historical Scenario Commission greatly updated this scenario on July 17, 2017. Version 2.0 can be found here: United States – 1808 2.0
This election takes place as Jefferson’s historic second term is ending. The major issue is the embargo, which is directed to hurt British trade for having caused Native American uprising, impressing American citizens, and many other grievances. However, the embargo is wrecking the economy. As such, the Federalists believe they can somewhat rebound from their 1804 landslide defeat. Jefferson declines a 3rd term, leaving the ticket open.
For Republicans (later called Democratic-Republicans), party founder James Madison (Jefferson was the figurehead and leader, but not the founder, similar to the Van Buren-Jackson dynamic) is seen as the heir apparent to the legendary Thomas Jefferson. Can the Father of the Constitution be as effective president as he has been a statesman? He faces tough opposition both in the South and the North. Fellow Virginian James Monroe is the preferred candidate of the Conservative Old Republicans, who feel the Jefferson moved too close to the center during his presidency and feel that Madison will do the same. Northern Republicans, believing that we’ve had enough Virginians at the moment, are leaning towards the powerful New Yorker George Clinton.
The Federalists opt to go with Charles Coatsworth Pinckney of South Carolina despite his landslide loss in 1804.
No 3rd party existed in the election.
This election allows for many what-if scenarios:
- What if Thomas Jefferson opted to run for a 3rd term?
- What if Elbridge Gerry, famous for Gerrymandering, ran as a limited government New Englander?
- What if Aaron Burr had not shot Alexander Hamilton, and so was able to run for the presidency as a viable option?
- What if Alexander Hamilton had not been shot and attempted to run for the presidency, despite being seen as too radical for the presidency?
- What if roundly respected Federalists John Jay and Chief Justice John Marshall ran?
- What if former president John Adams ran for a non-consecutive second term?
- What if DeWitt Clinton ran as an independent Republican an election earlier? (This party is mainly to observe the two major parties fight it out).
Feedback is desired.