A New Government: 1789-93 - Research Article from Shaping of America, 1783-1815 Reference Library

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Selecting a National Leader

Before the U.S. Constitution could be put into use, the nation needed to elect members to the House of Representatives and Senate as well as a president and vice president. The Constitution did not provide specific requirements for electing representatives and senators, so each state arranged their own elections. Popular votes (the votes of regular citizens) did not become part of presidential elections until 1824. Until then, citizens called electors were the only ones who voted (see Chapter 3). Each state was allotted a certain number of electors, determined by the number of representatives the state had in Congress. The states had various ways of choosing their electors. Some states allowed the public to vote directly for electors. In other states, members of the legislature chose the electors.

George Washington is sworn in as the first U.S. president. ( Bettmann/Corbis.) George Washington is sworn in as the first U.S. president. (© Bettmann/Corbis.)

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This section contains 7,061 words
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Buy the A New Government: 1789-93 Encyclopedia Article
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Shaping of America, 1783-1815 Reference Library
A New Government: 1789-93 from Shaping of America, 1783-1815 Reference Library. ©2005-2006 by U•X•L. U•X•L is an imprint of Thomson Gale, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. All rights reserved.
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