1789 – George Washington is unanimously elected as the first President of the United States by the U.S. Electoral College.We don't elect our Presidents through direct democratic elections. We elect electors to go to Washington and elect the President.
I was taught (although unable to find a single reference on Google this morning) that the early presidential candidates didn't actually run for office. Americans considered naked political ambition to be a limiting factor, and if an early American truly wanted to be president, the last thing he could do was actually say the words. His supporters would run the campaign and he was expected to stay aloof, above the fray, Presidential.
Wouldn't it be great, if today, our candidates disavowed any yearning to be President and merely let themselves be drafted to an office with high responsibility and authority? Can you imagine our current president disclaiming any ambition? Or his opponents? Can you imagine Mitt Romney saying, "No, I really don't want to be President, but if the party nominates me and the College elects me, I'll do my duty and go to Washington".
I kid myself. Naked political ambition is now considered to be a requisite, and we're a poorer nation for it.