April 5, 1792: George Washington Issues First Presidential Veto

On this day in 1792, President George Washington exercised the first presidential veto on an issue that still remains relevant in this day and age.

George WashingtonOn this day in 1792, President George Washington exercised the first presidential veto on an issue that still remains relevant in this day and age.

The legislation Washington vetoed would have divided up the number of Congressional seats in a manner that gave a larger portion to northern states. After serious deliberation with his advisors and fellow Virginian Thomas Jefferson, Washington chose to veto the bill on the grounds that it was unconstitutional and set a dangerous precedent for future abuse. With the veto, he offered a proposal of apportioning Congressional seats based on one representative for 33,000 U.S. citizens, which the Congress accepted.

Today, a member of Congress represents approximately 650,000 people with his or her state legislatures mapping out the district every ten years based on the U.S. census figures. One only needs to look at the controversies that arise with each state’s redistricting cycle to see how prophetic the first presidential veto truly was.

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