Alternative History

Yhe 1831 U.S. Presidential Election saw Vice President Martin Van Buren facing Massachusetts Senator Daniel Webster.


This was the first year in which political parties held nominating conventions.

Democrat party nomination[]

Democrat candidates

  • Martin Van Buren, U.S. Vice President of the United States from New York

The Democrats meet in Baltimore. Van Buren was the favorite and won the nomination on the first ballot. Because many southern Democrats opposed the nomination of Van Buren, the convention adopted the 2/3s rule which assuerd that since no other candidate but Van Buren could win the nomination. Kentucky Senator Richard M. Johnson was nominated for vice president.

Convention vote

Presidential ballot 1 Vice-presidential ballot 1
Martin Van Buren 328 Richard M. Johnson 283
Phillip P. Barbour 45

Republican party nomination[]

Republican candidates

  • James Barbour, former U.S. Secretary of War from Virginia
  • Daniel Webster, U.S. senator from Massachusetts

The Republicans held their convention in Balimore. The convention chose Webster over Barbour voting along regional lines. New Brunswick Congressman Francis Granger was nominated for vice president.

Convention vote

Presidential ballot 1 Vice-presidential ballot 1
Daniel Webster 107 Francis Granger 109
James Barbour 79 James Barbour 77

Anti-Masonic party nomination[]

Anti-Masonic candidates

  • William Wirt, former U.S. Attorney General from Virginia
  • John McLean, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice from Ohio

The Anti-Masons meet in Baltimore and nominated Wirt and Charles Lee of Massachusetts nominated for VP unopposed.

General election[]

Van Buren might have lost had it not been for the division of the vote between Webster and Wirt.


Van Buren won by a comfortable margin thanks to the split of the conservative vote.

Presidential candidate Party Home state Popular vote Electoral vote Running mate Running mate's home state Running mate's electoral vote
Martin Van Buren Democrat New York 655,131 (51.7%) 200 Richard M. Johnson Kentucky 200
Daniel Webster Republican Massachusetts 580,147 (39.5%) 105 Francis Granger New York 105
William Wirt Anti-Masonic Maryland 112,341 (8.2%) 12 Amos Ellmaker Pennsylvania 12
John Floyd Nullifier Virginia 0 11 Henry Lee Massachusetts 11
Others - - 8,760 (0.6%) 0 - - 0
Total - - 1,356,379 (100.0%) 328 - - 328

See also[]