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07 January
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First U.S. Presidential Election

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Electoral College 1789

Electoral College 1789

On this day 224 years ago, Americans as a country chose their first president. However, some might argue that John Hanson was actually America’s first president. You can read and listen to more about that in history podcast #11. During this first election only white male, landowners were allowed to vote. Of course, Washington won this election and was sworn into office on April 30, 1789 to start the very first term of an American President.

It was also the first time the Electoral College was used. That’s they system we still use. It’s a common misconception that the people vote for the president. Americans actually vote for electors who in turn vote for a president. However, the media does follow the popular vote during election night, but the popular vote is not the official mechanism to get a president elected.
There has been much debate about whether America should continue with the Electoral College or use the popular vote. History Channel sums it up well with this:

Critics of the Electoral College argue 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 opponent. This happened in the elections of 1876, 1888 and 2000. However, supporters contend that if the Electoral College were done away with, heavily populated states such as California and Texas might decide every election and issues important to voters in smaller states would be ignored.

Learn More:

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11 August
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John Hanson: First President?

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John Hanson:  First President?

John Hanson was a delegate to the Continental Congress from Maryland. He has been called the First President of the United States because he was the first man to serve a full term as President of the Continental Congress under the Articles of Confederation in 1781 and 1782.

HP11_081105.mp3

The following men served as the President of the Continental Congress:

  • Peyton Randolph (September 5, 1774 – October 21, 1774) and
  • Henry Middleton (October 22, 1774 – October 26, 1774)
  • Peyton Randolph (again) (May 10, 1775 – May 23, 1775)
  • John Hancock (May 24, 1775 – October 31, 1777)
  • Henry Laurens (November 1, 1777 – December 9, 1778)
  • John Jay (December 10, 1778 – September 27, 1779)
  • Samuel Huntington (September 28, 1779 – March 1, 1781)

The following men served as President of the United States in Congress Assembled:

  • Samuel Huntington (March 1, 1781 – July 9, 1781)
  • Thomas McKean (July 10, 1781 – November 4, 1781)
  • John Hanson (November 5, 1781 – November 3, 1782)
  • Elias Boudinot (November 4, 1782 – November 2, 1783)
  • Thomas Mifflin (November 3, 1783 – October 31, 1784)
  • Richard Henry Lee (November 30, 1784 – November 6, 1785)
  • John Hancock (November 23, 1785 – May 29, 1786)
  • Nathaniel Gorham (June 6, 1786 – November 5, 1786)
  • Arthur St. Clair (February 2, 1787 – November 4, 1787)
  • Cyrus Griffin (January 22, 1788 – November 2, 1788)

Links:

That Podcast Song
Podcast411
http://www.marshallhall.org/hanson.html
Wikipedia Entry on John Hanson

Disscussion on the topic:

Message 1
Message 2
Message 3
View Sept. 2000

Books on the Subject:

The Forging of the Union, 1781-1789 (New American Nation Series)
Read more…

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