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U.S. Electoral College

How has the electoral college changed over time?


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April 29, 2018 7:10PM

The U.S. electoral system was created in 1788 by the United States Constitution. The first U.S. presidential election was in 1789. George Washington was elected as the first president of the United States. The election was conducted under the new United States Constitution, which had been ratified earlier in 1788. In the election, George Washington received all 69 electoral votes and was unanimously elected president. John Adams was elected vice-president.

Federalist Party candidate John Adams won the 1796 presidential election defeating Democratic-Republican Party candidate Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson finished second with 68 electoral votes. Thomas Pinckney, John Adams' vice-presidential running mate, finished third with 59 electoral votes. Jefferson received the second highest number of electoral votes and was elected vice president according to the prevailing rules of electoral college voting. The 1796 presidential election the only one to elect a President and Vice President from opposing tickets. Responding to the problems from the 1796 election, in 1803 Congress proposed the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution - prescribing electors cast separate ballots for president and vice president - to replace the system outlined in Article II, Section 1, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution. By June 1804, the states had ratified the amendment in time for the 1804 election.