ACCEPTS THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE VOTES FROM KENTUCKY — IN THE ELECTION OF 1796, WHICH SAW HIM BECOME PRESIDENT
ADAMS, JOHN. (1735-1826). Second President of the United States; Signer of Declaration of Independence. Choice Autograph Document Signed, “John Adams”, as Vice President. One page, quarto. Philadelphia, January 4, 1797. Center fold archivally reinforced on verso, else very fine condition. Adams writes:
“Received of Mr. Joseph Davis a Packet containing the Votes of the Electors of the State of Kentucky for President and Vice President of the United States. Witness my hand John Adams”.
In this election, John Adams became President and Thomas Jefferson was elected Vice President. Each man represented a different political party, with Adams receiving 71 votes, [one more than needed for a majority] and Jefferson received 68. Ironically, Kentucky’s eight electoral votes were split between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, with Adams receiving none of Kentucky’s votes. Accompanying the document is a statement signed by Charles Bunall, Assistant Postmaster General, stating the distance from Philadelphia to Frankfort in miles, which was noted so the government could pay the courier for delivering the packet.
Just an absolutely choice Presidential item of the highest order!
In 1796, Presidential electors were chosen by the states; some were appointed by their state legislatures, others elected by popular vote [the electoral college which we hear about every 4 years]. These votes are then formally transmitted to the Vice President, in this case: Adams in his capacity as President of the U.S. Senate, for counting.