Video: 'The American Presidential Election of 1836'
(Wednesday, December 7, 1836, during the United States presidential election, 1836) — Democratic Vice President Martin Van Buren of New York was elected President of the United States today over Whig former Senator William H. Harrison of Ohio.
Van Buren and his running mate, Rep. Richard Mentor Johnson of Kentucky, defeated Harrison and his running mate, Rep. Francis Granger of New York, 50.8%-36.6% in the national popular vote, resulting in a 170-73 victory in the Electoral College in the presidential race.
In the vice presidential race, Johnson fell one vote short of the 148-vote majority required to elect him. Under the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the Senate decided between the top two vote-getters and chose Johnson over Granger by a vote of 36 to 16 on February 8, 1837.
The election of 1836 was also the last until 1988 to result in the elevation of an incumbent vice-president to the nation’s highest office through means other than the president’s death or resignation.
Besides Harrison, three other Whig presidential candidates won electoral votes: Hugh L. White (26), Daniel Webster (14) and Willie Mangum (11). And in addition to Johnson and Granger, two other vice presidential candidates won electoral votes: John Tyler (47, Whig) and William Smith (23, Democratic).
Van Buren and Johnson would be sworn in for their first four-year terms on March 4, 1837.