John Hanson America’s First President!

Thought George Washington was the First President in America, right?  The constitution wasn’t signed until 1789.  So what did we do from 1776 to 1789?  Well the states were loosely organized under a simple form of National Government called the Articles of Confederation.  There really was no strong central government.

According to Congressforkids.net

“The Continental Congress wrote the Articles of Confederation during the Revolutionary War. The articles were written to give the colonies some sense of a unified government. Once the thirteen colonies became the thirteen states, however, each one began to act alone in its own best interest. A new governing document was needed in order for these new states to act together, to become a nation.

The Articles of Confederation became effective on March 1, 1781, after all thirteen states had ratified them. The Articles made the states and legislature supreme. There was no executive branch. Judicial functions were very limited.

The resulting government was weak. Efforts to make it stronger failed. A convention called in May 1787 to re-write the Articles decided to draft an entirely new Constitution.”

John Hanson was a merchant and public official from Maryland during the era of the American Revolution. After serving in a variety of roles for the Patriot cause in Maryland, in 1779 Hanson was elected as a delegate to the Continental Congress. He was elected by that body to be the President of the Continental Congress. At this time there was no executive branch, so in effect, Hanson was the first American President. He signed the Articles of Confederation in 1781 after Maryland finally joined the other states in ratifying them.  He was Born in  Port Tobacco, Maryland.  Route 50 in Maryland to Ocean City is named The John Hanson Highway.  Here’s the timelines from Wikipedia for his political career.

 

Timeline

1750: Hanson’s career in public service began in 1750, when he was appointed sheriff of Charles County.
1757: In 1757 he was elected to represent Charles County in the lower house of the Maryland General Assembly, where he served over the next twelve years, sitting on many important committees.
1774: When relations between Great Britain and the colonies became a crisis in 1774, Hanson became one of Frederick County’s leading Patriots.
1776: In June 1776, Hanson chaired the Frederick County meeting that urged provincial leaders in Annapolis to instruct Maryland’s delegates in the Continental Congress to declare independence from Great Britain.
1781: When Congress received notice of this, Hanson joined Daniel Carroll in signing the Articles of Confederation on behalf of Maryland on March 1, 1781.
1781: On November 5, 1781, Congress elected Hanson as president of the Continental Congress (or “president of the Congress of the Confederacy” or “president of Congress”).
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