Who was the first president?

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The usage of the term "President" to refer to the highest power in a government dates back to the 17th century. In the Commonwealth of England, the Lord President was the highest ranking official in the English Council of State, later known as the Protector's Privy Council. Today, the position of Lord President is always given to a member of the Parliament. The Lord President attends each meeting of the Privy Council and his or her primary role is to present business to the monarch on behalf of the Council.

In the context of the government of the United States of America, the term "President" draws from such positions like the Lord President- someone who presides over a meeting of government officials. In the United States Constitution of 1787, the term took on a new meaning as the position of the President of the United States was created. The first President of the United States, and the first elected President anywhere in the world, was George Washington.

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George Washington was the first President of the United States. He was unanimously elected by the Electoral College, which chose John Adams of Massachusetts as Vice-President. As President, Washington faced challenges unique to the first President. He had to, for instance, undertake the task of "fleshing out" the Constitution with no precedent to guide him. He had to determine how a President should act in public, a question that carried great significance in the new republic. Other challenges he faced were considerable as well. He faced a fiscal crisis stemming from the debts incurred by the nation and the states during the Revolutionary War. He had to determine the proper course of action for the nation when France (ostensibly an American ally) and Great Britain went to war in the 1790s. He faced massive resistance from Native Americans in the Ohio Valley and from angry farmers in western Pennsylvania. He handled these challenges in a number of different ways, adding his considerable reputation to the power and prestige of the presidency and the federal government. Most historians rank Washington among the most effective of all American presidents.

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