January 7 ... on This Day ...

On this day in 1789 the first US Presidential Election was held.
The process actually began on December 15, 1888 and ended on January 10. First state electors had to be chosen who would then elect the president, which they did on January 7, 1787. Voters were white men who owned property. So even though America had fought for independence, and was supposed to be the land of the free, it was far from God’s Own Country.

This election was the first under the new United States Constitution which had been adopted on 17 September, 1787. The new Chief Executive and his officers replaced the ceremonial Presiding Officer of the Confederation Congress and the election process established the electoral college system that still forms the basis of US elections today.

George Washington was unanimously elected for the first of his two terms as president, and John Adams became the first vice president. Effectively, Washington had run unopposed. The process declared that each elector cast two votes with the majority winner becoming President and the runner-up, the Vice President. All 69 electors voted for Washington and the second votes were spread across 11 other candidates with John Adams receiving the most support.

George Washington was elected as an independent. Since the election of his successor, John Adams, in 1796, all winners of U.S. presidential elections have represented one of two major parties.

Also on this day in:

1610: Galileo Galilei sighted four of Jupiter's moons. He named them Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto.

1782: The first US commercial bank opened - The Bank of North America - in Philadelphia.

1785: Jean-Pierre Blanchard made the first air-crossing of the English Channel from the English coast to France.

1927: 31 calls were made when the transatlantic telephone service began between New York and London.

1927: Harlem Globetrotters play their first game

1947: “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is the #1 song on the U.S. pop charts

1953: Truman announces U.S. has developed hydrogen bomb

1990 - The Leaning Tower of Pisa was closed to the public amid safety fears over the accelerated rate of "leaning".

1999: The Impeachment Trial of Bill Clinton began. He was later acquitted of perjury and obstruction of justice charges.

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