First Federal Elections in the U.S.

First Federal Elections in the U.S. (Illustration) Famous Historical Events American Presidents American History Government Law and Politics

Delegates to the Constitutional Convention issued a report on the 13th of September, 1787, as depicted by this image. It sets the stage for the first federal elections to be held in American history (including for U.S. President).

Because it is sometimes difficult to read these older documents (in which an “s” looks like an “f”), hereafter is the transcription (split into paragraphs for easier reading):

Whereas the Convention assembled in Philadelphia, pursuant to the resolution of Congress of the 21st of February, 1787, did, on the 17th of September, in the same year, report to the United States in Congress assembled a Constitution for the people of the United States;

whereupon Congress, on the 28th of the same September, did resolve, unanimously “That the said report, with the resolutions and letter accompanying the same, be transmitted to the several legislatures, in order to be submitted to a convention of delegates, chosen in each state by the people thereof, in conformity to the resolves of the Convention made and provided in that case;” and

whereas the Constitution so reported by the Convention, and by Congress transmitted to the several legislatures, has been ratified in the manner therein declared to be sufficient for the establishment of the same, and such ratifications, duly authenticated, have been received by Congress, and are filed in the office of the secretary; therefore, -

Resolved, That the first Wednesday in January next be the day for appointing electors in the several states which, before the said day, shall have ratified the said Constitution; that the first Wednesday in February next be the day for the electors to assemble in their respective states, and vote for a President: and that the first Wednesday in March next be the time, and the present seat of Congress the place, for commencing proceedings under the said Constitution.

Charles Thomson

These events happened, as directed. The Debates in the Several States Conventions on the Federal Constitution, at page 333, reports the results:

The elections of the several states were held conformably to the above resolution. On Wednesday the 4th of March, 1789, proceedings commenced under the Constitution; and on the 30th of April, of the same year, George Washington, elected by the unanimous suffrage of the electors, was inaugurated as President of the United States.

It was the only time that an American President was unanimously elected.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5183stories and lessons created

Original Release: Mar 06, 2014

Updated Last Revision: Jun 17, 2015

Media Credits

Image of text online, courtesy Library of Congress.




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"First Federal Elections in the U.S." AwesomeStories.com. Mar 06, 2014. Nov 18, 2019.
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