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What if there were no 12th Amendment?

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  • greg
    A friend of mine the other day was opining that the U.S. would be better off without the 12th Amendment, that if whoever came in 2nd in a presidential election
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 4, 2007
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      A friend of mine the other day was opining that the U.S. would be
      better off without the 12th Amendment, that if whoever came in 2nd in
      a presidential election became vice president then there would be more
      of a real debate going on in the executive branch. She was thinking of
      modern times, but I started to think back to the nation's early days
      and wonder how history would've been different. I remember that in
      1800 both Federalists and Democratic-Republicans were running their
      intended vice president as a presidential candidate, and of course
      Aaron Burr nearly beat Thomas Jefferson with that strategy. So if
      there had been no 12th Amendment passed after that election, how would
      things have changed?

      Here are my thoughts, and I'd be interested in what the rest of the
      group think: the so-called "Era of Good Feelings" might still have
      occurred with the Federalists offering only token resistance in
      presidential elections and their candidates not garnering enough
      electoral votes to become vice president. But 1824 would've been
      different, because the 12th Amendment also is what says that an
      election where no candidate gets an electoral vote majority then the
      election is decided in the House. How would the 1824 election have
      been decided without that rule? And beyond that question, how would
      U.S. history be different with, say, Vice President Nixon and
      President Kennedy in 1961 or Vice President Dewey and President
      Roosevelt in 1945, Vice President Kerry right now, or any other
      combination? I know that what-ifs can get annoying, but it seemed like
      an interesting question to me.

      Greg
    • Ram Lau
      Greg, I don t really have a serious answer for this one, because the 12th amendment would have to be passed as partisan politics came along in the early 19th
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 5, 2007
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        Greg,

        I don't really have a serious answer for this one, because the 12th
        amendment would have to be passed as partisan politics came along in
        the early 19th century, if not as early as 1800. Had the amendment not
        been passed prior to 1824, Congress would definitely have done that
        after that troubling election.

        History would have been very different from that point on had the 12nd
        amendment never been enacted. So there's no point to think about what
        the presidential election would have looked like in 1960. The
        manifesto destiny might not have gotten as far as California because
        of the lack of the 12nd amendment, and thus there would be no Dick Nixon!

        My most informed guess is that the Union would not have survived the
        Civil War. There would simply be a lot of presidential (and
        vice-presidential) assassinations right before and during the War and
        the control of the White House would be switching between the
        Republicans and the Democrats. (Note that Andrew Johnson was chosen
        for Lincoln's second term, when the Civil War was by and large over.)

        Ram
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