"In line with the precedent established by Washington, Thomas Jefferson refused to stand for a third term, endorsing instead his friend Madison as his successor. Jefferson's wish was fulfilled by a Democratic-Republican caucus in Congress, although not without some opposition. The fifty-seven-year-old Madison, along with Jefferson's vice president, George Clinton, headed into the contest fearing the worst.

Jefferson's embargo of all trade with England and France had devastated the nation. New England states spoke openly of secession from the Union. The Federalists, convinced that they would ride the national anger to victory, renominated—without the benefit of a formal caucus—their 1804 contenders, Charles C. Pinckney of South Carolina and Rufus King of New York.

Anti-Madison newspapers swung into action with stories and cartoons that ridiculed Madison's small physical stature and the controversy associated with the embargo. "Why is the embargo like sickness?" asked one critic. "Because it weakens us." More serious were the Federalist charges that Madison had supported the embargo to build up domestic manufactures at the expense of foreign trade. A strong contingent of anti-Madison Democratic-Republicans were convinced that Madison's quiet demeanor sheltered a strong Hamiltonian-Federalist—one who favored a strong central government—in disguise. It took all of Jefferson's prestige and charm to convince dissident Democratic-Republicans, who had rallied around fellow Virginian James Monroe, not to stray into the Federalist camp out of spite for Madison. Even George Clinton, who had accepted the vice presidential nomination, denounced the caucus process and announced his own candidacy for President.

By the time the electoral college delegates cast their individual ballots on December 7, few political pundits harbored any doubts about the election's ultimate outcome, though the contests in Rhode Island and New Hampshire were still shrouded in some doubt. The results announced by Congress on February 8, 1809, came as little surprise: Madison had swamped the opposition. He won 122 votes to Pinckney's 44. The hapless Clinton garnered only six electors from his home state. Madison carried twelve states to Pinckney's five, all of which were in the New England region. The Virginia dynasty had remained intact."

Source: Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia. “James Madison: Campaigns and Elections.” Accessed May 22, 2016.­/president/biography/madison-campaigns-and-elections.

Alexander Anderson. 1807. "Ograbme, or The American Snapping-Turtle." Engraving. 

Charles Balthazar Julien Fevret de Saint-Mémin. 1806. "Charles Pinckney."  Engraving. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540.