On February 4th 1789 the Electoral College elected George Washington as the 1st President of the United States of America.
The 1788-1789 election (it was held over 2 weeks due to the difficulty of transport at this time) saw George Washington elected unanimously with 100% of the popular vote and all 69 Electoral College votes from the 10 states. Washington ran unopposed in this election as he had the support of both federalist and anti-federalist politicians. It was also worth noting that no political parties had been established at this point; he ran as a nonpartisan candidate.
The Electoral College was devised in 1787 at the Philadelphia convention and was based on the agreement that Congress would elect the President. However, a committee made the suggestion that the President should be elected by delegates, apportioned to each state on the basis of their number of seats in the House of Representatives. This can be seen as a further step to separate powers (so as to create a limited government) and to entrench federalism, as each of the states essentially has its own Presidential election.
This indirect mechanism for electing the President and Vice President was to be heralded as the ‘Electoral College’. In recent years, it has been berated for distorting the popular vote, having now elected 4 Presidents who lost the popular vote.
However, what must be said is that, until now, it has provided stability and functional government.
Read my full analysis of the Electoral College here: