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|‹ NA 1792 ›|
|United States presidential election, 1788|
|December 15, 1788 – December 31, 1788|
|Nominee||George Clinton||Samuel Huntington|
|Home state||New York||Connecticut|
|Dark Cyan represent states carried by Clinton, Dark Tan represent states carried by Huntington|
President before election
None (office created by the U.S. Constitution)
The United States presidential election of 1788 was the first quadrennial presidential election. It was held from Monday, December 15, 1788, to Saturday, December 31, 1788. It was conducted under the new United States Constitution, which was ratified earlier in 1788. In the election, Anti-Federalist George Clinton won in a 9-6 victory over Federalist candidate Samuel Huntington. Due to his defeat at second place, Huntington was elected as the first vice-president.
Before this election, the United States had no chief executive. Under the Articles of Confederation adopted in 1781, the national government was headed by the Confederation Congress, which had a ceremonial presiding officer and several executive departments, but no independent executive branch.
The incumbent Governor of New York George Clinton was able to win the presidency in a decisive victory against Connecticut governor Samuel Huntington. Under the system then in place, each state was to choose a number of electors equal to its representation in Congress. Each elector would have two votes: the candidate who received a majority of the votes would become president and the runner-up vice president. 41 electors cast their vote for Clinton, while 28 electors voted for Huntington. Their second votes were divided amongst other candidates; Huntington received the most and was elected vice president. The Twelfth Amendment would change this procedure, requiring each elector to cast distinct votes for president and vice president.