We the People

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Politics and civil commentary with community blogger John Eyster

Feb. 4 holds special significance for US history

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John W. Eyster
February 4, 2014

Tuesday, February 4—what's special about this date? I am inviting you—readers—to nominate YOUR most important/significant event of February 4 in history. Please note the event and explain WHY you think it is MOST IMPORTANT—SIGNIFICANT?

I am nominating the UNANIMOUS ELECTION of GEORGE WASHINGTON as the FIRST US President by the Electoral College on February 4, 1789.

There are numerous online sources to provide you with information about the first election of a US President and implementation of the Electoral College provided for in the NEW US Constitution of 1789.

Most surprising to most readers will be the fact that each elector (member of the Electoral College) cast 2 ballots without identifying which person was being voted for PRESIDENT or VICE-PRESIDENT.

George Washington received the vote of every single elector, so he became US President by UNANIMOUS vote.

The votes by electors for the second office—vice-president—were spread among 11 persons. John Adams was elected vice-president with 34 votes in the Electoral College.

The election was very dynamic and meaningful. There were no organized political parties, but there was the division between FEDERALISTS who supported the US Constitution and ANTI-FEDERALISTS who opposed the US Constitution. There were 9 Federalists on the ballot and 2 Anti-federalists and 2 Independents. George Washington was an INDEPENDENT!

To review the details of the FIRST US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, I recommend you read Wikipedia's “United States presidential election, 1788-1789.”

There are numerous surprises awaiting you. Did YOU know that the first US presidential election lasted from Monday, December 15, 1788 through to Saturday, January 10, 1789?

I believe that the election of GEORGE WASHINGTON the first president of the U.S. was critical for the launching of the new US Constitution and government. What do YOU think?

John W. Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor of political science at UW-Whitewater and an advocate for Project Citizen, a model curriculum for democracy/civics education in Wisconsin high schools. John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. His opinion is not necessarily that of the The Gazette staff or management.

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