1788 13flag  1796
United States Presidential Election of 1792
November 1, 1792
Washington 427px-John Hancock 1770-crop John Jay (Gilbert Stuart portrait)
Nominee George Washington John Hancock John Jay
Home state Virginia Massachusetts New York
Electoral vote 132 53 31
Percentage 34 8.6 11.2
Patrick Henry official portrait George Clinton by Ezra Ames (full portrait) Robert Morris
Nominee Patrick Henry George Clinton Robert Morris
Home state Virginia New York Pennsylvania
Electoral vote 21 12 12
Percentage 6.3 10.6 10.3
The United States Presidential Election of 1792 was the second quadrennial election to determine the President and Vice President of the United States. Like the previous election, the Electoral College used two ballots to differentiate, informally, between the President and Vice President. The first ballot featured President George Washington only, and the second ballot held everyone else.

George Washington was elected for the second time, this time unanimously, and John Hancock as his second Vice President, though Hancock only received the fifth most share of the popular vote.


See more: First Administration of George Washington

The Washington Administration

The Presidency of George Washington was very well received by the populace. The Administration focused on expanding the power of the federal government but moderately and gradually. The government increased regulation and centralization of economies and militias but continued to reject proposals of national banks and standing armies while keeping taxation virtually non-existent. The Washington government well achieved its goal for the term of giving government necessary power while ignoring controversial topics, such as slavery.

A Changing Cabinet

One of the keys to Washington's success was his stellar Cabinet filled with experienced and intelligent individuals. However, the Cabinet must now undergo several changes. Elderly Cabinet members Vice President Benjamin Franklin and Secretary Israel Putnam have both announced their intents to retire, and it seems likely that Franklin's replacement will come from a current Cabinet member. Further, Chief Justice Thomas Jefferson, though not a full Cabinet position still an important part of the Washington government, has reportedly asked the President not to renominate him, so Jefferson can begin a political career. Chief of Staff Alexander Hamilton is also considering a move into electoral politics.


Despite Washington's success, the beginnings of an Anti-Washingtonian movement have take ground, namely in Washington's home state of Virginia, though in silence. The major players supposedly include Senator Patrick Henry, Congressman Richard Henry Lee, Congressman James Madison, Chief Justice Thomas Jefferson, and Governor James Monroe. Non-Virginians include Governor George Clinton, Lt. Governor Aaron Burr, and Senator Elbridge Gerry. Mainly, opposition centers around too much centralization and a pro-British foreign policy slant.


A subset of the Washingtonian ideology has also emerged. Unorganized and unnamed, commonly referred to as Radicals, they hold that the Washington Administration isn't going far enough and that federal powers require far more expansion. Specifically, the federal government should assume states debts and establish a national bank. The only notable person believed to hold such views is Chief of Staff Alexander Hamilton.


First Ballot

  • President George Washington

Second Ballot

  • Secretary Robert Morris
  • Secretary John Jay
  • Congressman John Hancock
  • Senator Patrick Henry
  • Governor Samuel Adams
  • Governor George Clinton
  • Lt. Governor Aaron Burr
  • Chief of Staff Alexander Hamilton

Declined to Run

  • Attorney-General John Adams
  • Chief Justice Thomas Jefferson

General Election



Incumbent President George Washington entered the election hugely popular, and the only name on the first ballot; thus, he seemed guaranteed to win.

Vice Presidency

With the retirement of incumbent VP Benjamin Franklin, the race for second seemed very competitive. Attorney-General John Adams was the favorite, but he optioned not to run, preferring the Cabinet or Supreme Court. Therefore, Secretaries Robert Morris and John Jay emerged as the frontrunners. Multiple anti-administration candidates ran, but only Governor George Clinton appeared likely. Anti-Washington leader Senator Patrick Henry ran but, being from the same state as Washington, certainly could not be Vice President. Clinton's Lt. Governor Aaron Burr ran, but many feared he lacked experience and was too ambitious. Two candidates from Massachusetts, Congressman John Hancock and Governor Samuel Adams, advertised as compromise candidates but lacked appeal to most. Chief of Staff Alexander Hamilton campaigned as well though his political views were deemed too extreme.

Midway Point

With the campaign about half-way through, Washington continued to look guaranteed to earn reelection while Jay, Morris, Hancock, and Clinton were tied in popular support for second place. At the time, all of them except Clinton were projected to receive electoral votes with Hancock having the most.

Election Day

As experts prepared to project the day's results, everyone was in agreement on Washington's unanimous victory. Like the previous election, the Vice Presidency was very unsure. The same four (Morris, Jay, Clinton, Hancock) had similar popular support, but Jay led in the electoral projection followed by Clinton then Hancock, and Morris was not projected to receive any. The plurality predicted a Clinton win due to Southern support and a possible New York surge.


As expected, the Electoral College reelected George Washington as President with unanimous approval. With 53 electoral votes, John Hancock was elected to become Vice President, though only finishing fifth in the popular vote.

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