In 1792, the United States held its second general election. George Washington, the incumbent president, wanted to resign and retire to Mt. Vernon, but was persuaded to run for the presidency in order to bridge the widening gap between the nation's two emerging political parties, the Federalists, led by Alexander Hamilton, and the Democratic-Republicans, led by Thomas Jefferson.

Political Parties

One of the most significant domestic issues facing the U.S. in 1792 was the formation of political parties, which Washington abhorred. Many from both political parties feared that the new nation's southern states would secede if Washington -- who was known for being moderate -- did not remain in office.

Bank of the United States

Another significant issue at stake was whether the United States would establish a national bank. Washington and Hamilton supported establishing a central bank, but Jefferson and James Madison -- considered the father of the U.S. Constitution -- opposed it.

Keeping the U.S. United

Washington agreed to run for president. Until 1804, electors voted for two presidential candidates. The one with the most votes was elected president. The runner-up was elected vice-president. With widespread support from both parties, President Washington was re-elected unanimously by the Electoral College. Federalist John Adams won the vice presidency.