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US presidential elections used to be way more chaotic. This map shows all of them.

This map of every US presidential election shows how many political parties we used to have.

Created by map hobbyist T. W. Anderson, the map is packed with highlights — you can see a larger version of it here:

Every Presidential election, mapped.

Every presidential election, mapped. (T. W. Anderson)

A few notable sections include:

The 1824 election

The 1824 election.

The 1824 election. (T. W. Anderson)

The election of 1824 was a scramble between four candidates of the Democratic-Republican party, which had been established to challenge the Federalists and was the only major party left standing once the Federalists dissolved. It was also the election when Andrew Jackson won the most electoral votes but lost the presidency anyway. Because the field was so divided, the election was decided by the House of Representatives, which put John Quincy Adams into office.

The 1864 election

The 1864 election. (TW Anderson)

The 1864 election. (T. W. Anderson)

In 1864, the Civil War was raging. General George McClellan ran against incumbent Abraham Lincoln, but only won three Union states: Kentucky, Delaware, and New Jersey.

The last 100 years of third-party support

A hundred years of third party support. (TW Anderson)

One hundred years of third-party support. (T. W. Anderson)

The elections in 1924, 1948, 1960, and 1968 are notable because they're the last ones when a third party won a state. In 1924, Wisconsin went to progressive Robert "Fighting Bob" LaFollette, who ran a progressive campaign in his home state. 1948 saw Strom Thurmond's segregationist Dixiecrat campaign win 4 states, while in 1960, Harry F. Byrd's electoral votes came from unpledged electors in the electoral college. In 1968, five Southern states went to George Wallace, whose independent campaign centered on continuing school segregation.

Later elections were largely waged by Democrats and Republicans. There are some quirks, like 1956's faithless elector who went for Walter Burgwyn Jones. And in 1992, Ross Perot had the most formidable recent third-party campaign in recent memory. Though he did win a significant number of counties, as this map shows, he failed to secure any electoral votes.

Finally, you have proof — if it seems like the presidency is just a contest between two parties, you're right. But the GIF version makes it clear that it wasn't always that way:

A map of every Presidential election, in one GIF

A map of every presidential election, in one GIF. (T. W. Anderson)

You can read more discussion on Reddit, where we spotted Anderson's map reposted.