Monday, January 7, 2013

The First US Presidential Election

The United States presidential election of 1788–1789 was the 1st quadrennial presidential election. It was held from Monday, December 15, 1788 to Saturday, January 10, 1789. It was the first presidential election in the United States of America under the new United States Constitution, which was adopted on September 17, 1787, and the only election to ever take place partially in a year that is not a multiple of four. In this election, George Washington was elected for the first of his two terms as president, and John Adams became the first vice-president.
Before this election, the United States had no chief executive. Under the previous system agreed to under Articles of Confederation, the national government was headed by the Confederation Congress, which had a ceremonial presiding officer and several executive departments, but no independent executive branch.
The enormously popular Washington essentially ran unopposed. The only real issue to be decided was who would be chosen as vice-president. Under the system then in place, each elector cast two votes; if a person received a vote from a majority of the electors, that person became president, and the runner-up became vice-president. All 69 electors cast one vote each for Washington. Their other votes were divided among eleven other candidates; John Adams received the most, becoming vice-president. The Twelfth Amendment, ratified in 1804, would change this procedure, requiring each elector to cast distinct votes for president and vice-president.

Presidential election results map. Numbers indicate the number of electoral votes allotted to each state. (Note: North Carolina and Rhode Island had not yet ratified the Constitution, the New York legislature was deadlocked, and Vermont was operating as a de facto unrecognized state.)

“I helped Lettie wash this forenoon.  I went up Town on some errands this afternoon.  Has thawed since yesterday morning and the sleighing is about all gone.”
Leesah

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