1789 – First US Presidential Election

US presidential

The first US Presidential election can’t be forgotten because it has set the pace for other elections in the US. The first election served as the foundation for other elections, subsequently, they followed the template. In the year 1789, the first US Presidential election was held which gave rise to the ever first President of the US, George Washington. George Washington won the election and was sworn into office on 30th April 1789. The US uses the Electoral College system established by the US constitution, it was also used in the first US Presidential election and will still be used in the forthcoming American election 2020. The electoral college system established by the US constitution gives all American citizens who are from 18 years and above, the right to vote for electors, who in turn vote for President and Vice President of the country.

According to mountvernon.org, George Washington, the first US President who was elected in 1789 won with 69 Electoral votes, he won the support of each participating elector. No other President has come with a universal mandate to lead.

Points Covered:

  • Those That Voted in the First US Presidential Election
  • Who Could be Chosen by the Electoral College
  • The Election Day
  • Mandate of the Electors
  • Presidential Candidates of the First US Presidential Election
  • How was the First US Presidential Election Fought?
  • Who won the Election and How Many Votes Were Earned by the Candidates?

Those That Voted in The First US Presidential Election

  • Only six percent of the US population could vote when George Washington was elected as the first US President in 1789.
  • The state’s created then were 13, only landowning men over the age of 21 were eligible to vote then.
  • Today, the story is different as the US constitution empowers all US citizen 18 years and above to vote.

Who Could be Chosen by the Electoral College

  • According to history.com, The President and the Vice President are the only elected federal officials that can be chosen by the Electoral College instead of the direct popular vote.
  • Political parties always nominate their slate of electors at their state conventions or by a vote of the party’s central state committee, party loyalists, and stalwart are always chosen for the job because they could be trusted, they have built the confidence of the party, they have known how the party works effectively and that is why there is no iota of scepticism in choosing them.
  • Each party would always want the best for them and that is why they choose the best party members to represent them in the electoral college. Members of the US Congress can’t be electors, so they won’t be biased in the election process.
  • Each state is allowed to choose as many electors as it has Senators and Representatives in the Congress.

The Election Day

  • During the US Presidential election day which always falls on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Even the forthcoming American election 2020 will be held on Tuesday, 3rd November. The electors from the party that gets the most popular votes are elected in a winner take-all-system, excluding Maine and Nebraska which allocates electors proportionally.
  • In order to win the election, a candidate needs a majority of 270 votes out of 538.
  • Each state electors meet usually in their state capitol on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December of a Presidential election year to cast their ballots nationwide. It’s a largely ceremonial event because electors always vote with their party. Presidential elections are always decided on election day.

Mandate of the Electors

  • Electors aren’t constitutionally mandated to vote for the winner of the popular vote in their state, it is required by law in 26 states and District of Columbia and in some state violating this rule to pay a certain fine.
  • If the electors cast their ballots in line with the voters by December, the on The 6th of January as a formality, the electoral votes are counted before Congress and on the 20th of January, the elected President is sworn into office.
  • The electoral college will be criticized by the masses arguing that the winner-take-all system makes it possible for a candidate to be elected president even if he gets fewer popular votes than his opponents.

Presidential Candidates of the First US Presidential Election

Twelve Presidential candidates vied for the first US Presidential candidate election in 1789. They were George Washington, John Adams, John Jay, Robbery H. Harrison, John Rutledge,  John Hancock, George Clinton, Samuel Huntington, John Milton, James Armstrong, Benjamin Lincoln, and Edward Telfair

How was the First US Presidential Election Fought?

It was just Six percent of the American citizens that were able to vote for George Washington who was the first US President in the year 1789. It was only landowning men over 21 years were eligible to vote. 13 states were created then, the masses found it very difficult to vote as there were restrictions.

Who won the Election and How Many Votes Were Earned by the Candidates?

George Washington won the First US Presidential election, he pulled a total popular vote of 43,782, while the Electoral votes that made him the winner were 69. The electoral votes of other Presidential candidates were: John Adams 34, John Jay 9, Robert H. Harrison 6, John Rutledge 6, John Hancock 4, George Clinton 3, Samuel Huntington 2, John Milton 2, James Armstrong 1, Benjamin Lincoln 1, and Edward Telfair 1. With the number of votes given, the electoral votes that made George Washington the winner were much more visible, indeed it was a long margin.


The first US Presidential election has been a reference point today because of the positive impact it made in US democracy. Even the forthcoming America election 2020 is still a function of the first US Presidential election. The Presidential election process then was efficient at that moment, but as time advanced they will little amendments, in order to suit the growing population and rising needs of the people.

Since the masses have known that they are indirectly voting for the positions of the President and Vice President,  Do you think they really trust (absolute trust)  the electoral college?


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