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10 Significal Presidential Elections In American History

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Top 10 Significant Presidential Elections in American History

Will the 2004 presidential election be considered one of the most significant presidential elections in US history? It is impossible to judge the importance of any presidential election until time has passed. The 2004 election will have to demonstrate its impact on the nation. In order to be included in this list of the top ten presidential elections, a significant event had to impact the election's outcome or the election needed to result in a significant shift in party or policy.

1. Election of 1800

This presidential election is the most significant in US history because of its far reaching impact on electoral policies. The electoral college system from the Constitution broke down allowing Burr, the VP candidate to be in contention for the presidency against Jefferson. It was decided in the House after 26 ballots. Significance: The 12th Amendment was added changing the electoral process. Further, a peaceful exchange of political power occurred (Federalists out, Democratic-Republicans in.)

2. Election of 1860

The presidential election of 1860 demonstrated the necessity of taking a side on slavery. The newly formed Republican party adopted an anti-slavery platform that led to a narrow victory of arguably the greatest president in US history and also set the die for secession. Individuals who once associated with the Democratic or Whig parties yet who were anti-slavery realigned to join the Republicans. Those who were pro-slavery from the other noncommittal parties joined the Democrats.

3. Election of 1932

Another shift in political parties occurred with the presidential election of 1932. Roosevelt's Democratic Party came to power by forming the New Deal coalition that united groups that previously had not been associated with the same party. These included urban workers, northern African-Americans, Southern whites, and Jewish voters. Today's Democratic Party is still largely comprised of this coalition.

4. Election of 1896

The presidential election of 1896 demonstrated a sharp division in society between urban and rural interests. William Jennings Bryan (Democrat) was able to form a coalition that answered the call of progressive groups and rural interests including the indebted farmers and those arguing against the gold standard. McKinley's victory was significant because it highlights the shift from America as an agrarian nation to one of urban interests.

5. Election of 1828

The presidential election of 1828 is often pointed to as the 'rise of the common man'. It has been called the 'Revolution of 1828'. After the Corrupt Bargain of 1824 when Andrew Jackson was defeated, an upwelling of support arose against backroom deals and candidates chosen by caucus. At this point in American history, the nominating of candidates became more democratic as conventions replaced caucuses. Another significance: Andrew Jackson was the first president not born of privilege.

6. Election of 1876

This election ranks higher than other disputed elections because it is set against the backdrop of Reconstruction. Tilden led in popular and electoral votes but was one shy of the necessary votes to win. The existence of disputed electoral votes led to the Compromise of 1877. A commission was formed

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