Tuesday, Nov. 04, 2008

1792: Molding a Presidency

Washington ran unchallenged, but his win established the principle of regular elections. "It was not clear, following the American Revolution and Articles of Confederation, that the presidency would work," says Rutgers University historian David Greenberg. "Washington — and his re-election — showed that it did." The pro-business Federalists began sparring with the agrarian, states' rights Jeffersonians — a two-party preview. So the nation needed a unifying figure to guide it in its formative years. "North and South will hang together," Jefferson told Washington, "if they have you to hang on."