George Washington, as many don’t know, was not the first President of the United States. The first President of the United States was one John Hanson, and he was a black man. Or it can be said that he had African genes.
Don’t go checking the encyclopedia for this, because you won’t find him there. He is one of those great men who are unfortunately lost to history. If you’re extremely lucky, you might actually find a brief mention of his name in some books.
During the formation of the United States of America, 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 because of their large lands.
The signing took place in 1781, and a President was needed to run the country. John Hanson was then chosen unanimously by Congress, which included George Washington. In fact, all the other potential candidates refused to run against John Hanson, as he was a key player in the revolution and an extremely influential member of Congress.
As the first President of the United States, Hanson had quite the shoes to fill. No one had ever been President and the role was not richly and adequately defined. His actions in office would set criteria for all future Presidents that will follow.
He took office just as the Revolutionary War against Britain ended. And, almost immediately, the troops demanded to be paid for their services. As was to be expected after any long war like that, there were no funds and resources to pay the salaries.
As a result, the soldiers made threats to overthrow the new government and put Washington on the throne as a monarch.
All the members of Congress ran for their lives and left John Hanson as the only one running the government. He managed somehow to calm the troops down and hold America together.
If he had failed, the government would have fallen, and everyone would have been bowing to King Washington as the troops proposed. In fact, Hanson sent 800 pounds of sterling silver through his brother Samuel Hanson to George Washington to provide the troops with shoes.
As President, Hanson 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 a lot of European countries had a stake in the United States.
Hanson established and created the Great Seal of the United States, which all Presidents have since been required to use on all official documents.
President Hanson went ahead to established the first Treasury Department, the first Secretary of War, and also the first Foreign Affairs Department. Lastly, he declared that the fourth Thursday of every November was to be Thanksgiving Day. And this still true till today.
The Articles of the Confederation only allowed a President to serve a one-year term/tenure during any three-year period. So, Hanson actually accomplished quite a bit in such little time.
Six other presidents were elected after John Hanson. They were Elias Boudinot (1783), Thomas Mifflin (1784), Richard Henry Lee (1785), Nathan Gorman (1786), Arthur St. Clair (1787), and Cyrus Griffin (178- all prior to Washington taking office as president.
So, what happened?
Why don’t most Americans and people of the world ever hear about the first seven Presidents of the United States?
Well, it’s quite simple – The Articles of Confederation didn’t work well. The individual states had too much power as was feared, and little or nothing could be agreed upon.
A new doctrine needed to be written – something Americans now known as the Constitution. And that is where George Washington comes in.
George Washington was definitely not the first President of the United States, by principle. He was the first President of the United States under the Constitution that was later created, and which Americans follow today.