1789 Presidential Election
1789 interactive map
The United States presidential election of 1789 was the first presidential election in the United States of America. The election took place following the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1788. In this election, George Washington was elected for the first of his two terms as President of the United States, and John Adams became the first Vice President of the United States.
Before this election, the United States had no chief executive. Under the previous system—the 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.
In this election, the enormously popular Washington essentially ran unopposed.
1789 Election Results
1789 Election Facts
- Prior to 1804, each Elector cast two votes for President, effectively doubling the votes cast
- Each Elector selected Washington with one of his votes, effectively making him unanimous choice for President. That is reflected on the map above. By coming in 2nd, John Adams was named Vice-President
- Two of 13 original Colonies (North Carolina and Rhode Island) had not ratified Constitution, and did not participate; New York did not choose Electors due to an internal dispute
- Issues of the Day: Ratification of U.S. Constitution (Article Two relates to the executive branch and selection of the president)