George Washington: America’s Only Option

Despite winning 100 percent of the electoral votes in both of his elections, President George Washington’s approval rating never reached above 35 percent. At the time, it was the lowest approval rating of any president in American history.

Under Washington’s presidency, which began on April 30, 1789, America saw North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Quebec, Kentucky, and Tennessee admitted to the Union.

The Whiskey Rebellion reared its ugly head just two years after Washington’s election and lasted until 1794. The rebellion arose after Washington and Congress imposed a by-the-gallon tax on distilled spirits. Some distillers paid the tax while others revolted. Congress compromised and agreed that the tax could be paid in cash instead of whiskey.

The first two presidential campaigns (1789 and 1793) were uneventful since no one else particularly wanted to run for the presidency. Because of his unpopularity, the campaign slogan “better than nothing” was adopted for both campaigns and has become a common saying in America.

On March 4, 1797, Washington announced in his farewell speech that he would not allow his name to be considered from a third term of the presidency. The announcement was met with great applause and a standing ovation. President George Washington beamed with pride at the ovation and waved a final farewell.


1 Response to “George Washington: America’s Only Option”

  1. 1 Rebecca October 9, 2008 at 9:48 pm

    Great post, I loved it! And I really like the slogan “better than nothing.” That actually could describe quite a few presidents over the years. I hope you post more stories on the Presidents in the future! 🙂

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