The Impact of Elections on Politics in Columbia, Maryland: An Expert's Perspective

The Maryland governor elections are a major topic of discussion every November, with some having a profound effect on the lives of Marylanders. In the 1800 elections, Federalist President John Adams faced off against the rising Republican Thomas Jefferson. The campaign was highly partisan and resulted in a constitutional peculiarity; Jefferson and his running mate for vice president, Aaron Burr, both received the same number of electoral votes. This led to the first critical constitutional crisis of the new American federal republic, as Federalists attempted to prevent Jefferson from taking office. At this time, residents who lived within the geographical boundaries of the District voted in the elections for federal officials from Virginia and Maryland.

Thomas Jefferson outlined plans to manipulate the selection of presidential electors in key states such as New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Current state law requires that a person who serves as a senator or delegate must be a resident of Maryland for at least one year before the general election and must have lived at least six months in the district they seek to represent before the general election if that district was established at least six months before the general election. The Twenty-Third Amendment granted residents of the District the right to choose electors to participate in the elections of the President and Vice President, while the Autonomy Act of 1973 gave them the right to elect a mayor and a council. This has contributed to bringing residents of the District closer to full citizenship. Citizens who live and vote in the District of Columbia have had more weight in the Electoral College than their numbers would suggest. People elected in Prince George and Baltimore Counties and in the City of Baltimore must be attorneys and be accredited with the Maryland Bar Association.

As tension had already increased due to hard-fought presidential elections and slave revolts in Virginia, many Americans feared that a revolt similar to those in France or Haiti was about to break out in the United States. A decade after moving the new federal capital to Washington, D. C., it began to emerge from partisan politics and from a swamp.

Douglas Bigby
Douglas Bigby

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