SDMB Retrospective US Presidential Elections 1789

Starting a new weekly series, with two elections per week.

Would have voted for the Federalists since at this point the anti-Federalists were simply anti-Constitution.

I recall Washington’s basic campaign speech: “Fellow Americans, the issue in this election is ‘choice.’ You have no choice. I’m the only name on the ballot, so you have to vote for me. Ha, ha, ha!” :smiley:

Coming from their general resistance to empowering the federal Confederation Congress the term “anti-federalist” predates the Constitution. These men weren’t johnny come lately reactionaries. By and large they were content with how their republic was going and didn’t want or trust intrusion from outside states. I voted for them even though which vote for Washington doesn’t seem to make a lot of difference.

Nice idea this.

Pretty clever of old George to get on both sides of the ballot. I would have voted Federalist. I mean, it’s George Washington for goodness sakes. How do you vote against him?

It’s hard to say which “party” I would have had sympathy for had I been a product of the 18th century. But as a product of modern times I would have certainly gone with the Federalists. My vote as a landowning male is for Gentleman George.

Federalist - as I have always felt the anti-federalist stance is based on a desire to amass local power and potentially wage war on your nearby neighbor without anyone telling you “Stop it!”

Anyone living in this century or the last one should have learned from history that “States’ Rights” is a load of bull. For someone living in the 18th century, it wouldn’t have been nearly so obvious… But I’m not from the 18th century, so I can say that I would vote federalist.

I was trying to separate the choice from our own modern understanding of our country as a country. It’s hard to see how we could get to where we are today as a nation and superpower without the Constitution but does that mean a destiny of loosely allied republics was a worse choice than Empire?

I would also like to note the operation of the “electoral college” in the first federal election. It caused problems from the very start. The process of each elector having 2 equal votes (and poor communication) led to insincere voting where some threw away their 2nd vote to ensure that the Vice Presidential candidate, John Adams, wasn’t accidentally elected. Adams ended up with less than half the votes that Washington received. This shamed and angered him and was the beginning of his historic break with Alexander Hamilton.

The bit in the (original) Constitution about letting the runner-up be VPOTUS was ill-conceived anyway. If the POTUS dies in office, his replacement comes from the opposition party what lost the election?! Thank Og for the Twelfth Amendment.

I wouldn’t, because I currently live in New York, and New York didn’t choose their electors that year by popular vote (or at all. The legislature met late and the votes were ties, so New York didn’t send electors that year.) Given the choice, though, if I were an elector, I’d probably vote for Washington and Jay.

I don’t know. There’s something to be said for it, from a representative standpoint. If most of the electors want to see A as president, and then the next largest group B, and then the group after that C, then, should A die in office, B is the living individual who had the support of the largest group of electors. It leads to a tendency to game the system, though, which is what happened, when you have candidates colluding with each other and running as a block rather than as individuals.

It could just as easily have gone the other way. Had cotton prices been a bit higher, or early population centers been in South Carolina and Georgia, the Civil War might have been over slave states trying to force slavery on free states and the North seceding.

I’d be tempted to vote for anti-federalist but that would be with hindsight, considering George Clinton’s later work in parliment.

And so far George Washington is the runaway winner, with 100% of the vote!

Put me down for the federalists as well, though I would be a staunch supporter of the Bill of Rights as well.

And George Washington is unanimously elected first President of the United States of America. Federalist electors also secure the overwhelming majority of the electoral vote.

Well, good. As a strong supporter of George Washington, I’m delighted he won (and not at all surprised). Don’t really care about the Vice Presidency; if Mr. Adams gets it, I have no objection. Perhaps he might make something of it. I have a feeling the office might not be nearly as important as he hopes.

Thanks for starting this series of threads, BTW. Good (political/historical) fun.

I wasn’t going to bump this but I think Edward Telfair is being maligned there. I haven’t found any evidence of his antifederalism. There wasn’t much opposition to the new Constitution at all in his state. Like all members of the ratification convention in Georgia, he voted for it.