chapter  10
The Federalist Era
Pages 28

George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the United States on April 30, 1789. To the surprise of no one, the general came out of retirement to stand for the office. As the most famous and popular man in the country, he was a consensus choice to be the first executive under the new Constitution and he stood unopposed. The first presidential election had been held in January 1789, when the electors selected by the states gathered as the Electoral College, as mandated by the Constitution, to cast their votes for the presidency. The Constitution allowed each state to decide how to choose its own presidential electors. In the first presidential election, only Pennsylvania and Maryland held elections for this purpose; elsewhere, the state legislatures chose electors. Washington received 69 votes in the Electoral College. John Adams of Massachusetts was elected vice-president, with 34 Electoral College votes.