United States presidential election, 1820

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James Monroe

James Monroe

The United States presidential election of 1820 was the third and last presidential election in United States history in which a candidate ran effectively unopposed. (The previous two were the presidential elections of 1789 and 1792, in which George Washington ran without serious opposition.)

President James Monroe and Vice President Daniel D. Tompkins were re-elected without a serious campaign.



Despite the continuation of single party politics (known in this case as the Era of Good Feelings), serious issues emerged during the election in 1820. The nation had endured a widespread depression following the Panic of 1819 and the momentous issue of the extension of slavery into the territories was taking center stage. Nevertheless, James Monroe faced no opposition party or candidate in his reelection bid, although he did not receive all the electoral votes (see below).

Massachusetts had been entitled to 22 electoral votes four years earlier, but cast only 15 in 1820. This diminishing of power was brought about by the Missouri Compromise of that year that had made the region of Maine — long part of Massachusetts — a free state to balance the pending admission of slave state Missouri.

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