In the election of 1789, George Washington was the obvious choice for president. A war hero and commander of the Continental Army, who had led his forces to victory during the Revolutionary War (1775–83), he was idolized by the American people and had been unanimously elected president of the Constitutional Convention in 1787. Washington viewed the presidency with a reluctance that would startle today’s eager, ambitious candidates. In this election, and those of the early 19th century, there was no popular vote for president, only an electoral vote. On 4 February 1789, when the 69 presidential electors met in New York City, Washington received one vote from every one of them; he still holds the distinction of being the only president ever to be unanimously elected.
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