1812 United States elections
1810          1811          1812          1813          1814
Presidential election year
Incumbent presidentJames Madison
Next Congress13th
Presidential election
Partisan controlDemocratic-Republican hold
Electoral vote
James Madison (DR)128
DeWitt Clinton (DR/F)89
1812 presidential election results. Green denotes states won by Madison, burnt orange denotes states won by Clinton. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state.
Senate elections
Overall controlDemocratic-Republican hold
Seats contested12 of 36 seats[1]
Net seat changeFederalist +2[2]
House elections
Overall controlDemocratic-Republican hold
Seats contestedAll 182 voting members
Net seat changeFederalist +32[2]

The 1812 United States elections elected the members of the 13th United States Congress. The election took place during the First Party System, and shortly after the start of the War of 1812. The Federalist Party made a relatively strong showing, winning seats in both chambers while supporting a competitive challenge to the incumbent Democratic-Republican President. However, the Democratic-Republican Party continued its control of the Presidency and both houses of Congress.

In the Presidential election, incumbent Democratic-Republican President James Madison defeated New York Lieutenant Governor and New York City Mayor DeWitt Clinton.[3] Clinton was a member of the Democratic-Republican Party, but his presidential bid received the support of both anti-Madison Democratic-Republicans and many Federalists.[4] Although Madison won, the Presidential election was the closest since the 1800 election, as Clinton won New England and three mid-Atlantic states.

Following the 1810 census, 39 seats were added to the House. Federalists won major gains, but Democratic-Republicans continued to dominate the chamber.[5]

In the Senate, Federalists picked up a small number of seats, but Democratic-Republicans retained a dominant majority.[6]


Military conflict resulting from the Napoleonic Wars in Europe had been steadily worsening throughout James Madison's first term, and the British and French had been ignoring the neutrality of the United States at sea by seizing American ships to look for supposed deserters. The British further provoked the Americans by impressing American seamen, maintaining forts within United States territory in the Northwest, and supporting Native Americans at war with the U.S. Meanwhile, expansionists in the south and west of the United States coveted British Canada and Spanish Florida and wanted to use British provocations as a pretext to seize both areas. The pressure continued to build, and as a result the United States declared war on the United Kingdom on June 12, 1812. This occurred after Madison had been nominated by the Democratic-Republicans, but before the Federalists had made their nomination.

The Federalist Party had dominated the American government from 1789 to 1801 under Alexander Hamilton whilst retaining a stronghold in New England. It made a brief resurgence in the 1812 election by opposing the war, and dissolved shortly after in 1834.

See also


  1. ^ Not counting special elections.
  2. ^ a b Congressional seat gain figures only reflect the results of the regularly-scheduled elections, and do not take special elections into account.
  3. ^ "1812 Presidential Election". The American Presidency Project. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  4. ^ History of American Presidential Elections, Volume I 1789-1844; Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.; Pgs 249-272
  5. ^ "Party Divisions of the House of Representatives". United States House of Representatives. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  6. ^ "Party Division in the Senate, 1789-Present". United States Senate. Retrieved 25 June 2014.