The election of 1812 occurred under the shadow of a war with Britain over trade restrictions, the forced impressment of neutral American seamen into the British Navy, and British support for Native Americans fighting on the frontier. America was unprepared for a war that saw a British attack on Washington and divided the country. In May 1812 a Republican congressional caucus voted James Madison as its candidate. His running mate was Elbridge Gerry, governor of Massachusetts, and a signatory to the Declaration of Independence. When the Federalists met in September they nominated De Witt Clinton for president, and Jared Ingersoll, a prominent Philadelphia lawyer, for vice president. Clinton portrayed himself as an anti-war candidate. He opposed the administration, hoping to build a coalition of Federalists and disaffected Republicans. When the electorate from the 18 states cast their ballots in 1812 Madison defeated Clinton 128 to 89.
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