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Inbox: Early US History. The First President

by James Denison / December 13, 2006 1:56 PM PST

I'm sure that George Washington was your best guess. After all, no one else comes to
mind. But think back to your history books - The United States declared its
independence in 1776, yet Washington did not take office until April 30,1789. So who
was running the country during these initial years of this young country?
It was the first eight U. S. Presidents. In fact, the first President of the United States
was one John Hanson.
( check John Hanson on >>Google.) http://www.marshallhall.org/hanson.html
The new country was actually formed on March 1, 1781 with the adoption of The
Articles of Confederation. This document was actually proposed on June 11, 1776, but
not agreed upon by Congress until November 15, 1777. Maryland refused to sign this
document until Virginia and New York ceded their western lands (Maryland was afraid
that these states would gain too much power in the new government from such large
amounts of land).
Once the signing took place in 1781, a President was needed to run the Country. John
Hanson was chosen unanimously by Congress (which included George Washington).
In fact, all the other potential candidates refused to run against him, as he was a major
player in the revolution and an extremely influential member of Congress. As the first
President, Hanson had quite the shoes to fill. No one had ever been President and the
role was poorly defined. His actions in office would set precedent for all future
Presidents.
He took office just as the Revolutionary War ended. Almost immediately, the troops
demanded to be paid. As would be expected after any long war, there were no funds
to meet the salaries. As a result, the soldiers threatened to overthrow the new
government and put Washington on the throne as a monarch.
All the members of Congress ran for their lives, leaving Hanson as the only guy left
running the government. He somehow managed to calm the troops down and hold the
country together. If he had failed, the government would have fallen almost
immediately and everyone would have been bowing to King Washington.
Hanson, as President, ordered all foreign troops off American soil, as well as the
removal of all foreign flags. This was quite the feat, considering the fact that so many
European countrie s had a stake in the United States since the days following
Columbus.
Hanson established the Great Seal of the United States, which all Presidents have
since been required to use on all official documents. President Hanson also
established the first Treasury Department, the first Secretary of War, and the first
Foreign Affairs Department. Lastly, he declared that the fourth Thursday of every
November was to be Thanksgiving Day, which is still true today. The Articles of
Confederation only allowed a President to serve a one year >>term during any three
year period, so Hanson actually accomplished quite a bit in such little time.
Seven other presidents were elected after him: Elias Boudinot (1782-83), Thomas Mifflin (1783-84),
Richard Henry Lee (1784-85), John Hancock (1785-86), Nathan Gorman (1786-87), Arthur St. Clair (1787-88), and Cyrus
Griffin (1788-89) All prior to Washington taking office.
So what happened? Why don't we hear about the first eight presidents? It's quite simple - The Articles of
Confederation didn't work well. The individual states had too much power and nothing could be agreed upon. A new
doctrine needed to be written - something we know as the Constitution. And that leads us to the end of our story.
George Washington was definitely not the first President of the United States. He was the first President of the United
States under the Constitution we follow today. And the first eight Presidents are forgotten in history. It took 8 years for
us to establish a successful government.
Remember this when you hear that so little progress has been make during these last 3 years in establishing a
Government in Iraq.
=========================================
Don't know how much of this is true, but the point made at the end of it fails to note the US established themselves and even according to the story, without foreign troops on home soil. Maybe it's time to let the Iraqis do the same?

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nope not Hanson
by Orgrimmar / December 13, 2006 2:04 PM PST
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it might be they are saying hanson because
by WOODS-HICK / December 13, 2006 7:07 PM PST
In reply to: nope not Hanson

it was not called: >>>>President of the United States<<<< in Congress Assembled until 1781, it also looks they are using the surrender of cornwallis as a start point.

and if hanson kicked out the foreign armies ie: the french who had the most forces at yorktown and without them we might be bowing to queen elizabeth, hanson issued an early version of unilateral diplomacy: wham, bam, thank you france.

so if history is a guide we ain't leaving iraq until whoever wins, kicks us out. hope they at least send us flowers after using us like a one night stand.

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Another interesting book to relate to....
by Willy / December 14, 2006 2:36 AM PST

I just read a book about G.Washington, titled, George Washington hidden war in Valley Forge or something like that. It pretty much drew out the troubles he had with the Congress and/or govt' at the time and the power makers as well, his side and thiers. His shrew handling of matters provided the foundation for the most favorable acceptance of office later. AND! his later requlish of power later proved he was thr job for the task. It was side I didn't plus it didn't fawn on the spin doctoring of history as we know it and shown a true or at least a more realistic presentation of his station at Valley Forge. All the generals and such are mentioned in the book, darn good book.

tada -----Willy Happy

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