Closest U.S. Presidential Elections

In the early days, electors voted for both a President and V.P. The tie between Jefferson and Burr changed that practice. Alexander Hamilton saw Jefferson as the lesser of two evils and wrote a scathing review of Aaron Burr. Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel and killed him.

In 1824, Andrew Jackson won the most electors, but since there were four candidates, he did not secure a majority in the electoral college. The election was turned over to the federalist controlled house of representatives where they chose their candidate, John Quincy Adams as President.

The 1876 election is the most controversial ever. Still mired in reconstruction following the civil war, the democratic south’s candidate won the popular vote by 3%. The republican controlled senate contested the electors of 4 states. Tilden only need one state while Hayes needed all 4. A 15 person commission (8 rep, 7 dem) was set up do award the disputed electors. The commission voted along party lines and each state was awarded to Hayes. The senate upheld the results while the house disputed the results. A compromise was reached when the republicans agreed to remove troops from the south and end reconstruction.

Year Electoral Votes Popular Votes
1800 Thomas Jefferson (Dem.-Rep.) 73
Aaron Burr (Dem.-Rep.) 73
John Adams (Fed.) 65
Charles C. Pinckney (Fed.) 64
1824 John Quincy Adams (Fed) 84
Andrew Jackson (Dem) 99
William H. Crawford 41
Henry Clay 37
1876 Rutherford B. Hayes (R) 185 4,033,768
Samuel J. Tilden (D) 184 4,285,992
1880 James A. Garfield (R) 214 4,449,053
Winfield S. Hancock (D) 155 4,442,035
1916 Woodrow Wilson (D) 277 9,129,606
Charles E. Hughes (R) 254 8,538,221
1960 John F. Kennedy (D) 303 34,226,731
Richard M. Nixon (R) 219 34,108,157
1968 Richard M. Nixon (R) 301 31,785,480
Hubert H. Humphrey (D) 191 31,275,166
George C. Wallace (Ind.) 46 9,906,473
1976 Jimmy Carter (D) 297 40,830,763
Gerald R. Ford (R) 240 39,147,973
2000 George W. Bush (R) 271 50,455,156
Albert A. Gore (D) 266 50,992,335
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