Saturday, February 4, 2012

Learn Our History Today: February 4

Learn Our History Today:  On February 4, 1789, George Washington became the first and the only president in our nation’s history to be unanimously elected by the Electoral College.  And if you think that in itself is an incredible feat, he did it again on the exact same day in 1792 when the Electoral College unanimously elected him for his second term!

But voting in America was peculiar in its infancy.  Even though Washington won the election unanimously, he had a runner up in John Adams. Adams ultimately served as Washington’s vice president, but the Electoral Collage actually named two choices for president.  Each elector cast two ballots without placing a priority on one candidate over another for president vs. vice president.  In Washington’s case, he was chosen by every elector which is why he is considered to have been unanimously elected, thereby earning the office of the president.  In Adam’s case, he had the second most number of votes, which earned him the vice presidency.

With the 12th Amendment in 1804, this original system of election was replaced by a system that stipulated separate votes be cast for president and vice president. Even though each election since 1804 has been conducted under the 12th Amendment, in modern elections, a presidential candidate selects a running mate to appeal to a wider voter pool.

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